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Ten ways attorneys can use a newsletter to grow their practice

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For many attorneys and law firms, newsletters bring in a lot of business. If you don’t have a newsletter, here are ten reasons you should:

  1. To get more business from current clients. A newsletter is an effective way to let clients know about your other services and show them how they can benefit from those services, without being “salesy”.
  2. To get repeat business from former clients. People who hired you once will hire you again–when they’re ready. A newsletter is a great way to stay in touch with them until they are.
  3. To add value to your services. A newsletter can provide an added benefit for clients. Give clients “subscriptions”. Put a price tag on the newsletter but send it free to current clients.
  4. To educate prospects. A newsletter that provides prospective clients with valuable information helps them make better decisions, allows you to demonstrate your expertise, and provides a mechanism for staying in touch with them until they are ready to hire you.
  5. To generate word-of-mouth referrals. Newsletters have pass-along value. A good newsletter will be shared with an average of three other people, even more online.
  6. To build your contact list. You can offer visitors to your web site a subscription to your newsletter in return for providing their email (and other contact information). When speaking or networking, you can offer to send your newsletter to people who provide you with their business card.
  7. To establish expertise and credibility. Your writing helps prospects, publishers, reporters, meeting planners, and referral sources see you as the expert you are.
  8. To provide content for, and traffic to, your web site. Your newsletter can drive traffic to your web site or blog. Your newsletter content can be re-used as content on your web site or blog, generating additional traffic from search engines and social media.
  9. To shorten the sales process. People who respond to your newsletter are better informed about what you do and pre-sold on your ability to do it, in contrast to people who come to you via advertising.
  10. To serve as a networking tool. Your newsletter is a tool to reach out to other professionals. You can interview them for an article, conduct a survey, ask them to write an article, or ask permission to put them on your mailing list.

A newsletter requires an investment of time, and possibly some capital, but the return on that investment can be substantial. If you want to grow your practice, a newsletter is one of the most highly leveraged marketing activities you can do.

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My newsletter mailing list has 2,000 names. Should I cut it?

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Q: My mailing list has 2,000 names on it and it’s getting costly to mail. What can I do reduce my mailing expenses? Should I cut down the size of the list?

A: Ultimately, you have to determine whether your mailings are producing a profit and the only way to know this is to rigorously track response. If you aren’t at least breaking even, you should make some changes.

You can reduce mailing costs by:

  • Cutting older names
  • Mailing to everyone and ask them to tell you if they want to stay on your list. (Make it easy for them to respond, however, with a postage paid response device, for example, because people are busy and may forget to respond even when they want to remain on your list).
  • Reducing the frequency of your mailings
  • Reducing the weight (which saves on printing/postage)
  • Using bulk rate postage and professional letter shops

But marketing professional services is a process not an event and tracking results can be elusive. How do you know that someone who has been on your list for three years but never hired you won’t become your client (or refer your next client) next month?

The answer is you don’t know. Therefore, I would err on the side of keeping people on your list. But I would segment the list and create different mailing categories.

Your best clients or referral sources, for example, should hear from you more often; monthly is not too often. People who have never hired you or referred to you, however, might hear from you only once or twice a year.

Your BEST source of NEW business will always be people who have hired you or referred to you in the past. Spend more on  them.

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How to leverage CLE time

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Kiyosaki (see previous post) says leverage is "doing more and more with less and less". One way to accomplish this is by making the time you spend in Continuing Legal Education do "double duty" for you, as the following letter from one of our subscribers attests:

"One idea that I have found very useful in building clients’ perceptions of credibility and reliability is the faxing or emailing of regular snipits of industry-specific information.
 
"For example, I have been wooing a client in the commercial construction business. Although I am not an expert in construction law. . . I came across an interesting summary of late breaking developments in subcontractor liability in the latest issue of the [his state Bar] Journal. I immediately copied it and faxed it to my contact (the executive v.p.) with the note, "I thought you might find this interesting."

"I then added a quick blurb about how this is precisely what we do proactively for our business clients to keep them on the cutting edge of their field.
   
"This practice keeps me alert to my client’s needs, motivates me to stay on top of "hands-on" CLE information, and lets the client know about my concern, competency and desire to excel."

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