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Lawyers always ask me questions about marketing. Where should I market? Should I spend money on pay-per-click? Should I place a print ad or a digital ad in a publication, and if so, which one?

These questions are important and they certainly require lengthy discussion and analysis of the legal consumer market. However, there is one important question that I rarely hear: how do I track my marketing efforts?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to set up various marketing campaigns. Whether it’s a Google AdWords campaign, a listing on a lawyer directory, or a TV commercial–the venues are seemingly endless, along with the money that can be poured down their respective drains. But, the one thing that most lawyers nearly always fail to address is how to analyze and measure the success of those campaigns once undertaken.

Marketing metrics, once the campaign is set up, should be what you eat, breathe, and sleep (when you are not zealously representing your clients, that is). But many lawyers simply don’t know what to look for. That ends today.

Here are my top 6 tips for effective managing of marketing campaigns:

1. Find a central system and stick to it. It’s very important to keep all metrics related to your marketing in one central database. This makes it easy to analyze and compare each of your campaign efforts. There are many software options that can help with this, such as HubSpot, BringShare, and Google Analytics. A simple Excel workbook can also easily handle this task.

2. Customer Acquisition Cost. This is perhaps the single most important metric. How much are you paying to acquire a particular customer or client? The calculation can be relatively simple. If you spend $10,000 for a month on Google pay-per-click and sign up 2 clients from that campaign, your acquisition cost for those two clients is $5,000. The next question you will then have to ask is how quickly are you recovering that acquisition cost, if you even recover it at all.

3. Beware of vanity metrics. Vanity metrics are metrics that make you feel really good–like everything is working. But in fact, they mean nothing. For instance, it may seem like things are going great after you begin a Google pay-per-click campaign and the phone starts ringing off the hook. Sure, it’s a good start, but the amount of calls coming in off the ad is only the beginning. Those calls are worthless if none of them result in new clients.

4. Make everything measurable. You should NEVER start an advertising campaign that is not measurable. Whether it is website traffic or a unique phone number that is assigned to a yellow page ad, you MUST have a mechanism by which to track every client back to a particular ad. I have chosen not to do several ad campaigns simply because there was no mechanism available to provide me with a surefire way to track the ad’s performance.

5. Identify the points along the funnel. It is very important to identify what points are the important ones in your “sales” cycle. You need to have a clear vision of the first contact point that brings a client into the funnel, right down to the last point in the funnel where that prospect becomes a client of yours. There are many different points along that funnel and identifying them is paramount to maintaining effective metrics.

6. Get rid of campaigns that don’t perform. The last step is to analyze and compare each campaign. If a particular campaign is not driving actual client sign ups, or if the cost of acquiring each client is just too high, eliminate the campaign or attempt to modify the ad in a way that will increase performance. Your data should be actionable.

Metrics are the most important part of a any marketing plan. Good metrics will allow you to drill down and identify your most effective marketing strategies. Once you’ve done so, focus all of your resources on them instead of spreading your valuable budget thin across multiple platforms that are under-performing. It’s not as hard as it sounds. It just takes a little time and dedication. And, trust me–it’s worth it. You’ll thank yourself for it in the end!

–Matt Spiegel

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