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Susie Hood

Legal Attribution - Attribution Modelling for Law Firms I Hitsearch

Getting attribution right can be a challenge for any business with an online presence, but it can be even more complex when it comes to law firms. Research shows that around 26% of law firms don’t track their leads at all, meaning that these particular businesses won’t be able to accurately evaluate which areas of their marketing strategy are working and whether they are getting any return on their investment. With more than 95% of people looking for legal advicestarting their search online, it’s vital for law firms to better understand how their website and current marketing activity is serving potential new clients, so they can scale up the business over time.

This article looks at some of the attribution issues that are specific to the legal industry and some of the ways to overcome these barriers; enabling your law firm to more accurately attribute where your legal lead generation is coming from and the contributing factors to what then become accepted cases.

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Why is accurate attribution important?

Whilst understanding how to generate leads for law firms is of course a vital part of any marketing strategy in this industry, the overall success of marketing activity done by law firms will usually be ultimately measured in the number (and consequently, the value to the business of) accepted cases, which has a direct impact on the bottom line. By ensuring that attribution is accurate, i.e. so that you know which specific channels and activities are contributing to and delivering the best leads, you can ensure that your time and resources are spent in the areas that are bringing most benefit and revenue to your law firm.

The user journey that someone takes before you accept their case is rarely a straightforward one and can differ significantly from person to person. Each eventual new client may have several different touchpoints with your online presence in different ways before they actually contact you and turn into a lead, and all of these touchpoints contribute to the end results. With correctly weighted and accurate attribution, you can understand how the various channels are working together to deliver legal marketing leads and ensure that your marketing activity and budget is apportioned in a way to maximise your return.

What are the most common barriers to accurate attribution for online law firm leads?

Most law firm websites offer a number of different ways for potential clients to get in touch with them; some of these are more easily tracked than others!

  • When someone contacts the law firm by phone or email directly, it can be difficult to work out where the lead actually originated from and which channels influenced that person along their conversion journey. Even if the person is asked directly how they came across this law firm in particular and why they chose them, there is often no way for this information to be reported back to the marketing function, especially in large businesses where there may be multiple staff working in different locations.
  • Leads tracked through a centralised CRM will only typically report on where the last click came from before the contact was made, and will not pass any credit for that conversion to the previous channels that the person had contact with before they made the final step.
  • There is no single route to market in this industry. Different people, even if looking for the exact same legal service, can have totally different user journeys, where totally different channels may contribute to them eventually becoming a client.
  • For law firms with a wide range of services, and thus potentially dozens of different audience personas, across b2b and b2c markets, this issue is exponentially more complex.
  • Marketing teams working for law firms thus often never find out where leads come from, only if they are hitting overall targets or not.
  • It’s not all about leads – the true value to the business comes from good leads and not poor ones that will never result in a new client. How are good and poor leads reported within law firms and does this get back to the marketing function so that the dots can be connected? In most cases, the answer will be no.

What is the answer to the legal lead attribution problem?

Unfortunately, there is no single answer that will solve the attribution issue for all legal firms. As the processes and setups are different for each business, overcoming poor or non-existent attribution needs to be done on a bespoke basis. There are some tactics and tools that many companies find really useful; for example, call tracking, to monitor which web pages or campaigns prompt direct phone calls. If you want some assistance with attribution modelling and lead tracking, Hitsearch can help to develop models that work with your specific business.

One area in which we have found real value is with helping some of our legal clients to justify and report accurately on the success and value of their brand marketing spend by closely following brand uplift in response to various marketing activity. Find out about our solution below.

How can brand uplift in the legal sector be measured?

The established way of measuring brand uplift for decades has been to run a marketing campaign, then run a series of focus groups to understand if they remember seeing adverts for a company – referred to as ‘ad recall’. It has long been an established method for large brands to get a better understanding to the growth of their brand.

The issues with this approach include:

  • The focus group results are very subjective and rely on the trust of the consumer telling you the right information. Whether they mean to or not, it’s a fact that most people will tell you what they think you want to hear. Find out more about this here.
  • You will need a large sample size of over 100 people for this type of research to be statistically significant, which often simply isn’t practically or financially possible with a focus group model.

For small to medium law firms, it’s usually simply not possible to justify the expense in conducting a study of this kind even if the methodology was 100% sound, but there are ways to work with the data we have to make better informed decisions that can illustrate brand uplift, without the need for a major and costly research project such as with traditional ad recall studies.

The solution – A brand uplift dashboard

We can take a typical legal marketing scenario to illustrate how this approach works.

Our client has two notable spikes in traffic throughout the day but doesn’t know if they are being trigger by brand activity – see the traffic graph below.

How can we best determine that the branded activity is having an impact on the quantity and quality of the website visitors and leads?

Picture 1-1

One easy way to start to understand what the traffic is made of is to compare new versus returning users. The areas graph below shows a large spike in new visitors to the site rather than returning visitors. In this example, the brand has local radio adverts playing in slots that are broadcast from 7am to 10am and 3pm to 7pm. This graph shows that there is some correlation between the radio ad slots and new visitors to the site.

Picture 2-1

Adding more and more information can ensure you can better understand if branded spend has been successful. The table below is broken down by hour and illustrates that there was increased activity in branded traffic and social interaction in the time period that the radio adverts were broadcast.

Picture 3-1

If your legal firm’s TV or radio adverts have a call to action included in the creative, it’s likely that some people will respond immediately as they hear or see them, hence the spikes in traffic. The kind of information shown here illustrates that each type of marketing activity adds new data layers that we can track to determine what impact that advertising campaign has, when compared to a similar period when the activity didn’t happen. From here, the output of this analysis should be to get a better understanding of the marketing spend and the revenue it generates and whether this justifies the activity or indicates it could be worth scaling up to deliver even more qualified leads that add value to the business.

If you have a business in the financial sector and would like to up your marketing game or receive some expert information about digital marketing for financial services, then get in touch with a member of our team!

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