It's mid-December and much of the country is buried in a cold snap. It's also the time of year where we all seek frenetic joy in the holiday shopping, eating, drinking, socializing Spirit. And, it's also budget season - still - for many law firms.
While we are seeing an uptick in optimism as firms plan for 2011 initiatives, we are also seeing clients polish their readers (aka "cheaters") as they dive into budget numbers and their analysis of what's worth keeping in - and what gets kicked out (a little reminiscent of Santa as he evaluates naughty and nice).
Martindale listings continue to be on the endangered list. Because of this, I thought i would take a fresh look at how Martindale drives traffic to law firm websites, and compare this to the traffic referred by the most popular social media and web 2.0 tools - in this case, blogs.
Nearly a year ago, I wrote a post here called "The Efficacy of Martindale as a Referror to your Website." I did a quick review of the analytics for five websites, comparing the strength, or efficacy, of the Martindale referrals to those of Google. Martindale won hands-down, if you assume that a much lower bounce-rate means more qualified visitors to your site. Of the five sites, Martindale referrals consistently stayed on the five sites longer and visited more pages.
This morning I did a quick review of the analytics of these five sites, plus six more. Reviewing the last thirty days, I looked at:
LinkedIn appeared in the top ten (and usually in the top five) for ten of the 11 firms. Facebook appeared in the top ten for six firms. The bounce rate for both LinkedIn and Facebook was lower than the bounce rate for Google, but significantly higher than the bounce rate for Martindale.
Martindale was in the top ten for six firms and occasionally in the top five. The bounce rate numbers are very low (a good thing!) -- the highest bounce rate was 22.07, but most were in the single digits. Martindale for one firm had a 0.0 bounce rate (meaning no one left the site without viewing additional pages).
Five firms had blogs driving traffic to their websites - the bounce rates were lower than the social media referrals, but higher than Martindale.
The conclusion is, the more you invest in raising the profile and reputation of your firm in other online media, the better it is for your website traffic. Most law firm blogs aren't free - they are often built and managed by a third party source. But they are relatively inexpensive when compared to other investment options. LinkedIn and Facebook are free, and so is Twitter. (Although we know the high cost of lawyer and marketer time in keeping these tools fresh.)
But, Martindale is far from no cost and seldom is it low cost. While Martindale referrals to your website continue to be "qualified" or quality referrals, these other no-cost or low-cost sites are doing some serious heel-nipping.
Read more on the Law Firm 4.0 Blog.