Episode No: 386


In this episode, Zack Glaser talks with Chris Nelson and Jason Tatum from CallRail about how lawyers with a lot of inbound marketing should be tracking their marketing ROI.

Points of Note:

  • 2:50 — Tracking marketing metrics for my law firm
  • 9:01 — Tracking analytics with CallRail
  • 14:01 — Building a strong foundation for investing in marketing


Zack Glaser

Zack Glaser is the Legal Tech Advisor at Lawyerist, where he assists the Lawyerist community in understanding and selecting appropriate technologies for their practices. He also writes product reviews and develops legal technology content helpful to lawyers and law firms. Zack is focused on helping Modern Lawyers find and create solutions to help assist their clients more effectively.


CallRail is a marketing tracking platform for small to large businesses. Lawyers can use it to track multiple potential client sources, and determine the return on their marketing investments.

Episode Transcript

Transcript automatically created.

Announcer   (00:03):

Welcome to The Lawyerist Podcast, a series of discussions with entrepreneurs and innovators about building a successful law practice in today’s challenging and constantly changing legal market. Lawyerist supports attorneys, building client-centered, and future-oriented small law firms through community, content, and coaching both online and through the Lawyerist Lab. And now from the team that brought you The Small Firm Roadmap and your podcast hosts

Zack (00:35):

Hey y’all I’m Zach Glaser, the legal tech advisor here at Lawyerist. And this is episode 386 of the Lawyerist podcast. Today we’re diving into another sponsored podcast episode in these we’re joined by a legal voice or company, and we discuss the newest features, happenings and trends in the legal world. Again, we’re excited to offer these episodes to our audience, and we hope you enjoy them today. I’m joined by Chris Nelson and Jason Tatum of CallRail. We’ll be talking about how lawyers with a lot of inbound marketing should be tracking their marketing ROI.

Chris (01:09):

Hi, I’m Chris Nelson and I am the senior manager of legal marketing at CallRail. I have started here over the last two months. Previously practiced for about six years in small and mid-sized law firms, and then worked in sales and marketing for the next 10 afterwards.

Jason (01:25):

And I’m Jason Tatum. I’m the senior director of product here at CallRail. Been here for nearly six years, worked on every area of the platform. I have a lovely wife and a nearly three year old daughter and a son. Who’s gonna be here in about eight weeks. Oh man. And live right here in Atlanta, Georgia.

Zack (01:46):

That’s fantastic. Well guys, I, I really appreciate y’all being with me today and obviously y’all have a lot of the expertise to, to really dig into this. And we could probably go on for a long time on this topic, but we’re talking about something that a lot of attorneys I think think is a step out there beyond what they really think about in their, their day to day. And that’s tracking your marketing intelligently tracking your marketing actively. So Chris, we’ll start with you. This may be a little easy <laugh> but why do lawyers in their practice need to be tracking? Yeah. Just tracking their marketing, tracking their marketing efforts.

Chris (02:27):

I mean, I think it starts with the fact that you have to know what value your money is thriving. And so when you’re spending your money, you’ve gotta know, is it producing new clients? Mm-hmm <affirmative> is it producing the right kinds of clients? Is it producing any of that? And you can’t do that without actually tracking what your marketing spend is doing.

Zack (02:50):

Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And just to, to kinda lay a baseline, we’re talking about having multiple different avenues that you’re trying to bring potential new clients in through maybe Facebook marketing, maybe signs on the side of the road, something like that. And we’re putting a lot of money into this as attorneys a lot of times. So how do we know if we’re, let’s say I’m, I’m doing that. I’m running Facebook ads and I’ve got a sign on the side of the highway. How do I know what what’s going on? How do I know which one is doing decently?

Chris (03:23):

I think the reality is especially in the legal space, a lot of people don’t know mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so what you’re seeing is statistics, where more than half of the people don’t have a marketing budget in the legal space. Mm-hmm <affirmative> you have people who can’t understand what their return on investment is. So you’ve got to understand that that’s a key component of your business. Your law practice is a business, as much as it is a service to your customers, to your client. And so in order to do that, you’ve got to be able to somehow tag in a unique manner, each of the different marketing activities that you’re doing so that you can attribute where you’ve received your clients from what has brought in your clients in order to then determine, okay, this is where I should be spending my money. This is where I shouldn’t be spending my money.

Zack (04:15):

Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And now there are a couple of different ways to do this. There, there are a lot of different ways to, to try to figure out where somebody comes from. You can ask people, you know, when they come into your office, Hey, how how’d you hear about us, but that’s not always the best way to do it. And it’s not always the most reliable way to do it. People don’t always answer that. Right.

Chris (04:33):

<laugh> no doubt about it. And I think a lot of times you may have a new client who can’t even remember how they got there.

Zack (04:39):

Yeah, that’s true. A and I have found that even if you make the dropdown menu on, let’s say an intake form required, you know, how did you hear about his people go to other I’m guilty of that all the time. You know, I, I put other, or I’ll just put whatever I want. And so, you know, at that point, you’re kind of muddying your numbers, whereas with something like call rail, call rail, and you can explain this a lot better than I can. It tracks where people come from based on how they’re contacting you, the, the method that they’re contacting you with, right?

Chris (05:09):

Yeah. It can allow you to pinpoint which adds, which keyword, which offers that you have exactly where the clicks are happening. Exactly. How it’s maneuvering to your website. Exactly how they’re coming in as customers.

Zack (05:23):

So this is beyond just phone numbers, then just having separate phone numbers, we’re talking about phone calls coming in. We’re talking about things coming in from Google, my business. And we’re talking about things coming in from maybe even people’s intake forms on their website. Correct. So they, you know, you guys are able to track things like that, and this is helping us figure out, you know, do I need to put more money in my website? Do I need to put more money in my Facebook campaigns? Because we’re all very different lawyers, right?

Jason (05:53):

Yeah. And not only that. Yeah. I think if you, sorry, I was just gonna, not only that, but the, the key with tracking exactly. Like what’s driving that business. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, if you’re using a tool, that’s not an ad platform. Yeah. Then you’re actually getting an agnostic look and viewpoint into what’s driving that, driving those leads and driving that traffic. Versus if you’re going, if you’re asking one tech company that you buy ads from where your leads are coming from, they are much more predisposed to focus on formulas that drive you towards buying more ads to that platform. Whereas if you use a tool like CallRail, you’re getting, like I said, an agnostic view of different ad channels, but also direct versus referrals from listing services or organic traffic, et cetera.

Zack (06:44):

Okay. So instead of looking at just Google analytics, let’s say, if we’re looking at Google analytics, we’re probably gonna be thinking Google analytics let’s look at what my, what my Google ads would potentially do with this instead of, Hey, let’s look at this holistically from somebody that is kind of controlling or, or helping to track everything. So that that’s something like CallRail.

Jason (07:05):

That’s exactly right. Uh, if you’re looking at it through the lens of Google ads, then you’re looking at a tool that’s reporting back to you, data that’s optimized towards you getting to spend more ads on their platform. Totally reasonable business. It works out very well for Google and Facebook

Zack (07:20):

Seems to

Jason (07:21):

<laugh>. Yeah, it works out very well. And we’re, we’re not, uh, working against that. We we’re just simply, uh, serving those practices to tell them, Hey, we don’t have skin in the game. Other than it’ll tell you, what’s actually working in helping you optimize and get the best efficiency for those new client prospects.

Zack (07:40):

Mm-hmm <affirmative> are you guys integrating platforms like Google analytics and Facebook ads into your own platform in order to give people kind of an aggregated view of, of what’s going on beyond just what’s in your specific platform?

Jason (07:55):

Yeah, absolutely. So from a very baseline Facebook ads, Google ads being ads, which is not being anymore, right? It’s it’s Microsoft advertising platform. We’re able to send that data out mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, those conversions out into their systems. And so, uh, we can report on things like call conversions, uh, or form conversions, things like that in those systems. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, but we actually also, uh, have pretty sophisticated, uh, ability to import data through their APIs and match them with digital customer journeys inside of our platform so that we can somewhat, almost unbelievable fashion, be able to tell you an exact cost per lead, down to the ad ID in Google ads or the keyword, and be able to say, Hey, these, you know, these keywords are actually driving you the most leads, the most quality leads and the best efficiency.

Zack (08:54):

Okay. So we’re we’re well beyond this person called in on this phone number.

Jason (08:59):

Oh yeah.

Zack (09:00):

<laugh> we’re we’re well beyond that.

Jason (09:01):

Yeah. We’re, we’re doing that too. And I mean, that’s, that’s the difference between like us and a lot of times someone would say like, what’s the difference between like a, a provider like CallRail and Google analytics mm-hmm <affirmative> and the answer is two things. One is that we’re able to marry the online and the offline into one customer journey. Right. And then the second part of that is what you call identity resolution, right? Like it’s more than an aggregate number. We actually can drill into the actual person who actually contacted you and be able to follow that actual customer journey, you know, name, phone number, email, all the things that they serve to you. Mm-hmm <affirmative> first party when they came to your site or when they called you from the side of the road when they saw your billboard.

Zack (09:46):

Okay. So Chris, what does that do that kind of minutia, that kind of drill down? What does that do for the attorney? You know, like, yes. I, I know specifically that this person, this client came from here, what can we do with that? And like specifically, how does that help us?

Chris (10:02):

I, I mean, I think there’s twofold, you know, and one is what it allows you to do is see the complete picture of your marketing spend. So you can see everything that you’re using, like what we’ve talked about with both offline and online mm-hmm <affirmative>. So if you’re a firm or a lawyer who is running TV ads, running radio ads, running billboard ads, and then also paper click advertising, you can see the whole picture of everything that you’re doing within that. You know, there’s an understanding that as a lawyer, the majority of your new clients and your leads for new clients are either coming from referrals, or now they’re coming from online searches and reviews. That’s where the lion share of where lawyers and law firms are getting their new clients. Mm-hmm <affirmative> what you have is the ability to after you’ve taken a look and can attribute, okay, this is how many clients are coming from my TV ads.

Chris (10:56):

This is how many clients are coming from my billboard ads. This is how many are coming from the pay per click ad that I bought. Once you’ve got that you can see, okay, I’m not really getting that many ads, that many new clients from the billboard mm-hmm, <affirmative>, I’m getting most of my stuff from the pay per click keyboard that I bought. And so given that circumstance, you could shift around your marketing budget and either sit there and utilize the money that you were using for billboards now on pay, click advertising, or you can be able to say, okay, it doesn’t make any sense to add that budget I was using for pay click. I’m just gonna that and maximize my, my ROI based off reducing the overall spend.

Zack (11:39):

Mm-hmm <affirmative>. I think that makes sense is, you know, when we’re talking about having this kind of minutiae, this kind of detail, you can look at that, let’s say pay per click advertising and say the more money I pump into this, the more money I’m gonna make. And that may be the scenario, but you can also tell, okay, well, I’ve started to see, you know, a decline as I pump more money into it. And so maybe I, like you said, just hang onto my money and maximize my ROI. So Chris and Jason, for, for either one of you, or both of you on this, when I get this information into, into the call rail system, when I want to get to my ROI, I need to get to the other end of my case. When I bring this person in need to know how much I made on this person, what was that case worth? How do we connect that information into the CallRail system or connect, call rails information into another system?

Jason (12:31):

Yeah. So the most common way to do that would be for us, for every interaction that you have with that client mm-hmm, <affirmative>, we’re sending that data to your CRM of choice, right. Okay. Often for a lot of businesses that Salesforce or mm-hmm <affirmative> or a HubSpot, uh, we are actually very close to being able to integrate with, you know, with some of the more common, legal, specific CRMs here in the near future. So it’s about getting that data into that right. Relationship manager typically we’ve we stay a little bit back from that level of, of management rather partner with those that do that really well. Right. We do have tools for the very sort of, you know, for your more upstart mm-hmm, <affirmative> the very like nascent firm that hasn’t maybe totally gone deep into the full stack. We have some tools about capturing value or potential value, uh, in tying that to the client. But typically it’s about exporting that data out to the tool of record.

Zack (13:32):

Okay. I think that actually leads into my next question very well. It’s, you know, not everybody is at a place where they’re spending a lot of marketing dollars as you guys know if they were, everybody would be <laugh> would be, you know, using this, this type of system for somebody that’s not there yet, because I think a lot of people aren’t there and they wanna be there, or they see themselves there in the future for somebody that’s just kind of getting started with tracking their ROI or with really starting to think critically about their marketing dollars. What are the first steps for them? How should they lay a good foundation there?

Jason (14:01):

Oh, I’d love to answer that question, uh, to start off on. So I, I think that it doesn’t matter how much money you are spending. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, it’s really about step one is just understanding what is making your phone ring. Right. Okay. Understanding what’s driving those leads coming in. I mean, if they went to your site and they went in www dot, you know, Bob, the lawyer.com out of the clear blue mm-hmm, <affirmative>, that’s incredible and good for them, but something got them to that place. Right. Right. Whether you spend a dollar or not. And so understanding what actually got them, there is just, I think, key for understanding, you know, how your business works, mm-hmm <affirmative> from the start and then whether it’s paid advertising, or if it’s listing yourselves on various directories or generating site content, or having a really good Google my business profile, whatever it is, it can be monetarily driven or not. It’s still your time and your energy and your attention. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> so understanding what’s driving that is critical just from a, from a basic business perspective.

Zack (15:11):

Okay. Well, and Chris, I’m actually gonna throw this same question to you because I, I think from a slightly different perspective, what would you say are the first steps for, let’s say a solo practitioner to start tracking, to start doing what Jason’s saying, to figure out what it is that’s driving their potential new clients.

Chris (15:31):

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think that’s a great question. And really it starts with the solo practitioner or the small law firm sitting there and saying marketing is gonna be important to us. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, we’re gonna go beyond just what I would call business development activities, which I think is what most in a solo or a small situation, small law firm situation look at, they really kind of fold marketing and business development into one kind of bucket. Yeah. And that business development, you know, traditionally was I go to the rotary club, right. I hustle with the local different things like that. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And I think that there has to be a recognition that marketing is important. And like Jason was saying, you now have a website, you have forms on your website. These are all things that are important. You have a client base that you’re trying to target.

Chris (16:23):

What client base is that, are you an estate planning, lawyer, an elder law lawyer, are you doing personal injury? Are you doing family law? So you are gonna have some kind of ideal client that you’re gonna want to target. Based off of that, you’ve gotta develop your marketing strategy and you’ve gotta sit there and say, okay, this is how I can reach them. And when I look at it and say, this is how I can reach them, then I can get into the tactical parts of, I’ve gotta use these ads. I need to work on getting referrals. I’ve got to get into a situation where it’s paper click for me. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And once you have that, and all of that is outlined, then you can sit there and say, all right, now I can use a tracking for my calls. I can use form tracking. I can use everything that re that allows attribution to the marketing activities that I’m doing. And use that to understand where my return on investment is coming from.

Zack (17:16):

Mm-hmm <affirmative>. I really like both of those answers. Uh, and I, I think kind of boiling it down to think about it, start tracking it, keep tabs and also kind of planning, like what, like you said, what is my ideal client? So for me, I always like to think about under the hood, when I’m talking to a provider, what is call rails, ideal client? Who is it that you guys are serving best? And I guess in your opinion, <laugh> even,

Jason (17:43):

That’s a great question.

Chris (17:45):

I mean, if you look at within the legal space, mm-hmm, <affirmative> all rail really is going to benefit those who see the value in marketing. Okay. You know, within law firms, lawyers, and I think within practice areas, you’re looking at primarily personal entry law. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> definitely sees the value in marketing, family, law, same kind of thing. You need a lot of new clients. You don’t really have consistent clients and family law, estate planning, also something. And I think it’s a growing area of the law. Yes. Um, really when you add the elder law mix into it, that’s definitely an area that I think a lot of lawyers will be looking at and will be trying to find clients in that kind of situation. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. So, you know, those are kind of sub-verticals that we would look at firm size. The sweet spot for us is probably a firm that’s between 10 and 99 lawyers. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> something that is mid-sized, but also not to exclude anything that is from the solo practitioner or a small firm up to about nine lawyers.

Zack (18:44):

Right. More about, are you focusing on marketing? Kind of like what Jason was saying, are you looking at this? Are you tracking these things? And if you are, then this type of, of technology is gonna be helpful if you’re not, you know, maybe not, but it really doesn’t. It seems like it doesn’t necessarily matter the size. Just what kind of information are you trying to get?

Jason (19:03):

Yeah. And I, I would only add to that, you know, everything that Chris said is particularly anyone that is the source of their revenue is driven by inbound perspective clients mm-hmm mm-hmm <affirmative>, but the only, other only other aspect to that from the years of talking to lawyers, you know, about their product needs and what they need out of technology, oftentimes, you know, I’m, I’m speaking to the entrepreneurial type who’s looking for, not just to understand that marketing spend and, and ROI, but also is looking for ways to streamline their operations so that their communications are not disparate, that they, uh, are able to make sure that they’re able to follow up with every client in a way that’s, that’s streamline and efficient, that doesn’t require multiple tools and logins and, and different tabs and all of that, but then be able to do that in one unified place. And to create that one unified journey. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> both from a, from a tracking and reporting standpoint, but also from a live communication standpoint, right. Is really perfect for someone who’s looking, uh, at the call rail platform.

Zack (20:15):

I think that’s a great thing to kind of end on here is that, although it is a platform that is in addition to, let’s say CRM, it is not separate. It is not creating another thing that you have to keep track of. It is bringing this information in bringing it together and making it easier for somebody to track their marketing. And as you guys are saying that that’s something that a lot, I wouldn’t say all attorneys, I mean, all attorneys need some sort of marketing, some sort of potential new clients coming in, but you know, some of them have insurance companies that are their clients for defense or something like that. But anybody, like you said, Jason, that has inbound stuff probably needs to be thinking about their ROI and where they’re spending their marketing dollars and where their potential new clients are coming from.

Jason (21:02):

Yeah. And I, you know, you said making it easy, Zach and literally make it easy is the focal point of our mission statement. That’s, that’s what we do. And that’s honestly, what’s made CallRail. What we are in the industry is that focused on making it easy and getting out of the way of good lawyers doing what they do best.

Zack (21:21):

I like it. I like it. Well guys, Chris, Jason, I really appreciate your time. This was really helpful for me. And I know it will be really helpful for some of our listeners. So thank you very much for, for joining me today. If people want to know more about CallRail, they can go to just callrail.com and I’m sure talk to you guys, get some sort of demo and you know, learn a lot more.

Jason (21:43):

Yeah. Thanks so much. That’s been a real pleasure.

Zack (21:46):

I guys, thank you.

Chris (21:46):

Absolutely. Thank you.

Announcer   (21:50):

Announcer: The Lawyerist Podcast is edited by Britany Felix. Are you ready to implement the ideas we discuss here into your practice? Wondering what to do next? Here are your first two steps. First. If you haven’t read The Small Firm Roadmap yet, grab the first chapter for free at Lawyerist.com/book. Looking for help beyond the book? Let’s chat about whether our coaching communities, right for you. Head to Lawyerist.com/community/lab to schedule a 10 minute call with our team to learn more. The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not endorsed by Legal Talk Network. Nothing said in this podcast is legal advice for you.