We have all heard it and many of us say it: “Call today to get your free consultation!” This phrase is so common among lawyer advertisers it would not be unusual for a legal consumer to think a free consultation is one of their inalienable rights. In reality, it is a privilege for prospective clients. The recipient is given a glimpse into the legal mind of a lawyer as the lawyer evaluates their facts.
A free consultation is a beneficial service that works in two ways: it provides the contact with important preliminary information about their legal rights for free, and–for attorneys who advertise this service–it’s a great promotional tool.
All lawyers who provide this free service know that many consultations do not result in paying clients. In such instances, a free consultation can still be used as a tool to further a lawyer’s marketing goals.
The lawyer that provides the consultation can ask the contact where they found the lawyer’s advertisement. This may seem like an obvious marketing research method, but it’s becoming increasingly important for businesses to keep track of the origin of their contacts.
When you conduct a free consultation, consider some of the important pieces of information that you can gather as you provide this helpful service. You can learn about the origin of your contacts. You can evaluate the frequency of contacts from specific origins. And you can crunch your data to spot trends and determine the best places to target your marketing campaign.
Avvo’s latest offering, Avvo Ignite, allows lawyers to track all of their marketing leads in one place through Avvo Ignite’s marketing dashboard. This cloud based software allows you to see which marketing sources are actually driving your business. I have not yet used Avvo Ignite in my personal injury law office, but in my initial thinking about how to better track my marketing efforts, I created a DIY solution in the form of a spreadsheet that has helped to add some transparency to my marketing ROI. There are many ways you can tackle tracking your marketing efforts (via software, forms, etc), but I wanted to share the solution that I put together.
I use the spreadsheet to keep track of contact data that I collect during phone consultations. I want to know more than the general origin of the contact, (e.g., internet, referral, or phone book). If my contact information was found on a search engine, I want to know the particular search engine and what search terms were used to find my office. Review my “Contact Track” spreadsheet. It’s pretty self-explanatory. (You are more than welcome to use it for your office.)
For instructional purposes, I added the kind of data that I would enter into each cell of the spreadsheet. The names and corresponding contact information are fictional.
When and How to Ask for the Marketing Data Questions
It is good practice to ask for the contact’s full name and telephone number at the outset of the conversation. You can also ask where they are calling from. (These three pieces of information can be entered on the Contact Track spreadsheet under the second column.) Then, if the caller has not started to talk about their legal issue, you can invite them to share what prompted them to call.
Once the contact has given an initial explanation about their issue, you can now tell them that you would be happy to provide them with a free consultation, but you would first like to ask them 4-5 questions. The questions are designed to collect valuable information about how the contact found your office. It’s worth mentioning that you should have a flexible approach when you ask the marketing data questions. Some consultations are not a good fit for marketing research.
How to Use the Contact Track Spreadsheet
The only two columns that probably require further explanation are the ones titled “Site Link” and “Web Result.” Both of these columns apply to contacts that originated from results returned on search engines.
- Contact Clicked on Your Site Link
If your website was one of the results returned by a search engine and the contact clicked on your site’s link and found your office information, then you would write “Yes” under the “Site Link” column and you would leave the “Web Result” column blank.
- Other Web Result
If your website link was not returned by the search engine, or if it was, but the contact found your information in another web result like an online lawyer directory, a citation source such as Yelp, or even your Facebook business page, then you would write “No” in the “Site Link” cell. Then write the name of the web result where your office information was found under the “Web Result” column. You will find examples on the spreadsheet.
- No Information on Site Link or Web Result
When a contact finds your information online but doesn’t remember whether they reached your website link or a web result for your office, then enter a question mark in the cells under these two columns.
Make the Contact Track spreadsheet part of your free consultation practice and you will glean important information from your marketing data. Over time, you will be able to analyze patterns and trends. You can use this collective information to determine where your time and money is best spent in your marketing campaign. This is information that any savvy business owner can appreciate.