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Marketing Gurus Encourage Use of Direct Mail, Creative Campaigns in Times of Crisis
Any lawyer who’s ever headed to court negotiated with an opposing party, or convinced a hesitant client to take the right steps toward a secure financial future knows how to pivot when an argument is proving to be ineffective. But those same attorneys can be less than agile when it comes to adjusting their promotional efforts, particularly during a crisis. If in-person seminars have always been a cornerstone of your marketing plan and you’re waiting for life to get “back to normal” before you expand your efforts, you may want to reconsider.
“Marketing is not a static or one-and-done deployment,” said LAB Services Practice Solutions Advisor Lori Pulvermacher, MBA. “And be it a pandemic, the economy, new technology, or a shift in trends or the industry, there will always be something that requires your marketing plan to evolve or adjust. Pivots are necessary to ensure your strategies keep up with your objectives and that you, your firm, and your message remain relevant and present with your audience.”
Dan Slater agrees that pivoting is not only necessary, but could also enhance an attorney’s image.
“Any creative ways that lawyers can use to churn up business during a pandemic are going to not only help them explore more efficient ways to market, but will support their brand by showing a COVID-friendly and ethics-based effort that could score them additional clients,” said Slater. “Marketing is about standing out above other businesses and delivering an effective message. The number of seniors needing help hasn’t changed, but the methods in which consumers seek information will.”
Using Direct Mail to Reach Potential Clients
Slater said attorneys should consider the tried and true method of using direct mail to reach older potential clients.
“People can be grouped into buckets called personas. Personas often help us define the difference between seniors based on their experiences throughout life. We can determine whether they were a generation who embraced radio, television, or even physical mail,” said Slater. “Mailers are a very universal and solid way to reach almost every senior because mail was a large part of their lives for so long. And, as long as your mail piece is structured properly, it can yield very effective results!”
Pulvermacher acknowledges that while direct mail may seem like a dated approach, it can yield reliable results when done correctly.
“Direct mail supports your brand and can be highly targeted, ensuring your message reaches your desired audience. In particular, seniors appreciate direct mail, are more likely to open their mail, and, compared to other demographics, have a more positive reaction to mail,” said Pulvermacher.
Seeking Out Professional Help for Your List, Design, and Message
Unless you moonlight as a graphic designer or campaign director, it may be best to rely on the professionals.
“There are many service providers out there that aid in designing and distributing a mailer, quickly and easily. Some cover the full gamut of needs: list, design, printing, postage, and mailing services. These providers enable the layman to become a designer and affordably hit mailboxes. However, what you are missing are the strategy, copywriting, tracking, and graphic design that fit your brand,” said Pulvermacher. “A PR firm or marketing company amplifies the project’s components over what a DIY company could do. A strategic marketing partner applies filters to list acquisition, design, and message to motivate your reader and provides guidance on strategic implementation and measuring return on investment, or ROI. You’ll likely spend a bit more but end up with a better product.”
Pulvermacher said it’s important to invest in quality design and strategy because direct mail is “an investment that could pay off.”
5 Tips for Promoting Your Firm in Times of Crisis
1. Maintain Consistency
Once you do execute your first mail piece, remember that a consistent presence is key.
“It is known that on average, the standard response rates for a mailer is roughly 2% with a new list of strangers,” said Slater. “These numbers improve as you commit to the same list and continue to mail over time or if you mail to a specific need.”
2. Choose Recipients Carefully
Don’t be tempted to rush your mail piece into people’s homes without first spending time on determining exactly who should receive your mailer.
“If you miss the mark on targeting your audience, your mailer is destined for the trash can. Successful list identification is the foundation of a smart campaign,” said Pulvermacher. “There are many mailing houses and brokers that supply lists””some provide better quality and segmentation than others. The more you can hone your list, the better your chances of influencing the reader with your message.”
3. Measure Your Success
It’s also crucial to devise ways to measure the success of your campaign.
“Always strive to incorporate a tracking method to determine response rate: a unique phone number, URL, or code that is only associated with the mailing. Pull the various reports to gauge traffic or interest generated by the mailer. Inquire with potential clients and track their response to how they learned about your firm,” said Pulvermacher. “Track these results, along with all your marketing tactics, and over time, you’ll have powerful insights on what is driving new business to your practice.”
4. Use Multiple Marketing Methods
Both Pulvermacher and Slater agree that the best marketing plans deploy more than one tactic.
“The best marketing strategy incorporates different channels and facilitates multiple touchpoints to build trust and credibility with your audience. Consider your direct mail initiative to be one element of your overall marketing plan,” said Pulvermacher.
5. Incorporate Digital Marketing and Social Media
Seniors, and their adult children who often spearhead planning efforts, are online more than ever before.
“Our seniors are online! We may believe that they are less likely to be captured with digital channels for our services. In reality, the vast majority of adults ages 50 to 79 utilize the internet, and many have social media accounts. These numbers have been on the rise during the pandemic,” said Pulvermacher.
And just like their younger counterparts, elder law clients turn to the internet when they’re seeking solutions.
“Remember that you want to catch seniors where they spend their time, and at the moment they need you. Facebook ads and radio ads are also a great way to reach the senior market, as long as you spend time crafting your message to compel your viewers,” said Slater. “Whatever your blend of marketing, be sure to create concise campaigns with compelling offers that are driven by action – and maybe a free offering. People don’t want to be sold, and the value lies in what you can offer them beyond your competitors!”
Estimated Costs for a Mail Campaign
Here’s a quick cheat sheet for attorneys considering a mail campaign. Pulvermacher advises lawyers to consider the following potential services and estimated costs when budgeting:
- Mailing list acquisition= $120 to $500 per 1,000 contacts
- Graphic design and copywriting services= $300 to $2,500, $0 to $150 if done with template services or in-house
- Printing= $0.20 to $2.00 per mailer
- Postage and distribution=-$0.23 to $0.72 per piece