Many interesting, and completely viable, marketing ideas circulate in the law firm marketing world. Nonetheless, whether the marketing idea is to host a conference or publish a weekly blog or e-alerts for clients, law firm managers and firm marketing experts need to know whether their marketing efforts are indeed working. In other words, they must determine which of the firm’s marketing activities are actually yielding positive results - new, valuable, clients for the firm.
The key to understanding what’s working and what might be a waste of time and money is to calculate your marketing conversion rates. A marketing conversion rate is the ratio, usually expressed as a percentage, of people (or entities) who become firm clients or, in some cases, request a proposal for services, out of the number of people (or entities) who participated in or were exposed to your marketing activity. For example, from a conference you hosted, the marketing conversion rate would be the percentage of attendees who ultimately became clients or out of the number of people who read a blog entry, how many later became clients.
This marketing metric is one of the most important metrics that help law firms understand whether the money and time they are putting into various marketing efforts are increasing the law firm’s clientele. Marketing activities with low conversion rates need to be reviewed, but reviewed with an open mind.
It might be that such marketing activity is not what your clients or potential clients are interested in. However, it could also mean that it is not the activity or the subject matter that’s the problem, but rather the specific content. Whatever the case, law firm managers will need to carefully assess what changes need to be made based on further market research, such as surveys and other forms of follow-up with participants in the unsuccessful marketing attempt to determine whether the problem is topical, format-based or you are simply not using the right venue or medium to reach your target clients.
Notwithstanding the aforementioned, it is important not to get too carried away by blindly basing marketing decisions exclusively on your conversion rates. Three points are relevant here. The first is, marketing activities might have other benefits outside of new client generation. It is possible that participating in certain marketing campaigns results in the overall improvement of your brand and standing within your legal community by showcasing your law firm’s voice and expertise in a certain area or areas. The second is, it might be that rather than producing clients immediately, some marketing efforts result in clients much further down the line. It is therefore essential that you track all marketing activities to know who has participated so that if later in time it has been converted into a sale, you understand the marketing related genesis of that work. Third is, conversion rates are only part of the story. Firms also need to ensure that its marketing-related undertakings are increasing the number of valuable target clients. In other words, even if your marketing efforts are resulting in high conversion rates, if the type of clients that you are getting are not the type of clients that help you improve your bottom line, you still need to have another look at your marketing efforts to see where changes should and can be made. We will address the return on investment metric in a later post.
For help with your law firm’s marketing, please contact us.