Learning how to create the best marketing objectives for your firm is not easy, but it surely can be done. Lawyers who are first-time business owners are often unaware of how to market, or what their marketing goals should be. A legal systems expert, however, can help you reach your business goals in no time.
We have previously identified that more than 75% of our attending members use direct mail to generate new leads from potential customers. All of these members are using a list they purchased from a third-party source. While some have measurable ROI, some don’t track their lead sources as well as they should. This means that they are not maximizing the marketing process to get new customers and are not as profitable.
Digital market research is crucial if you want to build your firm. When we built the firm in Phoenix, we too purchased lists of people who were 90+ days late on their mortgage, have been issued a notice of foreclosure and were potentially ready to take the next step in saving their home and we spoke directly to them. Know your target audience and start messaging them. This internet marketing plan worked then, it will work now.
Direct Mail Must-Haves for Your Law Firm
I do have a couple of clients who prefer other marketing methods, claiming that direct mail doesn’t work for them. They’ve never been able to “crack the code” (their words, not mine). But here’s the truth, there is no code. You simply need a few key elements to make sure that direct mail will be one of your firm's most effective marketing strategies.
A good list to mail to
Gary Halbert always said the best place to open a restaurant is near a hungry crowd. It’s the same with direct mail. While online marketing tactics are indeed crucial in this evolving world of ecommerce, do not disregard the basics. Know your target audience and get a list of who is potentially hungry for what you offer. Bring your law firm business to those who need your services.
Stand-out, excellent message
One good sales letter can feed you for a lifetime of marketing and sales. Opt for great content that is useful for nurturing credibility and public relations. I have testimonials from clients who have used the same foreclosure letter for several years successfully and, without fail, it has generated a solid 5 to 1 ROI each and every year.
Yes, there is a real cost to client acquisition via direct mail. I’ve seen it as low as $98 and as high as $985. Both numbers are acceptable if you’re charging the right fee. Think of it as a marketing budget that must be spent wisely. You can’t proceed forward with direct mail if you have bad economics.
Sending a direct mail piece without the proper tracking is like the NFL playing a football game but not keeping score or statistics. Any marketer can tell that it’s a pointless venture and potentially a costly one. In no way will it allow you to get ahead of your competitor.
How to Write a Sales Letter
From the Perspective of a Legal Systems Expert, there are several sub-points to be made about direct mail, like frequency, teaser copy, the choice of envelope, lumpy mail, etc. But for today, I’m going to focus on how the structure of a basic sales letter can build your firm.
Today’s lesson was graciously provided to us by one of our clients who is a successful criminal attorney from Virginia whose focus is primarily traffic tickets. This is a high volume, cast a wide net, and catch the occasional big tuna kind of practice. The goal is to market to anyone with a moving violation, write a copy that speaks to each of them individually, drive them to a phone call and close them over the phone.
As a DUI attorney, this client has done an excellent job creating a lead generation and sales funnel that works. It’s giving him fits because his phone rings off the hook every minute of the day. His control piece is sent to individuals with a speeding violation in Virginia. The message he provides is clear, concise, and is accompanied by a four-color brochure that points out that he not only helps with traffic tickets but DUI’s too. His piece makes up the bulk of his marketing activities and he’s kept extremely busy.
Beating Your ‘Control Piece’
Remember, though, that without a solid tracking system in place, there is no baseline number to work from. So, while I believe my advice to be sound, I would want to obtain a baseline number before making any changes. Further, I’d only want to change one of these items at a time to identify what worked. The question is always, can I beat the control?
Additionally, I might actually leave a piece as it is and create another piece that looks nothing like the other one, sent in an envelope that looks nothing like the envelope used to send the other one, and test it against itself or split test the list.
If you want to beat your current control piece, there are several aspects of it that you might need to reconsider.
- Phone Numbers. If phone numbers are different in the places where they are located on a letter, there is potential to create a lack of trust or confusion in the mind of the buyer. And in any marketing campaign, confusion is deadly. Using a toll-free number is useful if clients are from out of state, but not for an attorney who has all local traffic. The phone number in the letter must be turned into a tracking line. This line should be tracked separately from all other phone numbers used for other letters. (Yes, if you have 5 letters you send each month, then you need 5 phone numbers, and if you split test each of those letters, then yes, you need 10 phone numbers).
- Multiple Locations. I understand the value of showing multiple locations. However, if we are going to show the multiple locations, let’s tell the reader what we are showing them: “3 Convenient Locations” and be sure to highlight that box so it stands out. Information that could be distracting or takes away the ability to add a headline should be placed in the footer.
- Messaging. A good, straight forward copy that will get their attention should include 1) their case/file number (if we have access to that data, so it will look like we wrote this just for them) and 2) the pain of what might happen if they don’t take action. Our client, for example, did this very well in his DUI letters. The transition between two paragraphs is crucial, and again this is a good reason to remove items clogging the headline section of the page (phone and address bars). When necessary, use a subhead to split two paragraphs.
- Price. Another one of the things I’d want to test in a control piece is the price being shown. I know that our DUI attorney client, for one, isn’t the least expensive provider of services. I’d like to test results by eliminating the price in the piece. As silly as it may sound, I’d also test reducing the price. Yes, you heard that correctly. In our client's case, traffic tickets are a gateway to DUI and reckless driving cases where the real money is made. So, if we found that lowering the fee to $99 creates a significant increase in volume, it may be worth the reduction in the fee. Remember, we are in the arithmetic business. It’s that simple.
- Using “FREE”. Maximize the use of the word free. Give the consultation a value so they know what they are getting for free. “Normally Charge $97”. Again, this should be tested separately from the price-fixing test, to tell the truth, if it worked but it’s worth testing.
- Personalized Email. Personalize the email and create a new one for marketing so the prospect believes they are reaching you directly (which I hope they are not). ’d consider having the piece actually signed (maybe or maybe not by you) in a blue pen. It will give it an authentic look and feel and potentially increase conversion.
I’d suggest that the exact same mailing be sent out two more times to those on the list who didn’t get returned, requested removed from the list, or called in for a consultation. You’ll see your conversion increase just by mailing more than once. If the piece is normally one page, I would definitely want to test a long-form sales letter against your control, once there is a baseline of data to work from.
Why Testing and Re-testing Is Important
Why go through all the trouble of looking at different things to test, change, and test again?. Because the arithmetic says we are supposed to. US law firm management is all about numbers if we truly believe we are in the arithmetic game and if we know that changing something about our marketing funnel may affect the arithmetic in our favor, we are bound by the laws of marketing to do so. I take marketing very seriously, and so should you. It literally can make or break your law firm.
Get the right people to do specific jobs. Improve your digital marketing plan so you can grow your business online. For effective US law firm management, contact a trusted business consultant. The game is, “can you beat your control piece”.
If you want to have your best month ever, you can become a professional salesperson. There are multiple rewards you can reap. If you want to know how to become good in sales, contact our legal management consultant Richard James or consult with our law firm expert to get your customized practice growth plan