The End of Client Alerts: Part II

(as originally published by the National Law Journal on 2/10/2011)

There once was a man who bought a truck and decided to start selling watermelons. Every morning, he would load up the truck, drive to the farmers’ market and fill his truck with watermelons, paying $1 for each melon. He then would drive around selling watermelons until they were all gone. He would charge $1 for every melon. After a couple of weeks, the man became frustrated. He wasn’t making any money, he complained to his friend, who asked him, “Why aren’t you making any money?” He replied, “I think I need a bigger truck.”

Since my article two weeks ago, “The End of Client Alerts May be Exaggerated,” I’ve had the chance to interview clients at a number of large law firms. I asked them how effective their client alerts were. They all shared a similar frustration: Nobody pays attention to the analytics. Nobody tracks which clients alerts are opened at higher rates. Nobody tracks which topics really hit a chord. Even when this information is tracked, it rarely makes it to the attorneys who create the content.

Client alerts are failing because nobody is paying attention to what the clients want. The analytics tell this story.

Let me explain just a few simple ways to get much more out of your analytics.

I write a weekly column here at The National Law Journal, plus I write about one post per week on my business blog, Marketing and the Law: Social Media Edition. At the end of the month I can review the analytics from eight separate articles and ask the question: Which article got the most traffic? Usually there is one clear favorite. Not my favorite article, mind you, but the one that received the most traffic. This is the article I focus on in my e-mail alert. I’m not guessing that it will be a successful alert. I know it will be, because I have the data to back up my assumption.

To increase the success of our marketing campaigns requires that we be tuned-in to our clients and to our industry. Open rates are generally around 22%, so when we send out messages that are opened at a much higher rate, we need to react and not simply buy a bigger truck. Follow the article up with a more in-depth white paper; call the individuals who opened that e-mail (if they have forwarded the e-mail to 100 friends, it might be worth it to make house calls). The data and analytics are useless if we don’t react to what we learn from them. This isn’t just good marketing; this is good business.

Reviewing analytics and making decisions based on these data require new behaviors for already busy attorneys. But it needs to be a priority. These data provide attorneys with the opportunity to work smarter, not harder. If attorneys want to keep writing the same types of alerts and sending them out in the same way without paying attention to analytics, then not only will they be wasting time — they might be interested in a used watermelon truck that just went up for sale.

Adrian Dayton is an attorney and consultant who helps attorneys and practice groups tap into the power of social media to build high-value relationships.


One Response to “The End of Client Alerts: Part II”

  1. Hi Adrian,

    I like the post.

    I think there has been a gross underestimation on the real value of email marketing communications.

    With many simple technologies, with low level analytics, out there people have become used to mediocrity. That goes for a recipient complaining about too much SPAM (irrelevant emails) and marketers content with blasting to merely generate open rates.

    As we know without real in-depth reporting and client intelligence (only available through one or two email marketing firms) email is a waste of time.

    Few people realize that your email marketing technology should be able to report exactly how much time each key client spent reading an attorney’s article and then how long they spent reading that attorney’s bio of the site after clicking through. That sort of client intelligence sounds fantastic doesn’t it? Not just that Mr Smith clicked through or registered a number of repeat views as these can sometimes be misleading – and it certainly isn’t worth a phone call or new business meeting.

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