No one likes seeing a dip in new case lead volume, but it happens. All par for the course when running a law firm. But what does a “dip” really mean and when should you start taking action?
A dip in new case calls over a period of 24 hours is not what we consider a “dip” in leads. Why? Because it’s too short of a timeframe to analyze and evaluate. That one 24-hour period could be back-to-school day or a day of breaking news in your local market, etc. Now, if volume drops immediately to zero and remains that way for a couple of hours, start testing phone numbers to make sure there are no outages in your local market. Then if you’re a cj client, you’d want to alert your Brand Strategist to make them aware. That’s an entirely different can of worms altogether.
What about a dip in leads over a period of one full week? No reason to be concerned. There will be dips and peaks over various weeks throughout the year. It happens. So let’s make note of it and see what the next week brings. Did next week rebound for new case lead volume? Or are you still seeing a “dip”? If so, that’s when we implement what we call Low Call Protocol.
Here Are the Steps We Take to Find Out What’s Going On
1. The first step is to make sure your firm is reachable.
- Phone: Are all tracking and direct lines connecting? Any disconnected lines? Any longer ring times than normal that could be causing potential leads to hang up? This step of calling through all phone numbers is normally a joint task between the law firm staff and cj team. Start with lines that have the highest call volume and work your way down the list.
- Email: What about electronic leads? When is the last time you received an electronic lead, and how does that timeframe compare to your average? This is where it’s up to the managing vendor to send test submissions through your website, active landing pages, and paid campaigns. You will also want to reach out to any paid lead vendors to ensure they are delivering leads to you as they normally would.
- Chat: Do you have an active chat-to-client feature on your website? If so, the law firm should contact their chat vendor and confirm there haven’t been any changes with the chat function. Certain vendors are notorious for making changes without alerting their clients ahead of time.
- Texting: The law firm should test any texting platforms they use as well. Check with vendor for changes or outages.
2. If all checks out with people connecting to the firm, the next step is to look at recent operational changes.
- Did you implement a new phone system or recently change your intake process? Switch third-party intake service vs. an internal intake team? All things to consider when you see a dip in new case leads. The dip could signify a missed step in the new process you have implemented, so double-check the process. Are all leads being entered as they should? Any integrations broken? Catching these outliers during the two weeks is much better than letting a potential operational issue continue on for an extended period of time.
3. Once you know your firm is reachable and there are no changes to operational intake processes, next up is to review current advertising and note any budget or spending changes.
- Changes in budget/spend can be an outlier when uncovering low new case lead volume. This budget change should be on your radar as any changes in budget should be reviewed after the test period to understand how that budget change impacted numbers.
- If you are already seeing a dip in new case leads over a consecutive two-week period, and you have confirmed a decrease in spend, then this could be the culprit. Your Brand Strategist will want to discuss next steps and determine if the budget test should continue over the agreed upon test-window timeframe.
- What if you had a change in budget and that change was an increase in spend vs. a decrease? Don’t panic. While we all want an increase in spend to yield an increase in new case calls, sometimes that additional budget needs more time to “marinate.” Continue to test period and monitor week to week. Your Strategist is monitoring as well.
- Reallocation? Were you spending on one medium and moved that spend to another? First, I would ask how in the heck was this an approved plan. Two changes at one time? Never a good idea. A decreased budget in one place and an increase in budget in another place will create some tricky tracking. BUT if this was an approved plan, continue to the test period and give it some time. Your Strategist should be monitoring as well.
4. If no changes to your advertising budget/spend, time to review advertising strategy changes.
- Did spending remain the same across all media but there were recent changes with your advertising strategy such as launching a new campaign? New branding, case type addition to your current schedules, new “face of the firm,” or spot length additions to TV? Comb through each medium and note any changes, and if so, what was the start date for:
- Paid Online Campaigns
- Social Media
- And so on
- Strategy changes require a set period to track. This tracking period should be agreed upon before the change is made as strategy changes on one medium could require a longer test window than another medium.
5. And finally, if no issues with all of the above, it could be marketplace conditions.
- There are recurring, scheduled instances that happen such as political windows or holiday weeks that may mess with new case lead volume. But because they are scheduled, your brand team has internal processes to help see you through.
- For other marketplace conditions, such as a new competitor entry, or an increase in competitor spend, it’s all about identifying the change in the marketplace and monitoring. Some marketplace changes may impact new case volume for a while vs. others that may change the landscape indefinitely. Don’t be reactionary. It’s always better to identify the issue and build a retroactive plan to tackle. Reacting to marketplace changes can be emotional and, in some cases, not needed. Every situation is different, so get with your Brand Strategist to create a long-term plan.
Start first with the checklist above. We consider this approach an opportunity to find any outliers that you may have forgotten about. Just keep in mind that every change requires time to sink in, but the evaluation period can differ from medium to medium.
But What if Two Changes Happen at Once?
When we uncover two changes happening at the same time, it gets tricky. Here at cj, we suggest one change at a time, because if more than one happens, it’s hard to decipher which change is impacting the lead volume. It’s always best to listen to your Brand Strategist on recommendations — both on when to launch changes in budget or launching new types of advertising or messaging. Even when you’re reallocating budget from one medium to another, you can’t expect the same result. That’s still two changes at once.
We advise against that. If you want to test spending in a new area, place added budget to accommodate that addition. When you leave all other media the same and only add budget to the area or case type you want to test, you can clearly see if there is a lift in that area.
Reach Out to Discuss More
As always, we invite our cj family members interested in learning how we can help improve reach in your market to contact your Brand Strategist. We also love to hear from folks who happened upon our blog and are intrigued to learn more. Reach out anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.