Efficiency drives in many law firms are provoking an increased focus on using management information to report on key performance indicators (KPIs) and drive improvements. Law firms are becoming increasingly savvy at tracking KPIs for their fee earners; measuring performance to identify opportunities for growth and development.
The increase that we have seen in the number of enquiries about our SmartEye management information solution has shown us that partners and practice managers understand the importance of measuring and reporting on operational KPIs and are keen to choose systems that they can tailor to their organisation’s specific needs. Maintaining law firm profitability is dependent upon effective and timely management information.
But when it comes to your law firm strategy around digital marketing, what KPIs should you be measuring, and why are they important?
Why are digital marketing KPIs so important?
According to research by Managing Partner, most law firms are planning to increase their online marketing expenditure. The majority said their website was a “central component of their online marketing strategy” and almost two thirds now have integrated social media channels.
An example of a law firm that has a good integrated digital marketing approach is Blacks Solicitors. Blacks has an active and well-written blog with contributions from many of its lawyers, many of whom have their own Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. The website is fully integrated with social media channels, and content is shared widely so the website and blog content has a large reach, and its impact is amplified.
As Legal Technology Insider reported back in 2011, technology is viewed by legal marketing departments as key to delivering initiatives on time, with over 60% saying technology brought benefits such as “the ability to increase and measure efficiency”, including the opportunity to “spend less time on routine administrative tasks” and “better track return on investment on marketing and business development campaigns.”
As law firms increase marketing expenditure, it is vital that those resources are focused in the right areas – ie those that generate the best return on investment (ROI). A law firm strategy on digital marketing should include KPI monitoring and measurement.
Your organisational goals
Your organisational goals should dictate your marketing and business development KPIs. For each organisational goal, consider what marketing and communications activity is required to ensure you meet that goal. Then formulate your KPIs and monitoring process around this in order to measure progress towards those goals. For example, if you’ve just published a white paper about new legislation, your marketing activities could include an email campaign, a new website page and blog post with associated social media posts to share the link. For this campaign, your KPI might be ‘number of downloads’.
What digital marketing KPIs should law firms be measuring?
The legal services buying process is often long and complex, so it can be difficult to measure the ROI, especially of offline marketing activities. Digital marketing campaigns, however, are easier to measure. Here are some digital marketing KPIs that are both simple to implement and useful to track.
(1) Organic traffic
Your digital marketing campaigns (which include social media, email campaigns and search engine optimisation or ‘SEO’ activities) should be focused around driving traffic to your website. This gives you the opportunity to convert that traffic into enquiries, and ultimately into new business. The amount of traffic your website receives is an indication of how well your digital marketing campaigns are performing.
However, you don’t just want any traffic. You want relevant traffic. It’s about quality (relevance) rather than quantity (spam). So how do you know if the traffic is relevant? This brings us onto KPI number two: keywords.
You should have a list of keywords for your website or blog. Keywords are search terms that people type into search engines like Google. Incorporate the keywords into your website and blog content and you will bring more relevant traffic to your site.
(3) New visitors Vs returning visitors
The more new visitors you have to your site, the better. While returning visitors are a good indication that your website content is relevant and interesting, your digital marketing campaigns should also be bringing you potential new clients as well. You can monitor this in Google Analytics (free metrics software that you can install on your website by adding a small piece of code – your website developer can do this for you). While Google Analytics measures and reports on numerous metrics, only some of these will be key performance measures for your firm: these will depend on your organisational goals.
(4) Time spent on your website
The longer someone spends on your website, the more information they will take in and the more likely they are to employ your services (if they like what they see). Encourage them to stay by adding lots of useful, interesting and engaging content. While they are there, you can capture their data through online forms and downloads, too. This KPI can be tracked in the Google Analytics Audience Engagement report.
(5) Domain authority
Moz is an online community of web experts, and they have come up with a way of measuring the relative authority of industry websites. This is a good way of indicating how well your website is performing against other law practice websites. A higher authority score indicates that your website and blog content is respected by legal industry influencers by being regularly visited, shared and commented on.
(6) Social media engagement
Engagement looks at how much people interact with you and share your website and blog content online. There are numerous ways to measure social media engagement. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc – they all have their own analytics tools. There are also numerous free tools that you can download from the web. More information on social media engagement tools and other digital marketing KPIs that law firms should consider measuring here.
Once you understand the impact of your business development activities and marketing campaigns, you can make more informed decisions about how to allocate your resources. Law firm profitability is dependent on these processes.
Digital marketing KPIs should not be viewed in isolation, but as part of a comprehensive operations monitoring process that delivers timely and useful management information to help you run your law firm more efficiently and effectively.
If you’d like to find out how management information and KPIs could help your organisation to run more profitably, give me a call on 0845 6806 843 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This blog post was written by Graham Moore, Managing Director of Exen.
Law Firm Practice Management System and Business Intelligence expert. Managing Director of Katchr.
If you’d like to discuss how large or small law firm software and legal financial reporting systems could help you run your practice more profitably, please give me a call on 03333 010 766.