Can lawyers learn something from the catalogue industry about getting responses from prospects?
Getting noticed in the first place is a major problem for many lawyers. Having got over this, a huge number are then frustrated by the poor response to their marketing or messages.
Part of the problem might be related to the way they try to get responses. A lot of marketing gives prospects the opportunity to procrastinate and concentrate on other things within their business. This, crucially, means that lawyers lose a lot of potential business because they eventually get forgotten.
So, what have successful catalogue marketers done well over the decades that lawyers can copy, even within their social media marketing campaigns?
It is because they focus on core direct marketing principles irrespective of the products or services they delivered. This focus is multi-faceted and includes the following:
- There is no room for fluffy messages. Every advert has a very clear purpose – to get readers to try or buy a product. Raising awareness is not part of the game, getting the product into someone’s hand is, so core messages have to be delivered quickly and effectively;
- The use of headlines at the top of any copy, and using this to draw the reader’s attention to what is below it. The headline should have one purpose – to get readers to want to want to stop and read what follows below;
- An almost constant use of coupon codes that need to be used by a certain date. These calls to action are excellent at making the advert a priority for many prospects who don’t want to miss out on any offers. Nothing is left to chance and procrastination is minimized;
- Any pictures used are too the point. If they can’t sell the product themselves, they are not included.
- Heavy use of metrics and tests. If an ad doesn’t work, it is pulled. Some of the oldest catalogue ads continue to be generate new leads because they are spot on. Catalogue marketers also test success rates – for example, if one headline gets more responses, compared to another, the second is either dropped or tweaked.
- Use of offers to reel prospects in. Some of the most succesful strategies include allowing someone to redeem the coupon for a product at full value. Other ones allow free trials for a week before buying, or it gets returned at no cost to the prospect. Whatever is used, these offers give a prospect that opportunity to try a product risk free.
- Use of guarantees to extend the risk-free trial or use period. This gives purchasers more confidence in the products or services on offer;
- Finally, the really successful catalogue marketers know their messages and adverts have to sell themselves without the need for expensive sales teams or dealers.
As a lawyer, you might feel this is too far off from what you need to consider in your marketing and communications. However, I’d say this is all relevant to trying to find ways of getting prospects to respond the way you want them to and move beyond typical brand awareness building exercises.
I have talked previously about the need to design a robust sales funnel. However, it is hard to move prospects through the sales funnel if you don’t follow the 8 principles outlined above.
Even if you use social media, you should know, for example, whether driving traffic content you have through LinkedIn is more successful than if it is done via Twitter or Facebook. You should have offers (e.g. reports, webinars, seminars) to help build trust with prospects and give them a risk-free opportunity to find out more about some of the benefits they can get if they select you.
You obviously can’t let people try services for a week before they buy. But the webinars or seminars you have should be of real value, and should include calls to action directing prospects to, for example, free evaluation meetings to help them understand how to get their desired end results.
And your guarantees can be based on exceptional client service – e.g. what would clients get from you if they spoke to you, how will you follow up with clients, how quickly will you respond to requests, what information will you provide to help clients get over buyer’s remorse, etc? You don’t have to guarantee success in court, but you can guarantee a client experience which you clearly articulate to prospects so that they know what to expect.
Measurement of marketing activity is also key. What is the response rate for each step of your sales funnel and via each channel used. Successful catalogue marketers are obsessed with such details, and so should you. Simply getting a huge numbers of followers on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter is not enough.
There is actually nothing new with the various points I have made. They have worked brilliantly for others and lawyers should not ignore them.
This also should make it easier to think about how you map out your offline, online and social media marketing campaigns. By systemising your marketing based on clear steps within a well-designed sales funnel, you can copy the tactics successful catalogue marketers have used over years to generate more leads and grow your legal practice – despite the economic downturn.