Hello, this is Richard Jacobs from Speakeasy Marketing. Today, I’m going to talk to you about the ins and outs of sending a newsletter, a monthly newsletter to past clients. The whole goal of doing this is to stimulate referrals from your past clients and I’m sure you’ll tell me, as most attorneys have told me, that referrals make the best clients.
They have the least resistance to paying your retainer fees; they have the least resistance to hiring you. In many cases they’re pre-sold on hiring you because they’ve used you in the past or they were recommended by a friend, family member, church member, associate or someone at work. So again, they come pre-sold and your job is nothing but to convert them and it’s easier than it would be with a cold person that may not know you and not feel like there’s nothing special about you yet until you’ve spoken to them. So people are coming from a place of suspicion quite often.
How do you increase the number of referrals you’re getting from past clients? The way most attorneys do it is just hope that they’ll get referrals. If I do a good enough job, then I’ll get referrals. Some attorneys, what they’ll do is they’ll take it a step further and they’ll send out Christmas cards to their past client list, that’s a great first step.
Let me show you how to make that a lot better. What you want to do is you want to send a monthly newsletter to your past clients. There’s really two ways to do this, either it’s through email or it’s through physical paper mail. Now, there’s tradeoffs in doing both, physical paper mail is going to cost you a lot more money and it’ll probably cost about a dollar per person per month. If you send a regular standard envelope, it can be cheaper, maybe 50 cents with paper and everything, there may be 55 cents.
If you have a list of 2 to 300 past clients, then you’re probably going to spend 200 bucks a month to mail them but if you did this for a whole year and you spend 12 times to 100, $2,400 and you got two referrals that you otherwise wouldn’t have gotten, well then it starts to pay for itself in lump sum. A lot of times when attorneys do this over a period of months, six or seven months, they really build up a good presence in the mind of their past clients and they start to get far more referrals than just two a year. I’ve spoken to some attorneys, they get every month three or four people that are referred. If you get just two a month, let’s say you get one a month, that’s 12 referrals a year. If you charge $2,000 for an average case, that’s $24,000 a year just by sending a newsletter.
Now, if you want to do it through email, it’s going to be a lot cheaper. You still need an email program that’ll orchestrate the email and go out to several hundred or several thousand people at once and you want to do this every month, so there’ll be some minor cost associated with the email program. They can run anywhere from $50 to $200 a month for a program that’ll do this for you but the problem with the email is they don’t get opened nearly as much as letters get read. Typical open rates for email for a decent list are 10 to maybe as much as 20 per cent and that’s about it.
For a direct mail, they can easily be as high as 70 or 80 per cent, sometimes it’s more than that. So, you’re going to get a lot more readership if you send direct mail vs. email but email in a lot of cases can be a lot cheaper and reach people. Then, there’s always the case where you may not have physical addresses of your past clients or you may not have emails of your past clients, it depends on the practice area. Some practice areas, like criminal defense, people tend to move and not be as stable as other areas, maybe bankruptcy as well, so you just got to look and see what data do you have.
Your effort doing this, it’s all going to be really upfront is to get your files out and have your secretary get your past list, let’s say the past 2 or 3 years, that’s probably the sweet spot. We wouldn’t go back 5 or 10 years because the clients are so old, it’s very likely that they’ve moved, changed email, changed physical address and all that. So 2 to 3 years back is really the sweet spot but an average attorney doing 80 cases a year, that’s 160 to 240 people. Let’s say 200 people on average, that’s a pretty a good base to start with to get referrals.
I’m going to show you a trick on what to do to really get a great jump start on getting referrals but before that, I want to talk about some of the reasons why attorneys won’t do this. So, sometimes they feel like they’re bugging people to send them something once a month. Now, we’ve found through testing that once a month is a good sweet spot, more than that, yes, you could be bugging people, less than that, you’re really not in their minds enough to make an impact. Quarterly is not enough, yearly is certainly not enough but you really want to be in their minds monthly.
Another misconception is that attorneys want to send out a newsletter that’s based on their practice area, let’s say DUI, bankruptcy, personal injury etc. You got to realize through no fault of your own, no matter how much your clients love you, they hope they never hear from you again because you were there to help them through a negative time in their life and they don’t want to be reminded of that negative experience, divorce, bankruptcy, death, probate, criminal defense etc.
What do you do? Well, you send out a newsletter that doesn’t talk about a law. Yes, it will have your masthead on it or your logo, your picture, your phone number or your email and all that stuff at the top. So they’ll know it’s you but the content of the newsletter won’t be about the law.
What should it be about? It should resemble a reader’s digest or you have an article that’s a recipe for Wolfgang Puck for sweet short ribs this month, an article that talks about this state in the history. Einstein came out with this theory of relativity this month, you may even have a crossword puzzle. Some basic fun interesting content that people would like to read, an article about a star. Some new star got married or there’s some scandal or some of these stars that was a man turns out to be gay or turns out to be a woman or whatever, that kind of stuff.
That will keep people entertained while they still have your information on it so they remember you. Over a period of time, you’ll hear comments when referrals call you and you’ll say, “How do you find me?”, “Well, my friend so and so or my husband or my whoever, someone at Church, they get this newsletter from you, every month and they’ve been getting it for a bunch of months. So they just gave me a copy or they emailed me a copy, they said I should call you, so that’s how I found you”. That’s a typical thing that you’ll hear and that’s how the newsletter works.
Let me show you this tweak on how to really boost it up. It’s going to be combined with getting testimonials for you. So, the best way we found to start off a newsletter is to actually send out a survey to your past clients and you want to incentivize the survey. We’re not asking for reviews but we’re asking for a survey here. Typically what we’ll do is offer a $10 Amazon gift card. When I’ve done this with some clients, with some attorneys, they’ll send you about 150 of their past clients and they’ve gotten about a 35 per cent response rate. So, out of a 150, almost as much as 50 have responded to the survey and 90 some odd per cent of the survey results have been overwhelmingly positive because these good guys are good attorneys as I’m sure you are. So, mostly positive results and in the survey, we asked can we put your positive comments on the website and people, by default by doing the survey, they give their consent, “Yes”.
Some of the attorney clients have done this before and they’ve gotten 30 or 40 new testimonials for their website because the survey question. One of them, says, “How would you rate your experience with this firm?” So that turns into a testimonial. So, first of all, their website gets a huge boost in terms of credibility, all right, that’s one great thing. The next thing is once they complete the survey, we take them to a page that says, “Thanks for doing this survey. Your card is on the way”, or, “By the way, just put in your address and we want to make sure we send this in the right place. Your card’s on the way. If you have some good things to say in the survey, by the way, would you now mind posting a review on Google+, Yahoo, Yelp, Juniors Book, City Circle or any of those places that people like to go”. We have links to your personal accounts on each of those platforms.
Now people just have to click the link, they go right to your profile and they can put in a review. I know not everybody does this but about 4 or 5 people out of the 40, so about 10 per cent of them will put a review. This is great because it just gives you some new reviews online, gives you a lot more credibility and boost you up. Plus you’ve reignited your list, you’ve some given them some more value, now they’re much more willing to listen to you and pay attention. That’s the number one way to start up a newsletter that I’ve found. So, I hope this helps you. Any questions or comments, we’re going to be doing more videos and more audios on topics like these to help you. You’re welcome to contact me, Richard Jacobs at speakeasymarketinginc.com or call 888 225 8594 and find out how to get this implemented in your practice and start boosting up your referral rate.
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