Session 2: Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on legal marketing websites
How would you evaluate your firm’s response to the COVID-19 crisis? What impact has it had on your website’s traffic and resulting visitor engagement? Could you be better prepared the next time a crisis hits, and what role will your current tech stack play?
Alexander Kotler (00:07): Greetings and thank you for tuning into the second session of the Ruby Law 3x15 Webinar Series, Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Legal Marketing Websites. The Ruby Law 3x15 Webinar Series is a three-part quick bite virtual program featuring expert practitioners and key members of the Ruby Law team. Each rapid fire session will be 15 minutes long and will also be available for viewing afterward if you can't participate in the entirety of the webinar, or if you'd like to share it with your colleagues afterward.
Alexander Kotler (00:43): Today's program features Ann Kalodis, marketing content manager at Kramer Levin an Am Law 100 firm that prides itself in providing proactive, creative, and pragmatic solutions for clients across a range of challenging legal issues. Ann leverages her skills in corporate website management, web content writing, news and creative writing, and social media. She holds a degree from Pace University's Lubin School of Business.
Alexander Kotler (01:11): Our focus in this session is on assessing the impact of COVID-19 on legal marketing websites and perhaps most importantly, what key performance indicators are indicating. Before we start today's session, a brief word about our next and final session, Launching the 2020 Legal Marketing Technology Stack. If you haven't registered yet, please do. We'll be providing a link. Also, if you missed our first session, managing legal web properties during a crisis, you can check it out via the bit.ly link on screen. Finally, if you'd like to ask any questions, please submit them via the Q&A module in Zoom, we'll respond to as many as possible in our session recap email after the webinar ends.
Alexander Kotler (01:58): Without further ado, let's dive in for today's session, Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Legal Marketing Websites. During our recent conversation with Molly Porter of Seyfarth we learned that when the firm launched its resource center it had a total of 18 legal updates and blog posts. The firm now has more than 300. Its resource center has generated nearly 50,000 unique visits, how did that happen? Having a flexible, scalable, and customizable template played a role, so did publishing highly relevant content. Uh, it's impressive how quickly Seyfarth mobilized its team, as well as how voluminous its corpus of content has quickly grown, so is surpassing 50,000 unique visits, although this figure is relative and cannot be used as an industry or even Am Law 100 benchmark. What's important is how Seyfarth will translate these measurements into follow-on actions, that's part of what we'll talk about with Ann today.
Alexander Kotler (03:05): Before we do, let's consider a catalyst, in this case, it's a global health crisis. That catalyst inspires content creation, the types of media may range, but aren't important in and of themselves. What's critical is that the content ladders up to some broader strategy with its own objectives, including, revenue growth, an improved net-promoter score, great visibility or awareness by target audiences and conversion and downloads. But to know whether an initiative is truly objectively successful, one must measure performance.
Alexander Kotler (03:47): For most, Google Analytics is a core instrument for tracking metrics, as is Ruby Law for those that use our platform. There are other tools available. Let's take a quick look at two metrics, unique page views and time on page. We analyzed nearly a dozen Am Law 100 websites and looked at their traffic between March 1st and May 1st of this year. We compared that period against the same in 2019. Here we have three different firms, please note non are Kramer Levin. The orange reflects unique page views in 2019. You can see that unique page views last year are reflected by regularly occurring tidal waves. During 2020 though, each firm as experienced considerable spikes in unique page views for the same period.
Alexander Kotler (04:39): Let's look at three more firms now. And again, none are Kramer Levin, and another metric, time on page. The orange line reflects the time visitors spent on site pages in 2019, in 2020 during the same period that time has dramatically increased. Finally, drilling down on a single page, rather than site-wide, we can see another three firms and apologies, again we are excluding Kramer Levin, and their practice pages or the equivalent, whether services, industries, or area of expertise. And we see that during the same period, these sections didn't receive the same attention during this year. To better understand these patterns, let's now turn our focus to Kramer Levin and hear from Ann Kalodis. And Jaron will take it from here.
Jaron Rubenstein (05:32): Thank you Alex. And welcome Ann. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Ann Kalodis (05:37): Thank you for having me.
Jaron Rubenstein (05:40): Of course. Um, le- let's start at the top. So, um, what can you tell us about the approach that Kramer Levin took in response to COVID-19?
Ann Kalodis (05:48): Well I think very early on, you know, when things really started to break, um, there was an awareness within the firm that there was going to be, um, an appetite for, um, any kind of content related to COVID-19 in terms of legal developments, um, and how this is going to affect business. Um, so we took an approach early on to, um, create a, a dedicated resource, um, for COVID-19, um, and for that content, and we built out a guide where people can come in and search by topic area, um, and just have a nice neat kind of house, uh, for all this, uh, great content that our attorneys are pushing out.
Jaron Rubenstein (06:40): Now af- after you, after you launch the guide, um, what kind of observations did you notice in terms of traffic?
Ann Kalodis (06:49): Well certainly we saw, um, when we compared our pre-COVID, um, traffic to, um, that first month about mid-March through the end, we just saw, just an enormous increase in the number of, uh, page views, sessions to users overall. Um, that has, um, continued month-to-month since. Um, the growth may not be, um, as exponential as it initially was, um, but it's certainly, um, still been, uh, an uptick over our usual traffic.
Jaron Rubenstein (07:29): Right. Right. No, that's, that, that's good to hear. And, and in terms of that audience, uh, or, or I should say those visits, um, do you have a sense of where those visits were coming from, where was your audience coming from?
Ann Kalodis (07:41): Yeah we found that, um, we really had three main sources of traffic. Um, it was either direct traffic coming from our email campaigns, um, Google was like our number one kind of, uh, site refer, uh, and then we also found we were getting a fair amount of traffic, uh, from social media, particularly LinkedIn.
Jaron Rubenstein (08:06): Excellent. Excellent. Um, was that, um ... Do you have a sense of, of, of in that audience which of those were clients and which were prospects, or, no non-clients?
Ann Kalodis (08:18): Yeah well that's one of the, um, kind of, uh, projects we've been undertaking since is going through all of that data and determining, you know, who are our clients, um, that are engaging with this? What are they reading? What is, uh, of interest to them? Um, who are the people, um, that are not clients, are th- what are they reading? Um, is there, um, are, are there clients from other groups that are reading, um, content, um, from a different practice? Um, are there opportunities there? Um, so we're looking at all these different sources. Um, in terms of social media, we're also interested in, you know, what are the demographics, you know? Where are they coming from? What industries? Um, you know, what companies? Um, 'cause there are also potential opportunities there as well, um, in terms of, you know, who might know whom?
Ann Kalodis (09:17): And, we're really, you know, in a position right now where we're trying to kinda connect the dots for our lawyers, uh, so that they're able to go out there and, um, you know, initiate these conversations.
Jaron Rubenstein (09:30): Yeah, no, of course, and, and turn those, turn those into leads into business, right? Um, was, was there any particular kinds of content or, or topics that stood out in the metrics?
Ann Kalodis (09:42): Um, you know I have to say that, you know, there's been an enormous appetite, um, for a lot of the, um, SBA, and the paycheck protection program updates. Um, people are very, uh, interested in that. Um, real estate has been another, um, driver of a lot of that traffic, um, because ... and real estate and unemployment as well I think, um, have both been big, uh, areas of interest, um, because I think those have, um, a lot of application across the board, um, not just for, you know, employment clients or real estate clients, but across, you know, many different clients in industries, um, they're all kind of facing those same sorts of challenges so.
Jaron Rubenstein (10:30): Right. Right, so across industry and, and across sec- a- across practice areas as well it sounds like, yeah. Are there, um ... you know, with that information, with the metrics and seeing what your audience has been interested in, what visitors have been consuming, um, are there any plans to do more with that content as a next step?
Ann Kalodis (10:52): Do you know, there's considerations about, you know, how do we repurpose some of that content? Are there certain things we could be doing? You obviously can't do it with every piece of content, you really have to, you know, take into con- um, on a case-by-case basis what it is and what the interest is. Um, but I think there are certain pieces of content that yeah, we can say, you know, maybe we can repurpose it as a webinar, um, maybe we do an infographic, you know? Maybe it's just, um, a personal email, um, to, you know, a potential, uh, client, or an existing client. Um, so there's there's different avenues I think you can take with, you know, just a single alert and, um, you know, kinda make it a, a broader campaign.
Jaron Rubenstein (11:43): Yeah that makes sense. And the audience has already told you via the metrics, what, what they're interested in, right?
Ann Kalodis (11:48): Exactly.
Jaron Rubenstein (11:49): So you can [crosstalk 00:11:49] on that, so that, that's excellent. That sounds like a great strategy. Um, you know something we heard from Molly on our last session was that, um, the lawyers in their firm inside Seyfarth were really eager to publish content and, and provide value to their clients and prospects in a way that, uh, maybe wasn't always so easy to come by for marketers in the past, um, did you also experience something similar at Kramer Levin?
Ann Kalodis (12:11): We did, yes. You know, we heard from, um, yo- we usually have, you know, like our core group of authors, you know, people that are, on a consistent practices, that are consistently publishing. Um, but this time, we found that, you know, we have writers and practices kind of, um, really emerging, um, because of this. And I think a lot of it just has to do with just, you know, what's going on and the developments that are coming out.
Ann Kalodis (12:43): Um, and I think that just what's so interesting with this is that it really ... this is an event that is affecting every sector and every, um, you know, component of, uh, businesses, um, it's, it's employment, it's immigration, it's real estate, it's, it's bankruptcy, it's litigation, it's, it's corporate considerations, there's just so many, um, different things happening that you know, I think it's given a lot of our, our lawyers, um, an opportunity to really, um, write on, on this topic.
Jaron Rubenstein (13:21): Yeah, yeah. Hopefully it will spark a, a renaissance in content marketing for legal marketers (laughs). Bet you'll have more-
Ann Kalodis (13:28): Fingers crossed, yeah.
Jaron Rubenstein (13:29): Yeah. That would make things a lot easier, right?
Ann Kalodis (13:31): Right, mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jaron Rubenstein (13:31): Excellent, and it, and it sounds like the metrics really help to really drive some of those internal, uh, um, you know, decisions or I'm sure folks are looking for that information, right? How is my content performing?
Ann Kalodis (13:43): Absolutely, yeah, yeah. We, we've made it a point to really, um, provide feedback, you know, to, um, the attorneys about, you know, how these different, um, alerts and everything are performing. Um, you know, some things are, are working better than others, you know? Some, some, you know, topics are of greater interest.
Jaron Rubenstein (14:08): Yeah.
Ann Kalodis (14:08): Um, and I think that's why it's important too to ... you really can't just say, "Well, you know, I have, uh, an employment alert, so this just needs to go to our employment list," you know? I think you really have to look on a case-by-case basis, really what's, what's this about? What is the content saying, you know? Is there a broader application for this? Would this be of interest to more than just, you know, our employment clients, you know? Do our, our real estate clients know about this? Do, um, our immigration clients need to know? So, um, I think when, when you're, you're developing, you know, these campaigns, you have to be mindful of exactly what the content is, because I think there's a tendency just to splash it everywhere, or just to splash it within, you know, their own silo, their own practice. Um-
Jaron Rubenstein (14:56): Right.
Ann Kalodis (14:56):
But I think you really do have to be, to be mindful and take these things on a case-by-case basis.
Jaron Rubenstein (15:03):
Excellent. Excellent. Thank you Ann. That, that, that's really, really great insights. Um, before we close our session, we just wa- we wanted to share three quick takeaways. Um, some of which we just discussed and some are others that we've, um, we explored ahead of, ahead of the, uh, conversations today. Um, but one of them was really about defining metrics from the outset to enable more effective analysis, um, and more actionable decision-making, right? Knowing what those metrics are, uh, at the start, makes it a lot easier later on to, um, I think to, uh, to analyze them, right?
Ann Kalodis (15:34): Right.
Jaron Rubenstein (15:34): And, and, if you can, if you can work that into your process, that's amazing and that, that helps things later on. Um, definitely, um, something you shared, uh, was ensuring that your customer segmentations and your, your data cleanliness of mailing list were, were key, very important because when you need them at the drop of a hat like, like you and many other firms did at this point, um, important to have that clean data.
Jaron Rubenstein (15:55): Um, and then what you just shared about, you know, not all initiative needs to be aligned with a practice, right? So, there's many of that across practices and, and, and this is an ideal environment for clients that maybe were using the firm for one service, um, realize that you can help them with so many more. And then, in this kind of crisis environment, um, that's a way that you can provide so much more value to your clients. Um, so thank you so much for sharing that. And now with that, back to you Alex.
Ann Kalodis (16:19): Thank you.
Alexander Kotler (16:21): And with that, I want to thank Ann Kalodis for participating in today's session. Thank you also to Jaron Rubenstein. And thank you to our audience. We'll be following up by email to provide you with a link to watch this session, as well as responses to any questions which we have received, so thank you for that as well. Please be sure to register for our final installation on May 28th by the link at the top right. And we'll see you next time for Launching the 2020 Legal Marketing Technology Stack.