September 13, 2017
The main problem: your mailing list. For all but the biggest and best-organized firms this is the most difficult (and dreadful) task for both staff and attorneys. The reason: the list has gone largely unmaintained for many months, or since last year.
Here are five things to resolve now to maximize the effect of your holiday season marketing:
- Decide and commit to a start date for the updating of your mailing list (database).
- Not every firm contact needs to receive a holiday card. “Unlike the cards we mail to loved ones, greetings we send for business are generally used for two purposes: as a thank-you to individuals at other companies with whom we have an ongoing relationship, or as a means of staying on the radar of an existing, former or prospective client,” says manners expert Thomas P. Farley. It is better for a lawyer to select their top 25-50 contacts and send each a card with a hand-written and meaningful message than to send a generic card with no meaning.
- Only signing your name is unacceptable on a printed card! Writing a quick note wishing your contact a wonderful family holiday and thanking them for their support is not too much to ask if the contact represents a significant chunk of your book. Jacqueline Whitmore, author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Individuals says, “Cards leave a lasting impression and let others know you’re thinking about them. A pre-printed card that is not signed by the sender is so impersonal.” Whitmore says in addition to signing your card, thank the recipient for something specific or otherwise personalize your best wishes. This takes just a few seconds, but makes the card worth the price of postage.
- Sending an electronic card is easy and arguably “environmentally friendly”, however, there are perception problems with eCards that they are impersonal. Using a one-size-fits-all eCard for all firm contacts just might convey your representation is equally lacking. In most firms, this is the opposite of what you intend. eCards are acceptable for others you interact with less formally, say, through social media, or an industry/community group.
- Assuming gifts are appropriate or allowed by your client base and referral sources, consider picking a gift that resonates with the recipient. For example, send a wine-loving VIP a bottle of nice Merlot from Oregon because it’s their favorite varietal and they went there on vacation; or your contact who loves to golf their favorite kind of golf balls and have them personalized. Sending food baskets to a group inside a large company works to touch multiple people but, if possible, try to find the one or two key people and give them something that matters to them. Often, we hear food is devoured before the key person even knows you sent it over.
A law firm’s single most valuable assets – aside from its expertise and reputation practicing law – is its client and referral source lists. Remember, the key is sending to cards or gifts that make the right impression and to select those contacts which are important to your business.