Legal Q&A: How to outsmart competitive marketers with call tracking

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Meredith Stack: Welcome, my name is Meredith Stack and I'm a demand generation manager here at CallRail. I'm joined today by a group of wonderful legal marketing experts who are going to be discussing and answering our questions about how call tracking has helped them compete better and elevate their marketing.

We are very fortunate to be joined today by Maddy Martin. She is the Head of Growth and Education for Maddy will be leading our Q&A session today.

Maddy Martin: Hi, I’m Maddy Martin. I’m the Head of Growth and Education for is a receptionist service that sits in the keystone between marketing, call tracking, phone communications, and web communication. We see a lot of these systems that work in that play every day.

David Chapman: Hello, I'm David Chapman, founder or Webrageous. I founded Webrageous in 2001. We've been managing paid search and only paid search, that's all we do since 2004. And so we're seeing a lot of success now, helping bankruptcy attorneys. We do a lot of work with mass tort campaigns, about 40% of our business is helping attorneys and the rest is mostly lead generation for other types of clients.

Within mass tort, there's of course, pharmaceutical liability, medical device liability, and then we do overflow work for agencies, and then work for other agencies that just don't do any paid search if they do, for example web design or natural search optimization.

Harlan Schllinger: Hi, I'm Harlan Schillinger. I'm not sure what highlights I can emphasize but I got involved with this business, had an advertising agency and produced syndicated television commercials. And in 1977, I moved over to the legal world and produced a series of television commercials.

I recently retired about four years ago for my agency, and several years prior to me retiring, we were in 96 markets. And so we built a pretty big footprint but along the way, I helped start National Trial Lawyers. I'm the Executive Committee for our Summit, five put that on and I've had the opportunity to touch in many, different phases in the business.

Nick Paul: Hey, I'm Nick Paul. I'm the director of advertising over here at Nifty Marketing. Some of you may be familiar with Nifty Marketing, we're focused exclusively on law firms and were pretty heavily involved with a lot of conferences. Most recently, we're most excited about local service ads rolling out for attorneys nationwide. That's one of our main focuses right now, but CallRail and a lot of things we'll discuss today have been crucial in the success for our clients and our agency.

Legal marketing Q&A

Maddy: There are maybe examples that we share from spaces outside of legal to bring color and examples and best practices into the forefront for an area where there's a lot of room for growth and legal marketing.

So you may hear examples and make sure to think about how that applies to your own business. And we'll do our best to bring those examples directly into applications for law. Nick, one of the things that we see very clearly with CallRail is that there is a tracking and listening component. So what do you do for your clients, when you find out that a marketing campaign is driving a lot of phone calls? Obviously, that's something your own success is tied to, but not clients, which your success is maybe less tied to but you're still on the hook for.

Nick: This is a common concern. Those lead to a lot of different possibilities. One of the core benefits that CallRail offers is the ability for the agency or your in-house marketing team to be agile and act in real time, as opposed to relying on you as the attorney or your intake team specifically, and taking their time to know the outcome of the calls.

CallRail will go to the recordings of the calls, to reproduced 100 phone calls in the past week but how many of those actually sounded like legitimate leads? And then we'll look at the outcomes of those calls where they stem or they are calling for a competitor? Probably one of the most common outcomes we see is that it's a lot of existing clients calling, right? They'll see your ads, or whatever. The agency or in-house team is tracking calls with their existing clients.There's a lot you can do to refine your targeting to try to exclude existing clients, whether that would be from existing client lists or negative keyword. So there's a lot of possibilities competitor targeting sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Essentially looking at those calls, and determining the outcomes real time is where CallRail's most powerful for your marketing team.

2. When it comes specifically to paid search campaigns, do you need call tracking? What's the value add there?

David: You absolutely need call tracking it is essential. I'm actually going to quote Harlan, "Attorneys love evidence." And so when you can come to them with a list of the names and phone numbers of everyone who's called that month, that's really powerful. Not only that, but you can now also use CallRail's form tracking, which is equally powerful because before and I always thought you know, well form tracking, well I mean why bother?

It's a dime a dozen. There's so many options for form tracking, why do I need to use CallRail's? Well, because when the client gets that form, they're going to see that that came from paid. If you're doing natural, they're going to see that comes from natural. That is what they need to be seeing for them to continue to pay you every month as an agency, you can come to them at the end of the month, say, "Here's a list of all the people that fill out your contact form."

Instead of coming to them with a list saying, "You got 20 calls, and 30 contact form submissions," well, that's just a number, okay? Now with that list of people that can correlate that to who signed up and they can put $1 value on your work, and that is so crucial, because you got to get people through that first two or three months, and then you've got a chance at having a customer for life if you're lucky.

3. What about other CallRail integrations? What does CallRail integrate with or what do you integrate CallRail with, to sort of add that extra value in and complete the picture?

David: It depends on the customer but always we're going to integrate CallRail with Google Ads because you want that data for contact form submissions and for calls to be ported into Google Ads. You can see which keywords are driving those conversions. That's absolutely critical. You've got plugins for all sorts of things. Salesforce is one of many, many, many integrations. I'm sure Harlan and Nick can mention some of the other integrations that they use, but whatever you use, there's probably an integration for it there's so many integrations with CallRail.

Harlan: The integration narrative, as I'm listening to this. And I'm listening to what David said and Nick, and Maddy I go back aways with you is, I can't think of anything that you wouldn't want to track when it comes to your marketing. It baffles me that there's maybe 5000 firms that have a 500 firms out of 4000 that are just on television, you know, have these metric tools in place.

CallRail is a big company, they have a lot of integrations with a lot of industries. It really is one of the backbones of what we do if you use it properly, but I just can't I'm sitting there scratching my head saying what shouldn't we integrate? I mean, David, you talked about forms you talk about, "I can now go to my clients with..." it's mandatory and you perform a function, you give them the lead. And anything happens after that.

My entire basis is built on conversion. If you can convert more of those forms, David, and I know you agree with me, what you're doing is you're converting money that's already been spent, you're not generating more leads, you're creating more opportunity from what you've had, which absolutely affects your bottom line and your ROI. Most importantly, it absolutely affects what money they put in their pocket.

4. What does call tracking software do that other software integrations can't do like, what is that value add? Why use it on top of a phone system? Why can't your phone system record calls?

Nick: Yeah, that's a common question. Speaking of integrations, along with what Harlan and David have said, it's super important to know the ROI on every dollar you spend. When you've got one phone call as a PI attorney, for example, that can be a multi million dollar case. You better make sure you know where those cases are coming from. CallRail has the ability to be as specific as, one billboard versus another one, Facebook campaign versus another.

What CallRail does more is it allows you to see the client journey, right? Gone are the days where somebody sees an ad and they immediately pick up the phone. That's like a lightning strike. More often than not, this is a very complex journey and it may look something like they see three of your billboards, two of your Facebook ads, they engage with those. They pick up the phone multiple times asking questions. After exposure to 10 or 15 of your different marketing channels, they finally become a client.

If all you're using is your in-house intake system, you're going to attribute all the value to that last touch. "Where did you hear about us?" "It was a referral." Was it though? "Where did you hear about us?" "Oh, I saw your Billboard." "Was it just a billboard?" You end up pulling the plug on Facebook ads or Google ads, all these things that are contributing to the value of that client because all you're seeing is that last touch.

Harlan: I think this is the worst question you could ask any human being in the advertising world. I'm very opinionated about that, "How did you hear about us?" "Well, I saw you on radio," and to Nick's point, which is very on target. You don't know where this is coming from. We all involved with metrics and software, and I built my own software, and marketed it, but I still can't figure out, the client, it's very hard to figure out that client journey.

I like to say, "Did you have an opportunity to see our website?" "Oh, yeah, I'm on it right now." Then, at some point, "How did you get to the website?" You've got to spend time and on that initial call is the worst time to figure that out. You're dealing with people that have problems. Make it about them, not about you.

Maddy: I'll give you one example. At, we have people who are referring us and recommending us. We have a pretty short URL, right? It's easy enough to remember, but people still won't search.

On Google, there's a whole host of results. As with any law firm, there are multiple review sites and a directory site. But what do people report? You want to get down to that source of truth. There are multiple touchpoints. It's very hard to give credit back to that original source that stirred the momentum. How do you give credit to all of those sort of contributing factors?

5. How do you not only use data to improve that call, but how do you sort of gather data and tune into that call in the first place?

Harlan: There's a purpose to record the call. It's not to criticize the employee, it's to train the employee, and to understand how your business's being represented. The most important thing I think about each call is to have empathy. We all want information quickly.

You want to grab the call along with all the content and information from the conversation, but you have to still have compassion. You can be compassionate and be thorough in gathering your information. Most law firms are simply not.

When I use CallRail and record the calls, I'm able to really understand the culture of what is going on, with your intake department. Very few law firms really understand compassion. They say they do, but they don't act it and that's a huge separation point. These tools allow you to grow your business if you use them.

6. What tools here are for a CallRail beginner? How are you going to use the data to improve the responsiveness?

David: Great question. What we're going to do is on behalf of that client set up missed calls, that's one of the first things we're going to do. If they don't have enough people to pick up the phone two, three calls come in at once they missed the call. They're going to get an email alert from CallRail and they're going to call them right back.

I'm going to train that client to be in CallRail constantly. Not just the receptionist or the paralegal but the attorneys to oversee it as well. I'm going to be in there as well. Because if you have a short call 10 seconds long, maybe they started to listen to your introductory message, they didn't want to wait so they hung up. You want to be on top of that, the sooner you call them back, the better.

If you're not using CallRail, you're not going to get that data. If you're just using Google Ads, you can look at a call detail report, but certainly the call is recorded. You only get the first six digits, that's all they give you, it's worthless, right? You need CallRail for that Caller ID information.

Another thing that is really critical is looking at the transcripts and doing searches of the call transcripts because then you can search for words like appointment, hire, purchase for things other than legal but you can also search for other words, and you're going back in all the recordings, you're going back a year, and you can search for the word complaint, problem, Better Business Bureau, angry, mad.

What does that take 5, 10 minutes, you bring that to the attention of your client and you point out problems in their process so that they can help their employees get better and handle those calls differently. And then suddenly, you've had so much value, that you're now not just the PPC or the SEO guy, because you've taken an extra five minutes to go above and beyond and people notice that and then get to make money.

7. How do you feed call data and the valuable content from calls into the business and weave it in and other ways?

David: There's a lot of ways you can feed your call data back into the business for ideas for blog posts, and so forth. In terms of paid that is really critical is finding, seeing patterns of bad calls because the paralegal doesn't know to call me. The receptionist doesn't know. If you’re listening to calls, you may find additional negative keywords to add to Google Ads to filter out clients seeking service you don’t provide.

8. Can you speak to some of the ways that you're using call data to personalize those conversations?

Nick: One of the fastest and easiest ways to scale your existing business is just to be more agile with the data that's already coming in. One of the things that we love is the whisper message. That's something CallRail can do. When your intake team receives the phone call, before they actually speak to the client, they're told what was the keyword this person searched for. What was the source or actual marketing channel of this incoming call?

This is all data that your intake team can react to real time and start a personalized conversation because you know that they're calling about medical malpractice specifically. It allows you to call into question you know, earlier when I mentioned, CallRail can see the exact client journey all the way down.

Some of these firms are receiving hundreds or thousands of phone calls per month. That can be a daunting task to analyze everything. Knowing the initial source of the call before you answer the phone is invaluable. It gives us actionable data real time and they don't have to go through the feedback loop of talking to you, or the intake team, your marketing team can look at all this.

9. What are you looking at when you're listening to calls? What are the good behaviors of handling these calls of new sort of uninitiated leads? Are there certain things you don't do and don't want to hear?

We do want to hear compassion. That’s the goal of answering the call and it's a very challenging goal. The intake representative is really put on the spot to have a relationship with the client or prospect. If you have something like the whisper message tipping you off before having your conversation, it can help prepare you for the client at hand.

The most important issue that I hear about is the lack of listening. With intake, you don't want to get on the phone and let the client ramble on for 20 minutes, you want to hold control. It's the art of listening and perhaps asking the right questions to listen to.

The other thing that is most significant to me that I listened to, is the conversation with the client about, how do you want me to communicate with you? The thing out of this pandemic that I'm walking away with is the ability to use zoom and the ability to use FaceTime with clients.

It's a game changer to sit back and call timeout and say, "I really want to be able to communicate with you and one of the policies of my company is communication." You know that most communicators don't communicate, but we don't act that way here. "So communication is a very important tool in my business. How is the best way for me to communicate?"

If you go back and listen to all the CallRail recordings and such, I think you'd be very hard pressed to find anytime that question is asked in that manner. I'm so focused on that because we're all trying to tell our clients how to be different from everybody else, what to do, what's your strengths, what your weaknesses, but compassion. Communication is imperative. We underestimate, we brush over this communication thing.

Maddy: I think that you make a really good point, Harlan. Based on the Clio legal trends report, they're reporting not only that two out of three potential clients base their decision to hire on the initial responsiveness to that first call or email or form, fill, chat, whatever that first touch point is, and that's extremely important.

We also see that 47% of people don't answer calls that ring into them from unknown business numbers, because of spam and sales calls. If they're calling you, that's an even more important opportunity to capture that call immediately and to handle it also properly.

If you're actively listening to your call, then you're able to steer the conversation and understand what it is that the prospect needs, and if they need a sort of help within your practice areas, then you set expectations for what they can expect to pay or the duration or the process or the next steps. That not only conveys your active listening, but your understanding and reiterates that they're in the right place, it builds trust and it makes them feel like the expertise matches their needs, to the point that you've stopped that process. The best sales are always built on trust and experience.

David: I want to share our two technical aspects to better handling of calls. With call flows in CallRail, it's very powerful. There's so many options.

If your phone system is set up so that you route calls to three different paralegals or three different attorneys that actually handle intake, you want that when that person calls back to go back to the same person if possible. That's a really helpful feature within CallRail.

Make sure that you don’t overwhelm your caller with endless IVR options either. If you know that call came from a specific campaign, route them directly to their destination. Don't waste people's time, that's where you're going to have more hang ups and shorter calls. When you get rid of that. That's when you wind up with longer call times and more money.

Maddy: You know, how do we probably set boundaries and one of the ways that's beyond the scope of this conversation is obviously client agreements and that sort of thing understanding of, of how you know that team is available to you. But I'm going to go to this question from the audience member about, intake and asking where that source came from.

We discussed that intake is not a good time for asking people how they found your firm. When do you I'm hearing a bit of paper shuffling by the way, if anyone's doing that coming up. If intake is a bad time to ask questions around how they found, when is the right time to ask, if ever and if ever is sort of my own addition.

David: You don't ever have to ask if you have CallRail set up the right way with the right integration through Google Ads. There's two or three of them that you actually need to set up and it's not hard.

You can then see in real time the source of that call. If it’s from paid, you can even see the keyword that call came through. This way you don't even have to waste time asking them that you know where it came from and the keyword search for it which is so powerful.

10. How do you use CallRail for referrals or individuals who are sending clients your way?

Nick: That’s a good question. Most firms have diverse marketing channels. One of the key points of CallRail is you can create a dedicated tracking number for every source. If you know that you consistently receive referrals from a certain doctor or another neighboring firm, you can dedicated a tracking number to them and say, "Hey, when you're sending people over, give them this number," and then make it far easier for you to definitively say where those referrals are coming from. You likely have more than one referral source as well, that becomes difficult unless you're giving them a dedicated tracking number.

You can also add notes for individual calls. My team relies very heavily on the notes that our law firms are adding, specifically saying the outcome of this call. So you can add notes and say, "CallRail tracked as this but I know for certain it came from this."

Harlan: I'll be very frank with you, I'm very dedicated to CallRail and I use it on every Lead Docket account.The bottom line is that we've never gotten away from CallRail because it captures the information and then I distribute it and couple it with a CRM, whether it's Lead Docket or another CRM.

The most important thing is to have that coupled. I think that's the way you use CallRail because CallRail allows you to do a lot of different things, but by coupling it, and it's very powerful with a CRM, then you're managing the client experience in a different way.

David: As marketers, it's very easy for us to get at a very low level, someone who's not very experienced in Google Ads. They're going to talk to their client about cost per click and click through rate, which are the most irrelevant metrics ever. Then there's a little bit higher level, which a lot of us focus on, which is number of calls, cost per call cost per conversion, and average call length.

Maddy: I think you bring up a really good point that it's not just about conversion rate. It's about also benchmarking where you need to be for conversion value the conversion rate off of certain essential keywords for based on your practice area.

The important thing is that those calls are coming through that are as qualified as they possibly can be for your practice area or areas. Then they're handled promptly, and you're stacking the odds in your favor.

That really gets at the heart of the conversations you're having. The most important data is the data that you use, and you review, you could have the fanciest systems in the world. If you set them up and you never look at them, it doesn't matter. And actually, we see this with the most basic systems. Speaking of phone systems, people will set up their phone systems, and they won't realize that texting is enabled but they've never checked their text messages. You won't realize that there's a ring delay and that they hear one ring for six rings on the caller side.

As you're auditing sort of this sort of advertising call flow, or CallRail call flows, look also at your phone systems and make sure that the core infrastructure is set up properly. That goes to the phone, origination point, that phone system itself, the people who are answering the calls, your defaults that you were talking about David with, sort of preferring that person you spoke to first, and that's the power of the system. If you never look at the data, all of this is sort of a moot point.

11. Do you have one “aha” moment with a client or a story about direct impact that you can share so we can bring a little life into this?

Nick: Yeah. It comes back to the call recordings and to the feedback loop through CallRail. We've got some clients that work in employment law. It can be pretty ambiguous when someone just searches for employment attorney, what are they really looking for?

Getting feedback from that client real time allowed us to turn their account completely around within 30 days. We went from, "Hey, on the surface, we're getting off the phone calls. That looks really good. But we want to know from you guys, is it profitable? What do you guys think?" They were unsure and all different things.

As soon as we dive into the data of CallRail, and really saw what those calls were, coming into our marketing efforts, it allowed us to completely shift the focus of their advertising campaigns, away from some of these may be gray area employment attorney, employment law, type search terms to one little far more specific, and there's plenty of volume.

The hard thing is a lot of law firms want to operate on gut feels. There's too many aspects to these client journeys to just operate on, "I don't feel like that channel's working." You have to have the hard data in front of you to make those hard decisions. It's crucial to have that data in front of you so that you can make a good decision so that you can act and get the results that you're looking for.

David: We talked about a lot of different features in CallRail. It's very robust, but it's also so easy to get started. It is simple, it's user friendly, you get a two week free trial. But then there's a lot of advanced things we talked about that if you want to dig, you're going to find the answers of how to use it. There's training materials there, but also just pick up the phone and call them because everyone there I've worked with is so great.

Maddy: I echo the sentiment around CallRail, a really incredible team that’s very supportive, whether you are directly a client or working through an agency.

In closing, remember that if you haven't already set aside time, while you're listening to us to carve out time, maybe just you are with two to three members of your team to sample and listen to and read the transcripts for a few of your calls. If you don't have the ability to do that set up your free trial with CallRail and then go ahead and listen to those calls.

Make sure that you identify some key takeaways and changes to make or experiment with in your practice. And just focus on the evidence not on the anecdotes. Don't take one call and sort of freak out but take several calls and identify patterns and trends. You'll really be set off to make great quick changes that have a meaningful business impact. You can see everyone's contact information here, including mine. Feel free to get in touch with us. Thanks again to CallRail for hosting us today.