£878,111 spent £3.8million in clinical negligence work ‘accepted’ 13,531 medical negligence leads delivered 431 …EXPLORE
£3.8million in Clinical Negligence Case Work Delivered at a 441% ROAS for Your Legal Friend
25th February 2019
Your Legal Friend
- £878,111 spent
- £3.8million in clinical negligence work ‘accepted’
- 13,531 medical negligence leads delivered
- 431 converted into accepted cases over 24 months
- Average cost per case reduced by 18% from the £2,500 target to £2,037
Following some landmark hires in their medical negligence team, Your Legal Friend wanted to grow their pipeline of work in progress (WIP) and to expand their medical negligence team in line with their five-year plan.
Your Legal Friend knew that social media marketing could be used to generate the kind of leads they needed, but with a small four-person marketing team who relied upon external agencies for campaign and project delivery, they found it difficult to source the right skills and expertise to deliver. After working with an internationally known Manchester-based agency at great expense, and with little to show for it, Your Legal Friend understood that they needed to bring some support in-house to deliver the results they needed.
To meet the commercial growth targets specified within the five-year plan, Your Legal Friend required that we meet the following goals:
Deliver 240 confirmed/accepted medical negligence cases
Acquire these cases at a cost of less than £2,500 each.
Reduce the Cost Per Confirmed Case below their £2,500 target – to reduce the blended cost of their other lead generation activities across channels. Your Legal Friend also wanted to see whether higher volumes could be reached once the initial benchmarks for volume and cost were met.
Your legal Friend’s requirements were already well defined and tied to their growth objectives. The next step was to map out the ‘lead journey’ so we could see which technologies would be involved in managing the flow of leads, how leads would be handled within the business, and to see how these could be tracked. By tracking these leads properly from the beginning, we’d later be able to report on metrics like Cost Per Lead (CPL), Cost Per Confirmed Case (CPCC), revenue, net profit and the internal response times to incoming leads.
Your Legal Friend’s primary system for handling clients and new business is Proclaim. Through impressive custom development work, their website and partner portals are integrated into Proclaim so that new enquiries and leads are automatically imported and assigned to a member of the Your Legal Friend First Response Team (FRT) – provided that incoming leads arrive in XML format.
The data associated with these leads and cases are also stored separately in an MI warehouse, with records dating back to May 2014.
This technology ‘stack’ enabled two things:
The first was that leads were delivered to the First Response Team instantly and securely, inclusive of the marketing source (Facebook in this case) alongside the information submitted by the prospect. By using the campaign data in the enquiry, leads could be allocated dynamically to different members of the team based on their experience, so potential clients weren’t being passed from person to person before an in-depth conversation could take place.
To get the best results when converting leads into confirmed cases, it’s crucial that new leads are followed up within 30minutes of receiving them and Your Legal Friend was well positioned to do this, engaging with would-be clients early before they began enquiring with other firms.
The second was that all the data needed to measure the cost per lead, cost per confirmed case, acceptance rates, net profits, revenue and call response times already existed in their MI warehouse. This data was worked back historically, so we could see how our performance compared to the two years of activity before we were involved – all that was needed was to ‘plug in’ a data visualisation tool. For this project, we chose Tableau, and we enlisted the help of one of our data consultants to develop a suite of live dashboards that provided the Your Legal Friend management team with performance and management information at a glance, that was accurate to within 5minutes.
Collaboration and lead management
Throughout our project, we delivered 13,531 medical negligence leads alone, not accounting for other leads we were generating for asbestos and mesothelioma claims, housing disrepair enquiries and others. While that averages out at some 18 enquiries per day over 24 months, the reality is that many leads will need to be called at least three times to establish client contact, and some days will see floods of leads, while other days are quiet as new social campaigns bed in.
Social media is a valuable source of leads, but it is volatile.
It was therefore vital that we monitor the flow of leads into the FRT team and later into the clinical negligence department. Collaboration here was crucial. We needed to understand, day-to-day, how many members of these teams were in the office, what other pressures they faced, and what kind of lead volume they could cope with before conversion rates began to suffer, leading to inefficient advertising spend and an increase in CPCC.
By designing dashboards that tracked the time taken to call clients in the first instance, how long it was taking us to screen enquiries, and the subsequent conversion rates from an enquiry into accepted case, we were able to identify bottlenecks and points of pressure early. By developing this ‘early warning system’, we could reach out to team leaders to ask whether we could improve overall performance by reducing lead volumes and throttling the spend of our campaigns to give them some breathing room. This flexibility and insight gave us the option to pause ads to save money that would otherwise have been spent on leads we couldn’t convert – this went a long way to helping us meet, and later exceed, our target cost per confirmed case.
To build a reasonable foundation for this project, we needed to understand:
- What does a good lead look like?
- What does a typical client ‘look’ like?
- What motivation drives the client to make a medical negligence claim?
- Why would a prospect choose you over another law firm?
To answer these questions, we met with Laura Morgan, the Director of Medical Negligence at Your Legal Friend.
Objectives & required case types
We discussed the clinical negligence department growth plan in line with the overall five-year plan, their current file capacity, and the kinds of cases they would need to both fill that capacity and to meet their objectives. Early discussions pointed to cases involving the misdiagnosis of cancer, surgical negligence, complications resulting from the late diagnosis (or misdiagnosis) of diabetes, and negligence during pregnancy and childbirth that later led to brain injuries such as cerebral palsy.
Knowing the types of cases that were required, we dug deeper and asked what does a ‘good’, and a ‘bad’ lead look like, and why? The resulting information allowed us to put together a set of eligibility criteria for each case ‘type’ that we would later build into our enquiry forms.
Client demographics and profiling
To ‘round out’ our understanding, we also discussed the clients involved in each case type. What did they typically ‘look’ like? Here we were given ballpark ages, household locations and a qualitative description of the client’s typical background and circumstances. This information would later be used to select the right platforms and targeting options for our social media campaigns, as well as to guide our selection of advert creative and imagery. In the ‘build’ phase we combined this qualitative data with quantitative data we were able to pull from three years of Proclaim case history, Google Analytics and search behaviours and preferences logged by third-party data providers.
We used the eligibility criteria to produce a variety of forms that we embedded within customised landing pages. People visiting these landing pages would be able to complete the forms and ‘submit’ them to us directly, expecting to get a call back the same day within office hours. Behind the scenes, these form submissions were sent to the secure Your Legal Friend CMS where they were converted into the XML format. At this point, the enquiry had a unique reference number appended to it and was then passed to Proclaim courtesy of a bespoke integration developed by the in-house Proclaim development team – these leads would then be accessible by the FRT team complete with tasks automatically set to remind the handler to follow up on the enquiry.
On the marketing side, we tracked our landing pages with heat mapping and user experience tools, as well as Google analytics and multiple marketing pixels to gather data that we would later use to improve and enhance the effectiveness of the campaigns we would later build. We set up several Facebook pixels and assigned them to different landing pages as appropriate. We then developed ‘thank you’ pages on the Your Legal Friend website that the visitor would be automatically directed to after submitting an enquiry; these ‘thank you’ pages would fire custom code snippets to confirm that a visitor had ‘converted’. This conversion data allowed us to make use of ‘cost per conversion’ bidding methods within the Facebook platform and it also provided data that we would later use for advanced segmentation and re-targeting. Once complete and tested, all landing page visits and enquiries could be correctly tracked and attributed to a specific platform, campaign and ad group, all the way through to the creative used in the advert. This setup also allowed us to collect a wide variety of data that we would later rely on to guide new campaigns and to improve the effectiveness of older ones.
The next stage was to build a series of funnels – layered sets of campaigns that attract a wide audience, to later filter them through a series of adverts until only seriously interested prospects are invited to submit an enquiry. Depending upon the claim type, these campaigns would contain two or three separate stages – typically starting with an advert that would guide users to a video or blog piece. A second campaign stage would re-target the visitors who responded to the first advert, either with more content or with a link to the landing page that was built for that specific case type. Typically, a campaign for one case type would include two to five ‘ad sets’, and each of these ad sets would contain three or four adverts (for a total of 6-20 adverts per campaign), sometimes of different media and format types. Across the initial four case types discussed (cancer misdiagnosis, surgical negligence, diabetes misdiagnosis and cerebral palsy) we produced four Facebook campaigns comprising 20 ad sets, using 80 different adverts. These funnels changed in shape, structure and complexity over the 24-month project period as our data matured and as Facebook’s internal policies and advertising algorithms changed to favour different advertising and targeting options.
Monitoring and management
Social media lead generation is rarely a ‘fire and forget’ activity. Unlike Google AdWords, there is no official or easy way to learn which companies you’re competing against in the advert auctions, nor is there a way to see what they’re spending and when. When this project first started, we were also unable to see what kinds of adverts and targeting criteria the competition was using (although this has changed a little now in the wake of the US election scandal). With very little market intelligence, we found the best way to improve performance and to reduce lead costs was to experiment constantly. We tested ads against each other to learn which images, videos and ad copy performed best, and we’d combine these learnings into new adverts which we would then split test again to prove ourselves wrong consistently. Those adverts and campaign types that survived these testing methods time and again became cornerstones of our work which we built upon as new features became available.
Outside of our test and learn approach, we also spent a lot of time learning from the data we were gathering as a result of the tracking we had set up at the outset of this project. We looked to understand which days, and hours of those days were best for conversions (Wednesdays, 5-6pm if you were wondering), which times delivered the cheapest leads and much more. This data helped us to determine whether the trends we were seeing were caused exclusively by our marketing activity, or whether changes in the behaviour of the FRT team were responsible for variations in the conversion rate over time. For those metrics that we monitored most frequently, with the help of DG Data Services, we developed live Tableau dashboards to highlight trends and exceptions without the need to export and manipulate data manually.
Overall, the combination of monitoring and management activities we delivered allowed us to allocate spending more efficiently than if we were to have created these campaigns and left them to run their course without intervention. Overall, our approach provided consistent improvements that compounded over time and gave us an early-adopter advantage when trialling new bidding methods and creative options.
You could build the most fantastic Facebook advert and account structure that the world has ever seen, but if your landing page doesn’t provide an exceptional experience, you’re likely leaving a lot of money on the table. If you’re able to double your conversion rate of page visitors into enquiries from 1.5% to 3% by building a better landing page, you’ve already halved your cost per lead by 50% with still more space to improve. It’s for this reason that we set up heatmapping and user tracking tools at the beginning of our campaigns so that as the data set grows, we can use these insights to develop better landing pages while simultaneously building better adverts. During these 24 months, we created more than 140 landing page variations to make use of various cues that were shown to influence user behaviour; all of which were split-tested against the original landing pages until significant results were reached before rolling out these winning improvements to other pages.
This experimentation saw us test long-form copy against short-form copy, the effectiveness of true client testimonials, whether awards logos and accreditation badges made a difference to user behaviour and much more.
Across 24 months, we delivered 13,531 medical negligence leads at a cost of £878,111 providing an average cost per lead (CPL) of £64.89.
After these leads were carefully managed and screened by Your Legal Friend’s First Response Team (FRT) and the clinical negligence department, 431 became fee bearing cases, providing a conversion rate of 3.19% and an average cost per confirmed case (CPCC) of £2,037.
After accounting for costs, disbursements, case abandonment rates and marketing fees, the value of these 431 cases was predicted to be in the region of £3.8million.
This equates to a Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS) of 441%.
Not only were we able to deliver on goals one and two, but we were also able to meet Your Legal Friend’s stretch goal, reducing the average CPCC by 18% from their target.
In our experience success is far from linear and the same is true of this project. Below, you can see the flow of confirmed cases we delivered from month to month:
And these were gleaned from the following stream of leads from month to month:
Social media leads are generally known for their less than brilliant quality. Prospects frequently enquire, only to forget they submitted their details. Similarly, submissions containing wrong numbers and incorrectly spelt email addresses aren’t uncommon – even with validation in place.
Big campaigns demand a dedicated customer support team.
In this case, it was crucial to have a robust, patient and supportive customer support team in place to manage the sporadic flow of leads; and to report challenges and trends when new information came to light so we could alter our course appropriately.
Our campaigns are unlikely to have been as successful as they were had it not been for the efforts of the Your Legal Friend First Response Team. For law firms and practices that do not have the luxury of a dedicated customer support team, replicating the scale and approach outlined in this case study is unlikely to work for you if your team does not have the time to make client calls and to follow-up with prospects. If you’re a smaller practice with less time to dedicate to outbound calls, we will build in a more stringent and automated vetting process, and we might ask you to consider outsourcing the outbound calls to a specialist agency.
Prospects favour speed and convenience over almost everything else.
Once you plant an idea into a prospect’s mind and they enquire with you, they’re very likely to then enquire with several similar firms; giving their business to the firm that calls them back first – unless there’s something unique about the service you offer that others can’t provide or replicate. When this project first began, it was widely held that clients and prospects are ‘loyal’ and that they don’t shop around for legal services, particularly serious ones like clinical negligence. By tracking the ‘rejection reasons’ for closing leads, we were able to show that many prospects weren’t converting because they had already spoken to another solicitor after seeing our advert, it was a bitter pill to swallow.
If you’re curious as to how your practice might fare in this situation, drop an enquiry into a few of your competitors and your team all at once, and then time the responses – many are unpleasantly surprised by the result.
Social media advertising changes constantly and nothing is absolute.
An advert you placed months ago that performed poorly then might outshine your current campaigns if you ran it today. You may have heard others tell you that video adverts are more effective than static image adverts – which may broadly be true for as long as your video advert is ‘live’ in a sea of static image adverts. But what about when everyone makes the switch to video ads? You may find that static image advert of yours suddenly becomes more effective again – just like good old-fashioned letters and paper mail have in recent years as budgets have moved from traditional channels to digital.
Make use of as many new advertising features as you can.
Making use of new bidding methods and creative types, from our research, appears to correlate with a lower cost per lead, greater reach and higher advertising efficiency. When we switched from static image adverts to video ads combined with a retargeting stage, we saw our cost per lead in some cases drop to as low as £15. When ‘messenger’ ads became available, making that switch saw our cost per lead drop even further to less than £8. This early-adopter benefit doesn’t last forever, but the experience you gain by mastering these new methods and creative types early works as a ‘barrier to entry’ that your competitors (or their agencies) will need to climb before they can compete at your level. If you’re a big spender and manage to get an account manager at Facebook, rumour has it that you can be white-listed for these features before they’re rolled out to the majority of other advertisers – allowing you to perfect your approach with these methods before your competitors are even aware that these features exist.
What works for other businesses and your competition may not work for you, or it could work twice as well – you’ll never know unless you run them side-by-side with your current ads to prove the efficacy of these new ideas. If you’re lucky enough to have an in-house marketing team that has copywriting, design and broad technical skills, running comprehensive tests is straightforward. During this project, if we found a new idea in a book, blog, video or whitepaper, we were usually able to set up a ‘test’ on it within an hour, getting dependable results back within days (although we’d usually wait for a few weeks to be sure)
By combining hundreds of tiny incremental improvements each month, you find that the combined effect tends to compound month-to-month, delivering impressive growth.
“In a crowded and very competitive market John and the small team he built to support him, working closely with our experienced Clinical Negligence solicitors and a high performing First Response Team achieved outstanding results for YLF through social media campaigns.
Social media advertising for this type of lead is an area that most of our competitors struggle with due to its complexity and constantly moving “goalposts”. Comprehensive, intelligent use of data analysis, extensive systems integration and an ethos centred on constant improvement through fast-paced testing and learning were key to this as was John’s personal energy and willingness to learn and experiment with new platform features as they became available.”
Colin Gibson, Chief Operating Officer
Your Legal Friend