When clients walk away you never know

Newsletters are often decried by the digital fraternity but are regularly described by our clients as the most cost-effective marketing they do for their law firm. However, to be cost-effective, they need to be used sensibly within a business development (BD) strategy. One that fits with the law firm’s overall business strategy.

In this series for Ink Legal I am going to explore how, why, and when newsletters should be used. I am not going to go into the more minute bits of data analysis (actually, I don’t think most of that is a good use of anyone’s time or money). But concentrate on the basics of how to make sure the newsletters you do are effective in generating long-term profitable business for your law firm.  For now, I’m dealing with newsletters. In other articles, I’ll discuss different distribution media for different sorts of messages.

Why do newsletters work for law firms?

There is one simple reason why newsletters work in law firm marketing. It is that is they are mainly received by people you already have a connection with or are passed on by them. That relationship means (or should mean) that they command attention a mere marketing ‘flyer’ normally won’t. The very first question to ask about any newsletter (paper or e-newsletter) is ‘Who will receive this and what interests them?’. If you get that right, then you have the ability to leverage the existing relationship to provide more instructions for your law firm.

However – and this is where I part company with a lot of content strategists – unless your content either hits an immediate perceived need, or is targeted at and written for a very highly engaged audience (such as in-house lawyers), the important thing is not technical depth or even the ability to keep the eyeballs on the material to the final full stop. It is about refreshing the idea in the recipient’s heads that you are still there.  Still dealing with people/organisations like them with problems like they have. Still able to speak their language and still care. This is why I believe that traditional measures of ‘engagement’ are largely spurious.

When clients walk away you never know

The reason for this is important and obvious. Look at your client lists: a huge amount of your work is repeat and referral. But when clients walk away you never know. Obtaining new clients is expensive. The first and soundest BD effort for any professional services firm is to keep…and leverage…what you already have. You need to keep your brand in front of your potential client base.

Ignore your flock and the sheep will drift off. Newsletters are without parallel in keeping the flock together in law firm marketing.

In the next articles I discuss how and when you should use paper newsletters and e-newsletters. For what audiences and purposes. How they should be written. How you should maximise ‘reach’ and what data to look at.

Joe Reevy, Founder of LegalRSS and Crosselerator