WORK WITH AN AGENCY TO DEVELOP AN ANNUAL MARKETING PLAN
Keeping track of where you are with your marketing initiatives is no easy task, that is why it is so important to have an annual plan in place. Start by asking yourself some of the following questions to see if you’re on the right track:
- Do you have an annual marketing plan?
- Is that plan made up of different objectives? What are those objectives?
- Are you a larger firm looking to prioritize the health of your website to reap the benefits of SEO in the long term, or maybe you are looking to generate as much traffic on-site as quickly as possible via Online Advertising to get your currently dead phones ringing? Maybe a mixture of the two?
- Do you even have the reporting in place to judge the progress of your marketing objectives per your annual plan?
If you couldn’t come up with easily identifiable answers relatively quickly, you probably need to start the conversation with your agency around an annual marketing plan and some corresponding objectives. That said, the thing about objectives and plans, in general, is that they tend to work a whole lot better when you make them early on and have the infrastructure in place to support them. They also tend to be easier to accomplish when you set out milestones to work towards while looking at specific KPIs on a regular basis to judge the performance of your marketing campaign. Looking at your macro KPIs like MQLs, IQLs, and AQLs (Marketing, Intake, and Attorney Qualified Leads), your ROAS (Return on Ad Spend), and your overall ROI (Return on Investment) can help you to better understand at a micro level such as lead attribution and conversion data so you can put more funding behind the channels that are supplying your firm with the qualified leads, or average time a potential client stays in each stage of your intake process which can you help you find and address bottlenecks. KPIs that I will go over below, can keep you informed on if you are headed toward or away from your goals. When working with an agency, having clear and open communication around your technical infrastructure, reporting, and being sure you are provided with the right KPIs, will only do more to ensure that your agency is helping you achieve your goals rather than steering you off course.
2. SETTING THE RIGHT FOUNDATIONAL TECH STACK
When it comes to building out the infrastructure for your marketing, i.e. your tech stack, perhaps the most important and simultaneously overlooked qualifier by many lawyers is how well their tech integrates with another tech. Similarly as in my last tip, here are some qualifying questions to think about when starting down this road:
- Do you currently utilize call tracking software?
- Do you currently utilize intake management software?
- Does your call tracking software integrate with your intake management software?
- Does your intake management software have an open API?
- Does it integrate with your Matter Management Software?
- Do you have access to a reporting platform to utilize so that you can cohesively analyze the data between these softwares?
If you are having trouble answering any of these questions or identifying where to even start, my advice is always to first consult with your agency as they should be able to direct and guide you. My second piece of advice if you are currently between agencies is to build backwards. Start thinking like the end-consumer. Start with the first step in the process from where your potential clients would engage with you – your intake process as accommodated by your Intake Management Software. Look for a software that is easy to use, has a good ratio of price to features that you’ve identified as valuable for your firm, and integrates well with the other technology you may already be utilizing. When it comes to integrations, most of these softwares will have an app marketplace, or integration center, that should have some search functionality so that you can see what integrations are currently offered within the software’s ecosystem. BEWARE – Not all integrations are created equal. Some integrations may save hundreds of hours of work by creating and connecting records, or pushing data between softwares automatically updating said records via a two-way sync of their APIs, ultimately saving yourself or your team hours of manual input. Other integrations, however, may do something completely worthless like create a task for you to manually enter that data. If there is one place for due diligence in your entire marketing ecosystem – it’s your tech stack. Making sure to seek out an agency that has experience adapting to a broad swath of different softwares, utilizing them effectively to deliver the reporting you’re looking for, and making recommendations on better softwares for your techstack, can help you get the reporting you need in a faster, more cost-effective manner.
3. UNDERSTANDING WHICH KPIS MATTER AND WHICH DON’T
Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are key pieces of data that help you judge the performance of your marketing. As a marketer, sometimes I take these indicators for granted, but as an advocate for my clients, I understand that digging deeper into KPIs with my clients helps clarify which metrics matter and which metrics are fluff, so that they can keep track of where I am in regards to accomplishing their goals. One example of metrics that I would consider fluff is overall website traffic. This one can be tricky, but put simply, I would rather see lead volume increase than an increase in overall website traffic. One of my favorite marketing sayings comes from Facebook in regards to likes, “Likes don’t keep the lights on.” This is true for website traffic in the sense that increased traffic on your website is meaningless if it’s not leading to increased conversions and ultimately paying clients. In regards to where your KPIs should be coming from, ideally, it’s a multitude of different sources. An agency that utilizes multiple industry standards such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google Ads, alongside Call/Text/Form Fill Tracking and your particular Intake Management Software/CRM will be able to provide you with more accurate data. Higher data accuracy in turn leads to better reporting and ultimately data-driven decisions for your firm’s marketing. It’s important to remember that tying softwares together is a meticulous process and one that needs to be done right the first time, or not at all, as having inaccurate data can have immensely negative implications.
All this to say, an experienced digital agency partnership paired with the right tech stack should provide you with impactful KPIs. Here are just some of the specific KPIs I would recommend any firm have readily available:
- MQLs | Marketing Qualified Leads – The number of leads from all your different marketing channels. This can help you better understand how many individuals took actionable steps toward becoming a client be it a call, form fill, or a chat.
- IQLs | Intake Qualified Leads – The number of leads that were qualified as potential clients in your intake management software via your intake process. This can help you better understand your ideal client, and hone your intake process to weed out unqualified leads at a more efficient rate.
- AQLs | Attorney Qualified Leads – The number of leads that were qualified by an attorney as a result of a consultation where the attorney confirmed the lead as having a qualified matter that the firm would like to take. This is the lowest part of the lead qualification funnel and can help you better identify your conversion rates and the number of MQLs you need to achieve your target number of matters.
- CAC | Customer Acquisition Cost – The monetary cost associated with acquiring a new client. Understanding for example what it costs to get an individual who is looking for a personal injury attorney to click your ad and submit a contact form on your site, eventually becoming a new client, can help you with budgetary decisions.
- ROAS | Return on Ad Spend – A ratio that shows how much you made for every dollar you spent on digital advertising. This can help you better understand the success of your ad campaigns.
- ROI | Return on Investment – The overall amount of money you made from your matters that came from your marketing campaigns in comparison to the money you spent on marketing. Understanding your overall ROI on your marketing dollars can help you diagnose the health of your budget in relation to your overall sales growth, to keep the two in a healthy balance.
- CVR | Conversion Rate – This is usually a percentage associated with leads that took a valued action on your site. Knowing your CVR for certain aspects of your marketing campaigns can help you to A/B Test, and make micro-improvements that can lead to more leads turning into clients over the long run.
An agency that implements a strategic annual plan that aligns with your goals, efficiently utilizes your current tech stack and advises you on better software solutions for your needs, and offers reporting on the most poignant KPIs to keep your plan on track and help you achieve your overarching goals is the ideal partner. Working with an agency that strives for the ideal partnership can only lead to better results than one that does not, so it’s important to apply these tips where applicable in your search for the right agency to grow with.