Is My Marketing Working? How Law Firms Can Use Lead Tracking to Answer This Age-Old Question
How do we measure marketing results? How do we know our PR campaign is working? These are questions clients and prospects ask Berbay all of the time (and they should!), but one of the challenges to answering them is that most law firms aren’t tracking where their leads and new business come from. The information often lives in the attorneys’ heads, “I know John Smith sends me a lot of referrals,” but that isn’t useful data when determining which aspect of your marketing is working or not. Without data and thorough analysis of that data, law firms can’t make informed business decisions. Without formal lead tracking, law firms are doing themselves a disservice and missing out on valuable information.
Implementing a process for lead tracking doesn’t need to be cumbersome; here are a few things to keep in mind as you get set up.
What You Should Track
Source of leads:
Who is contacting you and how did they hear about your firm? It’s important to obtain as much information as possible, even if it’s immediately obvious you won’t take on the matter. Why? Because if you are getting a lot of leads that are not a fit, your marketing likely needs adjusting.
You’ll need to identify the categories that make sense for your firm, but the following are ones we suggest:
- Advertising – someone calls you after seeing an ad you ran in a publication or in a legal directory.
- Attorney Referral – an attorney from another firm told the prospect to contact you.
- Current/Former Client – a client passed your name along to someone.
- Media – the prospect saw an article you published or a story you were quoted in.
- Speaking/Networking – after you gave a talk or attended an event, the person contacts the firm.
- Website/Online – a prospect fills out your website contact form or they did a Google search and found your website.
- Social Media – the prospect saw a mention about your firm on a social media platform, like LinkedIn.
- Miscellaneous – there may be a handful of leads that don’t fit into a main category such as your neighbor or the parent of your child’s friend.
- Unknown – while you want to capture as much information as you can, sometimes the prospect doesn’t remember how they got your name, but it’s still important to track this.
Once you move to the analysis stage, you’ll be able to see trends, such as if the firm is receiving a large volume of website leads, but none are converting to clients. This can help guide future marketing decisions.
Source of new business:
Which leads converted into new business and where did they originate from (see categories above)? Many firms may be tracking new matters already, whether via a client database or a case management system, but it needs to tie together with tracking the source of leads.
Type of matter:
If your firm handles various types of cases, e.g., personal injury, employment, product liability, etc., you’ll want to get more granular and track the case type. This will allow you to see if the bulk of your work is being generated in one practice area or evenly distributed among practices. Then you can ask yourself questions such as: we had a low number of employment leads come in this year; do we want to put forth more resources to obtaining employment leads or are we happy with what we’re receiving?
This tracks whether the person contacted the firm via phone, email, web form, live chat, etc.
Attorney requesting the conflict check:
If the majority of your referrals come in directly to specific attorneys, e.g., the attorney had the relationship or the lead came in from a presentation the attorney gave, versus a web form or live chat inquiries, you can also track leads by attorney. This should be helpful when deciding whether individual business development efforts are proving to be fruitful or if a senior associate warrants consideration as a partner (presuming your firm considers bringing in new business as part of the partner track assessment).
What You Should Analyze
Leads vs. new business:
One of the most important areas to review and compare is the number of incoming leads versus those that converted into new business. If you’re bringing in a high volume of leads, but your conversion percentage is low, you need to review your marketing and business development efforts to see why. The leads that didn’t turn into new business, can be just as valuable information as the leads that did.
Sources of new business:
Undoubtedly, looking at where your new business came from can help direct future marketing efforts. Perhaps you get 50% of your matters from referring attorneys and you want to spend even more time marketing to other attorneys. Or, this could signal to you that you need to spend time in other categories, like your website or media efforts. Seeing the source and break-down by percentage can dictate what you are doing right or wrong. Oftentimes, it’s small adjustments to your marketing campaign that can make a big difference.
Leads and new business by practice area:
If you have a multi-practice firm and you see from 2020 to 2021 that employment matters dropped significantly, but there was an uptick in intellectual property matters, how does this correlate with your marketing efforts? Why did IP do so well; were you putting greater resources toward the practice? Were you focused on expanding your employment practice but the marketing wasn’t effective for some reason? Analyzing these numbers can help trigger things you should be looking at more closely in your marketing and business development.
Above is the high-level data you should be paying attention to, but depending on your practice, you may want to break it down further, e.g. what type of attorneys are sending you referrals, personal injury, real estate, employment, etc.
What System You Should Use to Track
There should be a formalized process for lead intake, and all attorneys and staff involved should be trained on what information needs to be captured and how it should be tracked. If a staff member is in charge of incoming leads, they should also be trained on phone etiquette, how to handle sensitive information and explaining next steps to prospects. Smaller firms may rely on attorneys and their assistants to track leads, however, larger personal injury firms, for example, should have a dedicated intake person that can oversee everything and keep information organized. It’s a good idea to have another set of eyes look over your lead generation on a monthly or quarterly basis to ensure the correct information is being tracked, otherwise, you’re not capturing what you need for future analysis.
The final, big question is – what system should you use to track leads? There are plenty of robust lead management and CRM tools available for law firms (Clio, Lead Docket, etc.) and one of those may be necessary if you are a large law firm. For smaller firms, an Excel spreadsheet can work just as well. But the platform itself isn’t as important as making sure you’re capturing everything that’s coming in the door and tracking it correctly.
Importance of Lead Analysis
Lead analysis is critical because it tells you how your marketing and business development efforts are performing, and if there are areas for improvement. Real estate used to be your bread and butter but you’re seeing a drop off in leads; why is this happening? The website is bringing in low quality leads; how can you improve this? Based on the analysis, what needs to be tweaked in your marketing campaign? Typically, your campaign doesn’t need a major overhaul, and you should be realistic with your goals and timeframe.
The data can also uncover untapped areas and opportunities for growth. For example, if you’re seeing a number of referrals from former clients, but you’re not actively marketing to them – should you make them a target client group? Or, you received a substantial product liability case and there is an opportunity to bring more of these high-dollar matters in the door.
There are other takeaways from the data that can help guide business development decisions. If you’re a member of a real estate networking group, but you haven’t received any referrals for two years, is it worthwhile to continue paying? You may decide that the firm should have a presence in the organization regardless of referrals, but at least you have the knowledge to determine what makes sense from a financial and marketing standpoint.
How Often Should You Analyze Data?
Has it only been six months since you started tracking? That’s generally not long enough to evaluate success or failure. Was your goal to send out two newsletters and get ten leads? Probably not realistic. It’s important to set specific goals at the beginning of your campaign so you can measure results, but be sure they are achievable.
It’s important to note that when analyzing the data, a year-to-year comparison, or the first half of the year to the second half should be sufficient. Quarterly analysis may be overkill, but this could depend on your lead volume and the type of marketing campaign you’re implementing, e.g. paid social media ads or micro-campaigns may need more frequent monitoring to assess if they’re working or need adjustments.
Lead Tracking ROI
If you’re spending money on marketing and business development, you should want to know if those dollars are being spent effectively and bringing you a return on investment. For this reason, firms can’t underestimate the value of a strong lead intake process. It is essential to running a successful, growth-oriented practice.