Business is a game of numbers. If you don’t know your numbers, you can’t measure your success. You also can’t really evaluate the effectiveness of changes you implement because you have no baseline for comparison. Despite the way some lawyers may run their practices, law is still a business at the end of the day. If you plan to grow your law firm, you need to act like a business owner and understand your numbers inside and out. In this post, we’ll break down the 6 most important law firm marketing metrics which you should track in order to grow your practice.
1) Total Marketing Spend
The most basic law firm marketing metric to keep track of is your total marketing spend. In other words, how much money are you spending on marketing every month?
If you spend money in different places, it’s also critical to divide up your marketing spend and track it separately for every individual channel.
For instance, if you spend $5000 on Google ads, $500 on Avvo ads, and $2500 on radio ads, you shouldn’t just track it as “$8000 per month on marketing” or even “$5500 for online ads and $2500 for offline ads.”
The proper way to track it is by keeping tabs on the exact dollar amount for every marketing channel. Plus, all the other law firm marketing metrics will be calculated separately by channel as well, which enables you to generate precise reports on the effectiveness of each marketing strategy.
Why Marketing Spend Matters
Paying for marketing is a waste of money if the expenses end up being higher than the revenue you generate in return. So it’s essential to keep a running total of how much money you spend on marketing in order to ensure that your marketing plan is working.
It’s a very simple metric to keep track of, so there shouldn’t be any excuse not to do it. You can just keep a spreadsheet with every marketing channel in a column across the top, and then input the monthly expenses for each channel in the rows going down.
2) Total Leads Generated
The second and probably most important law firm marketing metric is the total number of leads generated from each marketing channel.
A lead (often referred to as a “potential new client” in the legal industry), is essentially just someone who has inquired about your services. Tracking a lead normally consists of taking down the person’s full name and basic contact information, as well as some additional notes about the nature of their inquiry.
Lead management is one of the most fundamental parts of an effective marketing strategy, yet many law firms do it very poorly. This is a huge mistake, particularly when you spent your hard-earned money to acquire those leads.
Writing down someone’s contact info on a Post-it note, collecting a stack of business cards, or leaving unread emails in your inbox are not effective lead management strategies. Even that trusty old Excel spreadsheet, although slightly more effective, still becomes unmanageable as your volume of potential clients increases.
Why Total Number of Leads Matters
The total number of leads generated will factor into the calculations for every other metric (aside from your total expenses). So tracking leads is an absolutely critical part of a proper marketing plan.
Plus, the whole purpose of marketing is to generate more leads, and thus more business for your firm. Failing to properly track your leads will decrease the effectiveness of your marketing strategy and negatively impact all of your other metrics. This is why you should be using a CRM in order to track every lead and organize and manage your sales process.
3) Conversion Rate
Next up in our list of the top law firm marketing metrics is conversion rate. The conversion rate is simply a measure of how effectively your law firm turns leads into paying clients. The simplest formula you can use to measure conversion rate is below:
Total Clients Retained / Total Leads Generated = Conversion Rate %
For example, if you generated 100 leads from Google ads in January, and 25 retained your firm, that would yield a 25% conversion rate (25 clients / 100 leads * 100% = 25%).
Also, don’t forget that it is very important to measure your conversion rate separately for every lead source or marketing channel, just like all the other metrics.
Why Conversion Rate Matters
Conversion rate is not super important in an absolute sense. In other words, it doesn’t really matter if your rate is 95% or 25%. But it is very important in a relative sense because it helps you compare different approaches to marketing, and monitor your sales process.
Conversion rate tells you two things:
- The quality of your leads
- Poor leads are unlikely to convert because they may not be a good fit, may not be able to afford your services, etc.
- The effectiveness of your sales process
- Even the best leads won’t convert if you do a poor job of managing them, which is why you should always be optimizing your conversion funnel
If your conversion rate is super low, that means that either this particular channel is not producing high quality leads, or you aren’t doing a good job of tracking, following up, and selling services to them.
Remember, marketing and sales always go hand-in-hand. If you are paying for marketing without a process for selling your services to the leads you generate, you’re pretty much just throwing away money.
4) Average Client Acquisition Cost
Another key metric that you need to understand in order to grow your law practice is your average client acquisition cost. In other words, how much money do you have to spend on marketing in order to retain a new client?
We already covered this topic much more in depth in a previous post, so we’ll just provide the basic formula for this calculation here:
Total Marketing Expenses / Total Clients Retained = Average Client Acquisition Cost
For example, continuing with the example above, if you spent $5000 on Google ads in January and yielded 25 clients, your average client acquisition cost would be $200 ($5000 / 25 clients = $200 per client).
Why Client Acquisition Cost Matters
Marketing is the best way to grow your law practice, but at the same time, a marketing strategy that loses money can be a big thorn in your side. Marketing should be profitable. If it’s not, you should pull the plug immediately.
Client acquisition cost plays a key role in determining the profitability of your marketing efforts. If the client acquisition costs exceeds the revenue you generate in return, your marketing is no longer profitable.
For this reason, client acquisition cost is one of the most important metrics to understand. You need to calculate it for every single marketing campaign you run, and keep a close eye on it.
5) Average Revenue Per Client
Revenue is basically the king of all metrics. It tends to be the one thing that even the least business-savvy lawyers keep track of, since you have to monitor your revenue just to stay in business.
Looking at your total monthly revenue might give you a sense of whether you’ll be able to pay the bills next month. But it doesn’t truly help you evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing plan.
That’s where your average revenue per client comes to into play. Here’s how to calculate it:
Total Revenue Earned / Total Clients Retained = Average Revenue Per Client
For example, if you generated $50,000 in January from those 25 clients who came from Google ads, that would yield an average revenue per client of $2000 ($50,000 / 25 clients = $2000 per client).
Why Revenue Per Client Matters
Revenue per client helps you figure out exactly how profitable a marketing strategy is. You can do this by comparing it to your client acquisition cost.
As long as your revenue per client remains greater than the average cost to acquire a client, you will have a profitable marketing channel. If revenue per client drops below the client acquisition cost, you will be losing money.
Using our examples from above, we had a $200 client acquisition cost which yielded $2000 in revenue. Since $2000 is significantly greater than $200, this is a highly profitable marketing channel.
As this example illustrates, looking at the revenue generated per client will help you identify the best marketing strategies that what will drive the most profitable growth for your practice.
6) Marketing ROI
The sixth and final number in our list of law firm marketing metrics is ROI (return on investment). ROI is a widely used measure of profitability across all forms of investing, from stocks to real estate, and even marketing.
It basically tells you how much capital your investment yielded or lost, measured as a percentage of the original investment. The formula is as follows:
[Total Revenue – Total Expenses] / Total Expenses = ROI %
Once again using our ongoing example, if your Google ads cost $5000 and yielded $50,000 in revenue for the month of January, you would have an ROI of 900% ([$50,000 – $5000] / $5000 * 100% = 900%).
Why Marketing ROI Matters
Evaluating marketing channels against one another is not always an apples to apples comparison. This is where ROI becomes really useful. It gives you the ability to compare all of your different marketing channels against one another and determine which ones are most profitable, which ones you should invest more into, and which ones you should eliminate.
For instance, if Google ads is generating a 900% ROI, you can expect every $1 invested to return $10 back, which is amazing. If another channel is generating only a 400% ROI, although still highly profitable, it’s not as effective or profitable compared to Google ads.
Given this information, you should consider investing more heavily into Google ads to grow your firm, since it will yield the most revenue for the least overall capital investment.
Some form of marketing is a necessity if you plan to grow your law firm. Referrals can only get you so far. But if you plan to invest any of your hard-earned money into marketing, it’s critical that you know your numbers.
The six most important law firm marketing metrics that every lawyer needs to understand are…
- Total Marketing Spend
- Total Leads Generated
- Conversion Rate
- Average Client Acquisition Cost
- Average Revenue Per Client
- Marketing ROI
Fortunately, these concepts are pretty easy to understand. With just some basic arithmetic, you can calculate all the numbers needed to understand which marketing channels are working, which ones are not, and how profitable they are. Armed with this knowledge, you can ramp up your marketing spend strategically and with confidence, leading to a long-term plan for sustainable growth.