Especially for small firms, marketing can be a frustrating topic. It’s expensive, and you’re never sure what works. Should you go with a yellow pages ad? A radio spot? Maybe a web campaign? You look around to see what other firms are doing, and follow their lead; after all, it must be working for them. Most of all though, you try to focus on minimizing your marketing expenses.
The truth is that marketing is an investment that pays big returns, provided you do it properly. There are a few ways that I see lawyers choosing to market their firms that clearly don’t work. One is the notorious yellow pages ad. Everybody has one, they’re all equally nondescript, and you’re guaranteed to get lost in the crowd. Another is small firms following the trend of attempting to develop brand awareness. The problem with this is that small businesses just don’t have deep enough pockets to develop a brand image like large firms do.
One method of marketing that I believe is a great investment for small firms is direct response marketing. It distills your message down to its simplest terms, and allows you to track every client back to the marketing dollar you spent on him or her. Most important, though, it works. Here are a few basic elements of direct response marketing:
- It always contains an offer, such as a free report or free consultation.
- It provides the prospective client a reason to respond NOW in the form of headlines and dramatic copy.
- It provides clear instructions on how to contact you.
- It uses strong sales copy instead of vague hyperbole.
- It looks like mail-order advertising, not a pretty ad.
When you’re using direct response marketing, you scrupulously track the measurements of each campaign to see what’s effective and what’s not. You consistently follow-up with prospective clients until they let you know they’re not interested, and you don’t care about what anyone thinks, because results rule. Even though direct response advertising copy does not look like you or your employees might think it should look, it’s effective.
In my experience, I have found that pretty wins awards, but direct response wins clients.
President & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
6050 Santo Road, Suite 240
San Diego, CA 92124