Many law firms proclaim their excellence by touting top lawyers from prestigious schools and decades of courtroom success. While these facts still afford some strategic advantages, an effective content marketing strategy is another way to gain an edge over your competition in today’s legal market.
To acquire new clientele and better serve current clients, the same process of using business data to inform strategic business decisions can also guide your online marketing efforts. Firms have varying levels of sophistication when it comes to their content marketing and social media strategies, but analyzing your visitor data can make preparing effective and professional blogs, webinars, and other online content easier.
The freely available Google Analytics (GA) is all you need to track a selection of metrics as key performance indicators (KPIs) on a weekly, or even daily, basis. Here are three questions to ask to determine which KPIs are most important for your firm to monitor and analyze.
1. From Where Do Our Online Visitors Come?
You want to know where your audience is coming from so that you can leverage and expand those avenues. Google Analytics Acquisition reports, from Intechnic, break down where your traffic is coming from in a variety of useful ways once you start digging into them.
The Overview tab offers a glimpse into which channels are drawing incoming traffic and how those visitors are converting. Are they coming in through links on press releases or related PR placements? Is most of your traffic organic (i.e., coming in directly, not through some other site)? Are visitors clicking through social media links to get to your content? Are you actively promoting your content in any way, and if so, are those promotions leading to more visitors?
The Social tab offers valuable insights as well. If publishing articles in a particular publication is driving a larger percentage of visitors then other avenues, perhaps you want to focus more resources on those articles or on finding similar publications than on, say, social media strategy.
Email blasts and other offline ways of reaching your site are grouped as Direct, Referral (traffic from media and other sites), Social Media and Organic Search. Start with the main channels, and follow the visitor journey. When diving into each report, you can see which pages draw the most shares and bring in the most traffic on the basis of which search queries.
2. What Are They Doing When They Get There?
Of course, getting visitors is only half the battle. To engage them with exactly the right content, you need to tailor your site’s content, architecture, and flow for each visitor according to his or her context. You know how different clients’ cases turn out to be once you’ve acquired them, and their online behavior is no different.
GA Behavior reports show what people are doing when they visit pages on your site. See, “Putting Google Analytics’ Behavior Flow Tool to Use,” Shift Communications. For example, attorney bios are typically the most popular content on firms’ websites. But what do visitors do from there? Do they view blog posts that attorney has written? Are they jumping to practice pages related to that attorney? Or are they most often going to your client alerts?
Looking at what visitors are doing may drive decisions about the layout of your pages to further optimize engagement. If any page is creating more or less in view time, clickthroughs, etc., you need to pay it special attention to either get it in line with the rest of your pages or get the rest in line with it.
The User Explorer in the Behavior report provides details about individual users’ attributes, such as how and when they were brought to the site, which can be seen in the left pane. To maintain privacy, visitors are listed by user ID rather than by name, but the information you can glean about their active histories is still incredibly useful in obtaining (and refining) customer acquisition costs and more. See. “Google Analytics’ New User Explorer Report Shows Individualized, Anonymized Website Interactions,” Marketing Land.
3. How Can We Optimize Our Online Content?
To figure this out, you need to determine the top-trending pages of content. Are they trending because of social media, because you sent an email newsletter, or for some other reason? Is your law blog attracting most of your visitors, or do you see more success from contributing content to third-party publications?
Keeping tabs on what content attracts readers and visitors enables you to make better strategic decisions about content creation and placements. GA’s Site Content report (in the Behavior section) is where you can sort your most-visited content by number of views, time spent, and more. See, “How to Use Google Analytics Behavior Reports,” Marketing Mojo. Your most popular pages may not be the ones most effectively converting visitors, which you can learn more about in the Conversions section of GA.
Here you can find out what your visitors are searching for, how they’re searching for it, and what issues they’re having in finding that content. See, “Essential Guide to Google Analytics Site Search,” Business 2 Community. Use these findings to optimize how and where you feature content on the site, as well as what you’re trying to promote. If you look at what visitors typed into the search bar to find the website, you also can find some really interesting long-tail search terms for which your site is ranking.
Law Firm Marketing
While marketing may not be the first area that comes to mind when you think of utilizing big data for a law firm, there are some fascinating and valuable discoveries to be made in this regard using Google Analytics. Taking the time to set everything up and understand how to read these reports allows you to optimize your site through A/B testing and to bring in more potential clients.
Marketing a law firm is like playing a game of chess: You always need a few long-term plays running, or the competition will overwhelm you. By prioritizing and investing resources to get your Web analytics set up now, you can begin to develop a long-term and sustainable revenue strategy.
Jaron Rubenstein is the founder and president of Rubenstein Technology Group, a software engineering firm that has launched websites and mobile applications for numerous top law firms built on the RubyLaw content management system. This article also appeared in Legaltech News, an ALM sibling of Internet Law & Strategy.
The views expressed in the article are those of the authors and not necessarily the views of their clients or other attorneys in their firm.