Your Website’s Traffic Report, Part 1: Things Aren’t What They Seem

Check your website analytics one morning, and either of these results would make your day:

  • Your firm received 10,000 website visits
  • Your firm ranked on the first page of Google

With metrics like these, it must be obvious that you and your firm are doing something right in your online marketing.

Or are you? What if you also discovered that neither of these happy results was bringing more calls to your office? What if you found that your caseload was actually decreasing?

The title of a new white paper from FindLaw summarizes this situation succinctly: “Your Traffic Report is Lying to You.” The white paper demonstrates that attorneys are often fooled by their online marketing’s performance. Lawyers too frequently focus on rank or traffic and lose sight of their true goal—namely, more and better cases.

By no means do the white paper’s findings undercut this fundamental truth: Online marketing is an increasingly essential strategy for attracting new clients. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 85 percent of the population of the United States is connected to the Internet. What’s more, FindLaw’s 2014 Consumer Legal Needs Survey estimates that 26 million people will have a legal need this year—and of those seeking legal information, 79 percent will use the Internet to find it.

Forward-thinking law firms know the value of digital marketing. They also need to determine how to measure its effectiveness.

Missing the Complete Picture

As the white paper notes, traditional marketing channels like TV ads, direct mail and billboards are primarily one-way streets: The advertiser talks, and the audience listens (or doesn’t). These tactics have established ways of measuring a campaign’s success—the percentage response to a direct mail piece, for instance.

On the Internet, by contrast, marketing is more like a conversation where businesses and consumers have a voice and the power to impact purchasing decisions. Because of this interactive nature, measuring the success of online marketing is more challenging. Law firms have adapted a variety of tactics to reach the online legal consumer. But those firms don’t always have a clear sense of how to measure the effectiveness of those tactics. That can lead to wrong conclusions about what’s working, what’s not and how to act on it.

As we’ve noted, one of the most common ways firms determine the success of their websites is by counting the number of visitors. And that makes perfect sense. The problem is, that number doesn’t tell you the complete story. In fact, the more you rely solely on traffic as a measure of your online marketing success, the more likely you are to respond in ways that don’t actually bring you new clients.

In part 2, we’ll look at why your traffic report lies. The reason, in brief: The Internet has changed—indeed, it’s constantly changing. But many attorneys’ digital marketing hasn’t caught up with those changes. So we’ll also offer some ways to get at the truth about your online marketing’s performance.

Can’t wait for part 2? Download the full white paper today.

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