Future Leaders SIG Program Review: Decoding Legal Tech Tools

The legal technology arena has become crowded with thousands of vendors vying for your firm’s business. It can be hard even to keep up with what the different types of platforms are and how they might be helpful. Covington & Burling’s Michelle Woodyear, Director of Digital Marketing, and Mike Vallebuona, Senior Manager of Marketing Technology & Analytics, spoke to the Future Leaders Shared Interest Group on January 24, 2018, on how to decode these different legal tech tools.

“There are a lot of [platforms] and a lot of work, and you can only do so many projects,” Woodyear said.

The first step to choosing which platforms to focus on is to understand what’s out there. Woodyear took attendees through the different basic platforms — CRM/ERM (customer/enterprise relationship management), CMS (content management systems), MAP (marketing automation platforms), and more.

In addition to those “backbone” platforms, there are social, analytical, and operational programs, all of which can help marketers get content to new audiences and understand who’s viewing that content.

Getting Value from Tech Tools

Marketing technology tools can help you get more value out of the work lawyers spend writing alerts or blog posts. For example, a marketing automation platform can help you conduct A/B testing in which part of your list receives one version of an email and the other part receives a slightly different version, so that you can move toward what works best.

Before you really dig into using digital marketing tools, it’s important to have clear goals, including a clear definition of your audience.

Today’s tech tools can allow you to get a more in-depth look into who is interested in your content, and therefore find good leads for new business.

The quality of your CRM database is also crucial to the success of your digital marketing efforts. “It’s important to take the burden of maintaining contacts off your attorneys,” Woodyear said. This is where an ERM can help; it can use information in email exchanges to tell how strong your attorneys’ client relationships are and whether they’re stagnating or decreasing.

“If there’s one critical thing you need to drive towards, it’s integrating your CRM and your website,” Woodyear said. An integrated CRM allows you to get actionable intelligence.

Another way to get value from your tech efforts is to do more planning of your content strategy. Determine your audience, and use that to find the right topics. Decide on your campaign plan ahead of time, including how often you will write and how you will publicize it. Take advantage of your lawyers’ social media networks by getting them to share your content, Woodyear said.

Proving the Value of Tech Tools

“One problem with introducing new technologies,” said Vallebuona, “is getting buy-in and explaining that it has value.”

The best way to prove the value of the tools is to keep good analytics and provide useful and digestible reporting. “Each touchpoint your firm has with clients and potential clients in the digital realm,” Vallebuona said, “can be measured and tracked, whether it’s your website, blogs, email marketing, content aggregators, or social media.”

Vallebuona went over the many ways to track how many people and who’s looking at your content, including Google Analytics, social media engagement, email marketing platform tools, and others. One great first step is to be sure that Google Analytics is set up — and that it’s set up correctly.

Reporting is important, too. You can set up dashboards, such as quarterly and campaign reports and real-time alerts for variations in metrics. Choosing what to include in reporting that goes to the attorneys and making it look nice are key to helping them understand what your digital marketing efforts can do for the firm.

Learning it for Yourself

Finally, Vallebuona shared a number of sites and resources where attendees could look to learn more about this growing world of digital marketing. For instance, he told us that Google Analytics has a free certification program, and sites like moz.com and Kissmetrics have large libraries of educational content. In addition, a great idea is to sign up for content that other firms put out, so you can compare and get ideas.

By Rachel Patterson, Digital Marketing Technology Coordinator, Crowell & Moring LLP for the First Quarter 2018 LMA Mid-Atlantic Region Newsletter

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