How to Find Marketing ROI and Why You Need It

Clear & Convincing Feature Article

Make Contact Information Work for You

We've celebrated Thanksgiving, the holiday season has begun, the end of the year is approaching and it's time to plan for 2016. For law firms, marketing planning starts with looking back at your business development strategy to determine its cost and results.

A marketing strategy comprises promoting the firm online, in print, on radio, TV or at in-person events. The question is does each channel produce the ideal clients you want? And, are you getting good value for the money spent on those efforts? In order to plan for the next year, you need to calculate the return on investment (ROI) for each aspect of your marketing.

While not all marketing is equal, meaning some efforts take longer to produce results, the following three steps will give you information you can use:

  1. Track the leads generated from the Web, print ads, radio, television, lectures and event sponsorships,
  2. Determine the costs of those leads,
  3. Decide which efforts produce quality prospects and which need fine-tuning.

To calculate the ROI for mailing or e-mailing information to clients:

  1. Count the number of pieces being mailed or e-mailed.
  2. Determine the cost for producing the piece including cost of graphics, lawyer time to write content and staff time to distribute.
  3. Divide the costs by the number distributed to determine cost per item.
  4. Now, track responses from recipients. Divide this number by the total distributed to provide percentage of impact.
  5. If work is generated, estimate the revenue versus the cost to produce. This is your ROI.

Use one of the web analytics programs to track the results of your website. The software can provide details such as how many visited the site, how many were new, how they came to the site, how long they stayed and what links they clicked on to read more. With this information you can determine ROI and under-performing site content that needs changes.

Assessing the impact of your efforts is vital to planning. One method is to ask your receptionist to keep a record of telephone inquiries, including how they came to call the firm. Also include a line on your new-client information sheet for identifying referrals. Capture the same information from all prospects no matter how they come to your office. In this way, you can easily compare results to the costs of your business endeavors to determine the ROI.

Know that some marketing strategies such as volunteerism, sponsorship of events, pro bono work or sitting on boards may score low in immediate financial results but still generate brand awareness and plant seeds for future business. Keep them as part of your long-term planning.

It can be difficult to evaluate the marketing return on investment for a law firm, but it is worth the time and effort. Using the information, you can make educated marketing decisions; investing more time where results are good and reworking those areas that don't produce. 2016 could be the year where you are on solid footing for your marketing plan, which will bring in more clients and a better yield on your marketing costs.

Roberta GubbinsRoberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.

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