Chances are, Tim Cuddigan has been tracking his marketing for longer than you’ve been in practice. Since 1996, Tim Cuddigan—part of the father and son legal team in Omaha, Nebraska—has been creating and refining his system for tracking signed clients. His goal is to see exactly how each client found his firm.
Tim and his son Sean have invented a system that is brilliant in its simplicity; all Tim and Sean have to do is plug in the information they gather into their robust spreadsheet. This gives them a clear map of how each and every client made his way to the entrance of Cuddigan Law. But it took some years (and some mistakes) to create a system that was as simple as it was effective.
Our team wanted to find out more about the Cuddigans’ system, so we sat down with Tim and Sean and got down to the heart of the matter: what mistakes they made, what system they use, and what additional steps they'll be taking to make their client tracking even better.
Like all business owners, Tim and Sean made mistakes along the way. But instead of lamenting their losses, they looked at their missteps as learning opportunities, making the most of the mistakes and, while doing so, increasing the effectiveness of their marketing.
One of the most valuable lessons the Cuddigans learned was that they were wasting a lot of money on TV ads. How much money?
“I’m embarrassed to say how much money we wasted in TV ads,” admitted Tim. “When the ads were showing at night, it was just a total waste of time and money. When we pulled the ads we found that we got the same number of clients.”
But Tim shouldn’t be embarrassed; unlike so many other attorneys, he was tracking the success of his marketing campaigns and pulled the plug on the ads when he found that they weren’t working. Without his decision to scrutinize the effectiveness of all his marketing, Tim might still be running those ads, wasting his time and money year after year.
Another mistake Tim and Sean made was using lead generation services. Those services ended up not being anywhere as effective as the company promised they'd be.
“The people were so unqualified,” scoffed Tim. “We used them for about nine months and found that those services weren’t effective when you consider how much crap you had to cull out of your contacts.”
Tim and Sean now get leads using more effective, natural techniques. One of these techniques is a print newsletter. When the Cuddigans started a newsletter, their referral traffic from previous clients shot up. The Cuddigans put out a monthly print newsletter with the help of a professional writer. Each month, the firm pays the writer $500 to write the newsletter. Sean or Tim then approve it, have it printed and send it out. Each newsletter costs the law firm 41 cents, but the campaign has resulted in a huge uptick in referral traffic.
How to Track the Cuddigan Way
Luckily for you, Tim and Sean have been gracious enough to share their lead tracking advice with you. Their advice is straightforward; their three-step system, simple to implement. They make it so easy that there is no reason you shouldn’t start using it today.
1. Document every single lead source
You need to make sure that you have a way to track data for each and every campaign you run. One way to do this is to track phone numbers for each ad you place and each newsletter (one for print and one for email) you send out.
Also, it’s crucial that you have a complete and precise intake form. The intake form that the Cuddigans use doesn’t just ask if the client saw one of the firms commercials or ads, but which ad he saw and where he saw it. And then their form takes this one step further by asking if the client went to the website after seeing the ad or commercial. This gives the lawyers a very clear picture of what led the client to call and make an appointment.
To keep track of this data, Tim and Sean use a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet lists each type of advertising that they do. This includes TV ads, referrals, and website traffic. You can do this too! Simply create a list of every marketing move you make and begin gathering data. This system will allow you to enter information from clients, giving you a clear picture of what’s converting potential clients to paying clients.
2. Teach your staff to track leads
Tim and Sean delegate lead tracking to their staff. They have trained their intake team (beginning with the front desk person, the most crucial member of this team), ensuring that they know what advertising campaigns are currently running. This way, staff members speak to a potential client, they are able to pinpoint exactly how she found Cuddigan Law and what convinced her to go ahead and pick up the phone or fill out a contact form.
You can do this too! To implement this in your office, provide your staff with a list of lead sources so that they can easily assign each lead to a category. If your system is simple enough, and if you’ve properly trained your staff, you will begin collecting invaluable lead tracking data immediately. Want to know more? Read this article on how to create a highly effective intake script for your law firm.
3. Analyze your data
After you and your staff have collected several months of data, Tim and Sean recommend looking for trends.
You can do this too! Ask yourself: Are there sources I’m paying for that aren’t getting me leads? What is my top lead source? How can I make the most of this lead source? Let the answers to these questions inform your marketing for the next month. Repeat this process monthly, adjusting where needed. And don’t be scared to try new things. Now that you’re tracking your every marketing move, you can easily determine if you’re wasting your money or if you’ve hit upon a lead-generating gold mine.
The Cuddigans' Achilles Heel
While the Cuddigans have their client data system down pat, there is one data set they have yet to add to their arsenal: tracking non-client leads. Currently, they only track their signed clients. Soon, though, they will track all leads. This will give them an even clearer picture of what converts and what doesn’t. By looking for trends in potential client drop-offs—people who visit the site, fill out a contact form, but never sign with the law firm—they can better refine their marketing plan, filling any cracks that potential clients are falling through.
Nothing Operates in Vacuum
What the Cuddigans realize is that their marketing moves, be it a new ad or their latest newsletter, do not operate independently. Without a killer website filled with robust content and compelling offers, potential clients would see an ad, go to the site and then quickly leave. They know this to be true because of their comprehensive tracking. Thanks to their awesome intake survey, they have been told that the reason clients have chosen to call Cuddigan Law was the quality of the information on their website.
So as you get started on your new lead tracking system, also take stock of your website. Does it deliver on the promises your pretty new ad makes? Or will it turn off potential clients before they even think about calling you?
One way to find out exactly what’s working on your website (and what’s not) is to sign up for our free newsletter. Because if the Cuddigans have shown us anything, it’s that knowing what’s working and what’s not is the key to a law firm’s success.