Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Indecision Conflicts with Lead Generation

Frequently attorneys are faced with a situation where their law firm marketing programs are not working as effectively as they want (and need). What happens next is critical.

Specific law firm marketing campaigns may lose some of their steam after a while. This is a natural occurrence that could be due to a number of factors, including some level of market saturation, changing economic conditions, the impact of new legislation, or demographic changes in your audience.

If your solution to a slowdown in campaign response rates is to do ... nothing! ... well, you've got a real problem.

Marketing is about testing, particularly what we call "direct marketing." Direct marketing is a personal outreach to a specific person (like with a direct mail letters), as opposed to a mass marketing approach (like a billboard or print advertising).

Marketers frequently use "A/B" testing, which means that you make the same offer with two minor variations and test the results. For example, the "A" test could use a different opening paragraph on a direct mail piece. You then monitor the results and continually select the best performer, which is used as a "control" package that you can test against in the future.

My point is that professional marketers know it is impossible to accurately predict expected response rates. What you may think is a sure-fire winner flops, while a less attractive alternative offer shows great results.

If you are faced with declining results in your law firm marketing programs, you must take action to test alternatives. You may be surprised at what new techniques start working to generate a stream of quality business leads.

For this same reason, the Rainmaking Lady cautions attorneys not to get too bogged down in selecting from competing marketing alternatives. This could be as simple as how should I write the copy for my law firm web site? It is best to make a selection and move forward. If it doesn't work for you, then you know that you need to modify your approach.

Like they say, he who hesitates is lost. Your loss is your competitor's gain!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer Planning Helps Fall Sales Cycle

Now is a great time to work on the law firm marketing campaigns you plan to launch once the kids are back in school and clients have returned from summer vacation.

Client retention is important to protect your base of revenue, and a direct mail campaign in early September will remind your clients that you are ready to assist them with their legal work.

A quarterly newsletter or client alert is an effective way to provide your clients with substantive guidance that lets them know you are protecting their legal interests. These could be delivered in print and/or email formats.

Here are 7 steps you should be taking now in order to be ready for your September mailing:
  1. Check your mailing list for accuracy and completeness.
  2. Write the copy for your newsletter or promotional piece. Avoid the temptation to leave this to the last minute.
  3. Speak to your graphic designer about the visual appearance of your mailing, which should be consistent with your website and other collateral pieces.
  4. Talk to a printer about the type of paper to use, the pros and cons of a self-mailer versus an envelope, and estimated postage.
  5. Design your newsletter or client alert so that it drives the reader to your website for more information.
  6. Offer something free, like a check list or attendance at an educational seminar. This is an effective way to establish a "response rate" for your campaign.
  7. Last but not least, consider how the attorney advertising guidelines within your state apply to your campaign.
When you start the fall season strongly with a proactive client marketing campaign, you will be in a position to generate more business for the fourth quarter. Plus, you will still have time to work on your law firm's holiday mailing.

Remember, never stop marketing!