Entering the digital marketing arena can be a very exciting milestone for your law firm. It can also be a very anxious process to wait for the leads to start coming in. Digital marketing for law firms is not an inexpensive endeavor. With so much money invested, how do you know if you are getting what you are paying for?
What is in the contract?
As with any investment, you need to know what you signed up for. Is your contract itemized, or does it just say SEO? If it just says SEO, then you are in trouble. Go back and try to get specifics about what is supposed to be done in your campaign. Otherwise, the only thing you have are analytics.
Are the deliverables being delivered?
If your contract says you will receive four blogs per month, are four blogs per month being posted to your website? As a law firm, you can’t monitor every single deliverable that a marketing agency performs, but you should be monitoring the ones you can. If the agency isn’t keeping up with the things you can see, what are they not doing that you can’t see?
What metrics are most important immediately after launch?
In a well-established campaign, the most important metrics are the number of inquiries and the number of signed cases. Until then, there are a few other signs you can watch to ensure your campaign is moving in a positive direction:
Post-Launch Primary Metrics
- Organic Users – You should ignore ‘total users.’ There are too many potential spam issues that can make ‘total users’ misleading. Instead, focus on organic users. This means the number of people who got to your website through the search engines. Do not get this confused with ‘sessions’ or ‘page views.’ Those metrics refer to activity made by users. The number of organic users should always slowly increase.
- Organic Bounce Rate – For the same reason as above, you want to focus on users from search engines. Bounce rate lets you know what percent of visitors came to your website and then left without clicking on anything else. Organic, referral, PPC, and social visitors all have different acceptable bounce rates. For organic visitors, a good bounce rate is less than 50%, while a bad bounce rate is larger than 75%.
- Customer Service – While this is not a metric, poor customer service can be a bad sign. Is your marketing agency being proactive with industry changes? Are they providing updates or information you have requested? You know your firm better than anyone else. And you should know your market and who your clients are. If your marketing agency is not staying in contact with you, then they aren’t learning these things about you. Successful marketing requires a relationship between the law firm and the agency, and this requires communication.
Post-Launch Secondary Metrics
- Inquiries – If you don’t already have one, you should create a system at your office for tracking inquiries. Form submissions and chats are easy, because you already know they came from the internet. Phone calls, however, could come from many different efforts, which means whoever handles inquiries needs to be asking where they found your firm. The number of inquiries you are receiving should be steadily increasing. You should also be monitoring whether or not the types of inquiries are in line with your strategy.
- Signed Cases – Ultimately this is what you really care about. At first, it is unlikely you are going to sign enough cases to cover the costs of your marketing efforts. Month after month, you should be signing more cases, with the end goal being a positive ROI.
Moving beyond the infancy stages.
Once you have achieved a positive ROI, you can consider your campaign to be in the beginning stages of an established campaign. Starting a law firm SEO campaign from scratch can take anywhere from three to eight months to begin to generate significant results. This time frame is largely determined by competition and budget. The more competitive your market is, the longer it will take. The larger your budget, the quicker you should begin to see results. But larger budgets also require more cases to produce a positive ROI — so a larger budget does not necessarily mean it will produce a positive return faster. Ultimately, the above metrics should flip in importance. Signed cases should be your primary metric, and the other metrics should be viewed as troubleshooting metrics.