Leads are bound to call your business, whether they see your number addressed on your website or on a billboard, and you better be ready for them when they do. We all know, however, just how tricky it can be, especially on the spot, to convert a caller into a client, but thankfully, there are a few methods you can implement to guarantee your callers convert every time.
In a webinar filmed on June 25th, 2020, Maddy Martin, head of education & growth at Smith.ai, hosted Sam O'Rourke of CallRail and Conrad Saam from Mockingbird to discuss the methods that businesses can use to convert more callers into clients. From outsourced virtual receptionist services and professional call forwarding to personalized marketing and detailed call analyzing, these three marketing experts detail the many ways in which businesses of all shapes and sizes can improve their lead conversion rates exponentially by implementing these tried-and-true practices.
Want to learn more about the best practices for converting callers into clients? We've provided a full transcript of the video below, edited for readability. You can watch the full webinar by clicking on the video below. This webinar is also available to watch for free on YouTube. To watch more videos like this one, with tons of free tips for soloprenuers, small business owners, and more, subscribe to our YouTube channel!
Head of Growth and
Education at Smith.ai
Team Lead at CallRail
So everyone, thank you for joining us. Really great to have you here.
We're going to talk about converting callers to clients today and a little bit more because we know that CallRail also does some tracking forms. So, we'll weave that in as we can, but I’m really happy to be joined by Samuel O'Rourke and Conrad Saam. I'm Maddy Martin.
We're hosting this today from Smith.ai virtual receptionists and web chat. We're a 24/7 receptionist company that handles calls, chats, and texts for businesses. And we work with agencies and IT firms as well to facilitate that for their own clients. So if you're interested in working with us or partnering with us, we would love to hear from you.
I will let Sam introduce herself and then we'll go to Conrad.
Hi everyone, I'm Sam O’Rourke. I work at CallRail and we are a marketing analytics platform that helps you understand what campaigns are driving calls, texts, forms, and chats to your site. We'll definitely dig into that.
I've been with them for about 4 years and I'm excited to show you what we've got. If you're interested in learning more, you can always go to callrail.com.
I’m Conrad Saam. I run an agency called Mockingbird. I am most famous for having a chicken named Zippy who was awarded the Lawyers of Distinction Top 10% Lawyers award.
I bring this up A.) because it's somewhat amusing, but B.) because it's going to get deep into where I think agencies do things poorly and therefore, without getting the data into the hands of the end client, you guys can get the wool pulled over your eyes and we're going to talk a lot about that during this presentation.
Well, Conrad, you are up first, my friend. So, let's talk about why the hell we're doing all this marketing?
So what I want to get into here — and this is really important — I think a lot of the time, lawyers spend so much time on marketing, SEO, and this, that, and the other thing and then the very final step—
I'm in Seattle. I remember Super Bowl 49 when we threw the interception on the one-yard line. That’s what you're doing by not maximizing conversion and not really focusing as much on conversions as you do on your marketing.
So, let's go to the next slide. This is actually an old slide, but this was a slide that I presented to a law firm because— and this was the tension that used to exist between me and my clients, where they would say, “The marketing is terrible. It's not working. It’s not working.”
I empirically knew that it was working because we had CallRail set up, because we were using a service like Smith.ai. In this case, we weren't using a service like Smith.ai.
And this was a presentation in front of a law firm and I was like, “Listen guys, we're generating a ton of inbound. Look at the times on these inbounds." With one exception of 6 o'clock, this is all during business hours and most of the calls weren't even getting answered.
And so it was a really important notion that you have to do more than marketing because otherwise, you're burning your money.
So moving on, to me, it used to be — and some of you guys are still doing this — when you run intake, you ask the question, “How did you find us?” And that is really, really useless and inaccurate, and in many cases, invasive conversation to have with the prospect because they don't really care. Right?
And the last thing that someone wants to do when they walk in on their wife with the pool boy and are thinking about getting a divorce is to think about, “Which ad did I click on? Was that on Bing? Or was that an AVO thing? I think it was... Was I on Google? I don't know.” Right?
And so having that conversation with a prospect is super invasive. It's super distracting and it's completely unnecessary if you have a solid infrastructure with which to work.
There's one exception to that. And this is really important.
I want to do this as an aside, man. Let’s grab the next slide.
You should always ask everyone who calls your firm if they were referred by someone else because that's not going to get picked up in what the infrastructure we have available to us is, but that is a really, really important thing to ask.
And it sounds something like this, “Hey Mary, sorry to hear about the pool boy. Listen, we get a lot of business from other people in the community and I like to send a thank you gift.” I just want to make sure that if that's the case, that I do send a thank you gift. That puts you in a really good light. It builds your reputation without doing anything and it's not invasive. It's caring.
So ask those questions, but everything else, go away from, “How did you find us?”
So, I've been doing marketing for lawyers since 2006. Okay. So I've been doing this for a very, very long time. There are all sorts of metrics and numbers and things that marketing agencies like to talk about, but they're really only 4 things that you should really care about.
And they're really only 4 things that matter. Is your marketing by channel, delivering phone calls, form fills, chat, or text? That's it.
And you don't need to know what bounce rates are or canonical tags are or the speed of your website or your NAP or any of that stuff if you have a bead on these pieces.
And so you really need to have an understanding.
At the very least, you need to have a very, very solid, accurate, and efficient understanding of how your different marketing channels are going to actually generate these things because that's all that really matters, right? That's all that really matters to you.
So, this is from our own reporting. This incorporates CallRail data and a whole bunch of other data into our reporting.
And, when we sit down with a client on a monthly basis, what we're looking at really is performance, or in this case, we're looking at organic search, but ultimately what really matters is that blue line. Right?
And you should be looking at your marketing from the leads that it's generating, as opposed to even things like the website traffic, which can be really large, but no one calls you. So who cares if your traffic is increasing? Who cares if you have a blog that's been read by thousands of people around the world. If they're not in your market, it doesn't matter.
If they're not calling you, if they're not filling out a form fill, if they're not texting you or using chat, it really doesn't matter. So let's move on.
Okay. Check out this single search result page. And this is just the top of the search. This is above the fold. I did a look for criminal defense attorneys nearby and there are 5 different marketing channels above the fold and each of these 5 marketing channels have different budgets and different tactics and should be addressed, most of the time, very differently.
The first one is a pay-per-click ad, right? And so that it's very linear. There's money involved. It's very easy to track pay-per-click ads. It calls you, etcetera. So that's one of the ones. And so you're going to spend a lot of time and tactics around that individual piece and it's going to function fundamentally very differently.
The second one that shows up is a pay-per-click ad that's showing up in the local results, right? This is very, very effective, but you should be able to separate the effectiveness of that ad from the rest of your pay-per-click campaign to see whether or not Conrad's idea that this is effective is actually true.
The third one is your local results, right? Your local organic results. And so those local results, if you can win them, again very effective, but if you can't separate the paid results in local from the organic results in local, you have no idea what's actually performing and whether or not the money that you're paying people like me is paying off or it should be spent elsewhere.
Underneath that we have a listing from FindLaw. So you may choose to be advertising on a legal director, like FindLaw, Avvo, lawyers.com. And you need to know whether or not that's performing. And right below, you actually start to get to the real law firm organic listings.
So 5 different marketing channels on a single SERP page and all of them have tactics that are fundamentally different. All of them have costs that are fundamentally different. And you need to evaluate how each of these different things is performing. And so that's the key to having this type of infrastructure.
Let's move on to the next slide.
What we're looking at here is an example where I'm looking at Google Ads and you need to make these conversions, right? This last line, here again, this is our internal reporting, but this is the last line here. Okay. These are the number of conversions. You need to know if you're spending a big chunk of change. In this case, you know, close to $200,000. What the cost per conversion is, right?
You need to know whether or not that makes sense and you have to be able to separate that from the rest of your marketing to do that. And you do that with good infrastructure from CallRail and Smith.
Let's go to the next slide because I've been a little sneaky here and I've lied to you. As we wait for this slide to roll up, I'll give you the key here. I just lied to you and this is why I hate marketing agencies. Okay?
So what you didn't notice, what some of you saw there was like, “Wow, $660 per conversion. That seems pretty stiff.” It depends on what you're doing, but look at how I just lied to you if you don't have access to the data.
So let's go to the next slide, Maddy, and I'm going to show you how I went out of my way to lie to you, even though the data was right in front of you. I included branded conversions in this. Okay. I included people who were already looking for you in my analysis. Okay. And so if you'll notice, 74 of the conversions that came to you and then it came to this client in this case— 74 of those were people already looking for the firm.
So that's not really incremental. And so if you actually think about it and redo the math, the incremental value of these conversions was actually 30% more expensive than what I initially presented to you.
You need to have access and ownership of this data to make these assessments.
Let's go to the next slide.
And you actually have to access your account. So if you don't have access to your Google Ads account, you're running blind. Let's hit the next slide.
Having said that, and this is a really important conversation that you should always be winning, this is about conversion, so I added this slide. It's a bit of a tangent, but make sure you're bidding on your name. Okay. That’s people who are already looking for you.
So run these branded queries, but make sure you don't lose them. Don't get Rocket Matter or Engage here.
Make sure that you're winning those queries for your brand. That becomes really important, but you can break those out individually in your analysis.
Let's hit the next slide, Maddy. Okay. And I just lied to you again.
So I'm going to show you another use of CallRail and a way agencies— again, if you don't have access and ownership of this data, the way agencies can take advantage of you to make it look like they're doing a better job than they are. So, let's show the example here, Maddy. You need to be looking at first-time callers, right?
This is the CallRail interface where we're only reporting on first-time conversations. One of the ways that agencies try and convince you that they're doing a really really good job is they'll report on every single time someone rings the phone.
Okay, and it's super misleading because it could be the delivery man every Wednesday when she delivers the office supplies and dials in to get buzzed in. Right? It could be the spouse who comes in for lunch on a Friday, right? Whatever it is, you really should only be looking at these first time conversations because people who are new to the firm are only ever going to be ringing that for the first time. Right?
So stop reporting on stuff that really is erroneous and agencies are disgusting with how they report this in general. Hit the next slide.
Oh, I think that we've got the rest of your slides, Conrad, later on, but thank you for queuing that up for Sam. That's perfect for Sam to continue, right, with that sort of screen from CallRail options and, based off of what you just said, where you're only calling that CallRail number for the first time.
So Sam, tell us how we're making sense of what Conrad just said about tracking.
Exactly. I'm more than happy to. He really kind of set me up great there.
So what we do is we want to provide you and marketers with complete visibility to where all these inbound leads are coming from and which ones are being successful for you.
Everybody's in a result-driven world these days. You want to see exactly what's going on. So, giving you a clear and concise view of exactly where your calls are coming from, where your texts are coming from, your forms, your chat, so on; any contact opportunity there and give you those results so you can produce better outcomes.
This is just a little quick slide that just goes over: we are for call-first businesses. So, really getting those insights to inbound leads. getting those leads set up for you in CallRail, being able to see that ROI really quickly by having an intuitive software, and it's also scalable. So, while we're talking heavily about calls, we do offer additional products, which I'll touch on in a moment, that can really help tie all of this data back together from A to Z and then get that clarity in a really intuitive software that's really easy to manage.
Then, this slide is really just covering phone calls in general.
Right now, three-fourths of customers still believe that calling is the most effective way to get a response from a business. They know that if I pick up the phone right now, I am going to connect to somebody at Smith.ai and then actually have that conversation and I'll get the result that I was looking for versus maybe doing another type of contact.
53% or higher also prefer just picking up the phone instead of doing a form or a chat, whatever it may be, they want that human interaction.
And then it's a unanimous vote here that they're likely to trust a business where they can easily answer the phone. So they're not having to jump through all those hoops to get to somebody and just actually have that conversation and get what they need.
So, I'm just going to cover some of our products. So the call tracking is our main backbone of CallRail. So what we're doing is we're allowing you to get in-depth information about all of these unique visitors that are coming to your website or calling from any campaign that you're currently running, finding out really personal data about them so you can tie it back to those campaigns, see what's performing.
And then marketing teams, just like Conrad, will use all of this data to measure their success of their advertising and then that way, they can better make decisions for their future advertisements for you.
Then, how all this works. So, what we do is— Smith.ai provides you a phone number, which we will forward all of your calls to at CallRail. So you will create a tracking number through our platform. They can be local numbers, they can be toll-free numbers, it's completely up to you. You do have the ability to create any type of number that way.
And then, we do track all of those unique campaigns.
So, like Conrad was mentioning, we can track PPC campaigns. We can track your organic callers, your Google My Business, ad extensions because there are so many different ways they can find you.
Then, also some of those offline ways as well. So, if you've got a truck wrap or a business card and you want to see if people are actually calling on those and decipher that first time versus repeat caller, we can put a number on it.
So the rule of thumb here is, if you've got a number that you're giving out to customers, you can put a tracking number on it so you can understand exactly where they're coming from. Then exactly the data that Conrad was showing earlier, we can integrate with Google Ads, Analytics, Facebook. So he can see those conversions in those platforms and give you that exact data, especially based on those first time raw leads that are coming through.
We also offer form tracking. To just touch on this, most people have forms on their website; whether it's a form that you already have on there or if you need to create a new form, we can help you track the attributions and the milestones that are happening. So they may call in via organic and then they may come 7 days later via paid.
So, we’re going to track those entire milestones in our one platform so you can see, “Okay, the customer journey from A to Z. And this is what it looks like from beginning to when they actually convert to a customer with us.” And then get that response rate a little bit higher. So by us giving you a call saying, “Hey, do you want to connect to this person that just filled out a form?” Or maybe, “Do you want an email notification?” So you can easily see who’s filling out those forms in real-time.
Then this I think is really great to tie back to Conrad and especially with Smith.ai. So we do also offer something called "conversation intelligence" and this is where we’re automatically helping qualify phone call leads by transcribing them and then also being able to put action items behind those.
So we’ve got a couple of different products: call score, keyword spotting, call scribe. And if you go to the next slide, I will break those down.
The important thing I think here is that the call score is where we use AI technology to automatically score a call as a good or a bad call with a little thumbs up or thumbs down so you can see exactly at the end of a call if a call was marked qualified or not.
The main important aspect of this is our call scribes, so it's the transcription. You have a 7-10 minute phone call. Do you really want to listen to that entire call recording and have to go through piece by piece? Probably not.
So by having these transcriptions, it breaks it down by who at Smith.ai is speaking versus your customer. It will tell you specific words that they're saying in that conversation, so you can see exactly how likely they're going to be able to convert later on based on what's actually being said on that phone call; which kind of ties into that keyword spotting.
So you can tell us specific words to look for in a conversation on that transcription and then we'll qualify them as a thumbs up or a thumbs down for you. We can tag them and a lot of people will do maybe services that they're offering or products, it's completely up to you and even valuing them.
So if you're making a sale over the phone, how much was this call truly worth, based on words or phrases that you're saying? So, if someone says the words "books", "schedule", "set", or "appointment", I want you to mark that as a qualified call for me and then I want you to tag it based as such, too.
That way, Conrad could even later on go on and say, “Hey man, I drove 100 Google ad calls to you this month that were first-time callers. Out of those 100 X called about this, Y called about this, and Z called about this. Then out of all of those, this is how many of those were marked as qualified.” So it's really just giving you super data-driven results based on those campaigns too.
Sam, thank you so much. We're going to, in a moment, come back to you when we discuss how to bring these two systems together and then again, how Conrad will show us how to analyze the results when we do get these systems together.
So very similar to the data we've been talking about today, we know that the phone remains a very important communication tool. 82% of consumers expect an immediate response to a sales inquiry. That's a very similar result, by the way, to the number who expect a service inquiry.
So whether it's an existing client or a new client, the demand for responsiveness is the same. It's just right now in this conversation we're talking about capturing those new clients. So the responsiveness demand is on your business in general, but we know that 50%— half of the lead generation budgets are wasted on leads who are never contacted and almost 80% of marketing leads never convert into sales.
The main reason for that is because they're not going through that sales qualification process, they're not getting answered. No one is talking to them because people are busy running the business.
And that is the only thing that really is the most valuable use of your time, managing or operating the business, working within it, overseeing it, and managing your staff. The frontline communications are, by far, the easiest thing to outsource and also the biggest gap on opportunity costs, right?
If you think about your value to your business and the cost of outsourcing a web chat response or a phone call or following up on a form fill, those are things that can be very cheaply, so to speak, replaced for you so that you can do your most valuable work.
Now, we also know there's a ton of other things to get done, not just by you, but also your staff. And when calls come in, the sort of cost and tolerance for an interruption is lower than ever. So we know that right now, there's a huge increase in spam calls. There is a lower acceptance rate to those calls as a result.
So what we see is that, really, the government hasn't solved this problem for us. It's up to really private industry or individuals to block their own calls. So we do it for clients. But even before you come to Smith.ai, you're probably doing it yourself. If your phone rings or your cell phone rings, how many people — and you can put one in the chat — are using voicemail or waiting for maybe a text message to screen your calls.
Now, the problem is if it's a new potential client, they're not necessarily going to leave a voicemail because the person on the other end is thinking to themselves, “Well, if I'm reaching voicemail, then maybe this business isn’t operational. Maybe my call is not that important. Maybe they're too busy and don't have time for me.’’
It's really just a black hole and plenty of assumptions are made when you reach voicemail.
So we have this huge disconnect then between the sort of use of the phone calls and leading to voicemail for screening on the business owner side. And we have this lack of use of voicemail on the potential lead side. So no one knows what the other person is thinking. And as a result, you get tons of missed opportunities where that connection wasn't made.
So picking up the phone is really important. Using a service that's blocking spam for you for free is important. And you know that when that phone rings to your direct line, and you're not using your cell phone number to run your business by the way. Then when your phone rings, it's a qualified lead. It's someone who's already passed your gatekeeper and that gatekeeper has also blocked out spam.
What we want to do is also — and we've talked a little bit right now about consultations and what a qualified lead is — we can define that in different ways, but the most important thing is that also your phone is not ringing unless it's already been, not only screened, but also qualified.
So are we putting you in touch with, are you getting your phone to ring only when the lead has been screened because almost 70% of leads consulted with a firm they didn't hire.
Now how can we improve your conversion rate through the funnel? We can make sure that you only have consulted with people who not only are willing to pay you for the consultation if you charge for it, but also have been screened to determine before you even get on the phone that they meet your practice areas, they meet your business size criteria.
They are qualified based on the criteria that you provide to Smith.ai, so that we can answer and effectively screen and handle your calls and only offer consultations to people once we've determined that they're a good fit for you.
Now, we know that there are varying levels of expertise with conversion rates and marketing. Many people, if not the vast majority of people who are tuning in to this seminar, didn't go to business school, have not had a ton of in-depth training around marketing, and most business owners report that they feel a lack of confidence and business acumen when it comes to marketing.
But at the end of the day, it's quite easy to look at the Conrad data that we discussed earlier, the data from Conrad, and say, “How many total leads, how many total people are visiting my website, clicking, filling forms, calling me? And how many clients did that result in out of how many consultations, out of how many qualified leads?”
So we're just talking about a funnel and you have this sieve working through every different stage.
The impact that we get here is with 24/7 receptionists is that you can have continuous, accurate, effective handling of those inbound leads. So it doesn't matter if someone is calling at 10 o’clock at night or 10 in the morning, your bandwidth for taking that call and your staff's bandwidth for taking that call are not part of the equation.
And I don't know if you noticed, but if we look back and rewind and see Conrad slide around the Google search results, did anyone else notice that there was one result in the local pack that said open 24/7? Guess who's going to get that call. It's not only about the rank, where 3 out of those 4 in that pack said closed, that one said 24/7.
Imagine what you're able to do when, not only do you have the calls answered, but you're proactively telling people that we are accepting calls right now.
It's 3 in the morning. You caught the pool boy, as Conrad said, and you need to talk to someone right now because you’re livid. So those clients who call your firm or in any other scenario with any business, there is a sense of urgency. And right now, as more and more people are working from home, the schedules have changed.
The classic 9-to-5 workday, Monday through Friday is not always the case. If you have people who are in different time zones or globally who you work with, then you're going to find that you need the extended hours anyway and the benefit of having a receptionist service that can handle all calls or overflow.
And we'll talk about the role of overflow with CallRail forwarding to Smith.ai, too. You don't have to worry if you're not able to pick up. Maybe you had one ring as an opportunity. If you’d like to answer it, if you're free, or if you can, or if you're in the mood, but otherwise, you have the peace of mind that no matter what, you're not missing any leads because of human availability because your business demands you to be available first and the phone comes second understandably, but that's no longer a tradeoff that you have to make.
Now, another important point here is that you are building your client experience from the very first rank. So if someone is searching for firms– and we know that 2 out of 3 potential clients based their decision to hire on a firm's initial responsiveness and that goes for any business. It's from Clio data, which is a legal practice management solution, right?
2 out of 3 potential clients based their decision to hire on a firm's initial responsiveness to that first phone call or email or form fill or whatever channel they use to try and get in touch with you. Now, that's a good experience to pick up because your business grows and doesn't lose opportunity.
We also know that you set boundaries early on that you're not always as a business owner potentially able to answer. We also know that you are setting expectations for your availability that you will have a responsive business, but that response won't necessarily come from you.
And also, it is a surprise and delight right now because guess what? The competition is not doing it. We don't have 3000 people on this webinar today. We have just a few and guess what? People aren't tuning into this message and that should be seen as your competitive advantage.
Now from that, not only do you get more clients, but they spend more money.
So 67% of customers who receive excellent service spend up to 14% more. And that adds up.
It pays for all those ads. It pays for your fine-tuning. It pays for you to explore other marketing campaigns and channels with Conrad. Right?
It’s important; we must give a response.
It's also really important that when you have a receptionist in place, it's not just about answering the call, but based on those keywords that Sam mentioned, it's also really important that you have the right content baked into the conversations.
74% of clients want to know what to expect in terms of cost, duration, process. Are you equipping your frontline staff, whether they're in-house or a receptionist service, with not only a friendly response, but an informed response? So that you know that the person who is having that conversation is actually getting the information they need to make a good decision to have the consultation with you. Are those keywords coming through that indicate that real information is being shared? Not legal advice or technical IT advice or financial advisor advice or whatever it is that your business does.
But it's critical that they're being steered in the right direction and that they're getting information to make the right decision about hiring your business or not.
When these problems are solved, new targets are achievable. Right? So you may use a receptionist service as a holdover just for a small little campaign that you're running to boost business during a short period of time.
But what do we see from folks like Brittany Littleton? She said, “They became an integral part of my team,” speaking of Smith.ai. “We plan to use them in the long-term.” Why? Because you can never return to the way things were, to those interruptions, and the headaches that it causes and the dilemma it causes to choose your existing clients or new client responsiveness. That trade-off is no longer there.
And what you get is not only winning more clients, boosting your marketing results because that response is alone going to win you more business and clients when you extend your hours and capacity. You reduce the burden on yourself and your staff and the resentment that comes from there.
So that you're not bogging people down with answering the phone. You get that increased client happiness because you're delivering a prompt response and, again, reducing those interruptions. Your day is more predictable and all you're doing is having those calls with those scheduled consultations and maybe taking a warm transfer, if you allow it.
What are we talking about here? We're talking about really a service that is a tier above the rest. If you're already a Smith.ai client, I hope that you're fully aware of all the services that we offer. If you're not yet a Smith.ai client, please take a look at what we're doing here because it is not just an answering service. It does not only transfer or take a message. Honestly, that's only marginally better than voicemail.
What you really want is that workflow. You want to see those keywords that Sam was talking about with consultation, with the questions, with the practice areas or business specialties that should be conversation topics. The referral's name, I was referred by. Let's see that in your keywords.
We want to be able to qualify people based on your service area, based on the zip code that they might need to be in and to put that into your system.
So not only are we talking about tracking calls and having that logged in Google Analytics, but also how functional is that data for the immediate work that needs to be done. Are they getting logged in your system into a new contact record with the conversation logged?
On a chat, is that whole transcript from your website chat going into the system? So when you have a consultation, you're logging into Clio or Salesforce and you’re seeing the entire history of the conversation. You're informed to have a consultation that doesn't require you to say, “Hey, get me up to speed,” because you're already up to speed and that's a good client experience.
And then out of those conversations, who converted and you look back at that other data we were just talking about. So from scheduling, to intake, to screening, even referring out to other firms you recommend if that person is not a qualified lead.
We are building your brand and we are winning more clients without creating a distraction for you.
When we get you started, you can get started with CallRail and Smith.ai. You can get started with your marketing agency that you're engaged with or Conrad and say, “I need to start looking at these calls right now.” That's what we want to start doing. We don't want to miss any more data.
We talked about integrations already. And now, before we get into how are we going to literally connect CallRail and Smith.ai and a bit of best practices, let's just talk for a moment. I hit you with a lot of data.
Back to Conrad here, what are we actually going to analyze? So we get the full sense of the point here and then we'll talk about how to set it up.
So when we get into this, I mean, I said at the very beginning. There’s really only 4 components, 4 things you care about from your marketing: text, phone calls, form fills, and chat, right? And so you want to be able to look at your marketing channels.
Sometimes, when people say optimization, it's frequently used and misused and no one really knows what optimization means. I want you to start looking at this from an MBA perspective. And the way to do that is, again, this is pulling stuff right out of our reporting.
And what you can see in this slide here is this is a cross-channel optimization study. Okay.
And the goal really is— here's the thing, when I talk to a new client, we put together a strategy, we come up with the right levers to pull. We're going to do advertising here. We're going to try this over there. We're going to try SEO, but we're going to avoid local because local is not working, but whatever it might be, I am always wrong. I have never been right in my strategy, but 3 months down the road with good reporting infrastructure, you can find out where you're wrong.
You can adjust to what's working.
There are so many exogenous variables that will go into play to determine how your marketing is actually performing. The goal here is to ensure that 1 of 2 things is happening. The first is you have a fixed budget and your job is to squeeze as much money as you possibly can out of that fixed budget.
Okay. And that's maximizing your return on that spend. And so in that case, what you want to do is actually cut things that aren't performing and move money from channel A over to channel B, or from an advertisement in Google Ads from this type of ad to that type of ad, or from this type of landing page to that type of landing page.
And so you need to be able to optimize within that fixed budget.
Another mindset that you can work from here is, we essentially have an infinite amount of money to spend as long as we can drive clients or inquiries at a cost per inquiry of X. Right? And so, in that case, your budget from a theoretical perspective is fairly flexible. You're not working within a fixed budget and trying to squeeze as much as you can out of that. You're essentially making investments based on an appropriate cost per client.
And so, really what you want to do is sit down on a regular basis and review that. In this example here, you can see April was the last month that this client spent any money on AVVO because the cost per client was so out of whack with all the rest of their work.
And so we were then able to take the money from AVVO and move it into other channels and boost those up.
The other thing, and Sam mentioned this and this is really interesting, I deliberately picked this example for this. You can see that the orange bar here, that's a radio station. I'm an online marketing nerd. I love the online thing. I don't love radio buys. I don't do TV, none of that stuff, but we do track it for our clients. Right? And we are able to say to our clients, “Hey, listen, this radio spend is outperforming digital.”
Now, as a digital marketing guy, that doesn't necessarily paint me in a good light, but as a law firm, you need to know this. And frankly, you should probably work with an agency that will actually have these conversations with you.
And so this is really what this is about: where is my money being spent effectively?
Where's my money being burnt? Where am I throwing my kid's college education out the window? Because I'm spending money on something that just doesn't work. The economics just don't work. Let’s hit the next slide here.
Can I ask you a question here?
A couple of things often come up, like how long should I spend exploring a new channel until I stop it? Because my tolerance reduces over time for spending so much money.
Then also, how do I know when I've exhausted or put as much money as I can into a channel? Like, is it tapped or can it tolerate more spend from me?
Yeah. Great question. So the answer is: it varies. Both of the answers to those questions depend on the marketing channel. Okay.
And it really does depend on what that marketing channel looks like. So, in terms of how long you need to spend money, this is a very very very rough construct.
Okay. So just, and again, this will sound like an MBA speak as opposed to nerd speak or JD speak. But, the way I look at this is somewhat simplistic. Let's say you are a car accident attorney, a matter's worth roughly $10,000 to you. Your target cost per client, let's say, is 20%. That means that you're willing to acquire clients at $2,000 in order to generate 10. It's a 5 to 1 return; it seems fairly good. Let’s say that’s the case.
From my perspective, with things that are not time-bound like pay-per-click, like specifically direct response pay per click, or even direct response television, you probably want 5 data points to say that this is roughly in line. Right?
And so I use this very simple math. I use 5, but like, if you can generate 5 matters at a cost per matter of roughly 20% of the value of the case, then that’s probably something you should continue exploring.
Okay. Now, and the math becomes very easy here. Your budget to test that is essentially 20% times 5, which is a 100% of the value of that matter. Massively simplistic. It also assumes a very linear and direct response. So some channels take a long time to work.
So branding, I would not run a branding play for less than 12 months. And if you don’t have the stomach to drop a whole bunch of money for 12 months, don’t dip your toe in the water.
So things that take time, SEO, a displayed branding campaign, like you need to be in the game for a good while, you really do.
And so don't dip your toe in the water. You're better off.
I talked to a client or prospect the other day and I was like, “Listen, you shouldn't do any SEO.” And she's like, “Yeah, but you're an SEO consultant and I've talked to all these other SEO consultants and that's what they think I should do.”
And the reality is there's no way on God's green earth that this client is ever going to catch up anywhere running personal injury in downtown Chicago and starting out solo. It's just crazy.
So it depends on those components.
The other thing that comes into play is, and this is really basic, but it's statistical significance. Do you have enough data to figure these things out? I use this kind of roughly 5 to look at this. The answer isn't a set period of months. Okay. It is not a set period of months because it depends on how much you're spending. And so I tie this to spend instead of anything else.
That is point number 1. Point number 2 that you asked is, “How do you know when you've maxed out a market?” This is a really good question.
In Google Ads, there's a thing called search impression share, which is specifically designed by Google to convince you to start spending more money to get more to search impression share.
So you literally know, if you're generating clients at a cost per client that's acceptable and your search impression share is 50%, there you go. And they break it down a little bit in terms of cap by budget or cap by appearance, which basically means are you bidding enough actually to show up?
Or is there enough kiddie for you to show up for all the searches, but that's a good way to get a feel for that.
It's a little bit more difficult with organic search and things like, how much should you spend on the radio? How saturated does it need to be?
It's a little bit harder and a bit more of an art form, but when it's much more linear, like a PVC type campaign, that's what I've looked into.
So Conrad, if you're looking at this from the CallRail perspective, like how granular are you getting with your CallRail numbers and the amount of tracking that you're doing for each and every campaign? Or is it each and every channel? Do you have a number for each color here? Do you have a number for every ad campaign within Google Ads?
How specific are you getting?
Yeah. To me, it is extremely specific, which means you're using number of pools. We use number of pools as opposed to a dedicated channel number. I'll explain what that looks like because it is really important, especially if you're optimizing things.
For example, let me first explain the number pool and then I'll explain how that works in real life.
A number pool, essentially, instead of having a phone number dedicated to local search, you have a number that rotates, right? So let's say, I'm going to use advertising just because it's an easier example. Instead of having an individual number dedicated to Google PPC, for example, you have a series or pool of numbers that rotate and we know mathematically how many numbers we need to have based on the volume of clicks through to the website and the number of times that phone number is called in order for that— when that number rings, that gets tied back to this individual click.
That's very important if you are doing things, and you should be doing things like landing page testing optimization, right? Or ad testing optimization.
Let's say I want to know if putting the words “free consultation” is more effective than “Harvard educated” in my ad text. Right? I can't do that from a conversion perspective. I can do it from a click-through perspective, but not a conversion perspective if I’m lumping all of my PVC in together.
And so to the extent that you are testing within a channel, you need to really work on these number pools and get much more— So the more granular, the better until you get to a point where you don't have statistical relevance in order to make those assessments. Right? If I only have 2 phone calls in my Harvard versus free consultation tests, I don't know anything. Right? And so there is a limitation based on data.
And to me, a really smart marketer is using statistically relevant models to understand when they choose to say, “Hey, we've got a winner here.” And by the way getting to a 95% confidence that A is better than B and then applying that to the rest of your campaigns is amazing.
Awesome, thank you.
No, that's great.
Okay. Here's the next thing that I think is very important, especially with your phone intake and this can be phone intake in-house, it can be phone intake through a different service.
Just listen in on what's going on. Sam talked about the tools where you can kind of look at a whole bunch of data together; it's got the keyword analysis. Super-valuable.
Make sure that you're listening in.
Make sure that you're reviewing this information because most of you tell me that your intake is amazing and that we do a great job with that. And most of you are like Lake Wobegon. Everyone is beautiful and everyone is above average. Right? And it's very— sorry, that makes me super old. Garrison Keillor, for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about.
It's very very important to listen and provide feedback and that's feedback internally. We do this all the time, you can provide feedback back to Smith.ai or whomever you're using. Right?
So if you are doing all of these steps and getting to the one-yard line, make it better because you can make it better. This is what I tell people to do. Actually, now's a bad time to do this, but beforehand, go buy a pair of shoes at Nordstrom, right? And be a difficult client, right? Ask for a browner brown or something that doesn't make sense and experience the customer service there and then go listen to your own phone calls, to your own law firm, respond to people who have a matter that's much more valuable than a $300 pair of shoes and compare.
On the next slide, the thing that I talk about here is there's a discipline to doing this the right way. We're going to look at this every month, every quarter, and that can be listening in on the phone calls, giving feedback to how intake works. We're going to do this every month. Set aside the first day of the month to review last month's calls. Right?
Also, if you're running multi-channel marketing, you need the discipline to go back and draw those graphs on a regular basis and review them and see how they're doing. There's so much focus on marketing. There's so much focus on spending money. There's so much focus on all of these things.
If you don't review this stuff, it doesn't get better. Right?
It's just out there and you're doing these things and you're creating these reports and if you don't sit down and make it better, none of this stuff matters. So I would implore you to find a way to instill in what you do the discipline to actually review and do it quarterly or monthly and make things better because you're not as good as you think you are.
So Conrad, before we move again to the CallRail and Smith.ai sort of implementation here and take your advice and put it to work, we have a question. What do you use to create your tables?
Oh, that? So there’s 2 answers to that. Some of it— that's just Google Sheets. We're a Google premier partner, so I pretty much can't touch anything from Microsoft. That example there is Sheets.
What we use internally— the first graph that I showed for our own internal reporting, is a product called NinjaCat, which frankly that is the worst name ever. But it essentially brings a bunch of data together and it makes it look pretty.
And so there are a variety of different sources that you can get that will take all of this data, take all these sources, bring all these APIs in together, merge data together, and spit out something pretty. It’s NinjaCat with taking GA data, taking in CallRail data, taking in form filled data, like all sorts of data—throwing it in together and creating something that’s helpful.
Awesome, Conrad. Thank you so much.
And it's nice not to use Excel because everyone knows what Excel looks like and it just looks worse.
Yeah, they do look really nice.
So let's just really quickly, I think Sam and I are going to chat about how do I get started actually.
So with Smith.ai, if you're not already a client of ours, it's just an easy form fill. You tell us this is a little bit about my business, this is how I envision my calls to be handled. In an ideal world, you would do this, you would ask these questions. This is what a good client looks like to me.
Tell us about your business and we'll build a communication plan for you. And we'll tell you, “This is how we can handle it” or “Have you also considered this opportunity to maybe capture leads or screen more effectively in this process?”
We do inbound and also outbound calls, so we can call back those form fills or emails you forward to us to call back and then we'll get your account set up for you. That requires giving you a phone number so that you can forward your calls to Smith.ai. And we can work with any phone system that you're using.
We can also, if you have a CallRail number, receive that directly to Smith.ai so that you're not introducing another phone system in there with multiple rings coming through. You may just use it as a quick pass through and direct all calls to Smith.ai.
We'll say, “Okay, well, it took us this much time to get through those 20 calls. We blocked 20 spam calls for you. We had 20 real calls in 2 days. Let's say in a month we would expect a certain volume and that's how your plan is built out. And here are any itemized add-ons.”
We give CRM integration for free and inbound and outbound are included. English and Spanish is included. And maybe you say, “I really need you to ask a few more questions. I want the extended intake option.” Cool, we'll do that for you.
We'll do the scheduling. We'll take payments that you charge for consultations and it's all month to month.
So if you have a campaign and that's particularly important, we can do that for you. And if not, then you can choose to add it at a later time or not at all. No problem at all.
You can do it through the Tag Manager, so it takes a second. You can manually install it, or we have a WordPress plugin. So if you have sites running off of WordPress, you can install that super quick. Setting up numbers or a click of a button and you can turn call recording on or off and then you can place those test calls and already go ahead and see the statistics.
We do offer a 14-day free trial for any plan or any product that I've mentioned already. It's truly free. You don't have to put a card on file and then we do have different plans based on that.
And then, we are a month-to-month based service just like Smith.ai.
I just wanted to, for everyone here, also talk about with specifically Smith.ai and CallRail and the next couple slides we're just going to talk about the setup do's and don'ts best practices because we have many many clients who effectively use CallRail and Smith.ai together.
And once you have your accounts set up and you know it's about 2 to 4 days for the full setup of your Smith.ai number and account and directions. One day, if you really just want us only to answer and take a message.
Okay. So we can do that very quickly. There are no instructions, but if you really want what Smith.ai is good at, it's going to take you a couple of days.
You've already gotten things set up on CallRail. Sam’s team is ready for you.
Now, if you're not using call flows, so you have routing options and maybe there's a certain geographic area or certain time-based delay or anything like that. If you're not using those different call flows and writing options, then just use the menu that dials step and directly routes your calls to Smith.ai.
If you are using call flows, then you want to make sure that you're covering any gaps. For example, if you've pressed 1 for sales, press 2 for support. If only you press 1 sales calls are going to Smith.ai, then you may have thought, “Oh, well, I've got a receptionist service now.”
Like there's a backup disaster management voicemail that Smith.ai offers just in case the world blows up. We say, “Okay, well, we didn't answer. We've got this voicemail.” You think, “Okay, I've got a voicemail. I'm good.” You actually also need to set up your voicemail in any flows for CallRail so that if they press 2 and that doesn't go to Smith.ai, you're covered there also. So make sure that you sort of check every box and go down every path that you've set up so that there's never this no man's land where someone's landing without a voicemail.
You want to test your lines after every major change that you make to your phone system, to any forms that you've made. The same way that you would test your lines, you also want to test your forms and make sure that that data is captured, that it's tracked in the CallRail report, that it goes into the system you pointed it to, and that you see those summaries coming through.
So it's not just, did that call connect? Did that form submit? But are you seeing it attributed to the right source you've set up in CallRail? Are you seeing it come through after a call is completed into Clio or Salesforce or the appointments booked on Calendly? Were things done correctly?
You always want to test.
And then, if you have multiple CallRail members and maybe you're not using the full option and you’re manually assigning different numbers, you're repeating those steps or changing them as it's relevant to you.
Now, what's also important is that if you have form fills that are happening and you're tracking those, you can actually also forward alerts of new form fills to Smith.ai to make those calls back and have a prompt response to anyone who visits your website. You can do that with chats. You can also do that with text messages. I mean, honestly, even a screenshot and call this person.
We can handle it, but the best thing is just to forward it automatically. So, for example, an email forwarding rule, you can say, “If it has this subject line, forward it to Smith.ai support,” and we can handle those calls for you and make those calls back.
What you're getting here guys is— this is the responsiveness. Maddy touched on this earlier. There's an early office study that came out that the most important factor that people thought about when hiring an attorney was responsiveness. That's the quality that they want. And if your first interaction is not responsiveness, that tells the story that all they need to know. Right?
And so, what you're getting here is solving what is very much could be just a perception problem, but that is such an important thing to solve early on. And the more professional response— like you know this. When you buy anything else, you expect that level of responsiveness. And yet we think that in legal, that doesn't apply and it's just not the case.
Yeah, absolutely. It's the most important thing. And don't forget, just like you and any other business, anyone who consumers interact with.
And you yourself, you're a consumer. What do you expect? And that level of responsiveness has only shortened the timeframe of the expectation. It's only sped up when we expect to hear back from businesses.
If CVS, a massive company, can text me and tell me all these updates in real-time around when I need to come to pick up my prescription for my grandmother or something; then you better believe that I'm thinking that a small shop with less burden is going to be able to communicate with me on all the channels that I use and interact with businesses on. That's extremely important.
It's also important to know where conversations are happening.
So we haven't talked a ton about Facebook, but we know that referrals and recommendations are happening a lot on Facebook. That people are texting back and forth about, “Can you help me find a fill in the blank business? Fill in the blank law firm?” Where those conversations exist. These conversations just happened on Facebook.
I'm searching on Facebook. I'm trying to find that business on Facebook. I just got in a text message a phone number for a business. I'm going to probably try and text and call. How do you get through? How are you operating on the channels that people are already using and living in? And that's their preferred channel typically. So what they use to communicate with you, don’t make them switch.
There’s a great piece of data from the Clio legal trends report. And this is again, really broadly applicable to other businesses, that most of the time, the majority of the time, emails that come in are responded to by the law firm saying, “Hey, could you give us a call?”
Well, what? Like I already emailed you, can you please respond in the channel that I’m clearly indicating is my preferred channel for communication? This is what’s convenient to me.
Maybe this is what’s private and discreet for me and I’m not able to have a phone call where I could be overheard. Or I’m just less comfortable speaking about it then writing about it. Considering what that means for client service, too.
That’s really the client forward way of thinking about it. What scenario or what preference they may have and how they’re indicating that to you through their behavior and communication.
So best practices, I know we’re running into the hour, make sure that you set up a caller ID in CallRail, so Smith.ai can block your spam and sales calls. We do it for free. If you don’t do that, we can’t offer that service to you.
Directly for your calls— so if you have a phone tree, if you have this overflow set up, I really recommend that you set up at the most, a very short delay after the caller. Otherwise, they’re being passed through three systems and no matter how responsive we are, we’re still waiting for that call to come to us. And that’s not always the best experience; not always the most patient caller who then was put in touch with us who's been waiting for six, seven, eight rings. Good luck if they're still on the phone after all of that.
So don't make them wait because you may want an opportunity to call. Overflow can be okay if you're picking up in just one ring. Otherwise, if you're not going to get it in a ring, I wouldn't bother.
Set the ring limit for 60 seconds so that if there is ever a delay, it's not timing out waiting for Smith.ai to answer. We're doing so promptly, but sometimes the workflow as you're setting it up can create a delay and you want to have that play in there. You want to have that room so that we can answer, especially if you are still going to do overflow.
Also, make sure that if you're setting up call recording that you are in compliance with your state laws; not every state requires that you've disclosed that the call is going to be recorded, but if you do need to do so, make sure that it does state that during the call.
As Conrad said, make sure you're sharing your call recordings for any constructive feedback.
We also like to hear praise when you're happy with how it went. It doesn't just have to be constructive feedback.
And test early and consistently and routinely. Spend those— not only to make sure that the system functions properly and that the call rings and picks up, but also secret shop. Make sure that your business name is being pronounced correctly, that there is the tone and level of friendliness that you expect because it's your business at the end of the day.
Also, be careful using the different various routing options for Round-Robin, which is like a sequential call tree or Simulcall, which is a call blast. When that happens, you're trying multiple numbers at once or multiple numbers in sequence. And Smith.ai, our receptionists are not able to guarantee that we're going to receive that call and missed calls can happen.
So just be very careful if you've tested and if you follow the advice, you won't stumble upon that as an issue. You'll discover it before you send any calls because you've tested it.
There are more best practices in this document that I've linked here as well. We have a help doc just about CallRail and Smith.ai.
Conrad, did you want to say something?
Always, but I'll stop. Keep moving.
We'll provide our contact information. As I know, we're a couple of minutes over, but if you are interested in signing up for CallRail, the prices are here and Sam has done a really great job of sharing all of the resources that are made available to you.
Think about the value of a client, of a lead, and it is a total no brainer to be implementing this, to make sure that you are spending your money wisely, that you're focused on those channels that are best performing for you.
And the same thing with Smith.ai, I mean the cost is outrageously affordable when you think about what you're getting. We charge per call, not per minute so it's really easy to think about your conversion funnel when it's per click, per call, per consult, per client, rather than this weird thing in the mix in the middle, which is like a whole bunch of minutes that you need to parse out into who spent how many minutes talking.
There are optional add-ons, as I mentioned, if you'd like more completed for you during the call.
And if you would like more information on any of these subjects that we covered today, please do get in touch with us. Sam, Conrad, and my information is all provided here, along with our emails, and we would be happy to hear from you.
So, Sam, Conrad, anything else you want to add before we wrap up today?
I'll get here. If you want any more information that we weren't able to really show too much— but go to callrail.com. You can request a demo. You can talk with one of our reps and learn a lot more about all these additional options that you have. So definitely take a look at our website.
The only thing I'll say is the uniqueness of this group. We've been using CallRail for a long time. We've been working with Smith.ai for a long time. I think we're at a point where you guys are recognized as kind of industry leaders.
And I know there's been a bunch of providers out there prior, but certainly within the legal industry, this is best of the breed and it's awesome to see all of these working together. I've been doing this since 2006. I'm watching the industry move forward and the leaders kind of come out and so it's really fun.
Awesome, Conrad. Thank you so much. I appreciate both of you for joining us and thanks everyone. Have a great day.
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