By: 7 June 2016
Re-examining marketing

Daniel Reilly on how law firms can get real ROI from their claims digital marketing

Since the Jackson reforms came into being, there has been a sizeable shift in the legal sector. With the onus of lead generation now firmly on the practices themselves, brand visibility has never been more important.

While for decades marketing departments have been seen as ‘fee burners’ and a poor relation to fee earning lawyers, in light of the Jackson reforms, many legal firms are re-weighting their focus on the role of marketing. In fact, according to a survey of 150 legal professionals, over a third have increased their marketing budgets since 2014.

So as legal firms switch on to the importance of a robust digital marketing strategy in generating new leads, how can practices ensure their approach is working for the business and delivering a real return?

Defining success
To say whether something is successful, you must first define what success is, however, for many firms, this is the starting hurdle. Within the legal sector, it is surprising how many organisations fail to tangibly define success at the outset and simply focus on bottom-line sales as a measure of profitability. What they fail to realise however, is that conversions alone will not provide insight into which areas are working well or require improvement.

For businesses refining or embarking on their first marketing campaign, key performance indicators (KPIs) must be the first step. Yet, as every firm is unique, these KPIs must be tailored to complement and contribute to overall business or financial goals.

When it comes to KPIs, less is definitely more and the focus must be, as the name suggests, those that are key to the business. Often companies fall into a trap of measuring vanity metrics, focusing on the wrong things that give a false view of performance and success. A wealth of Twitter followers, for example, may show a firm’s popularity, but if these followers do not convert or contribute to revenue, it is a redundant measure.

To get the right metrics in place firms need to ask themselves three key questions: will this information help me make better, more informed decisions? Does the data relate to my goal? And can I link the metric to a result or sale?

Integrated insights
Once an organisation knows what it wants to measure, the next step is to actually measure it across the client acquisition journey.

While there is a wealth of individual evaluation tools available, the emergence of fully integrated lead generation call tracking and analytics packages purposely designed for the legal sector are helping marketers to work smarter.

Through these platforms, marketers can gain greater insight into the client acquisition journey by simplifying, and adding to, the limited and complex information Google Analytics provides. The tools provide information such as which company the visitor is from, what keywords and source they used to find the firm and which pages they visited. In terms of call tracking, these packages also give insight into whether it was an inbound call and what was said on the call.

Usefully, these leading call tracking and analytics packages also integrate with Google Analytics and business applications such as Salesforce and other CRM systems, giving greater automation and more powerful insight and specific visitor profiles for business development teams. As well as aiding conversion, this integrated approach increases productivity as both sales and marketing teams can use the same customer information with other existing services.

Beyond valuable individual client insights, integrated analytics products also help firms see the bigger picture. By understanding the source of website and inbound telephone enquiries and corresponding website conversions to keyword searches or sources, marketers can now directly match marketing channels and initial enquiries to fees earned and have complete clarity on every pound and pence of their marketing budget.

Testing and learning
While careful thought and consideration needs to go in to the initial creation of a digital marketing strategy, it’s equally important that marketers learn, adapt and refine the strategy to respond to internal and external changes.

Reviewing and testing must be an integral part of a marketing campaign, with marketers periodically evaluating how performance could be improved. Fortunately, within bespoke legal analytics products, marketers can evaluate their sales/marketing funnel with ease to garner insight. Equally, these platforms make it simple to complete A/B tests and identify what achieves the best return.

The digital world and how consumers digest, respond and react to information is continually evolving. At the same time, the market landscape of the legal sector following the Jackson reforms means that retaining competitive advantage is an ongoing feat. Yet while this evolving marketplace does create challenge, it also brings opportunity. As many of the top firms are already demonstrating, done strategically and with real insight, digital marketing has a critical and credible role in lead generation and business growth.

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