Ever wonder how your firm’s website rates against your competitors?
Who are you (general background, etc)?
Weeks: I spent 25 years at Hewlett-Packard in engineering and engineering management using my computer science degree and along the way was granted 5 patents.
I left HP to create my first data analytics and benchmarking company called BrightScope. Think Avvo for financial advisors. The company now has over 90 employees and gets a half million website visitors every month.
Similar to BrightScope, Lawyer Marketing Score as also an Avvo like company but focused at benchmarking online marketing results.
Why did you decide to create Lawyer Marketing Score?
Weeks: Disruptive changes in the way Google ranks websites, along with dramatic changes in consumer search behavior for personal injury lawyers puts the industry in a new and challenging position. How to cull the “doers” from the “talkers” in their online marketing vendors and using new data-driven tools to raise the bar for online marketing efforts.
Lawyer Marketing Score is disrupting the industry (now in private beta) with the development of a neutral score that accounts for traffic, keyword efficacy and best practices designed to help both personal injury law firms and their online marketing partners adjust and optimize their efforts, introducing unprecedented transparency and accountability into the industry.
Personal injury law and “big data” are now poised to help all parties work smarter to generate high value, transactional leads.
Lawyer Marketing Score is a response to the personal injury law marketplace’s relative discomfort and strong need for online marketing efforts. LMS provides a solution that helps firms work with their existing vendors to drive ROI and adjust strategy in an entirely new way. The vision of LMS is “thousands more lawyers confidently embracing online marketing.”
How does Lawyer Marketing Score work?
Weeks: The LMS uses a proprietary process to determine keywords, search engine results, traffic from lawyer directory services and best practices to compute a score (1-100) that benchmarks the efficacy of online marketing efforts.
It provides a quantitative score card that can be used by the industry to assess and audit what is working and what isn’t as well as identify key areas in need of improvement. For example, if there is a high spend for keywords, but little resulting estimated click volume in a particular DMA, there’s likely an easy fix that can be identified.
The process is performed in 210 DMAs and assesses over 15,000 keywords for personal injury law firms.
A key differentiator is that LMS provides a score in context of the marketplace and isn’t an absolute score – it is derived as a relative score that is tied to both a hyperlocal market and other competitors.
What makes Lawyer Marketing Score different from other website graders like Hubspot or FindLaw?
Weeks: LMS is an entirely new benchmark. Other website graders such as those provided by Hubspot or Findlaw do a great job of auditing best practices on an absolute basis, but no one else is diving into the keyword performance specific to each firm and local market in relative context with a competitive and hyperlocal set.
Why should lawyers use Lawyer Marketing Score?
Weeks: Lawyers not using LMS are “shooting in the dark,” and unclear as to the ROI of their online marketing vendor. The LMS is a quick and easy way to become empowered to ask the right questions and build a more effective relationship with their online marketing vendor.
Without the LMS, lawyers could literally be throwing money away, and leaving plenty on the table. Often the most compelling argument for review of a firm’s online marketing strategy is seeing how their competition is doing head to head against their firm.
How do you account for “SEO lag” (i.e. site has FindLaw at bottom but other SEO did majority of back link work)?
Weeks: Going forward we will be able to track changes in the domain authority of a website over time. Ongoing effort is required to avoid domain authority from dropping as high quality links naturally drop off.
How do you respond to critics who are skeptical about the accuracy of Lawyer Marketing Score?
Weeks: As a benchmarking tool, LMS is transparent and neutral in its approach and can provide detailed analysis to back up the derivation of each score. The LMS score card pdf report includes the details on how the score was calculated for the specific law firm.
What interesting insights can you share about the data you’ve collected with Lawyer Marketing Score thus far?
Weeks: Early in our private beta we’ve been learning daily that assumptions about spend vs. outcome are often wrong. Small law firms can score extremely high using small online marketing vendors, while major firms often return a lower LMS in the same DMA.
Since the LMS is a relative score, derived in the context with competitors, there’s a strong potential driver for adopting the LMS as a must have tool in the firm’s arsenal, while enabling online marketing firms to improve their performance and satisfaction of their client base. Another insight is quite often firms with high scores for website best practices are not delivering many clicks from the search engines.
What is your vision for Lawyer Marketing Score in the future?
Weeks: As you can imagine, the LMS is a powerful tool that can be applied to other professional services verticals that depend on online marketing in competitive hyperlocal search environments. The parent company holds this vision firmly while singularly focusing on the personal injury industry with the launch of LMS.
We invite all firms to sign up now for the private beta and work with us to ensure that the product is valuable and accounts for all factors that go into the LMS score card.
There’s little question of the tremendous value of being able to quickly and accurately identify a website’s strengths and weaknesses against competitors.
Of course, the main challenge is developing a sound methodology that delivers a reliable benchmark.
Historically, my experience with website grading tools has been largely disappointing. While there is no shortage of website grading tools that track basic performance metrics, they are typically unreliable and often misleading.
While an ambitious undertaking, LMS is an attempt to aggregate performance data from a wide variety of sources and normalize that information in the context of local competitors.
I suspect that LMS will be largely met with skepticism from the online legal marketing community. After all, the tool has the potential to shine some much needed light onto the industry.
However, at least some of the foreseeable objections have merit. Attributing “web marketing work” to a particular vendor is very problematic. In many instances, it’s nearly impossible to identify “who did what and when.”
Nonetheless, if used as a general snapshot of how a site compares against local competition, it greatly outpaces existing tools.
In my discussion with Weeks, I have been very impressed with his approach.
I encourage you to check it out.