Tracking Inbound Marketing ROI in the Legal Industry

blog author
Chris Murvine
CEO | Founder

Inbound marketing results in the legal industry can be difficult to track accurately.

From the client's perspective, choosing a lawyer relies heavily on in-person meetings and consultations to result in a final sale. While digital tactics can be great for leading prospects to an attorney’s office, it doesn't mean closed deals.

With that said, there are two marketing ROI formulas relevant to legal professionals, and the formula your law firm will use depends on which services you offer and your target clientele.

How to calculate inbound marketing ROI for one-time clients:

(Profit — Investment) / Investment

Law firms that focus on one-time or short-term client relationships like Divorce & Family Law, Small Claims, certain areas of Criminal Defense, etc. should use the formula above to calculate the return on investment from inbound marketing.

How to calculate inbound marketing ROI for retainer-based clients:

(Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) — Investment) / Investment

Law firms that focus on practice areas that require longer-term relationships like Business & Corporate Law, Wills & Trust, etc. should use the formula above to calculate the return on investment from inbound marketing.

There are additional variables that can be calculated but those tend to be relevant for larger enterprises with dedicated Sales teams and/or complex Overhead expenses.

If necessary, subtract overhead allocations and incremental expenses from the numerator and you’ll have a more accurate overall calculation.

How do we know which clients were influenced by online touch points?

Unfortunately without an advanced analytics platform, this is very difficult to know. But it can be done.

First, identify your primary conversion action. This is most likely a submission on a ‘Contact Us’ page form submission or an inbound phone call.

Next, identify likely “conversion assists” that can be used to funnel visitors to that ‘Contact Us’ page or phone number. Typically, website-based conversion assists will happen at four areas:

1. Homepage

Place a call-to-action in a visible place on the homepage that links visitors directly to the Contact Us page.

2. Blog

If your firm maintains a blog, articles that the potential to be powerful magnets for search engine-originated traffic.

Every blog post you publish should include an invitation to get in touch with a link to your ‘Contact Us’ page. If you offer a free initial consultation, mention that valuable next step here as well.

3. High-Traffic Internal Pages like Associate Profiles and Areas of Practice

Inbound prospects typically focus on a law firm’s individual associates and areas of practice upon first visit. Including calls-to-actions on these pages is a must as it's the next logical step for someone interested in working with your firm.

High trafficked profile pages
Profile pages are often high-traffic zones on law firm websites.

4. Chat tools

Online chat tools are becoming a more popular way for website visitors to quickly reach out to someone they want to interact with. While it may not be possible to man your chat all times, many tool (like Drift) enable users to set up away messages and filtering systems that allow chat participants to better find where they need to go or leave a message with the expectation that someone will get in touch.

Keeping track of leads who've come to you through the above-mentioned paths. Marketing systems like HubSpot even keep track of CTA engagement metrics without having to do additional set-up.

Once a Prospect Lands on Your Contact Us Page

Because this page is where your firm’s primary conversion happens, don’t include options for much else. This page should have two things:

1. A brief form (Name, Email, Phone)

2. A phone number with a dedicated call tracking number. (Address and map as well)

We always try to encourage our professional service clients, especially attorneys, to use a call tracking service. Phone calls tend to be where the online-offline split occurs, so it’s a good idea from a decision-maker standpoint to be able to demonstrate return on the inbound thread that led to the call.

Going Big: Marketing Automation Software

You may have a need if you’re a larger firm to use marketing automation software like HubSpot, especially if you're running an active inbound marketing strategy that involves additional conversion opportunities outside of your contact us page.

But you don’t have to be big to benefit. The all-in-one marketing system is great for small firms, ideally at the beginning of a new web build project in which you can develop upon HubSpot’s Content Management System.

Consider this option if you plan to outsource your law firm’s inbound marketing to an agency partner: both firms will be operating out of the same dashboard, so it’s easier to keep everyone working toward the same goals.

Ultimately, accurately tracking ROI on inbound in the legal industry won’t be effortless. But, if you choose the right formula, focus the prospects toward specific conversion points, and have the right measurement systems in-place, you’ll be off to a great start.

Looking for more information on building a digital marketing plan specific to the legal industry? Check out our guide to law firm marketing.


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