One of the most overlooked parts of the legal marketing process is also its simplest – the creation and utilization of new client intake. In all the years that we have worked with law firm clients of all sizes, it still baffles me that some law firms still show a reluctance to obtain the kind of data that can help them make important decisions.
While most law firms may know their click-through rates, directory page rankings and how much new revenue came in at any given time, many still do not know whether those clicks turned into leads that turned into clients; whether the efforts at high page ranking were worth the time and money; or which marketing/business activities spurred that new revenue.
The new client intake form is critical if firm management wishes to know whether different parts of the firm’s business-building efforts are working and to what degree. Besides the obvious name, phone number, address data that will be collected, law firms should probe to get a deeper understanding as to how and why prospects came to them. Where did the prospect learn about the firm? Was it from more than one source? Was a referral involved? Did they take the time to visit the firm’s site? What message resonated with them? All of these questions are vital if the firm is serious about making better marketing-related decisions in the future.
I believe that law practices often initiate their marketing efforts with good intentions, but then fail to commit to tracking the results of these programs. Even when such information is available, there is often a reluctance to examine what the data is actually conveying. For example a pay-per-click campaign may have netted 5 new clients and $60,000 in revenue, but what good is that if the campaign itself cost $100,000? Similarly, how efficient is being ranked number one on Google if the efforts are not just justified by the revenue generated? Conversely, might certain business building initiatives be serving a worthwhile purpose even if they are not “paying out” immediately? Is that new firm brochure really a waste of firm money, simply because none of the new clients mentioned it during intake?
Law practices should take a page out of the playbook of businesses that manufacture or sell products. Most have a pretty good idea as to how their marketing programs are doing. Similarly, it’s important that law practices create processes that offer measures of accountability.