How to get a competitive advantage over other lawyers

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A great way to stand out in a crowded field is to do something nobody else is doing. Nobody sends postal mail any more and that’s exactly why you should.

Everyone is moving online. Yes, you must have a presence online. In fact, that’s where you should concentrate most of your marketing muscle. But there are great fortunes to be had by those who use old fashioned paper and envelopes and stamps to communicate with clients and prospects and referral sources.

The volume of direct mail is way down. What that means is that your prospect’s mail box is emptier than a few years ago. As a result, when your client gets your newsletter in their mailbox, it won’t get lost in the clutter. Compare that to their email inbox, where they are inundated.

Your printed and mailed message means much more to them, too. They can hold it, they can sit in their favorite chair and listen to your words spoken from the page, or throw it in a briefcase to read on the train. Yes, they can do all that by printing your email or pdf, but it’s not the same. It lacks some of the warmth and personality of something actually delivered to their mailbox.

Just as there’s a big difference between an email that says "thanks" and a hand-written, personal thank you note sent by mail, you can get the essence of that difference with a printed newsletter or other message.

Also consider the retention factor. If you write a good newsletter or report and get it into the hands of clients and prospects, they’ll be more likely to hold onto it if they don’t have time to read it now. And, if they do read it now and it is good information, they’ll be more likely to hold onto it for future reference. By contrast, I’ve got emails I’ve saved in my inbox for years, but I’ll never find them.

What about "pass along"? Well, it’s easy for them to forward your email message to a large number of people, but what will those people do with the message? Probably not read it and probably not hold onto it, either.

There is a greater cost to putting things in the mail, and more labor, too. But the question isn’t the net cost of one medium of communication versus another, it’s net effectiveness. Return on investment.

Don’t stop sending email, but do consider starting (or re-starting if you have let lapse) a postal mail campaign to keep your name and message in front of the most important people in your business life. You’ve often heard me say, "They may not be able to hire or refer today, so stay in their minds and in their mailboxes until they do." Today, they have more than one mailbox and you should be in both.

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  1. […] to forget about other avenues of communication.  David Ward of AttorneyMarketing.com argues that direct mail can give lawyers a competitive advantage.  Ward notes that physical mailboxes are emptier than they’ve been in years because so much […]