You should know your return on investment in terms of prospect leads and new client production for your law firm.
Three questions that demand accountability.
If you’re buying the same television advertising placement schedule for your law firm that you’ve always bought, and are getting the same poor results, demand accountability from your advertising agency. Do they have a system to measure lead generation? Do they have measurement analytics for:
- What’s working?
- What’s not?
- To what degree?
Do you buy TV and Radio? If your media strategy is to buy media based upon Neilson Ratings or a Gross Ratings Points system, you’ve got waste in your buy. This waste unnecessarily (and possibly ignorantly) drives up your cost per lead and your overall cost of building your law firm business.
The critical question:
Can your advertising agency tell you where the waste is?
- Ask them. “Why do you buy that program? What’s its value in terms of leads and new clients generated for the law firm?” If they can’t answer that, or they give you ad agency speak about the value of reach and frequency, and NOT productivity? It’s time to get a new advertising agency.
Build a database of response for your advertising.
Before you improve your cost per lead, you must know what it is now. There’s a baseline in there somewhere…begin to build an analytics process.
- Start simple. Build a front desk tracking form on the computer that’s probably already positioned beside the telephone.
- Collect call data. Have the telephone input person ask some simple questions as to where the person calling first learned of your law firm. Radio, television, yellow pages, your website, a referral from a friend?
- Collect data on when the call was received and the subject the caller was interested in.
- Look at the results. Are calls more frequent on a certain day of the week…a certain time of the day? Are there some areas of more interest than others? Are you running media that cover that area?
- How many leads are you generating? How much are you spending to get those leads? You’ll have numbers! Information truly is power. You can build a strategy for how and when to buy media that is simply most productive, and conversely, where to eliminate the waste in the non-productive buys.
Which commercials are most effective?
Now you know what your audience is watching. What is the best approach for them to hear your message? We find out by gathering more data.
- Order a series of 800 numbers — separate numbers for separate television spots.
- When your calls come in you will know which spot the caller saw. Integrate your front desk data with what spot was running around the time your prospect dialed the phone.
- Start analyzing trends and discover—from your own hard-facts database—which advertising is pulling the most prospect lead response and at which times of the day.
- You’ve got real data for real decisions. From your system, not Neilson’s advertising rankings!
- You’ve got a vital tool with which to negotiate buys, and find media “sweetspots”… little pockets of television advertising that may produce a lot of calls for very few dollars.
What is accountability?
You can now correctly attribute dollar amounts for each of the telephone call contacts your law firm receives. Some of the numbers won’t be pretty. If you’re like most law firms, your analytics will show ugly response costs for certain expensive media programs. If Neilson Ratings are high and cost per thousand is high then call production is usually awful. You’ll find you are spending $1,000 plus per lead generated for some of these program buys. You may discover that you’ve been paying for these $1,000 leads—for a very, very long time.
This same marketing and response data process, albeit painful, can generate some now manageable data for your law firm’s advertising and marketing strategy development. Your media is now based on historical response, and you have it in a database. NOW you have numbers from which to deploy advertising with higher returns.
- You’ll discover advertising media “sweetspots” programs and times of day that produce leads — good prospect leads in the $50 to $100 range.
- Now that you’ve measured and analyzed for these “sweetspots”, you can buy to OWN them. Your competitors won’t be able to get in there. You can buy sixty second spots, or two sixties and completely block out the breaks in this programming.
- You can run analytics for different practice areas in your firm:
- What’s the best programming/times for Personal Injury? Bankruptcy? Social Security and Disability? Truck Wrecks?
- They are going to be different. Through analytics you’ll have the information to deploy creative advertising messaging and creative positioning for your media to hit potential clients for each of these practice areas.
- You can make your advertising work – and know that it’s working.
- You can harvest more good client response from a deeply targeted approach — demanding and getting accountability for every hard-earned advertising dollar within your advertising budget.
More strategic planning
Now that you’ve eliminated the bad media buys — and increased the productive media buys where do you invest the rest of your advertising budget?
- Now you have budget that you may re-deploy from the “weaker-sister” media buys into more productive areas. You were buying thirty second spots; now you have budget, and increased negotiation footing with your television sales people for longer spots—like sixties, or even one-twenties… dominating the commercial breaks on really good television programming. Your phone number isn’t just a flash on the screen… it’s up there long enough to be retained by the viewer/prospect.
- Now you have budget for a longer spot that can build brand awareness and brand preference for your law firm AND have enough time to get your phone number recorded by the viewer. Thirties just can’t deliver both a brand position, and ask for the business.
- Now you have adequate length within the spot to advertise firm practice areas — Personal Injury, Social Security and Disability, Car Wrecks, Big Truck Wrecks, Bad-Faith, Nursing Home Negligence, Bankruptcy or Criminal. You just can’t say all that, well, in a thirty second television advertisement.
- Now you have budget for wildcatting! You can now buy media bargains that arise. You can buy and test some good ideas that you never could afford before — ideas that may have occurred to you like: “what if we bought some Sunday afternoon television media? What might that do to our Monday morning telephone calls?” Run it now! Test it. You have the data to prove or disprove your hypothesis. You don’t have to guess.
This is what we do at Kirkpatrick Creative. We have patented database software that ties all the data together and gives you reports: the calls received, the leads generated, the 800 numbers the practice area spots. We build marketing plans with media advertising, digital advertising and with social media. We work every angle and test everything we do to harvest even the smallest incremental boosts for the productivity of our law firm client advertising budgets. We refine—test—repeat…until we get the most efficiency and the most productivity out of every advertising dollar spent.
Hire us, or DIY the process, but demand accountability for your advertising. Insist on productivity. You can get it, and you deserve it.
Here’s to the successful, new, managed approach for your law firm advertising budget. It’s not an easy process, but it gets to be all worth it at the end of the year — when you’re trying to figure out how to get all those bonus checks written!