By Amanda Sexton
We’ve all been looking forward to 2021 since, oh, say, June? While I hate to be anything less than positive, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that 2021 won’t be functionally better just by setting out some new calendars for your law firm.
We have to plan for it to be better.
But we’ve got something that can help us plan for this better year — a lot of data. Website visits, open rates, click-through rates and email signups. New and old client stats. All data can shine a light on your path to a successful and profitable 2021.
Tip #1: What Do You Need? And Why?
Before you pull data, ask yourself: Why do I need this data? What questions am I looking to answer? What problems is it going to help me solve?
As fun as it might be for us data nerds to sort through visualizations and ponder metrics, data analysis for its own sake won’t actually take you anywhere — especially if you have a managing partner looking for action items and ROI. It needs to be part of a bigger plan and it needs to be used to solve problems. You can use data to:
- Help answer questions about where your sales funnel is leaky
- Investigate challenges with low client retention rates
- Assess new practices areas to expand into
Once you’ve identified your pain points, the next step is to work with the stakeholders at your firm to explore your key performance indicators (KPI). These could include:
- Customer Data: Is it leading to new clients? Monitor traffic-to-lead ratio, lead-to-customer ratio and cost per lead.
- Site Traffic: How effective is our website? Monitor landing page conversion rates, unique visits to your website and inbound marketing ROI.
- Search Data: How are potential clients finding you? Monitor leads from organic search and leads from branded keywords.
- Social Media Reach and Engagement: How effective is our social media? Monitor impressions, website traffic originating from social, share of voice and conversions.
Tip #2: Use the Right Tools to Collect Data
Data doesn’t just appear in a perfectly formatted report in your inbox each month. You’ve got to put in the time to collect and curate it. Choosing the right tools can make this a lot easier, though. Some effective tools to help you address KPIs include the following:
For website data and usability:
- Google Analytics
- Usability Hub
For social media:
- Subscription platforms such as Hubspot, AgoraPulse and Sprout Social that make running regular reports easy
- Native tools such as Facebook and Instagram Insights or Twitter and LinkedIn Analytics (pulling in reports from here require a little more legwork but it’s still doable)
For email marketing:
- Active Campaign
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that you should be actively tracking your internal data, too. Budget, billing and client life cycles are essential pieces of your data picture. And your operational plans and business strategies should always, always be brought to the table.
Tip #3: Data in Action
You’ve got your goals; you’ve got your data. Now comes the best part — putting it to work. There are as many ways to use your data as there are data sets to collect. I’d encourage anyone just starting out to keep their goals manageable — it’s very easy to get lost in the weeds. Start small, start achievable and use those positive results to inspire more projects.
What are some good starting points for law firm data analysis? If you’re working on your website, use a keyword research tool along with your blog post analytics to pinpoint intriguing new content. Or look at your most visited web pages to see what might be fruitful topics for a webinar series.
Take your email data as an opportunity to segment your audiences and target content that would both build relationships and improve your sales funnel.
Is building more brand awareness a goal? Use social media engagement metrics to inform decisions about how to position your firm’s attorneys as thought leaders and elevate their profiles and practice pages.
Tip #4: Data isn’t Everything
Data provides important information and insight, but you need to know what its context is. What trends are impacting your clients? What are your competitors doing? What are the overall trends influencing your practice areas — or even the legal field in general? (To be fair, since we’re in the middle of a pandemic and an election year, most people don’t have to reach very far to guess what some of the biggest trends are right now.)
All of this is to say that when you work with data, it may give you the quantitative details you need, but you need to use the qualitative resources at your disposal to evaluate that data and apply it to your firm’s goals.
Amanda Sexton is the founder of FocusWorks Marketing — using the power of digital marketing to grow brands and businesses. For the past 14 years, she has shaped brand development, created award-winning content and built communities for everything from small businesses to global brands. She was selected as one of the 40 Under 40 Marketing Professionals in New Jersey in 2019 . She is a self-confessed numbers nerd — combining data and creativity to drive campaigns to their maximum potential.
Beyond FocusWorks, Amanda holds leadership positions on regional legal committees and associations, holds a standing column with the New Jersey Law Journal and has spoken across the country at bar association events and industry conferences, including ABA TechShow.