The Jan/Feb issue of Law Practice Magazine (published by the ABA — American Bar Association) is focusing on Marketing, so we thought it would be a good idea to review a few of the concepts in the issue and contrast with some things we’ve learned in our own focus on smart marketing for your law firm.
What we have found, generally, is that while top-level marketing solutions are the same for professional services firms — branding, positioning, differentiation — the nuts and bolts of tactics, marketing automation software, and even some strategies will differ between firms.
Analytics to learn what prospects do and do not do: In an article on Leveraging Analytics in Marketing, Adam Severson, CMO of Baker Donelson (ranked as the Country’s 68th largest law firm) recommends four components of marketing analytics which include “creating dashboards of activity,” and “tying activity to revenue”. Perfect. We like to use Google Analytics to look at site activity, and sometimes use 2-3 other dashboards including Hootsuite* for social media, SEO profiler and/or Bright Local for search results; and even Google Webmaster Tools for some insights you can’t get in Analytics.
Above is a quick look at page performance for a law firm client we have, where the key is what people do leading up to becoming clients. In the last column we measure “Engaged Visitors” — those who view 3 or more pages — because studies have shown visitors who engage with your site are more likely to do business with you. Note that “/” (the top line) is the firm’s homepage, and that it more highly engages visitors at 13.78% is a good sign it is performing well.
…part of “selling” each attorney means that they write blog articles, sometimes with personal anecdotes so prospects can get to know them. People buy from people they feel they know.”
Then there are reports from Google Adwords and other pay per click advertising we manage for clients. Lots of places to look, so the question then becomes just what do you look at in these tools? That’s where you stats to desired business outcome goals — which goes to the revenue talked about in the article. We like to create quick top-level custom reports for clients, and then take deeper dives into data as required. Deeper dives for what? What indeed. It is “what prospects do” and don’t do that you can learn from analytics, but usually the “why” of their behavior. For that you need to actually ask them and there are some testing methods, social media tactics, and visitor polling that can help you with that.
Making your Practice Credible: In an article on Cultivating Credibility, author Brad Shepard offers up some real gems. First noting that two things prospects seek are, good experience with the specific legal issue they are facing, and recommendations from trusted sources, including other clients, Shepard goes on to give these take-away points:
- “Firm credibility isn’t the same as brand awareness.”
- “Research indicates that clients are buying attorneys, not firms.”
Presenting experience and recommendations goes to credibility — and that means a focus on both firm level credibility and that of each attorney. Then you add a brand awareness goal to the mix and you have your marching orders.
The fun part is choosing the tactics and tools to accomplish those goals. Here’s an outline of some methods we like:
- For websites, we custom develop on the WordPress platform with an eye on hitting experience, and brand awareness on the home page with an introduction to the firm’s lawyers as well.
- WordPress began as a blogging platform, so it then becomes easy to use a blog marketing strategy where part of “selling” each attorney means that they write blog articles, sometimes with personal anecdotes so prospects can get to know them. People buy from people they feel they know.
- Next we make sure there’s a good presence in all “big four” social venues — G+, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn — for brand awareness and some conversation. Sure, you want to post links there back to blog posts, but social means you actually talk to one another too. Hootsuite offers a time-saving, all-in-one dashboard for this.
- For email newsletters (another great way to leverage the content you produce) and quick “postcard” announcements
We’ve already talked about Analytics reporting, and we also like A/B testing, smart PPC advertising, and sometimes even “old-school” tactics like direct post-card mailings. But these all have to prove out for ROI, and we believe one essential component of that to be studying phone calls direct from your online marketing effort — with a smart solution that provides ROI for call tracking, call routing and lead scoring. We’ll cover these items in some future posts.