When you use Google Adwords campaigns or other digital marketing platforms to find new clients, you’ll be given precise data on how your campaigns are performing—How many clients you’ve signed and how much you had to spend to increase your caseload. But what about traditional marketing channels like TV, radio ads, or billboards? It’s usually more challenging to evaluate the success of traditional marketing because there’s no built-in analytics for you to check. Fortunately, the cost-per-case metric simplifies the process and allows you to pinpoint your most effective marketing campaigns.
What is Cost Per Case?
Cost per case determines exactly how much of your marketing budget you spent to sign one new client. The equation is simple yet effective for determining a campaign’s success:
Cost of Ad Campaign / Number of New Clients = CPC
For example, some new clients have a cost of $0. These come from referrals or word-of-mouth marketing. In an ideal world all new clients would be free, but virtually every law firm needs to supplement their caseload with some form of marketing.
Most firms spend a set amount of money on commercials and billboard ads without taking the time to gauge whether or not those methods yield profitable cases. When using CPC, the actual number of new cases you sign is not important (but more on that later). Some firms ignore the cost per client and just look at how much interest an ad gets. If your firm gets 100 callers per week from a TV commercial but no pursuable cases, or the commercial is wildly expensive, you’re burning your advertising dollars.
Examining a Sample Billboard Space
For instance, say you take out a billboard space along I-75 in Dayton, OH. A 4-week digital ad with an average of 490,000 impressions (viewers) costs $3,729, according to Lamar.com. It’s not unreasonable for 10 people come to your firm during this timeframe. After plugging these numbers into our CPC equation, we see:
$3,708 (cost of ad campaign) / 10 (new clients) = $370.30 (CPC)
In this hypothetical situation, you could expect to pay an average of $370 for each new client you bring in. Is this a “good” CPC? It all depends on your firm’s area of law. Bankruptcy attorneys often make just $1,000 for a settled Chapter 7 case, while personal injury attorney earn upwards of $15,000 on average, but can settle 7-figure claims.
Tips for Using CPC Effectively
- The best results come from REAL numbers. When evaluating your CPCs, try to use numbers from your actual ad campaigns instead of guessing how successful an ad will be. You never know what results you’ll find. This means you’ll need to ask every caller or web inquiry how she heard about your firm. Otherwise, it’ll be impossible to correctly attribute each new client to his or her respective marketing channel.
- Keep CPC below 15% of case earnings. Analyze your funding, case revenue, and area of law to determine your maximum CPC. In our billboard example, a bankruptcy attorney couldn’t afford this billboard campaign, while a PI attorney would be wildly successful. There is no “good” CPC across the board that that every firm should shoot for, as it’ll vary depending on what cases you’re looking for and how much your clients pay you.
- Keep campaign volume in mind. A CPC of $15 is profitable for any firm, but if you only get one new client per month, you’ll need to invest in other marketing channels just to have enough pending cases to keep your firm running. If you find that one ad yields high-quality cases but is expensive to run, you may still want to keep it! It’ll all depend on if you’re able to offset the high cost with an inexpensive marketing channel. For example, if you get 5 high-quality cases per month at $500 per client from a TV ad, and 5 $100 mediocre cases per month from your PPC ads, it’s reasonable (and profitable) to keep your TV ads so long as you’re within your 15% case earnings budget overall.
With CPC, you’ll be able to evaluate every marketing campaign equally and pinpoint your efficiencies (or inefficiencies), allowing you to spend your marketing dollars wisely. You may be surprised by what you find!