One of the most recent marketing deceptions perpetrated on lawyers has become call tracking services. Unlike other forms of advertising, legal marketers tout the “objective” analysis of phone tracking as a valuable tool to enable lawyers to measure the effectiveness of their respective advertising campaigns.
Seems to make sense doesn’t it? If as a lawyer I am able to access a report of all calls made to my office should I not be able to determine the return on my advertising investment?
In theory the answer should be yes. However, based upon prior experience in conjunction with dialogue with other lawyers, here is how I unfortunately see your phone tracking research to unfold.
In the majority of cases no nefarious activity will take place with which to be concerned with when referencing daily/monthly phone tracking activity from a paid marketing service provider. In such cases lawyers need not concern themselves with the legitimacy of the calls allegedly coming into their offices. However, what they would need to concern themselves with is not the legitimacy of calls, but lack of substantive call activity to track.
Inevitably, when trying to uncover the root causes for a failed lawyer phone tracking campaign, focus can be paid to marketing corporations who have the means by which to sprinkle pay per call leads to the smattering of legal clients paying for an online presence. At various times of the month, rankings may very well be manipulated to achieve such outcomes in the hopes both you and your competitors will be able to reference some activity from your investment. It should go without saying that such a marketing set up will never allow for legal dominance within a respective community, much less over your legal competitors.
For those lawyers seeking to achieve that dominance through “exclusive” top rank advertisements, I would highly advise that needed attention be paid to the potential for manipulation of your phone tracking monthly results. It has not been an isolated occurrence for lawyers to express disillusion that the seeming voluminous phone tracking data as to incoming calls has not been reflected in higher client retention numbers.
In fact, I have learned that in the wake of such discrepancies it has been legal secretaries and support staff who have too often born the brunt of blame when in reality the legitimacy of call volume activity has not thought to have been called into question.
For example, when reviewing call tracking activity, lawyers may question whether secretaries have been keeping potential clients needlessly on hold, or failing to take messages properly as explanations as to why an increase in client caseloads have not materialized. Although legal support staff may not always perform to an optimum level in the area of client service, dare I suggest another explanation to account for the seeming inability to increase a client caseload where phone tracking suggests an increase in call volume.
Yes, in the competitive world of internet marketing geared to capturing lawyer advertising dollars, unethical practices may sometimes be permitted to let us say “skew” the statistical data provided to you, the high volume lawyer advertiser.
As a high volume lawyer advertiser, significant attention may very well be paid to your account and keeping you satisfied. However, this attention may often not be through strategizing effective marketing strategies aimed to enhance your legal practice, but rather through efforts to manipulate your marketing data to create the illusion that you have paid a marketing partner you can rely on.
Without naming names, my own personal experience with a so called “legitimate’ national legal marketing service provider was one that caused me to question the phone tracking data being provided to me. Quite simply, the alleged phone volume activity was certainly not reflecting an increase in my phone consultations with prospective clients. Even if I were mistaken in that regard, my monthly income was most definitively not outpacing the monthly revenues being paid to this particular legal marketing service.
By and large my intention in conveying this information is not to impugn the integrity of the practice of using phone tracking services as a valuable tool with which to assess return on a lawyer’s marketing investment dollar.
What I am saying is that I believe that investing whole heartedly in this form of legal marketing may very well be fraught with peril. Not merely due to to the potential manipulation of call data, but most often due to the ineffective results such strategies provide to lawyers seeking the most effective means with which to build a strong client base.