A recent BARD Marketing article focused on 5 marketing mistakes frequently executed in law firms. Failure to measure or track the effectiveness of marketing programs was number four on the list. Below are suggested means to measure and test the effectiveness of your marketing efforts:

1) All past, current and new clients should be asked, how did they come to call your firm, AND the answers should be recorded in a way that they can be analyzed globally. This means recording the answers in a computerized format (client management software, spreadsheet, etc.), and periodically evaluating the responses.

If you advertise in specific mediums, a follow up question when the client says “I saw your ad, ” ask, “where”? A little probing may reveal what drove them to call. Recording the responses will require a system that will permit each contact to be registered.

2) Evaluate the ads. Advertising evaluations should be done before any one of the following: beginning of ad campaign, before revising/updating ads, and after an ad campaign has been implemented to see if the intended message was effectively received and how the ads/campaign compared to competing firms’ ads. Advertising, especially on television, is very expensive. Using focus groups and/or surveys to test the effectiveness of your ads can ensure that you get the most return for the advertising investment.

3) Test your firm’s image. By polling past, current and new clients and a community (or target audience) the impact of your advertising efforts/marketing programs can be evaluated. For example, conducting a telephone survey about “lawyers in the area” can help determine whether your ads are being seen, and if so, how people are reacting to the message.

Another approach is to conduct focus groups of those individuals who have hired attorneys to determine the cause of their hiring decision and to assess how they perceive your firm in comparison your competitors.

Another method is to invite clients who have finished engagements with your firm, within the last 6 to 12 months, to participate in a discussion about your legal services. This can build goodwill and lead to referrals. If your clients are businesses or busy executives, one-on-one interviews or telephone calls can be valuable alternatives.

Profile Your Target
Building on part 1 of this topic, creating a profile of your clients, and determining who you want them to be, can help define your marketing efforts and increase success by improving selectivity.

Profiling your target audience involves categorization by demographics or by specific type of practice area. Knowing the needs of your target audience can help to better allocate limited time and the firm’s marketing budget/resources. Further, the profile can help build referral networks because you will be able to discuss what is a desirable client/case type and find attorneys to whom to refer.

Over time, by continuing to evaluate who your clients are, you can determine whether your marketing efforts are reaching these audiences Aligning the message and your marketing efforts to the target audience is critical to efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing program.

Client Satisfaction
Client satisfaction can be measured through the use of post engagement interviews and surveys. The information collected can help to ensure repeat clients, obtain referrals, and help to build your practice. Ensuring that you have satisfied clients is also a way to make your marketing cost effective. If satisfied clients are making referrals, this offsets the need to constantly look for fresh clients.

Measuring satisfaction begins by asking the clients about their experiences. You will undoubtedly learn what they expected and if you failed, met, or exceeded their expectations. The survey can be conducted by your firm or a third party source. And, as with other parts of this series, the final key is developing a way to analyze the results and archive the collected data. This is important so that you can monitor trends and evaluate how each attorney is working toward client satisfaction.

Successful Results
As practicing attorneys you wear many hats in addition to practicing law, which includes operating and marketing your business. Though each attorney defines success differently, for trial lawyers getting good trial or settlement results is the top of the list.

Using the tools and resources available to you from litigation support professionals can improve the outcomes of the cases being handled. For example, mock jury research is extremely helpful in identifying problems with a case and the ways to solve case problems, thus leading to better settlement decisions and trial results. Using those resources to get good results is, in a way, partially a marketing effort. By sharpening your skills, your knowledge, and outcomes, clients understand that you are striving to obtain the best possible results. This improves their satisfaction, and depending on how you use public relations and marketing programs, you can also communicate to prospective clients, opponents, etc., that you are successful.

David Fauss is a partner at Magnus Research Consultants, Inc. Magnus Research provides trial and jury consulting services, and Law Firm Image and Client Satisfaction Study services. Magnus works with marketing firms, such as BARD Marketing, to increase case and client intake through a strategic, customized marketing program tailored specifically from the data collected through surveys, interviews, research and analysis.