Earlier this month in San Francisco while speaking at the Legal Marketing Technology Conference West, I made a startling observation. Marketing automation in the vast majority of law firms is either nonexistent or 10 years behind the times.
What a CPA Firm’s Revenue-Generating Website Can Teach Us
I did a panel together with Eric Majchrzak, CMO and shareholder of Arizona accounting firm BeachFleischman. Although Eric’s firm is small in comparison to most large law firms (with approximately 100 accountants and CPAs), they are light years ahead of most law firms in terms of online marketing. The website that Eric and his team have created is a revenue-generating machine, projected to bring in half a million dollars in new business this year, and over $1 million next year. Does your website do that? It can. But it won’t, unless you make these six fundamental changes to your online marketing strategy.
1. Create Irresistible Offers
The “irresistible offer” has been a mainstay of online marketing for over 10 years. For law firms? It is much less common. The irresistible offer has one purpose, and one purpose only: to get potential clients to part with their email address in exchange for content/information/tools/white papers. Can you just give away the irresistible offer without asking for an email address? NO, NEVER DO THIS! Blog posts you give away for free. Firm-branded pens, you give away for free. The irresistible offer is way too good to give away for free! You aren’t charging money, but you are requesting an email address. If they don’t provide an email address, then you may never see those visitors again. If you get an email address, game on!
Here are a few examples of possible offers from our session at LMA Tech West:
What can law firms bring to life through content? Some ideas from @adriandayton#LMATechpic.twitter.com/sAYClCrwWJ
— Stefanie Marrone (@StefanieMarrone) October 6, 2016
2. Remove Firm Email Addresses and Phone Numbers from Irresistible Offer Pages
In business they say “a metric measured is a metric improved.” Eric explained why this is so fundamental: “We can’t see the return on our investment from online marketing unless we can tie conversions directly to our marketing efforts. If people call or email the partners directly, we have no idea what’s working.”
Here is a great example of an irresistible offer from BeachFleischman. It is for an R&D Tax Credit “Eligibility Test.” Notice there is no phone number or email address on the page. This is a very strategic landing page.
3. Follow Up with Every Lead
With a landing page like this, you are in control of the leads and can guarantee there is a good flow of information. It allows your marketing team to make sure every lead receives a timely phone call, gets a meeting set up, and is added to the email list to be nurtured over time through regular email blasts of relevant content.
4. Know Your Conversion Numbers
If you are like 99 percent of law firms, you have no idea how many visitors to your content pages (the ones with irresistible offers) convert to leads (this would be people that have filled out the email form). You also have no idea what percentage of those leads convert into requests for proposals. If you build out this online experience correctly, at the end of the year you will be able to see just how much traffic you need to generate to bring in $1 million in new business next year.
“I know my conversion numbers,” Eric explained. “I know that if I get 6,000 visitors to a certain page I will bring in 100 leads and those leads will convert into approximately $150,000 of new business.”
5. Drive Traffic to Your Content Through Third-Party Tools
I’m a huge fan of tools like JD Supra, Lexology and Mondaq because they bring a huge amount of awareness to your firm and your firm’s content. The traffic by itself, however, isn’t enough if you have no way to track conversion. In a conversation with a firm that had used both JD Supra and Lexology, the marketing director made the comment, “We canceled Lexology because they didn’t get us as much traffic as JD Supra.” This rubbed me the wrong way. Why? Because traffic is impossible to value correctly if you don’t know your conversion numbers. The traffic numbers are irrelevant if we can’t put them into context. What if the conversion on the Lexology traffic was three times higher? You need to know your conversion numbers to appropriately allocate spending.
6. Drive Traffic through Social Sharing to LinkedIn and Twitter
Last year BeachFleischman increased traffic from LinkedIn to the firm’s content by 1,345 percent and saw a year-over-year increase in leads of 124 that they attribute to increased sharing by their accountants to their personal social networks. There are lots of tools that make it easy to get your team sharing. (BeachFleischman happens to use ClearView Social, which, in full disclosure, is the company I founded.) You don’t need to use my software, but you need to use some mechanism to get the lawyers in your firm sharing. BeachFleischman found that the conversion rate was far higher for the visitors coming from LinkedIn than for random web traffic because these site visitors already know and trust their LinkedIn connection.
None of these six steps are new. In fact, they have all been around in some form or another for more than 10 years. It’s time that law firms make these small changes in their strategy that can have a big impact.
Adrian Dayton is the founder of ClearView Social, Inc., the first social sharing software designed specifically for lawyers, but it is now being used by accounting, recruiting and media firms worldwide. An internationally recognized speaker, Adrian has been engaged for the past seven years as a social media strategist to Global 100, AmLaw 250, Canadian and Australian firms. He writes a column for the National Law Journal and is the author of two books, “LinkedIn & Blogs for Lawyers: Building High-Value Relationships in a Digital Age,” co-authored by Amy Knapp, and “Social Media for Lawyers: Twitter Edition.” Also an explorer in the offline world, Adrian has reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and more recently Mt. Rainier in Washington. Connect with Adrian on LinkedIn and Twitter.