Maybe your law firm is paying an internal employee or an outside firm or consultant to maximize your online marketing strategy and tactics. Maybe you have a sophisticated strategy involving SEO, social media, Google AdWords, email marketing, and more. But how do you know your digital strategy is working? Without turning to key performance indicators (KPIs) to quantify your efforts, you have no way of knowing. These critical metrics let you rate your campaign’s performance, tweak it as needed, and improve your strategy as you go. Without them, you may “feel” like inquiry emails or calls for consultations have increased, but your observations are far less reliable than real data.
What You Need to Know About Marketing KPI
Before you decide which metrics to track, decide what goals your marketing campaign should meet. How does each performance indicator relate to that goal? How long will you track the metric? A week? A month? An entire quarter? Each campaign and situation is unique. For example, it’s impossible to track year-over-year sales if your law firm just opened. Still, law firms might draw from a common set of metrics regardless of the campaign type or their practice area.
Organic traffic refers to users that find and visit your website through a search engine. As you undoubtedly know, Google is the dominant player in organic search. Search engine optimization strategies let you target potential clients who are already looking for your services on Google and elsewhere. Careful tactics help you acquire leads efficiently and cost-effectively, and your law firm can use free online tools like Google Analytics to measure your organic traffic volume.
Google Analytics lets you see how people find your website. Do they come from search engines? Where do they land? How long do they stay? If you choose to monitor these metrics and realize that clients rarely find your site through organic search, consider how you can improve your site’s inbound content marketing. Google—and the rest of the search engines—value useful, relevant, readable, and unique content. Improve your content and you’ll improve your standing on the search engine results pages.
The whole purpose of driving people to your website is to encourage them to contact your law firm for a service consultation. Generally speaking, the more leads your website generates, the more conversions you enjoy. If you’re doing it right, the more conversations you get, the more clients you’ll engage. Track the leads your marketing efforts generate by capturing names, phone numbers, and email addresses.
Ideally, you would also take time to define what a quality lead looks like at your law firm. Who is your ideal client? What do they want when they find your website? Do they just want contact information to call you immediately? Or do they want to spend some time on the site looking around, getting to “know” you, and exploring your experience before deciding whether they’ll reach out? If your display ads generate plenty of traffic (but an abundance of irrelevant leads), your campaign is underperforming (and probably dramatically). You might reevaluate that campaign to improve the quality of leads it generates, which would, in turn, increase the likelihood that you’ll turn those quality leads into profitable clients.
Eventually, you’ll probably realize that tracking where all those leads come from (organic search, referrals, social media, email marketing, etc.) is a somewhat empty metric without more context. That is, how did they ultimately reached you and how often did they convert into profitable clients? That’s why it’s important to calculate your “conversion rate.” If your website generates gaggles of visitors but only sees a few convert into real leads, your website may be failing you in the conversion department. So how can you tweak your website design and content to turn more fly-by visitors into potential clients? It may require fresh website content that’s more engaging and relevant, a reimagined site navigation to help potential customers to find what they’re looking for, and work to ensure your marketing campaigns target the right demographics. You may also toy around with improving (then testing) your calls to action. And you might consider lead-to-client ratios and conversion rates for the landing pages you use.
Sales are one of the most critical performance metrics. Every business should track sales revenue. Analyze your sales and incoming revenue thoroughly and decide which marketing efforts increase your sales. That will prepare you to invest more resources into effective campaigns, tweak the marginal ones in an effort to improve them, and eliminate the duds altogether.
So, your new marketing campaigns have increased leads, conversions, and sales? Hurray! Celebrate, then get back to work. You still have one crucial KPI to measure: how much did it cost your law firm to acquire those new clients? Calculate your marketing campaign’s return on investment (ROI) by dividing all campaign expenses by the number of clients you acquired during the designated time frame. Because “average profit per client” ranges from firm to firm, the range of acquisition costs per client varies wildly. Ideally, the overall cost you pay to acquire a customer remains on the low side while the value you generate from each client continues to grow over time. For starters, shoot for a 3:1 value-to-cost ratio. That is, make sure your cost of customer acquisition is—at most—about 33% of the total lifetime value you expect to generate from your new client.
If your customer acquisition cost is prohibitively high, or if you notice it creeping up over time, reevaluate your marketing and sales efforts. Are your costs increasing? Or is your overall client acquisition rate declining? It may be a good time to check your online client reviews and request feedback from clients.
The universe of KPIs you can track is nearly limitless. But don’t get lost in data and spreadsheets without connecting metrics to your actual business. If the Average Visit Duration on your website increases dramatically but fails to improve lead generation or sales, you can conclude that the metric isn’t very useful. It’s just noise. Stop paying attention. Law firms misstep when they invest time, money, and energy into defining, tracking, and improving metrics that don’t convert (yeah, I’m looking at you, Facebook Likes). The most important KPIs lead to profits or other returns that you hold dear, like customer satisfaction. That’s why we recommend tracking organic traffic, leads, conversion rates, sales, acquisition costs, and customer satisfaction.