How to Make Offline and Legal Marketing Ideas Work in Tandem
With all the talk about the importance of SEO, social media, and web content, it’s easy to get the impression that the sun has set on print marketing and the day of online marketing is here… but that’s not quite true. Email and social media marketing are important, of course, yet the best marketing strategy for law firms encompasses both online and offline marketing working in tandem.
You might be wondering: what are the benefits, and how does my law firm create a comprehensive approach that includes print, social media, and web marketing? Read on to find out.
Reach Various Audiences
Who are you trying to reach? That query should be at the heart of all legal marketing ideas and strategy meeting. Your online audience may be radically different from the recipients of your print materials—established and home-owning Baby Boomers might respond better to a mailed flyer announcing your latest service or newest attorney, for instance, while younger Millennials could prefer your online referral promotions advertised through Facebook and Twitter.
Determining your audience is the first step. Afterward, you’re able to customize marketing material to appeal to different types of recipients, diversify your legal marketing strategy as needed, and ultimately achieve the highest return on investment.
Reiterate the Message
Most people do not act after hearing a message just once. In fact, the average salesperson must connect with a prospect at least eight times before receiving a response! Take advantage of both print and online marketing to create a comprehensive, consistent legal marketing message that can’t be ignored.
One example: A Social Security disability firm announces that it has won a prestigious industry award over LinkedIn, and links to a blog article hosted on its website that explains why the practice received recognition and what that means to clients.
- Then, it sends a postcard to clients and prospects briefly announcing the win and inviting recipients to call, visit the website, and follow the firm on social media to learn more (print materials should include a call to action whenever possible!).
- A few weeks later, the firm sends a follow-up card featuring a promotional offer in honor of the award win, and offers an even further discount or special promotion for recipients who refer a client or engage the practice on social media.
Hone in on Promising Prospects
Another benefit of combining print and web marketing for your law firm is that the mixture enables you to save money while identifying and connecting with promising prospects.
Email marketing is relatively inexpensive and easy to produce, so do not hesitate to craft and email blast to your entire list of leads and referrals. This could be something like an “about us” piece providing a brief overview of your firm’s differentiators and reputation. Next, qualify the respondents until you are down to a much smaller list of solid prospects. Then, allocate funds toward sending print pieces to this group, like a coupon for a free case consultation.
Legal Marketing Ideas in Real Life: When to Step Away From the Computer Screen
When a majority of interactions with prospects and clients happen over email, social media, live chat, it’s easy to get caught up fulfilling all of your law firm marketing needs from behind the computer screen. Online interactions can no doubt be hugely beneficial to your attorney marketing efforts, but there are times when it’s necessary to shut down and do marketing offline in order to build a comprehensive legal marketing strategy.
When should you be stepping away from the computer screen? Read on to find out.
1. Connecting with hard-to-reach prospects
Get out of the office and network with promising prospects at networking or industry events, philanthropic luncheons/dinners, community gatherings, or even drop-in prospecting appointments. This strategy can be effective for some hard-to-reach prospective clients that are consistently unresponsive to email, phone, and direct marketing.
Before attending any legal networking events, be sure to do your research regarding which events you should be putting on your calendar. For example, if an intellectual property law practice wants to connect with the in-house council of a large local organization, it could check the council’s LinkedIn page or ask mutual connects about his/her affiliations (or the organization’s affiliations), and then go to events hosted by or involving those associations in hopes of connecting.
Of course, it’s never good practice to fake an interest in a cause or organization just to reach a prospect and build rapport. However, if you do genuinely share interests with a potential client or an appreciation for similar philanthropic causes, take advantage of that common ground for attorney marketing purposes.
2. Gathering video testimonials
Written testimonials are a must-have for your website, emails, and print pieces, but video testimonials can be ten times as powerful. If your personal injury practice, for instance, has several clients willing to appear on video to describe how much they enjoy working with your firm, step out from behind that computer screen and record their testimonials in comfortable locations that are significant to them and their personal stories.
3. Completing philanthropic work and community service
If your law firm’s mission involves helping the local public, carve out time for community service once a quarter or every six months (and then feature photos of your projects on your legal website, blog, and social media pages). Connecting with locals in person and improving the community is not only great for the public and for your firm’s online branding, but it also provides opportunities to:
- Gather feedback about marketing campaigns and overall client satisfaction;
- Uncover what resonates with your firm’s audience so you can adjust the tone and content of your marketing accordingly;
- Boost attorney morale and team engagement.
Clients and Gift-Giving Etiquette
The holidays are a fun time to give gifts to friends and loved ones, but what about clients? While every client is different, 9 out of 10 are probably going to be pretty impressed, and grateful, to receive a gift from their legal counsel. But before you begin randomly buying gifts, here are a few things to consider about client gift-giving etiquette that will both bestow warm holiday cheer, and keep your firm out of hot water.
And unless you know first-hand that this will be appreciated, under NO circumstances give fruitcake.
Give Personal Gifts…
Keeping in line with the fruitcake, don’t give gifts that are so generic they appear as though you gave zero time or thought picking them out—because honestly, you didn’t. Throughout your business relationship, you must have picked up on something personal about your client—whether they love a certain sport, hobby, etc. Use this information to customize a gift. And don’t forget gift cards. When pertaining to a certain store or event, a gift card can be highly personal.
But Don’t Gift Too Personal
Anything that’s associated with clothing, perfume or cologne, or jewelry is best to avoid. Not only are these gifts better given/received from a significant other, they’re highly personal choices, and often costly ones. Keep client gift-giving in the same category as giving a gift to an associate at work, and not your best friend or your spouse.
And never give any gift that is religious in nature. This is when your gift should stay as holiday-generic as possible.
Consider The Shelf-Life of Your Gift
Custom foodie baskets and flower arrangements are nice gifts, but they only last for so long. So, give a gift that’s sustainable. Not only does a sustainable gift offer lasting enjoyment, it’s also a reminder when a client looks at it or uses it that your firm is thoughtful—and this reinforces their decision to have hired your firm, or renew their retainer, if applicable.
High End Clients Deserve High End Gifts
While all of your clients are valuable, a client that generates more than 50% of your revenue deserves more than a basket of cheese and fruit. Be sure to spend a little extra on clients that spend so much on you. A wine-tasting tour, 18-holes of golf at a local resort, or a 5-star dinner for two are all acceptable gifts to give a client who has carried a significant portion of your business over the last year (or many).
Develop a Yearlong Strategy
Holiday gifts are an important part of maintaining good client relationships, but to show your true appreciation, send cards of thanks throughout the year. Everyone receives cards and gifts in November/December, so why not send a card or a small gift of appreciation during a non-holiday month when the spotlight will be on you?
Legal Marketing Rules to Follow for Your Firm’s Holiday Cards and Direct Mail Pieces
Most organizations send end-of-the-year holiday cards to extend thanks to their clients and vendors for their support and business throughout the year. Although it is true that these pieces are not necessarily legal marketing pieces in the traditional sense, this does not mean that they cannot also fulfill a marketing purpose while expressing good wishes!
This year, approach holiday cards from a direct mail perspective and take advantage of this end-of-the-year touch point. When sending holiday cards (and other direct mail pieces), follow these legal marketing rules and tricks of the trade for maximum results.
Target a small number of influential recipients.
The beauty of direct mail is that your firm can easily manage the size of your campaign and therefore, the total cost.
Whittle down your mailing list to the most essential recipients. Direct mail, particularly pieces as intimate as holiday cards, should be reserved for those recipients that could provide the most favorable cost-reward ratio such as important clients, prospects, and industry contacts. Do not forget influencers like press contacts that you’ve developed working relationships with.
Handwrite and customize.
Customizing every single holiday card is neither a feasible nor smart option for your law firm, particularly if you are a small group with limited resources. However, you probably have time to pen a personal message in a few key cards, such as those going to loyal clients who have sent business your way.
Even if you can’t include a personal message, your law firm can do the next best thing—handwrite the recipient address on the front of the envelope. This not only lends a personal touch, but also increases the odds that your card will be opened. Think about it from a legal marketing perspective: among the dozens and possibly hundreds of stock holiday cards flooding your practice, wouldn’t a more personalized envelope catch your eye?
Provide a call to action.
Direct mail pieces are meant to illicit an active response like calling your law firm’s toll-free phone number or returning a survey card. Be sure to provide a call to action on all direct mail materials in order to achieve the legal marketing goal you have in mind for that particular campaign.
This rule can even apply to holiday cards. For example, if your firm supports a few non-profit organizations throughout the year, consider setting up a donation portal on your webpage and including a phrase like this one on your holiday cards: “We’d love to make a donation in your name. Visit [law firm website URL] to choose which charity should receive your donation!”
This will not only demonstrate that your practice supports social responsibility initiatives—something that a growing number of consumers across all industries are beginning to care about—but can also drive traffic to your website.
Keep Your Holiday Cards Holiday-Generic
There are many religious observances celebrated during the month of December, so unless you know first-hand of your client’s denomination, or lack thereof, send a holiday card that’s generic as possible. Pine trees covered in snow, ice skaters on a winter’s lake, decorated snowmen, etc., with a card insert stating “Season’s Greetings!” will do just fine.
Keep Your Holiday Cards User-Friendly
Although this is specific to each client’s case, it’s an important reminder. Don’t send a holiday card featuring a loving family opening gifts around a tree to a divorcee client; children building a snowman outside a beautiful home to a client facing foreclosure, etc. These details are extremely important to keep in mind, as sending a card like this to your client can not only hurt them personally, it can cause them to question you professionally, and how much you understand about their case.
Sign One, Sign All
If your firm has over 20 partners, you can probably skip this point. But if your firm is a practice with less, it’s important that all members of your firm sign holiday cards—including receptionists, paralegals, and junior partners. A quick signature by you when five other members are actively working on a client’s case is rude.
And make sure signatures are hand-signed in ink. Nothing wishes a genuine “Happy Holidays!” like a card with your firm’s name stamped on it, and not a single signature. You’ve received these cards. How did you feel about them?
Email Marketing Doesn’t Work For Holiday Cards
Email campaigns can work great during holiday months, as they inform your subscribers of business objectives for the coming year, events taking place, etc. But for holiday cards? Don’t do it. An email blast is exactly that—an inclusive tool that hits everyone on your list. There’s no customization or personal attention here. And for a holiday card, this will be poorly received.
Send Holiday Cards Early in December
To accommodate all of your clients with holidays taking place throughout the month, send your holiday cards the first week of December. This will ensure that your card is timely delivered during the mailing season boom.
Holiday Cards: How to Get More Bang for Your Buck
In a perfect world, law firms would have ample time and money to craft attractive holiday cards, personally address each, and mail them off, all before the end-of-the-year rush. In reality, many law firms get so bogged down with attorney vacations and year-end responsibilities that they don’t get their cards out until the last minute, if at all, and don’t see any lawyer marketing benefits from their actions.
Turn that around this year by implementing these suggestions for getting more out of your law firm’s holiday marketing.
Incorporate Charitable Giving and Source Client Feedback
The end of the year is a great time to consider donating toward a worthy cause. And what better way than to incorporate it into your law firm’s holiday marketing and involve clients in the process?
- Set aside an affordable amount to split among two or three worthy causes. It doesn’t have to be a fortune; a few hundred dollars can make a difference to organizations and people in need.
- Set up a poll: everyone who receives your holiday card has one vote for a cause of their choice out of the two or three provided.
- At the end of the week-long poll, your firm can donate a specific amount of money per vote—let’s say 10 cents to a dollar, depending on the size of the recipient list and your budget allocated in step 1. Or, your practice can split the pot designated for charity into portions reflecting the ratio of votes received for each cause; if 60% of a family law firm’s respondents voted for The Foster Care Justice Group, for instance, the firm could donate 60% of their allocated budget from step 1 to that association and 40% to the other.
It’s a rewarding way to engage clients during the holidays and demonstrate that you care about their opinion.
Choose the Medium Strategically
If you’re planning to set up a donation poll, the easiest way is to send your law firm’s holiday marketing via email. It’s not only cheaper but also prevents your firm from having to manually process paper responses. You may need to hire a freelancer to design the look and functionality of a poll email. Yet, considering that it probably costs less or the same as printing hundreds of paper cards, it’s not a bad investment (not to mention more environmentally friendly).
Before deciding upon email, however, think of your audience. Do they typically respond to marketing emails or do you see a higher response rate with direct mail pieces? If the latter, think about investing in paper holiday cards and including a prepaid response postcard inside so recipients can mark their choice of charity and mail it off.
Send at the Right Time
Don’t wait until the last minute to send your law firm’s holiday marketing; it will be buried under a slew of year-end emails or cards. Get ahead of the rush by sending yours in the beginning of December—no later than the first week—and outwitting recipients’ holiday card fatigue.
10 Fun and Functional Gift Ideas For Attorneys
Has shopping for a gift for your legal professional got you stumped? Whether they play a professional or personal role in your life, here are 10 great gift ideas for attorneys that provide both fun and function to accommodate any style (attorney’s) and budget (your own).
A caricature is customized art that’s created from a photo you submit to a professional artist, and a scene that you want your attorney to be placed in—this could range from “surfing” the waves of justice, “pioneering” new laws, etc. A fun gift that will be a conversation starter for years to come.
2. A Leather Underarm Portfolio
An underarm portfolio is an ultra stylish, easy-to-carry organizer that holds briefs, cell phones and tablets, writing materials, and much more. A leather underarm portfolio typically ranges in price from $200-$800, and is befitting for both men and women alike.
3. Attorney Wine Bottle Holder Holding Summons & Contract
A very fun gift, this wine bottle holder is accompanied with summons and contracts in hand.
TIP: To be the ultimate gift-giver, place a good bottle of wine in the holder before wrapping. If you know your attorney’s favorite varietal, even better.
Attorneys are always on-the-go, and a padfolio can make their mobile lives much easier. Interiors offer writing pads, business card slots, cell phone holders, and more. Padfolios can also be embossed with personal initials or a law firm logo.
Legal quote mugs are an inexpensive gift—average cost is between $10-$20—but a functional one that can be personalized with your attorney’s name, an inspirational quote, or a special message on a backdrop of selected color.
Personalized photo frames make a heartfelt addition to an attorney’s office, and allow clients to see your attorney as the loving parent they are. A personalized photo frame offers a standard poem or a custom piece, along with a child’s picture, and a signature closing.
This chess set offered by Uncommon Goods is the official set of the Supreme Court Historical Society. Designed of composite resin playing pieces including a judge, lawyers, bailiffs, jurors, and Lady Justice, coupled with a courtroom-themed wood playing board, this set makes a perfect addition to any attorney’s office—chess lover or not.
Note: This gift is on the price-hefty side at $795.00.
8. Gift Cards
Gift cards are perfect holiday gifts for legal professionals. Although gift cards are often deemed as rather thoughtless, an attorney who is grabbing a morning coffee and can conveniently swipe a gift card without cash, or pay for a parking garage fee with a Visa gift card, will think otherwise.
This stylish money clip is great for your attorney to carry their cash securely. It’s made from durable polished steel, features a pewter inlay of the scales of justice, and can be personally engraved on the back.
Spreading Holiday Cheer In-House: 3 Easy Ways To Give the Gift of Appreciation
While greeting cards and small tokens are usually in store for your firm’s staff during the holidays, you can often make a far greater impression by giving your coworkers gifts from the heart. This is not to sound dramatic or mushy, but sometimes simply showing appreciation for your staff members can greatly boost in-house morale—which can increase productivity, strengthen employee loyalty, and improve comradery between coworkers.
Here are 3 easy ways to give the gift of appreciation to every member of your firm this season. And remember, these gifts of sentiment should accompany an actual gift, not replace it.
1. Give Personal Compliments
A successful law firm is staffed by hardworking, dedicated folks, otherwise it wouldn’t be successful. During this holiday season, make sure to give sincere compliments to your team acknowledging their impressive skills, commendable work ethic, and honorable devotion to the firm. Let your staff know that each member is needed and appreciated, and that the firm wouldn’t run as smoothly without them.
TIP: Make sure that each compliment is made in person by you, and that you and the coworker are alone. Not only do some people get embarrassed when complimented in the presence of others, but a solitary approach will show that you took the time to locate them personally, and you’re not just making a convenient group effort.
2. Give Credit Where Credit Is Due
Acknowledging an employee’s time and effort that contributed to a favorable case outcome or a lauded verdict will always boost morale, and will encourage an employee to continue to work hard and make the firm proud. Make sure to use specific, detailed examples of their work, as this will demonstrate your attentiveness and recognition of their efforts.
TIP: Promoting a team member’s successes is something that can be celebrated on a group level; e.g. included in a speech at a holiday office party, etc. A group announcement of credit due is a good thing to do, as staff members work on many different cases, and may not be aware of each member’s contribution to the firm.
3. Give An Hour Here and There
Holiday months for a law firm doesn’t equate to slow business months—in fact, quite the contrary as many clients are trying to begin or wrap up legal matters before the New Year. Despite the workload, give the gift of a half-day off, or a long weekend to staff members when you can—paid in full. This can often be the best gift in the world to a coworker who just needs a little time for themselves.
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