By Mark Homer
At GNGF we follow the old adage that, “Readers are leaders.” It definitely starts at the top, as Jabez and I are both avid readers. Everyone at GNGF is encouraged to read or listen to books, articles, blogs, podcasts, etc. and share new ideas with the entire team. A few times a year we even pick a book to read and discuss as a team over a few lunches.
I definitely enjoy business books and feel that I always take away something new to add to or tweak in our business, but I noticed that a number of leaders I respect always have a mix of history books on their reading lists. So I switched to reading a few books on history, and was pleasantly surprised to see that I could even take away something that I could apply to GNGF.
A history book that really got my wheels spinning is “Guns Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies” by Jared M. Diamond.
The core question in the book that Mr. Diamond spends detailed time explaining and convincingly arguing his view is why did certain societies grow to a point that they were able to conquest and take over other societies. Why wasn’t it the other way around?
For example, why did the Europeans take over the Americas; what about the Native American’s environment and geography didn’t encourage them to grow to be able to take over Europe?
It is a fascinating question to think about, and somewhere in the middle of the book, I started wondering why some clients are extremely successful with our digital marketing methodologies, yet with other clients, we struggle to get to the same level of success with those exact same methodologies.
That question stuck with me through every chapter I read, and finally I had to bring it to our team.
What I posed to the team was this: why are some client’s extremely successful, others have average success, and some still struggle to get a consistent flow of leads after over a year working us?
Sparked by this question, I did some deep research and had discussions with the team leading to a correlation that has caused us to measure some new things and adjust our behavior based on these new metrics.
We judged success using two key metrics: One is raw number of average leads, and the other was a cost per lead based on our knowledge of spending the law firm is making on their digital presence (in addition to our services we add in paid ads for something like Avvo or Lawyers.com to get to the total spend).
Armed with these metrics, I went in assuming that digging into this I would find a key factor that we could look for and adjust our strategies accordingly when we saw that factor. I assumed going in that it would be mainly something like pre-existing competition or certain competitive practice areas. However, as I dug into the data (if you can’t tell from our previous newsletters, we love data at GNGF) I saw that the most successful clients and least successful clients didn’t have specific factors affecting them.
We have had successful clients that fought tougher competition from the beginning in highly competitive practice areas, and we have had less successful clients with lower pre-existing competition in less competitive practice areas.
Continuing to dig into the data I was a little concerned that this was becoming a quixotic effort.
I was having a hard time accepting that our methodologies work incredibly great for some clients but barely break even for others without any specific explanation. I set aside this quest for a bit, and a week or so later we were in one of our standard team meetings reviewing a list of clients’ volume and age of content outstanding, waiting to be approved.
Since we had been looking at the cost per lead data so closely for the previous few weeks something became quickly apparent to one of our campaign engineers. The clients that had the least amount of outstanding content (if any) correlated strongly to those with the best cost per lead metric. That took us on a whole new path of research. We dove into our internal case tracking system and time tracking data and something that should have been obvious when you think about it suddenly jumped out to us in the data.
The data showed that, with very few outliers, those clients that spend more time interacting with us had a higher success rate.
Our most successful clients had many similarities in being clients, amongst other data points, with a larger amount of inbound questions and follow-up, typically had a scheduled monthly call with their account manager, and had the least amount of outstanding content. Not that the content was always right and perfect for these clients from the beginning, there was often great feedback and edits along the way.
These clients also provided more information about other marketing strategies that were going on that we were able to integrate into the digital marketing strategies.
From offline newsletters to radio to live events, by sharing this information early on, we were able to utilize the website to enhance the other marketing investments being made by these law firms.
Based on this new data and strong correlation we are now creating some internal measures to warn us early on when a law firm is moving below the average ‘interaction’, which will allow our account team to be more proactive in getting communication going around strategies and tactics.
We are also putting a much stronger emphasis on getting content approved or getting feedback that will make the content process continuously better. We have even added a goal of 14 days to content approval and have added this metric to our client’s monthly reports.
It should go without saying that you should be involved in your marketing process. You cannot “set and forget” your marketing efforts.
We now have data that shows those law firm client’s that are more involved with their legal marketing service providers tend to be more successful. Think about your own behavior; how often do you review your monthly metric data, review your marketing strategies with your account team, and how quickly do you get feedback on the deliverables sent for your review.
Improving those areas will improve your law firm marketing success.
*If you want to see my reading list, feel free to connect with me on goodreads.com/markhomer and I always appreciate any good book recommendations.