Your Marketing Scorecard – Web sites

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Your Marketing Scorecard – Web sites Marci Taylor

A client will almost never hire your firm because of its web site.  However, we know from countless studies, interviews and published articles that general and in-house counsel and other law firm clients use a firm’s web site to validate their selection, confirm qualifications, assess your areas of strength/depth (or lack thereof) and ultimately, make their hiring decision.  How frequently do you review your site’s performance and assess what is working and what is not?

Firms invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in their web sites over time, and there are a myriad of analytics that can be used to track their effectiveness. Some key metrics to track include: number of unique visitors; bounce rate; time spent on the site and particular pages on the site; which pages receive the most traffic (Which of your firms practice areas? Industry specialties? Lawyer biographies?); how visitors are getting to your site (Search engines? Your firm’s advertisements? Directories? Email campaigns? Blogs? Social Media?).

If your web site is like most law firm sites, the most frequently visited pages are your lawyer biography pages, typically by a large margin. A lawyer’s online biography is one of the most important marketing tools and often the most neglected. Yet many of the most experienced lawyers fail to update their bios with their recent matters and types of experience. For marketing professionals who struggle to get lawyers to update their bios, providing information on how many times lawyer bios are viewed each month (often 50, 100 or more times per month) can make a compelling argument as to why updating bios is so crucial.

Interestingly, despite the time and attention given to them, practice area descriptions pages are usually visited far less frequently than lawyer bio pages.  That is not to say that your practice area pages should be ignored.  Regular updates regarding a practice area’s experience and areas of specialty are essential.  Reviewing your practice area analytics to determine which are getting the most hits and what contents users are clicking/viewing can give marketers a good sense of client interests.

Of note, while firms have invested in recent years in highlighting their industry experience in addition to substantive specialties, industry pages often have the lowest number of hits on firm sites.  Having said that, the same caveat with regard to updated and relevant content applies.

Looking forward, law firm web site developers suggest that firms will begin to use cookies and other tools commonly used in other industries to shift law firm web sites from informational tools to true lead generation vehicles. A recent white paper from law firm web site developer Great Jakes, suggests that firm sites will, in fact, become “lead nurturing sites” rather than online brochures. Great Jakes’ founder Robert Algeri says, “You can track website visitors by name. This is incredibly powerful data. It will revolutionize the field of legal marketing by shifting it from being an art to a science.”

What metrics do you find most valuable for your firm’s web site? Please leave a comment below and let us know.

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