How Adding Direct Mail To Your Marketing Plan Can Enhance Your Revenue Stream
Through the years, lawyers have looked down on marketing. They feel their industry – and only their industry – should be exempt from the normal laws of business. This is of course, a ludicrous idea. The truth is, lawyers have always engaged in marketing in one form or another. In fact, most law firms have an unwritten, but well-understood, multi-tiered structure, that’s broken into “finders, minders, and grinders” – The finders (the best business developers) are at or near the top of the firm’s compensation structure. But there remains a lingering distaste for marketing legal services.
If you’re a CAMS member already, it means you understand the value of marketing your legal practice. When pressed, everyone claims to understand the value of marketing, but few people grasp its full importance or true potential. CAMS members have taken the crucial step of getting professional assistance with their marketing plans, and we’re not only grateful, we applaud them for their good sense.
One type of marketing Virginia lawyers might be overlooking: Direct mail. There. I said it.
If you feel your marketing plan, however detailed or comprehensive, isn’t generating the quality or quantity of business you want, from the kinds of clients you want, it’s time for you to think about direct mail marketing.
When used with a consistent and appropriate manner, direct mail marketing can provide a solid and regular source of business. It can be measured by the increased revenue for your firm. You can target prospective clients and preferred referral sources. Then you can measure the success rate of your efforts by tweaking and kneading your approach to your findings of what works best. Simply put, direct mail works.
Or perhaps we should say direct mail works if approached in the right way. Even lawyers who have talent in the marketing area tend to think keeping the process in-house, and under their control, is the wisest way to go. This means, they can write the copy, find the leads, chase them down and close the deal. All this without paying anyone else to do the work! Brilliant, right?
Well… not really. Oh, sure, you could do all this in-house. For example, if you’re a criminal defense attorney, you could go to the courthouse a couple of times a week and find out what charges have been filed against which defendants. Then get their addresses and send them a letter you wrote yourself explaining why they should hire you. Or you could get your staff involved. You could have your secretary or paralegal go to the courthouse, then come back to the office and enter data, print off letters, stuff a bunch of envelopes, and wait for the mail carrier to pick them up. Off they go!
In this scenario, what you’re likely to get is disgruntled staff, poor follow-through, lost opportunities, wasted time, wasted effort, and wasted money. Your staff probably will not appreciate their talents being used in (ugh) stuffing envelopes. These are professionals, trained and experienced in doing legal work, not scriveners’ work in copying lists of defendants, or menial tasks like stuffing and stamping envelopes. And even if they grudgingly agree to perform these functions, the day-to-day press of “real business” will make it easy for them to put off visiting the courthouse since that brief is due, or those interrogatories have to be finished. And when they do get the mailers ready, the postal carrier will pick them up one day and send them out the next, at the earliest.
In other words, your efforts will be slipshod and probably amateurish. In order to be effective, your direct mail piece must get to the potential clients in time for them to choose you over your competitors. By the time you or your staff get the letters mailed, you’ll likely reach potential clients too late to realize the benefit of direct mail. And by the way, what happens when you run out of toner for your copier? By the time you get to Office Depot and back, and get moving again, your leads will be stale.
This is not our supposition or speculation. It’s based on our experience. We‘ve seen it happen.
Your support staff should be busy answering phones, transcribing dictation, and managing cases, not traipsing to the courthouse for leads and stuffing envelopes. If you’re doing your own direct mail campaign in-house, you’re probably not realizing the full benefits such a campaign can bring you. Your staff probably aren’t happy with their duties, either. To quote our founder, Van Hardenbergh, “A very successful attorney told me long ago to outsource direct mail fulfillment. And he was absolutely right. Think about it. How much is your time worth? Did you go to law school to learn how to stuff envelopes?” The same goes for your valuable staff with respect to their own training and experience.
Outsourcing your direct mail campaign makes a lot of sense, for a lot of reasons. For one, direct mail appeals can only work if your mail actually gets opened. So much of our daily mail goes straight into the circular file. How can you make sure your mailer avoids that indignity? By being different. By being noticeable. By getting the potential client’s attention. And wether you’re a marketing genius or not, you probably don’t have the experience to know what will make your mailer stand out in the crowd.
At CAMS, we have the experience, and the proven track record necessary to assure you that outsourcing your direct mail campaign to us will generate better results for you than doing it yourself. Call (844) BUY-CAMS today and ask for Brandon Fuller, to find out more about how our direct mail process works, and how it can work for you.