In the last month, how many clients did your firm acquire online? How many people visited your firm’s website and what did they do while they were there? How many of them were repeat visitors and on each return, what did they do differently? Why do they keep coming back? What’s the “sticky” content on your firm’s website and what is it about that content that makes it work? Have you done similar blogs, articles or case studies? What are you asking this prospective client to do after they read it?
This is the conversation that can lead to significant improvement in lead generation and yet, in our experience it occurs rarely in marketing discussions generally. Despite the advent of content marketing, big data analysis and A/B testing, by and large, law firms still typically get stuck on the aesthetics of their website. In other words, when there is a consensus at a partner’s meeting that their website is tired, they call a website designer and simply get a new one with updated staff photos and profiles and maybe enhance their practice areas, without ever really understanding what the primary objective of their web presence is. In this article, we’ll explore some very simple steps that will not only assist your firm in defining the objectives of your online marketing, but key tools and strategies that will assist you in measuring how well your firm is meeting them.
What’s the Objective?
Effective marketing is predicated on knowing and understanding the objective, no matter what the online medium, be it your website or social footprint. Most firms will struggle to define the objectives of their online presence and how it may differentiate itself from the objectives of other marketing touchpoints. The more granular you are in defining the objectives, the better your online presence will be and your ongoing assessment via your web metrics and other KPI’s of how well you’re doing in reaching them. There should be of course, parity between the objective of your firm’s online presence and the objective of your potential client who has just landed on your firm’s website and not necessarily the homepage. Consider every piece of content on your website and be clear on its objective both from a client and firm perspective. What does this person want now, and what do I want to give them and where do I want to take them next? If your primary objective is lead generation, then the construct of your content may ultimately lead towards the download of a guide, a webinar, a podcast or social media engagement. Following which, you may reach out to this person within the week via email, to see if they had any specific questions emanating from the media or engagement you have provided.
What Are You Measuring?
When was the last time you looked at your Google Analytics, or in the case of your social media, SproutSocial (or equivalent platform)? What in your mind defines a good metric and one that perhaps isn’t so good?
Being clear about your marketing objectives allows you to measure and track progress towards those objectives. In relation to your website, if you are using Google Analytics, or any of the other metric software, you’re able to define those objectives and have them measured within the platform. In other words, if one of your objectives is to move a reader towards content that is optimised for lead generation, then setting that objective in your analytics will give you the requisite yardstick.
Also, from a design perspective there are a range of other metrics that can test the aesthetics of your site. Crazy Egg and ClickTail are platforms that can assist in visually defining hot and cold spots on web pages that you specify, by tracking mouse movements on your website. Tools like Optimizely can be very useful in testing calls to action and other functionality that you deem important and relate to your primary objectives.
If there could be one thing that just doesn’t work anymore is this set and forget methodology that is applied by so many web design and development companies. They design your website and move on. Your firm’s online presence should evolve with what the metrics are telling you. Unless your firm has invested heavily in usability testing, it is a rare thing to nail your firm’s objectives and how they translate online, in the first cut. Treating your online presence as a pliable platform that is shaped by user engagement isn’t difficult, but you want to ensure in negotiating your next web and mobile design and development, that it isn’t cost prohibitive to have the company work with you in reaching your objectives. Keep testing, measuring and iterating until you find the sweet spot.
One Last Thing!
The online landscape is becoming an increasingly important client acquisition space, of which a number of tech start-ups are striving to force exponential growth through disruptive value propositions that will challenge the traditional law firm model. Hence, there is a heightened importance amid the turbulence, in not only being clear of your firm’s marketing objectives, how they translate to a changing market and how they’re best measured, but just as importantly is how your firm is marketing and engaging with current clients. The latter is often forgotten in marketing hyperbole, but it is too, deserving of its own strategy, clear objectives and regular assessment.