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Call Tracking and Live Chat: Two Ways to Measure ROI and Boost Leads on a Budget

Posted By Sara E. Rust-Martin, Thursday, January 25, 2018

Do you know the ROI of your current marketing efforts? Many of us think things are working just fine the way they are, but what if you could increase your leads and client contacts by 20-30% over the next year? Check out today's blog article from Attorneys at Work and find ways to improve your marketing efforts for 2018!

 

Call Tracking and Live Chat: Two Ways to Measure ROI and Boost Leads on a Budget

By  | Jan.25.18 | AdvertisingDaily DispatchDigital Marketing

call tracking and live chat

We’ve all heard that doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. I want to put a new spin on it: “Marketing insanity” is continuing to spend money without knowing the results — meaning you can’t prioritize how to spend your marketing dollars.

Many law firms come to us experiencing marketing insanity, usually coupled with a track record of overwhelmingly poor performance in their marketing efforts. They’re not alone. Most firms have little understanding of their marketing return on investment. According to the 2017 Clio Legal Trends Report, 92 percent of firms don’t know their cost per lead and 94 percent don’t know what it costs to acquire a new client.

Learn the True Story Behind Your Marketing Efforts

“Isn’t it good enough that we ask our clients how they heard about us?” I hear some form of that question a lot. Or lawyers will say, “I know when business is good because I talk to all the clients.” But that alone won’t give you the true story behind your marketing ROI. Without some technology tools to help pinpoint where business is coming from, or to track which marketing efforts are working well, you’re fighting blind.

  • How can you have confidence that marketing dollars are well spent?
  • How can you properly prioritize how to spend those dollars on different marketing initiatives?

Low-Hanging Fruit: Call Tracking and Live Chat

While there are lots of ways — from simple to complex — to track your marketing efforts, here are two simple and cheap systems you can use to begin measuring your ROI immediately, make better marketing decisions and get more leads.

1. Call tracking. Call tracking will do a few things that are crucial to understanding lead quality, quantity and the cost associated with landing new clients. It gives you the ability to:

  • Easily measure the number of first-time callers to your firm.
  • Record conversations for quality purposes. (If your front office is answering the phones with a bland “law offices,” I can guarantee you’re wasting money already.)
  • Automatically track which keywords visitors type in, to see what’s working in real time. (There are some limitations here, but over time your picture becomes clearer.)

My personal favorite call-tracking system is CallRail. It’s not only cost-effective but ideal for not messing up your local search engine rankings. Plans start at $30 per month and vary based on minutes used. If you’re thinking, “But I love my phone number and I don’t want to lose it,” don’t worry. Companies like CallRail allow you to port your existing phone number to their system so that it becomes a trackable number.

Also, call tracking can be used in many places beyond your website, including TV ads, radio ads, business cards and other forms of print or online advertising. You can use additional call-tracking numbers for any type of marketing campaign, then download the data and match up your call logs with new matters and cases.

Tracking calls and measuring growth over time provide great indicators of your marketing’s effectiveness. I recommend doing this religiously — monthly, quarterly and annually.

Viola! You’re now in the top 10 percent of law firms in the nation.

But what about getting more leads to your website even if you’re on a tight budget? Enter a 24/7 live chat service.

2. Live chat support. We’ve found that placing an additional touchpoint on your website can increase your leads by 20 or 30 percent. Adding a live chat feature is an easy way to do it.

Live chat has become a standard customer support feature, and most consumers expect it on websites. Adding it to your site increases the likelihood that you’ll capture contact information. A law firm chat application will act a bit differently than other business chat services — your provider isn’t going to give advice, consult or qualify a lead. But it will be there for people who want an immediate response before, during and after hours.

I asked Jon Cumberworth, CEO of Client Chat Live, to comment on what customers expect in today’s online environment. He says, “Live chat is an effective tool for law firms because those looking for most attorney’s services are in need of immediate assistance and don’t want to fill out a form and wait for a call. Legal marketing is one of the most competitive verticals, so any opportunity to increase the chance of converting a visitor into a potential client needs to be utilized.”

Live chat is simple to use and you pay only for leads that are good. (In most cases, these are leads you’re already forgoing by not having a live chat service.) Most chat services will charge a flat rate per lead gathered, ranging from $25 to $40, with no monthly minimums or commitment required.

My best advice for any law firm is to try both call tracking and chat and begin tracking their effectiveness. You will increase your leads — and you’ll join the top 10 percent of law firms that actually understand their ROI.

 
 
 
 

Mike Ramsey is President of Nifty Ventures and founder of Nifty Marketing and Nifty Law. The Nifty Law team brings legal marketing rocket science — digital marketing, website design, SEO and content marketing — to firms nationwide. He is the author of "Winning at Local Search" and a partner at LocalU, which provides conferences in the realm of local search marketing. A guest speaker at marketing events such as Avvo Lawyernomics, Mozcon and Pubcon, Mike has been featured on Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal and SEOmoz. Follow him on Twitter @mikeramsey.

Tags:  Legal Marketing  ROI  The Business of Law 

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2017 What's Hot and What's Not in the Legal Profession

Posted By Sara E. Rust-Martin, Friday, December 1, 2017

 

THE 29TH ANNUAL TRENDS REPORT

2017 What’s Hot and What’s Not in the Legal Profession

By  | Nov.27.17 | Daily DispatchLaw Firm ManagementLegal MarketingProfessional DevelopmentTrendsWhat's Hot and What's Not

Each year, Bob Denney’s big fourth quarter report on What’s Hot and What’s Not in the Legal Profession keeps us on top of the most important business trends. Here’s an early look at the 2017 report before it is released later this week.

This is our 29th annual report on what’s going on in the legal profession. As in all the previous reports, it is based on information my colleagues and I continually gather from many sources — law firms, legal networks, other providers of legal services, legal departments, surveys and the press.

As always, this is not an attempt to report on every development, many of which are generally recognized, but only on those we believe should be noted because, in our opinion, they are having or will have an impact on the profession.

PRACTICE AREAS/INDUSTRY GROUPS

(Note: Four years ago we first reported that a few firms were restructuring their practice into industry groups containing multiple practice areas. This trend has continued.)

RED HOT

  • Health Care, regardless of what has happened to the Affordable Care Act.
  • Immigration, regardless of what policies the Trump administration pursues.
  • Cybersecurity. Will continue to be the No. 1 issue for both in-house counsel and consumers.

HOT

  • Financial Services. The economy will continue to strengthen. This will fuel almost every area of financial services including IPOs and mergers & acquisitions.
  • Food & Beverage due to continued increases in labeling, ingredient and testing requirements.
  • Bitcoins for those firms that have or develop the expertise.
  • Elder Law. Increasing in scope, as we have been reporting.
  • Sports. Particularly contracts.
  • Real Estate & Construction, both residential and commercial, in most parts of the country.

GETTING HOT

  • Other Sports, including eSports and gaming.

COOL

  • Commercial Litigation. The number of cases, and therefore the profitability, in most large and midsize firms continues to decrease although there are exceptions. However, as we reported in our Midyear Update, there are reports that litigation funding is regaining strength
  • Labor & Employment, separate from immigration.

NO READING YET

  • Environmental except in California, New York, Washington and Oregon, which are increasing their regulatory activity.
  • Tax.

HOT GEOGRAPHIC MARKETS

  • Dallas. One of the most notable signs was Winston & Strawn’s opening there early this year.
  • Louisville. As discussed in Of Counsel’s June issue.

MARKETING & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

(Note: As we said in our Midyear Update, there are so many strategies and activities, old and new, proven and unproven, and so much written about them that, except for the items below, we feel it is redundant to discuss or list them here.)

  • Website design and development. The DOJ is expected to start enforcing Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, at least at Level A, early in 2018. Unless they also comply, law firms are not immune to these suits as well as to a loss of reputation and declining SEO performance on their websites, according to Content Pilot CEO Deborah McMurray.
  • Artificial intelligence. Just beginning to be involved in marketing, as well as providing legal services.
  • Sales professionals. The most aggressive personal injury firms are supplementing their advertising and promotion programs by hiring sales professionals. Other than personal injury firms, some firms are hiring non-lawyers to uncover and develop new business leads. It took literally several decades for the accounting profession to achieve worthwhile results from this strategy. Even with all the hue and cry for more change in the legal profession, we believe it will still not be even mildly successful.
  • Formal sales coaching training. Has been productive in some firms where supported and funded by firm management.

OTHER TRENDS & ISSUES

  • Another record number of mergers. This is due, in part, to some cross-border mergers but most continue to be acquisitions of small firms and smaller mid-size firms by larger firms.      
  • Stagnant demand for legal services. This will continue.
  • Total number of lawyers in U.S. firms also remains flat. However, some midsize firms such as Spencer Fane have steadily grown due to first-year hiring and selective lateral entries.
  • First-year hiring will increase, according to Robert Half, in what it describes as “high-growth areas — Litigation, Commercial Law and Real Estate.” Frankly, except for real estate, we question this as far as firms go, but not necessarily in corporate legal departments.
  • Small offices. Some firms are closing them to reduce costs and to (hopefully) increase efficiency. However …
  • Virtual offices and working from home continue to increase. A major reason is that millennials prefer this and larger firms are developing systems and policies to accommodate them — as well as reduce space costs.
  • Gender bias lawsuits continue, according to the 2017 Law360 Glass Ceiling Report, because, while women comprise over 50 percent of current law school graduates, their share of equity partnerships remains around 20 percent and has not increased in recent years. However, note that each year there are women who are elected managing partners, succeeding men, in some mid- to larger size firms.
  • Alternate legal service providers (ALSPs) continue to increase in number as well as in the breadth of services they offer. However, note that there are still a substantial number of smaller in-house legal departments that need specialty services but do not yet use ALSPs.
  • In-house client teams. They continue to increase in both number and size in larger clients.
  • Legal incubators. A small but steady increase in the number of these programs continues to provide recent law school graduates with the training and infrastructure they need to launch solo practices.
  • Pressure on general counsels continues to increase as they are called upon to not only control costs but also provide business counsel as part of a company’s or organization’s management team.
  • More with less. Even the largest in-house legal departments continue to face pressure to reduce costs.
  • Blockchain being tested in other uses, not just in relation to bitcoin. This is part of the movement in certain states such as Arizona and Nevada to enact legislation or issue guidance regarding new technologies and digital currencies. As it becomes more widely used, this industry should expect more regulatory efforts.
  • Non-legal subsidiaries. As we reported in June, 15 years ago there were several hundred firms that were owned and managed them in a variety of industries. Although less noted until now, estimates are that many of them have continued. If properly integrated into the structure of the firm and well managed, they can enable firms to counter revenue and profit challenges as well as provide expanded service to clients.
  • Multidisciplinary practices (MDPs). As Susan Duncan discusses in her October post, some of the larger firms have gone beyond the subsidiary structure and have hired non-lawyers, i.e., consultants and other professionals, and integrated them into the practice or industry group structure as part of teams to serve their clients.
  • Other service delivery approaches involving technology, process improvement and knowledge management continue to be developed.
  • Non-lawyers managing firms. A Chicago firm recently announced it would hire a business executive to handle the firm’s operations, apparently at a level above that of chief operating officer. As much as law firms could benefit from effective business management, does this indicate a trend toward non-lawyer MPs and CEOs? Very, very doubtful. Several years ago a large Philadelphia firm brought in a Big 4 partner to be CEO. After two or three years he left the firm and the firm again elected one of its partners CEO.
  • Transition and succession plans. Not only solos but a gradually increasing number of partners in firms are addressing these issues in mid-practice, so to speak, rather than waiting until age, health or other issues force them to.
  • Contract and “flex-time” lawyers. The steady decline in the amount of billable work that began with the recession had already resulted in some of the larger firms replacing full-time associates — and even partners — with part-time lawyers who work only on projects as needed. Several of these firms have now formalized this structure and created flex-time lawyer platforms. There are now also several stand-alone flex-lawyer businesses such as Axiom and Caravel as well as virtual firms such as Taylor English and FisherBroyles.
  • Fee sharing. The District of Columbia is the only U.S. jurisdiction to allow fee sharing with non-lawyers. Otherwise, fees are not federally mandated but are set state by state. For the past four years, we have reported on the small but growing momentum to change these rules and allow non-lawyer ownership of U.S. law firms. Now, with PwC’s forming a separate entity called ILC Legal, the Big 4 will be perfectly positioned to take advantage of new rules and pose a big threat to the law firm business. As Craig Brown stated in a recent post, “ILC” really stands for “I like your clients.”
  • Less need for lawyers. Simultaneous with the gradual trend toward fee-sharing with non-lawyers is the continued growth of technology-powered services that do not require lawyers to deliver them. While lawyers are needed at various stages to help build these services, they are increasingly less needed in many areas to delivery them.
  • Chief Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC). This growing group is made up of people within law departments who, among other things, develop and keep the metrics on cases won and lost, fees billed and even diversity to provide information to the GCs so they can determine who they want to assign to a specific case or deal.
  • Artificial intelligence continues to grow in its impact on not only planning and business decisions but also on the practice of law.
  • Cyber-attacks and theft continue to rise around the world and law firms are becoming prime targets. A principal reason why cybersecurity is a “red hot” practice area.
  • Law firm networks. As more of them are formed, they offer clients an alternative to efficient and targeted legal services without having to research large firms.
  • Alternate fee arrangements. Despite the predictions of the last several years, they have not replaced the billable hour except in two extremes: 1) Major litigation where clients want to drive down the fees, and 2) in many “basic” matters such as uncontested divorce where a fixed fee is more appropriate and accepted. 

A Note of Thanks

As stated earlier, this is our 29th annual “What’s Hot and What’s Not” report. Like all the previous reports, it could not have been developed without the contributions of my colleagues, most of whose comments, by agreement, are not attributed to them. I am most appreciative of their input.

I will continue to publish periodic Legal Communiques as I see the need for them. However, this is the final “What’s Hot” report. As Kenny Rogers sings in “The Gambler”:

“You got to know when to hold ’em,
Know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away,
Know when to run.
Never count your money
When you’re sitting at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealing’s done.”

 

Bob Denney has provided management, leadership, strategic planning and business development services to corporations, professional firms and non-profit organizations throughout the United States and parts of Canada. A respected speaker and author, his articles have appeared in many legal publications. His firm publishes the highly regarded reports on What’s Hot and What’s Not in the Legal Profession.

Tags:  Law Firm Management  Legal Marketing  Legal Profession Trends 

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