Every solicitor should be keeping in touch with clients at least once a month, but preferably once a fortnight or dare I say it without making you run a mile, once a week.
- Because until you do this you will never attract all of the instructions from your existing clients that are ready and waiting to come your way.
- Because if you do not do this, in the new, competitive legal services market, you will at some point go out of business; and
- Because it is the cheapest and easiest form of marketing.
I hope the third one makes you think. Keeping in touch with clients is the easiest and cheapest form of marketing for solicitors.
If you are not regularly keeping in touch with your clients you are letting thousands of pounds a month in lost legal fees walk straight past your front door and into the front door of your competors.
You might not be the Co-Op, or think that your clients will use their legal services, but they will be approached by them. If the Co-Op suddenly asks one of your conveyancing clients if they have made a Will, and you have never asked them this, who are they going to use? More likely than not, the Co-Op. Why should they use you if you have not kept in touch with them, or advised them that they should make a Will?
So, I hope by now you are at least thinking about keeping in touch with your clients to ensure that your solicitors practice remains a vibrant and profitable business. If you are, the next thing I need to do to help you is to give you some easy ways of keeping in touch with your clients, so here they are!
First, I want to cover formats for keeping in touch with your clients.
Methods For Keeping In Touch With Clients
This does not have to be a complicated affair. You do not need a beautifully designed, heavily detailed email newsletter. A few paragraphs, or even just two paragraphs, even one line asking a question “Did you know that 90% of people do not make a Will?” will suffice.
In terms of design, every piece of research I read shows that designed newsletters (i.e. ones with your logo at the top and the firm name etc) are far less read than plain looking emails which look like the ones you usually send to people. So if you are currently designing a newsletter, you are wasting money and reducing the responses you are likely to receive.
Your clients are receiving less and less letters every single month. Postage has gone up, your competitors have become lazy, even the catalogue sales people do not send as many as they used to, so sending post in 2013 is much more likely to lead to that post being opened, read, and acted upon.
Everyone feels good when they receive a postcard, so send one with a beautiful landmark, or a lovely holiday location on it. We all associate postcards with happy memories!
Include A4 inserts with all client letters, a different one each month.
What Can You Say To Your Clients?
Now that we have covered methods you can use to keep in touch with your clients, what sort of things can you say to them?
These can be in a variety of formats, as I have already hinted at:
- A three or four item newsletter covering legal developments or topics of interest, starting with a few sentences and then linking off to the main article on your website (helping your clients interact with your website and find out more about your services).
- A one line offer, for example, ""20% off Wills this month" or similar.
- A one line question “Did you know that someone who makes a Will usually pays £50,000 less in taxes?”
- Two or three general paragraphs about local, topical issues all in one email.
- A copy of any press releases you have recently sent to your local paper (generally keep these to a minimum, but occasionally is OK. Your clients do not want all of your newsletters to be all about you (‘Clients First’ at all times remember – it’s my marketing mantra), but the odd one is fine).
2. More detailed legal updates
If there is a change in the law, why not prepare a two to ten page report explaining the changes and send it out to all of your clients, or ones who will be affected by the changes. You could even just include the update as an additional insert with all client letters for that month, then do another one each month thereafter.
Your brochures (you do have a separate one for each main legal service don’t you; if not, why not)? You can include a different one with all client letters each and every month. All solicitors should do this as a matter of routine, but sadly they do not. The banks do, so why shouldn’t solicitors too? Answer – they should, you should, do you, will you?
4. One page updates
If something interesting happens locally or nationally and touches on a legal service that you offer, write one or two pages about it and include this insert with all client letters that month.
5. Case Studies
If you have obtained a really great result for a client, prepare a case study and send it to clients by email or as an insert.
6. Press Coverage
If your great cases are covered in the press, or any other stories for that matter, send this to your clients too.
7. Make them an offer
Solicitors rarely seem to make offers to their clients, but they should. I know we are all taught in the UK that it is rude to ask, but sometimes in business you have to ask for instructions to give yourself a chance of receiving them.
So make an interesting offer, either a special price, or add additional benefits to your service if they instruct you within a short period of time.
8. Other services offers
If you work closely with other local companies, ask them if they want to make an offer to your clients (if it is related to your service and provides a real benefit to your clients).
9. Open Days
Have an annual office open day, perhaps linked to a charity event offering to donate an additional sum of money for every client that visits you, offering them tea or coffee and cake. Ensure that the meeting room is adorned with your brochures, leaflets, press releases etc and that plenty of your staff are available to mingle.
10. Impart Your Knowledge
Solicitors always used to offer seminars to their clients, but as it has become harder to persuade people to leave their offices or homes, this has diminished. Yet imparting your knowledge to clients is an excellent marketing method.
So if seminars do not work anymore, what does?
Webinars and teleseminars is the answer! Think about your own CPD points. I am sure that many of them now come from teleseminars and webinars, so why not offer these to your clients too?
11. Call your clients
“Shock horror, what pick up the telephone Nick for no other reason than to converse with our clients. Have you gone out of your mind?”
No, try it and see what happens. I used to work with a businessman who, whenever in a quiet spell, he would just pick up the phone and talk to old clients, then work would start to flow in shortly afterwards.
Keeping in touch with clients should be a key part of every solicitors marketing strategy. I hope that I have given you a few ideas that will help you to achieve this for your solicitors practice.
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