Content marketing is an industry worth over $400 Billion. In both B2B and B2C, marketers report about one third of their budget going toward content, and many law firms are investing even more. The industry is booming because content marketing typically generates three times as many leads as traditional law firm marketing and often costs much less.
Thoughtful content marketing positions law firms as thought leaders, builds brand awareness, and can help generate new leads. But a smart content marketing strategy goes beyond those concepts and contributes to new businesses and generates a positive return on investment (ROI). Here’s the tricky part – there are a lot of moving parts involved in a law firm’s content marketing strategy, so measuring and tracking success and ROI can be tricky. Here are some tips for law firm marketers looking to make sense of their efforts.
1. Define the purpose of your ROI.
Before you can set a strategy and define metrics, you need to understand why you’re measuring in the first place. Many law firm marketers are so intent on demonstrating value that they hone in on vanity metrics that aren’t really that helpful. Focus on creating a clear picture of what your content marketing is doing. For example, web traffic might be a helpful metric to look at if you’re simply trying to grow your audience – but if you’re looking for new leads, you need to understand how much of that traffic ended up completing the desired action (say, filling out a contact form or downloading a lead magnet).
2. Be strategic about defining your metrics.
There are truly dozens of KPIs you can look at to track content performance. That doesn’t mean you should be tracking all of them, however. The most important metrics to pay attention to are those tied to your overall firm goals – and those might change over time. Make sure the defined metrics are always telling your content’s story.
3. Identify your consumption metrics.
Once you determine your primary content marketing goals and the tactics you’ll use to achieve them, you need to choose which metrics to track. Here are some sample metrics to keep an eye on, depending on which business goals you’re focusing on.
To measure the ROI of content marketing for SEO:
- Organic Search Traffic
- Search Visibility
- Bounce Rate
- Referral Traffic
To measure the ROI of content marketing for lead generation:
- Average Lead Score
- Lead Conversions
- On-Site Analytics
- Referral Traffic
To measure the ROI of content marketing for thought leadership:
- Social Shares and Engagement
- Content Syndication
- On-Site Analytics
- Press Opportunities
- Speaking Engagements
4. Ask yourself: Is your content motivating action?
If your content is engaging, that’s a start. You can use tools like Hootsuite or Buzzsumo to see how your content stacks up against competitors. However, effective content goes beyond just being interesting. Which pieces of content are generating the most leads? You can use Google Analytics to see where visitors go, and have a clear understanding of the path they take from viewing content to entering your lead funnel.
You can calculate your general lead generation conversion rates like this: Number of leads collected/total traffic to site x 100. Then, determine your lead-value price. First, determine how much each lead is worth. Then determine your total cost of creating and promoting your website content for the month. Anything beyond your baseline is potential ROI.
5. Discover the impact your web traffic has on conversions.
Once you’ve collected information on all of the conversions for the specified time period, you need to analyze which happened as a result of your content marketing efforts. Start with organic traffic coming from search engines, since most of this traffic comes from your content marketing strategy (inbound links). Consider referral traffic and social media traffic as well. After collecting all of this information, filter out any conversions that you absolutely can’t attribute to content – and the number remaining is likely driven by content marketing strategy.
6. Before calculating ROI, add up your total content marketing spend.
If you use a marketing agency to develop and market your law firm’s content, they can pull this for you. If you create items in-house or use contractors, there will be a few steps involved. Add up all time spent on content, including other expenses such as a video production company or lunch with a local journalist. You can break costs down by campaign, but typical reporting includes a total monthly spend.
7. Do the math: calculate the ROI of your content.
Since revenue is what ultimately drives your firm, it’s critical to be able to tie marketing efforts to it. Generally speaking, an ROI formula is this: (Return-Investment)/Investment x 100. Compare these numbers to what you spend each week, month, etc – and you’ll have a clear picture of how your budget impacts your bottom line.
Remember that figuring out your content marketing ROI isn’t just a way to pat yourself on the back (although you should feel free to do that too). It’s a way to inform your actual strategy. Your goal is to ensure that money spent is worthwhile, and contributing to results that are aligned with your law firm’s overall business objectives. Following these metrics will also help you determine what works, and better hone your efforts for more effective legal marketing over time.
We’ve shared a couple of factors that go into calculating law firm content marketing ROI, but it never hurts to bring in an experienced agency for an analysis as well. We can help make sure your content is tied to firm goals and that your efforts are directly contributing to your firm’s bottom line. Contact us for a consultation today.