For lawyers who are investing a lot of time and money into marketing your firm, how can you tell whether that marketing is working? In this episode of Lunch Hour Legal Marketing, hosts Gyi Tsakalakis and Kelly Street explore the topic of testing and analyzing your marketing techniques in order to make informed and data-based decisions about where you’re investing your time and money. They discuss establishing your marketing goals and the different methods of tracking your success rate, from web analytics to call tracking.
Lunch Hour Legal Marketing
On the Right Track Test, Analyze, and Track Your Campaigns
Gyi Tsakalakis: Welcome to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing where you eat and we talk.
Kelly Street: Hey, Gyi Tsakalakis.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Hey Kelly Street. What’s on the menu today?
Kelly Street: Ooo! Today we are going to be diving in to testing, analyzing and insights for legal marketing.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That sounds pretty boring.
Kelly Street: It’s kind of a mouthful, pun intended, but the reason that we chose this particular topic is that testing, analyzing, insights can be kind of an unknown, kind of like what’s that out there and what I am supposed to be looking for and so we want to let you guys know all of the things you should be testing, analyzing and the insights you should be looking for.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And if you don’t measure what to eat, your pants might not fit.
Kelly Street: So grab your lunch and listen in to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing the reboot.
Intro: Welcome to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing, with your hosts Gyi Tsakalakis and Kelly Street, teaching you how to promote market and make fat stacks for your legal practice, here on Legal Talk Network.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So should we dive into testing, analyzing, and insights for legal marketing?
Kelly Street: Yes let’s do.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So what the heck are we talking about?
Kelly Street: Well we are talking about a few different things when it comes to testing, analyzing insights. First and foremost we will go into some different ways that you can actually test your different marketing methods to see if you are getting the results you want out of them. Then we will talk about or in addition to we will talk about how to extract the information you want and kind of ignore the information that’s not really going to matter and then what you can learn from the different marketing methods you are using. How not getting results that you want doesn’t necessarily mean failure. It means that things need to go a little bit different the next time.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah I think that’s right and for me when I started thinking about testing, measurement protocol obviously I tend to lean towards like the internet marketing side of things but it always reminds me of that old Peter Drucker quote, “If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Improve It” and so, so many lawyers seem to be get frustrated about, well I think some of this is working, some of this isn’t working, how do I know, show me what’s working, show me the results, show me the money whatever kind of cliché you want to say that is I think to me is the jumping off point for today’s episode.
Kelly Street: Indeed. So how do you know if your content is working? Let’s start there. You have a blog post or even just your home page on your website, how do you know that that’s doing anything for you.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. So I think one of the things that people need to think about before they even start answering that question is what are they trying to do, right like what does working mean for you because there are bunch of different objectives you might try to achieve with your content or you blog post or whatever else and so a couple of examples of those that you might think about are one is, did it generate a fee, right?
So like that’s more of the kind of direct response line of measurement, you write something, you publish it online, people share it, it gets in front of the right people, it gets indexed by a search engine, someone clicks on your post, your page and then they either call you or submit a contact request and then hopefully you got that hooked up so that you can actually measure that conversion of impact to your content.
But the other thing is that’s the just one way that a client might come to you, whereas there are all sorts of other objectives you might have for publishing online or for really any kind of content and I think it’s important that you are defining those in advance so that you know what success looks like and you actually can say, this is what working is to me and now I can figure out how to measure that.
Kelly Street: Okay. So you said a key word there Gyi tracking. I know, I look to you for a lot of this and kind of helping me put measurements in place for the things that we are doing and attorney thinks. So can you talk a little bit more about tracking specifically kind of the maybe URL parameters, that sort of thing?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Sure. So the easiest thing to think about for tracking on the web is web analytics, right? So the most common web analytics platform that most of use is Google analytics and that’s going to track how people find your website and your pages and what they do once they get there so where they navigate, what they click on that kind of stuff.
So analytics kind of runs in the background which is nice for tracking the user behavior on your sites, but unfortunately it doesn’t come perfectly configured out of the box so sometimes depending if you are doing a particular campaign say you want to track people from my email campaign, that I am using Mailchimp for, I want to drive 00:05:36 back to my website and measure the impact of those campaigns.
You might need to manually add URL parameters which a short version, a short non complicated — hopefully not complicated as non-complicated I can say off of the top of my head is that they change the URL to pass information to web analytics to tell them a little bit more information.
So you might say this is from a specific campaign, it might be a specific piece of content and obviously source and medium data but the point here is that the URL parameter helps to give you more granular insight into how people are finding whether it’s your blog post, whether it’s your home page or some other page on the site that you have access to the analytics information from.
Kelly Street: And there are sites out there if URL parameters like oh that just sounds scary, or you look it up and you are like what the heck oh my 00:06:30 came out there, you can find a few different websites that will actually kind of help you tell me put together that URL parameter. So you don’t have to feel like you are trying to code yourself. You can just type in the information that you know you want to track and then it will populate that URL parameter for you.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah just search for custom URL builder and I think Google’s tool 00:06:55 come up in the number one spot and they can walk you through it. So it’s really a lot easier than it sounds. Lot of the stuff is like jargon, jargon, jargon but at the end of the day if you just follow a basic template you can add them pretty easily.
Kelly Street: Yes. So after the URL parameters, kind of looking at Google analytics, you want to set up goals from that. So what kinds of things do you think are some good goals Gyi?
Gyi Tsakalakis: So yeah this comes back to that original objective. But let’s assume that the objective is to track conversion and a conversion defined as someone contacts you to hire you and so they might do that through a phone call on your website or blog. They might do it through submitting a contact form that you might have a kind of a softer approach with providing education and getting someone to subscribe or download something for your site, so those are — all those things I just said, phone call, form fill, download, some kind of other event that you actually has some meaning for your practice as a business, those are types of things that you want to configure a goal convergent for.
And to me the simplest goal convergent and analytics again go to Google analytics, help documentation. They will show you how to do this; it’s not that hard as it sounds. The most standard ones that I tend to think about are events related to phone calls, and goal conversations for a destination URL, goal convergent so when someone actually fills out a form and they get to a thank you page, or they get to a specific URL, those are the ones that I tend to focus on but there are all sorts of other goal conversions you might want to track. You might want to track just people clicking on your contact information page. You might want to track people reading a specific that you are spending a lot of money promoting or time promoting.
Again the thing for me is what are you trying to do? Because the other half of this is is that there are other marketing objectives that don’t tie directly back to direct response that might be valuable. So just one example of that would be, hey I want to track people signing up for my speaking engagement at a particular professional organization. You can track that kind of stuff too, a little bit more complicated but the point being that not everything is just direct response. So for the — the lawyer’s that are out there listening, they are well like, my clients don’t just search clicking calls, there are other things that you might want to be tracking from an objective standpoint that I don’t relate to that kind of direct response advertising.
Kelly Street: So with all of these, thinking about testing things, this is kind of taking me back to eight grade science where you create a hypothesis, you think okay if I spend x number of dollars on pay-per-click advertising, I expect to get x results or five new clients this month that sort of thing. So you create your hypothesis, you set your goal from that and then you test it out and you see what happens during that month that you have your goal set for and then you get the results and see what really happened and see what you need to do form there.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s right.
Kelly Street: But one thing I know that comes with testing is this idea of failure. So, one little tweak that I want to make to the idea of testing things and then if they don’t pan out the way you wanted it to, that it’s a failure. Think about your test as more of a possibility and that you are trying to do something new. It could work it couldn’t, but the end result is really just what do you need to do next time instead of oh, this didn’t work.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Definitely. I think that that’s a really good point because so many lawyers will look at, well, look at a lot of things this way, and when it comes to clients and protecting client confidences and all the professional obligations and those kind of things, yeah, lawyers should be very risk averse when it comes to their clients and protecting them.
But I think they carry that risk aversion over to things like marketing and advertising and business development and all this other stuff that I think it’s probably a bit misplaced. And so in the context of what you are talking about with creating experiments and failing, yeah, it’s an opportunity to improve.
Marketing and advertising, business development in general, running a business in general, it to a certain extent is a speculative endeavor at first, right? You don’t know. You have got to try some stuff and see what works. I think the important thing is that, and this is why one of the messages we hope people take away is that, if you are not testing, if you are not measuring, if you are not tracking, you are going to try stuff and you will end up running in circles because you are like, I think this worked because of this, but you don’t really know because you didn’t track anything.
That’s what I would hope people really take away from is that, you are iterating towards improvement, call it Lean methodology, call it startup process, all those kind of fancy buzzwords that we hear a lot about in the tech industry that can be applied certainly to internet marketing, but really to all of your client development processes and really to all of your business processes.
And that’s what we are talking about here is how do you measure some of these things, how do you put together some of these experiments and as you stated, much more eloquently than I have, not being afraid to fail and looking at it more as an opportunity for improvement.
Kelly Street: Very rarely do I get to hear that I am eloquent. Thank you so much, Gyi.
Gyi Tsakalakis: You earned it.
Kelly Street: Oh thanks. So I want to kind of apply that testing methodology to social media ads and how people can get started with those and plunge in, because that’s something that I’m really spending a lot of time learning more about these days and so I will focus my thought process on Facebook ads, and their ad platform, because when you go into the Facebook ad platform it looks so complicated and it looks like there are all these different things you could choose, and different options, but let’s start with pretending or creating hypothesis that you want to get that you think Facebook advertising is the place to try.
So you set a goal that you are going to get three clients this month from Facebook. So you go on to the Facebook Ad Campaign creator and you start creating a campaign. Well, if you’re looking to get clients from that specific ad campaign, you would want to try the lead generation, lead forum campaign for Facebook ads.
So one really great thing that Facebook has that, LinkedIn at least I haven’t seen that they do a good job with this is they allow you to do AB testing, and especially for kind of the lead gen form you can test the different creative that you are using, you can test the words that you’re using, you can test up to 15 different images if you have the budget for it to see what kind of a reaction people will have to each of those different creatives.
And then from there once you run that test for a little while and are getting reactions from people you can pare down the experiments and stick with the ones that are working and to get rid of the images or the verbiage that isn’t working.
One thing to look for in Facebook ads is you want to make sure that when you’re checking on your campaign and checking on your creative, you want to make sure that you have a high relevancy score. So that could be one of the goals that you have is to improve your relevancy score on every ad that you are running, which means that Facebook deems your ad to be more relevant to the market that you are targeting, which means that more people are going to see it, it’s going to get higher results on and on.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And you are going to pay less for it.
Kelly Street: Exactly, all good things. So, I would say to run a test like that for one to four weeks and probably closer to four weeks and see what kind of traction you get out of it, and see what you could do better, take a look and see if people were clicking on the ad and then not filling out the form. If people weren’t clicking at all, you would need to look at and see what are they not identifying with, that sort of thing.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, and I think — I think those are some good tips. The one thing that I also — people really need to take in consideration in any of the tests or any of the science that they are doing, is statistical significance, right?
So the length of your test might depend more upon the results than just the time or the money or the creative that you are spending and this is really important. You can go look up statistical significance, you can also — there are statistical significance calculators so you can search and say, plug in some of your campaign information and then they will spit out how statistically significant your result might be.
But ultimately, statistical significance just means how reliable is the outcome from your experiment and really, really important, because again, so step one was tracking. So if you are not tracking, you start tracking, move in the right direction, but beyond that being able to rely on the results from your experiment really comes down to being able to prove something statistically significant because otherwise again, you are going to make and draw false conclusions, and that’s not good.
Kelly Street: Totally. One thing I just realized Gyi is we say the word experiment differently.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Oh, how do you say it?
Kelly Street: I say experiment, you say –
Gyi Tsakalakis: You say it correctly?
Kelly Street: No, I don’t know. And you say experiment.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Experiment, experiment.
Kelly Street: So odd.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I don’t know.
Kelly Street: Back to testing, analyzing insights. So, one, one next thing that I am going to let you have a monologue here Gyi is, keyword usage for advertising. So I will preface your monologue that hopefully you will prepare for currently is that when I first started in marketing you would like just go into your AdWords or your keywords and be like, oh, what do people want for the service that I provide and you would just plop those little words into a hidden footer on your website or sprinkle them throughout the content on your website, and you would be good to go. That is not how this works anymore.
So monologue time, Gyi.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Monologue time. This actually might be more of a rant, but I will start with the story. So, I recently received an email from a friend who is a lawyer, and I am going to write more about this too, because I think it’s such a great example of kind of how we need to change thinking on a lot of the stuff, but he wanted to — he shared that, he was on a probably a Facebook group or some kind of board where a bunch of lawyers were having a conversation about paid search, PPC AdWords, yadi yadi yada.
And the discussion apparently got heated, I was not privy to the conversation, but there were two main points that he distilled things down to that I want to talk and I’ll — eventually I will tie the story back into tracking and keywords, but the first is that why do lawyers just do this stuff themselves and then two, why do paid search agencies get paid the way they do.
So, the point here is this. Most of the campaigns I look at, that lawyers run, tend not to do any of the things that we have been talking about today. They are not tracking goal conversions, they are not tracking inquiries, they are not tracking fees. They are also not tracking even like basic conversion events like getting to a particular landing Page, and one of the biggest things they do is they do things like broad match the keyword attorney and then they run that for a certain amount of time and then they conclude that the Internet doesn’t work and AdWords doesn’t work for getting clients and it’s all broken and it’s a waste of money.
And so the point here is, is that this is why this testing and measurement is so important, whether you do it yourself or whether somebody else is doing it for you, because it’s the only way you are going to get back to actually measuring things like return on ad spend.
So while you might start out with your hypothesis that I am going to try to get 10 new clients and you are going to work backwards from there. So where do you practice?
Well I tend to practice in this county or maybe if you are in a major metro, you are only practicing in a city. So that’s going to inform you that one, you should only be doing geographic targeting in that area and two, the keywords that you decide to bid on should be related to both your specific practice as well as your location.
So from the example in my friend’s story, instead of broad matching attorney, you might choose to practice area plus attorney keyword. So many divorce attorney or you might do if you’re in Chicago, you might say Chicago divorce attorney. And so now, when you are tracking that and you’re using the – what’s called, if you’re an adwords person search terms report, you can actually see the specific queries that people use to find your ads and then you’re going to be able to prune or optimize that by removing irrelevant keywords or putting negatives on your list or adjusting your bid strategy.
But that’s how the whole point here is in order for you to get the kind of results that you are looking for, you’ve got to start with this hypothesis, you have to have a measurement protocol in place, you have to be able to understand what you are actually looking at and then eventually, you got to be able to tie it back all the way down to – hopefully, you are going to be able to tie it to a fee and that fee is going to be several multiples more than what you spent to actually acquire that client.
Kelly Street: Very good rant/model.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That was ranty but say la vie.
Kelly Street: That’s all right. Oh, you do know a little more French than you thought. So still on the keyword topic, I’m wondering if you have thoughts or feelings on really kind of niche down really how granular, how specific should keywords get and are you — when you get really specific like if you do — not just city but neighborhood, if you go mediation divorce lawyer, Lincoln Park, Chicago, is that too specific to really be able to test and measure?
Gyi Tsakalakis: No, I think it’s important though like I don’t want to – I want this to become a whole conversation about a keyword bids but at the end of the day, you need to figure out which of your — the keywords that you are bidding on are actually turning into phone calls, form fills and ultimately fees.
And so, you have to start somewhere, so you have this hypothesis that this keyword might be relevant and I would certainly encourage people to experiment with local terms like counties, like cities, like neighborhoods, streets, zip codes, at a local level those — if you service a local legal services consumer audience, you definitely want to be trying those, which you find a lot of times is that those very specific local keywords don’t have the kind of volume that might be able to support your campaign needs but that doesn’t mean that an aggregate they won’t.
So if you add them all up, it might be worth it but some lawyers will qualify themselves out or optimize themselves into a box, so some lawyers will choose to choose very specific keywords to bid on. They know enough to that they can’t do those broad matching stuff so they will like exact match keyword, a very specific city practice area plus attorney keyword or a zip code plus attorney or zip code plus practice area plus attorney.
And then there’s not enough search volume for those keywords to support the campaign, and so even though those are great keywords to include, you don’t want to analyze and optimize yourself into that kind of box. But I think that because we’re kind of going down the rabbit hole of adwords, I think it might be worth trying to talk about testing, analyzing and measuring in other contexts.
So one thing that people don’t realize as well is this kind of premise, this kind of approach isn’t limited just to the Internet. So if you do offline advertising, if you participate in speaking, there are ways in which you can measure and test and get feedback to improve for all of your different client development activity.
So here is an easy one that I think a lot of people miss out on but if you do a lot of speaking, if you are teaching networking, one of the things that you should probably be doing is trying to find ways to get people to either sign up for something that you offer or tracking the sign ups or if you just meet people to get their opting permission for e-mail lists and you can take that and segment those lists, so that you can see people that watched me speak at X, opted into this list and are now opening it and clicking through to different messaging that I’ve provided online.
And so, it’s not just the adwords or the SEO or that kind of stuff that you can actually apply testing and analyzing to, you can do it in all aspects of your client development process.
Kelly Street: Wooh Gyi. It sounds like you’re starting to get into the topic of lead tracking as well.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I am.
Kelly Street: So, let’s get into it more. All right, so talking about tracking people who you meet in person, what about phone calls and tracking your calls? I know that you are a firm believer in, especially in call tracking, where you used a phone number that’s tied to a specific account like your Google My Business Account has separate phone numbers than your website, so you know that when someone calls that phone number, they came from ex-place.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. And so, this goes back to what we talked about near at the beginning in having objectives and defining what working means is because one of the biggest push backs I get from lawyers is goes something like this.
I’ve had this phone number for time out of mind, everybody knows it, and sometimes they are vanity numbers and so I would never use a tracking number, that’s great, right? So if you’re doing a branded phone number that everybody remembers, it’s on your TV creative, it’s on your business cards, it’s on the side of buses, it’s on benches, it’s everywhere you go and your point, your objective there is to get people to whenever they need a lawyer to think of that number, maybe you put a nice little song to it, so that people can really remember it, that’s one approach. I think if that’s working for you great, keep doing it.
However, if you’re spending money on things like adwords, if you’re spending time on blogging or if you are doing social media ads or whatever, then it only makes sense that you start tracking phone calls to their specific sources so that you can measure things and say things like, oh my time and money spent on this Facebook campaign generated a return in fees because if you don’t track phone –
If you just used your branded number there, you are never going to know that somebody called from a Facebook ad or a blog post or your Google My Business listing. And one other thing that I will say before everybody goes out and destroys their name, address, and phone consistency in the local search ecosystem, buzzword, buzzword, buzzword is you have to be careful about how you implement call tracking numbers.
I’ve mentioned this before, I am big fan of CallRail. CallRail uses dynamic number insertion, they have a bunch of nice features I think lawyers could probably benefit from, but at the end of the day, it comes back to that objective. If your objective is to spend a lot of money and be the person, the lawyer that everybody thinks of when they need a lawyer because of a phone number and a song, then you probably need to think about a branded vanity number.
But if you’re spending money, if you want granularity, if you want to track things like return on ad spend from a direct response campaign, then you need to be thinking about call tracking and connecting those calls back to your CRM or database or however, you are actually tracking fees.
Kelly Street: And part of analyzing and insights for this lead tracking element is — or can be incorporated in a CRM or your Client Relationship Management system, whatever it is that you used to keep track of these people, where they came from and then what happens to them after they come to you.
Because one insight that you can get from the lead tracking down the line is where you are getting quality leads from. And if you’re getting people who are contacting you because they remember your vanity number but those aren’t actually good potential clients or you’re not seeing the return on investment, then you might want to or you might be able to re-think that vanity number, and go with a different marketing method.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right, that’s – I mean, I think the other quote that always comes up is that John Wanamaker quote about I know half of my advertising is working, I don’t know which half and so, the tracking and the analysis is the only way that you are going to be able to make an informed decision about the time and money that you are spending on various client development activities.
Kelly Street: Absolutely. Gyi, do you have anything else to add to testing, analyzing, and insights for legal marketing or did we probably explore all of our listeners’ brains just with what we talked about there.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah I think there is a lot of – probably, a lot of a brain exploring, that’s probably a lot of jargon. I think that if listeners are going to take away anything is that if you’re going to spend time and money on client development, you need to put some systems and processes in place to be able to test, track, and analyze what you are doing and there are a variety of ways to do it.
But hopefully, if you take nothing else away, this gets you in the mindset of thinking about how you can actually start to test and measure some of the stuff so that you can get better results of it, iterate towards an improved result.
Kelly Street: Absolutely. Go do some science experiments on your marketing people.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Science time. Kidbits.
Kelly Street: Thank you everyone for tuning into the reboot of the Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. Please make sure to like, share and leave us a review on Apple podcast.
Gyi Tsakalakis: All right everybody, thanks for joining us. But lunch is over, so get back to work.
Outro: Thank you for listening to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. If you would like more information about what you heard today, please visit legaltalknetwork.com. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts and RSS. Follow Legal Talk Network on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram and/or download the free app from Legal Talk Network in Google Play and iTunes.
The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own, and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders, or subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.