I was talking very earnestly to my wife the other day about how much the work we conversion optimization experts do is actually a lot like physics.
She immediately burst out laughing.
Which might be what you’re doing right now, but I still think you should hear me out. Seriously, we law firm marketers should in general be thinking way more about conversion optimization, using slightly pretentious/cheesy analogies or otherwise. (Law firm marketing guru John McDougall agrees with me: “Most law firms,” he says gravely in a blog post over at The Lead Review, “are way too focused on driving traffic and not adept enough at converting the traffic they already have.” Does that sound like a laughing matter?)
Now, I’m not saying that we conversion optimization people are the twenty-first century equivalents of Albert Einstein or Nikola Tesla. But to a large extent what we do every day is try to identify your site visitors’ direction of movement, the trajectory of their bouncing around your site, so that we can better learn how to channel that movement in the direction we want. That’s physics. Period.
Indulge me just a little bit longer. Think of your site visitors as beams of light, and the different pages and features of your website as mirrors; conversion optimization involves locating the important mirrors and understanding how they absorb, reflect, or refract the beams. Ultimately, we want to shift around each mirror in order to capture as many beams as possible at a particular end point. (In the case of most law firms, that end point is the potential client either filling out a contact or case evaluation form, or picking up the phone and giving you a call.)
Okay, so my analogy might be wearing thin. The point I want to make is that thinking about conversion optimization as the movement of your site visitors keeps the focus on not only locating the points on your website where visitors either bounce or stick, but also understanding the trajectory through those points. Ultimately that knowledge will allow you to manipulate how people move around your website so that more and more of your site visitors become new clients.
With this in mind, I offer below a couple motion-focused tips that will help you either visualize or prod forward your site visitors’ trajectory toward converting into new clients.
See how your visitors move with ClickTale
We have John Mc Dougall to thank again for pointing out how incredibly useful this tool is for law firm marketers in particular. As much as our team at Black Fin likes to advocate process-based conversion methods over fancy software, every analyst needs a toolbox, and ClickTale offers a free trial for you to make sure it’s worth the investment before you make any leaps.
You can plug ClickTale into any or all pages of your website with a single line of code. Once installed, it video-records every movement that each visitor makes on that page. (This is not spying! This is research!)
ClickTale’s recording of thousands of tiny movements eventually creates a huge aggregation of data. This is then used to visually display how most users ping around your site, with a conversion “funnel” of movements between pages that shows where the bounces tend to happen. You can also see heat maps of visitors’ mouse movements, clicks, and scroll reach. The latter should be particularly useful for sites that use long-form copy. Have you ever wondered how many people even read as far as your call to action? ClickTale lets you find what percentage of viewers even scroll down to the form, let alone think about filling it in.
It also includes a form analyzer to assess how users react to your contact form. Is it too long? Are any of the fields consistently left blank? Are any of the fields titles confusing? In law firm conversion optimization, where the contact form is king, this unique tool punches above its weight.
Micro-conversions generate momentum
If I were to elaborate a set of principles on Law Firm Conversion Thermodynamics, the first law would be: Micro-conversions are still conversions.
Let’s go back to my (admittedly laughable but still useful) analogy to light. If ClickTale is what helps you track the path of motion of your light rays/site visitors, then micro-conversions are the strategically placed mirrors that can refract or reflect those rays toward conversion. Micro-conversions, if you’re wondering, are small actions that allow a visitor, who may not be ready to make a firm decision yet, show interest with a tiny, noncommital step. This could be anything from engaging with the live-chat function on your site to liking your firm’s page on Google + or Facebook or Twitter. (Read more details about other types of micro-conversions at this excellent post at the ABA’s Law Practice Today blog.)
The thing we conversion optimization physicists experts know and that the visitors themselves probably don’t realize, is that these noncommital little clicks are actually a commitment. Micro-conversions function rather like a psychological “prime” that sets the direction of trajectory. They represent an opportunity to generate momentum among visitors whose compass needle is already pointed at conversion.
This means you should not only build in lots of mirrors into your website to encourage the most straightforward types of micro-conversions (blog/newsletter subscribe pages, social media “follow” buttons, the usual), but also get creative in thinking up less-common types. The ABA post, for instance, points out that even a “print this page” button at the bottom of any informational page on your site serves this purpose. I probably don’t even need to mention that following up with these users is also hugely important, though that topic is big enough for a post of its own.
Laugh all you like. People laughed at Einstein when he proposed the theory of relativity, didn’t they? I’m convinced that conversion optimization involves studying the properties of your visitors’ motion around your site. When you learn how to manipulate these properties, site visitors will start moving toward your contact form as if by magnetism.