Lead Validation Is Key For Legal Professionals
For many legal professionals, internet marketing is a key element in their strategy to generate new business. One typical approach to internet marketing is simply tracking inquiries and website visits based on Google Analytics data. That is true whether we are talking about attorneys, litigation financiers, expert witnesses, or others. Yet such an approach misses a key point in marketing – not all inquiries are created equal.
In fact, many legal professionals have a variety of inquiries that come to them. Some are new customers, others are customer service requests, background research by industry participants, accidental or erroneous inquiries, etc. Most of the time, it’s difficult for businesses to determine what type of inquiries come from what sources. In other words, businesses often lack effective tools for lead validation. That’s true in both the business of law and in other industries.
Different facets of the legal industry are at different stages in terms of marketing. While firms like LexisNexis offer outstanding backend services enabling practice management for attorneys, small ancillary industries have nothing comparable. In litigation finance, for instance, Mighty.com offers the best platform for investment management, but the platform still leaves significant white space in the field. For expert witness firms and solo practitioners, the options are even fewer.
Big data analytics plays a valuable role in marketing, and it can help with optimizing marketing spend and predicting outcomes, but it relies on correct data to operate effectively. In one recent case my firm worked on, we were looking at predicted incremental revenue from two different promotional offers targeted to two different demographics on two different sales channels.
While the tools we were using were effective, we found after examining the data that the inquiries data we’d been given had bundled both sales inquiries with non-sales inquiries, which made effective promo targeting much more difficult.
Put differently, it’s impossible to effectively determine ROI on marketing spend for, say, Google AdWords versus specialized website banners without knowing whether the leads being generated are sales leads or non-sales leads. A lack of lead validation ends with overstated results on marketing ROI, as well as inability to do effective revenue optimization in marketing.
What does all of this mean for attorneys and others in the field?
First, know what your practice management tools are and are not doing for you. When you are calculating ROI and looking at the sales funnel, is that sales funnel truly comparing apples to apples when looking at alternative investments?
Second, legal professionals should look at using the power of data, but that data needs to be cleaned and structured. Forecasting leads generated by a promotional offer or a new ad campaign is only effective if we understand the characteristics of the leads that come in, and the probability that they actually result in new business.
Third and most importantly, don’t just leave the marketing efforts to Google. A simple “set it and forget it” approach to internet marketing is likely to leave significant opportunities on the table, and result in marketing spend that ends up being partially wasted on unqualified customer leads and on non-sales leads.
In summary, as with so many other facets of the legal industry, there are no perfect solutions, but it pays to do a little homework when making a marketing investment, and know what the results you are truly getting are.
Michael McDonald is an assistant professor of finance at Fairfield University in Connecticut. He holds a PhD in finance. Michael consults extensively through Morning Investments Consulting and writes for Litigation Finance Journal. Michael has served as an expert witness in legal disputes, and is an arbitrator with the Financial Industry National Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Michael can be reached at M.McDonald@MorningInvestmentsCT.com.
Published at Tue, 13 Jun 2017 22:26:45 +0000
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