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How to Determine Key Performance Indicators

As part of a strong content marketing strategy for lawyers, it is vitally important to measure the outcome of the content you distribute and its place in your overall marketing plan. This is done by selecting key performance indicators (KPIs), data that is trackable and measurable. 

Think of key performance indicators as a thermometer that measures the efficacy of your efforts. Without measuring the results of a law firm content marketing plan, such as driving traffic to content clusters on your site and what the audience did once it got there, you won’t know whether you’ve succeeded. You also won’t identify opportunities that could lead to new clients nor fix or improve content. What’s learned during content analysis can be invaluable, but if you don’t do it right, there’s no doubt you’ll miss out. Here’s why. 

KPIs help determine how well content performs with respect to a desired goal or objective, and they should be strategically selected. Perhaps you want to raise awareness about a change in legislation that affects those injured in an automobile accident. Your goal is your desired outcome, which is awareness, and tracking a combination of key performance indicators can show whether you succeeded. But there are also objectives to define and strategize, and they have their own KPIs. Objectives are the steps within a content marketing plan that work towards reaching your goals. 

The most effective goals and objectives follow the SMART format; they should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Since goal setting and target audiences are defined at the beginning of a content marketing plan, selecting and leveraging KPIs should demonstrate if your law firm’s goals were achieved, and the right audience was reached.

What KPIs Should Lawyers Monitor?

Commonly tracked KPIs include various metrics, which can provide insight into how well your content marketing campaign is performing. Key performance indicators can also show what portions of your content need improvements. 

While KPI data is seemingly endless and easily overwhelms the average person, there are many highly valuable metrics lawyers should track and analyze. But it’s important to note that what you track must be specific to the type of communication channel or platform used, such as websites, blogs, social media pages and online ads. 

Key Performance Indicator using Business Intelligence metrics to measure achievement versus planned target

Website KPIs

Referral Channel

Many KPIs are tied to your law firm’s website, such as how people find it. This is called a referral channel. Like with business cards, industry networking events and other methods of meeting clients, the referral KPI is a great metric because it shows which marketing channels are used to find your website. Referral channels could be anything from social media pages and guest blog posts on a credible legal website to search engines, newsletters, and other communication gateways.

Unique Page Views and Returning Visitors

With your website being a core tool for attracting new potential clients, tracking unique website and blog traffic are important KPIs for lawyers. Identifying how many website and blog visits you’re getting can tell you how often content is accessed and who’s accessing it. 

Depending on the tool, traffic can be categorized into returning visitors or new visitors. Returning visitors are people who have viewed your website before and could be coming back because the content you’ve published is of value to them. The second category is new visitors. These are people who have never visited your law firm’s website. Steady increases in unique visitors could indicate that your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is working.

Popular Blog Posts and Webpages

An easy but valuable KPI to track is page popularity. If you are utilizing tools like Google Analytics, you can see which of your pages are getting the most views. But it’s important to look past your website’s homepage, contact page, or blog landing page.

Lawyers should be focused on driving traffic to key pages that have clear calls to action or lead to other areas on your site or blog. These include your practice areas and content clusters because they’re supposed to be gateways to relevant and specific content targeted to your audience. If you’ve been marketing these pages but aren’t getting much traffic, it’s time to evaluate your content, messages, internal links, metadata, headlines, and other factors that affect traffic and SEO.

Length of Visit

The length of visit data available through Google Analytics is another key performance indicator to measure. It tracks the length of time, or session duration, visitors spend on your website, from the time they land on it to when they leave or become inactive. Depending on the method of tracking, you might also have access to the average session duration. This KPI shows the average length of time a visitor stays on your website. If the average session duration is longer, your website visitors are finding your content valuable, and they’re navigating through your site. 

Short session durations often mean visitors could not find what they were looking for easily, the content provided wasn’t relevant, or the format and delivery were subpar. It could also mean you may be reaching the wrong audience or ranking for the wrong keywords. However, it’s important to note that sometimes short visits aren’t a negative sign; the visitor may have found what they were looking for quickly, like the answer to a legal question, then left your site.

Bounce Rate

If you’re using Google Analytics, important data worth tracking is the bounce rate. A bounce happens when someone visits your website and then leaves without going past the page they landed on. Getting your audience to click links to learn more or to fill out a contact form is a common objective that contributes to reaching goals, so the bounce rate is a valuable key performance indicator to track. It’s rare to want a website visitor to access one page then leave, though there are times when that’s okay. 

Regularly calculated by percentage, bounce rate can be a key performance indicator to analyze how many people come to your law firm website but don’t interact with it. High bounce rates should be taken seriously because they indicate that either your legal content isn’t resonating with and fulfilling your audience’s needs or that the wrong audience is landing on your site.

Search Engines and Keyword Ranking

How well you rank on Google and what you rank for are important KPIs to monitor. Search engine and keyword ranking refers to your website pages and blog’s position on search engines for specific keywords and phrases. Whether you have an in-house marketing team or hired a consultant to manage website content, search engine and keyword rankings should be regularly tracked and analyzed. Efforts to improve and maintain rankings through search engine optimization (SEO) can then be specific and targeted based on how well content performs. 

The goal of SEO and keyword ranking strategies is to show up in search results for the keywords that matter most to you as a lawyer. If your website is not appearing high on Google for the practice areas and expertise you offer, there’s a reason. Adjusting content and SEO strategies will help improve the overall efficacy of your content marketing plan.

For example, suppose you’re a birth injury lawyer in South Carolina and are running a campaign to attract clients affected by birth injuries. In that case, there are a couple of things you should rank for: the type of law/ practice area, as well as search terms with the city and/or state you practice in. Lawyers need to ensure the right audience is finding their website, and with location keywords integrated into your content, you’ll be better positioned to do so. 

Related: SEO: How It Relates to Lawyer Content Marketing

Social Media KPIs

Another content marketing channel used by virtually every business is social media. Because of the impact and role of social media, several key performance indicators can provide insight into your law firm’s social content. Social media KPIs worth tracking focus on who and how many people see and are affected by your posts, including followers, reach, shares and engagement

Followers refer to the number of people who follow or like your social media page. They’re the people who could potentially see what your law firm posts because they chose to follow you. Unfortunately, organic reach – the number of people who see any given post – is small in today’s landscape. You could have thousands of page likes on Facebook, but your post will only show up in around 5%-7% of your followers’ feeds. While that number is low, an effective strategy that lawyers can use to improve their social reach is to incorporate social media ads and boosted posts. 

The number of shares is another important KPI to keep an eye on. While organic reach is small compared to the number of total followers on social media channels, they can share your content. Since some of their followers and friends will see what they share, your post reach and organic impressions will increase. 

Post engagement is a metric that lawyers should track because it shows how well your posts resonate with your audience and how shareable your social media content is. When you post a blog link on Facebook or Twitter to raise awareness of an important claims deadline, the number of people who click the link, ask questions, share, or leave comments reflects engagement. While engagement can be tricky to encourage, quality and targeted content of interest to your followers can lead to great results. 

The KPIs set for social media efforts often work together with website, blog, and newsletter data. When relevant analytics are tracked across the channels used in a content marketing plan, you’ll get a clear picture of how effective your legal content and messages are. But you need to make sure your social media channel isn’t a personal profile. Lawyers should have a business page or business profile because analytics aren’t available for personal accounts. 

Related: What Are Paid and Organic Social Media Strategies

Newsletter KPIs

Many lawyers produce a digital newsletter sent using an email marketing program like MailChimp or Constant Contact. As with websites and social media, email marketing programs typically gather analytics that can be used to measure performance; email newsletters can be leveraged to track key performance indicators, such as the open rate, unsubscribe rate, and click rate. These KPIs should be analyzed with data gathered through Google Analytics and Google Search Console to see how much web traffic you get from newsletters. 

In addition, most email marketing tools will show which email addresses bounced – addresses it couldn’t be delivered to. A soft bounce means that the newsletter tool will try to send it again, but a hard bounce means the email address will never receive it. Hard bounces are typically from emails that have been deleted or deactivated, and most programs will automatically remove them from your subscriber list. This feature helps maintain a healthy email list and ensures your newsletter analytics are accurate based on those who received it.

KPIs for Online Ads

Ads on digital channels, like search engines, websites, and social media platforms, can drive traffic to your website and reach a greater or more specific audience base. Most search engines, including Google, Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo, offer ads as a way to put your website directly in front of users you may not have previously reached. As with many other types of advertising, a variety of analytics are tracked to measure the results of your law firm’s online ad campaign. 

One of the most important and popular KPIs to track is the clickthrough rate. Calculated as a percentage, clickthrough rate is the number of clicks an ad receives divided by the total number of times the ad is shown (impressions). If you have a high clickthrough rate, it means that users are finding your ad helpful and relevant to what they are looking for. 

If a low clickthrough rate occurs, there are several potential reasons. The ad might not meet the needs of the audience it reaches; it could be targeted to the wrong audience demographic, the language and keywords aren’t right, or the ad might simply be running on the wrong channel. Lawyers should analyze their target audience, goals, and ad content to ensure they’re in line with your law firm’s content marketing plan.

Social Media Ads

Other key performance indicators to track come from social media advertisements. Since such a small percentage of your followers will see any given post, paid ads and boosted posts on social media should complement your non-paid efforts. It’s an opportunity for lawyers to reach more of their target audience and meet content marketing objectives. Measuring the results of your ads will paint a clear picture of how well it impacts the audience.

If you want to reach a new, bigger, or refined target audience, consider paid ads on the social media platform your audience frequents. For example, teens flock to TikTok, while grandparents and moms love Facebook. Knowing where your target audience is will better position your law firm for a successful social media ad campaign and ensure the metrics provided are relevant to your goals. Each social media network offers different advertising options, and the style of ad, including language, graphics, and call to action, should be customized for the platform.

What Tools Organize and Track KPIs?

There are a variety of tools available that organize and track key performance indicators. As the world’s most used website analytics tool, Google Analytics provides a treasure trove of metrics, including page views, session duration, audience demographics, referral channels, and more. 

Social media channels can also provide valuable key performance indicators depending on your needs and the content marketing tools your law firm uses. In most cases, you will need to ensure you have a business account and a page administrator to access and analyze automatically tracked data. 

There are several social media tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, Brandwatch, and Talkwalker that offer greater insight into your social media content efforts and campaigns. They can also manage all of the platforms your law firm uses in one place, and many have features that allow you to create ads and design and execute social media campaigns. Several of these tools offer free but limited functionality, with most requiring a paid subscription. However, the Google Analytics tool is free – it just has to be set up. Once it starts tracking, it can provide insight into whether your social media content is driving website traffic by analyzing the referral channel data.

How Often Should Lawyers Review KPIs? 

Data Analysis for digital Business strategyDepending on a variety of factors, regularly reviewing key performance indicators is important because you should know how your goals and objectives are doing. A good strategy is to review KPIs monthly. Sometimes, shorter timeframes are necessary because the campaign itself was short. Other times, adjusting a content marketing campaign as you go is worth doing too. Some KPIs could be monitored quarterly or even yearly, depending on your objectives and overall business goals. 

While monitoring and analyzing KPIs takes time, it’s a core component of effective content marketing for lawyers. You should know if your hard work is paying off, but also if it’s falling short. Leveraging what’s learned through tracking KPIs can lead to new opportunities and improved content.

Hiring a Content Marketing Firm

Being seen as credible and an authority on a topic, and tracking and analyzing KPIs, takes time and specific skills. Unless you have marketers in-house, creating and executing a content marketing plan can be difficult, and you’re likely to miss opportunities and be limited in your success. 

An experienced lawyer content marketing team will track and evaluate important key performance indicators, ensuring the resources your firm expends are maximized for the greatest impact. The team at The Legal Examiner has extensive experience in content marketing for lawyers and can provide quality content, plans, and strategies to help your firm succeed.