Direct Mail Marketing

Lawyers can now easily and inexpensively compete against law firms with big advertising budgets by sending greeting cards, birthday cards and holiday cards automatically. Conversely, law firms with big advertising budgets can get even more clients with direct mail by sending cards to clients, former clients and prospects.

Do your Holiday Cards look like this? They just go in the garbage!
Postage meter used instead of a stamp & a bulk mailing label
Card-envelope-Optimized

Pretty, but who’s the card from?
Card-front-Optimized

“Warmest Greetings”  Really? No signature!

Computers, the Internet and high-volume computerized printers have now made sending greeting cards, without any work on your part, a reality and at a low price not possible before. This is the best legal marketing tool I have ever seen. Many lawyers have successfully mass mailed impersonal holiday cards to substantially increase their practice but with this automated system to send personalized greeting cards, you can increase repeat clients and referrals from current and former clients even more by mailing birthday cards and holiday cards on several holidays, not just at Christmas.

Why send greeting cards? Because the average open rate for email is a paltry 11.4%.  If not sent to the recipient’s spam filter or folder and actually received, they are usually ignored.  Greeting cards will likely get a 100% open rate.

How effective is sending greeting cards to attract referrals for new business? I received a call from a lawyer interested in using 1-800-HURT-911 for his state. He mentioned that he had 15 offices but never advertised on TV or radio! Intrigued, I asked him how he grew to 15 offices without advertising and he said by mailing birthday cards to current and former clients. He has an employee doing all the work to mail the cards. I asked him if he was aware that he could mail birthday and greeting cards automatically without any work.  Of course, he wanted to know how!

I then spoke with Dick Larkin, one of the most experienced executives in the yellow page business and publisher of YPCommando.com. Dick sent me a card and wrote, about sending birthday cards and greeting cards, “I hate to admit it, but it’s about a billion times more effective than Yellow Pages.”

I then realized that I knew several large lawyers in New York who mail holiday cards.  I receive them every year. I never thought they were very effective because they are obviously mass mailed and very impersonal using mailing labels and lacking any hand written message or signature. I just throw them in the garbage. But as you will see below, there is now an easy solution for this.

Referrals are the best form of business.  Potential clients from referrals are far more likely to want you.  However, most lawyers don’t spend any time or effort to increase referrals.  Sending personalized holiday and birthday cards in the US mail with an automatic system is the best method of generating referrals without using any of your time or effort.  Send an occasional greeting card such as our “Most Totally Awesome” card and you will constantly generate goodwill all year round.

If you’re spending money on advertising, you can’t afford not to spend money developing referrals.  If you’re looking to increase in a certain type of legal clients, you can easily target that type of referral business.  Doctors often say “like begets like” meaning that surgical patients refer surgical patients and non-surgical patients refer non-surgical patients.  Just make sure that you send holiday and birthday cards to the clients whose business you want.

Problems that used to exist with the old method of sending holiday cards:

  1. It used to cost a lot of money to send holiday cards, so much that law firms typically send cards only once a year for Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
  2. It’s too much work to address, personalize and sign every card, so law firms just send out impersonal holiday cards with no personal message, no signature and a mailing label on the envelope which is possibly worse than sending nothing at all.

Cost: Not only are birthday and greeting cards usually expensive, but paying an employee to mail out cards is extremely expensive. In fact, if you mail birthday cards and holiday cards 3-4 times per year to your current and former clients, it can easily be a full-time job. If you’re using an employee earning only $18,000 per year, it will cost you approximately $0.60 per card for the labor and that’s without including benefits and payroll taxes. According to North West Staffing Resources, you can add 56.55% for additional employee costs (http://www.nwstaffing.com/forms/TrueCostOfEmployee.pdf). That comes to $0.94 per card, just for labor.  Add the cost of the cards at $1.49 to $3.49 per card (not including sales tax) and first-class postage, using the old method, you need a big budget. If you have 1,500 current and former clients and send cards four times per year, it will cost you $17,220 to $29,220. But now, you can send 6,000 personalized greeting cards for a total of only $6,360, automatically without any work!

 

THE NEW WAY TO SEND GREETING CARDS: Now, the problems of personalization and cost have been fixed and you can easily and inexpensively generate new client referrals!

Just schedule and automatically mail custom personalized and signed greeting cards on birthdays, holidays & other events to current and former clients. Unbelievably, it’s only $0.62 per card plus first-class postage and you do almost nothing.

All you have to do is upload the names, addresses and birth dates of your current and former clients (you can upload a spreadsheet and/or add clients one at a time); choose the cards you want to send; write a custom message (you can click on “First Name” “Last Name” and the system will automatically insert your client’s name); and choose a date, birthday or holiday to automatically send a card every year.

Don’t let the inexpensive cost fool you!

  • These greeting cards are printed on high-quality paper with a glossy coating and look great.
  • All greeting cards are sent in an envelope (see image below) with a handwriting font for both the address and return address – no labels!
  • All greeting cards are sent with a first-class stamp so it looks like you mailed it yourself and first class stamps significantly increase open rates. With first-class postage you also get notified of the forwarding address if your client moves.
  • All greeting cards can be easily personalized by automatically inserting your client’s first name and/or last name.
  • The text anywhere on the card can easily be customized and printed in any of several different handwriting fonts.
  • Your actual signature can be inserted anywhere on the card.

If you want to try sending one card to see what it looks like, just send me an email and let me know that you want to send a sample greeting card.  Sample greeting cards are $2.99 per card.

When should I send greeting cards? Send at least 3-4 cards per year.  Following are some suggestions:

  • Birthday card
  • Anytime greeting card
  • Springtime greeting card
  • Office party invitation
  • Summer/Fourth of July card
  • Fall/Thanksgiving card
  • Christmas/holiday card
  • Martin Luther King Day
  • Super Bowl
  • St. Valentines Day

Who should I send greeting cards to?

  • Current clients
  • Former clients
  • The Most Important Tip:  Not so obvious, are potential clients who call you but never become clients. Something caused the potential client to call you and it may have even cost you a lot of money. For instance, the caller may have seen your advertising. Approximately 90% of callers from advertising do not have a viable case, but your advertising and branding worked and got them to call you. Just because you don’t take the caller in as a client now, don’t lose your money and let the caller get away. With a little more branding and contact from you, the caller will become almost as valuable as a referral from a former happy client. That caller could become a good client in the future and/or could refer other good clients to you in the future. You probably got the caller’s name and phone number. Make sure you also get the mailing address, email address and birthday so you can add that person to your greeting card and email list. Callers are always willing to give you that information and I ask for the birthday at the end by saying “if you give me your birthday I’ll even send you a birthday card every year”. So far, every caller has given me their birthday and some have even said “You’ll really send me a birthday card?”. They get very excited to hear that I will send them a birthday card. The caller may not have become a client this time, but may become a client in the future or even refer someone else.
  • People you meet and give your business card to. Make sure you get that person’s address and add that person to your greeting card list.

Can I send just one card? Yes.  You can send any card to just one person, one time.  But with the automated system you can also create campaigns to send cards to a list of people on a certain date or event.  This automated greeting card system is just like an online automated greeting card system or email campaign system such as Constant Contact and Vertical Response.  The only difference is that this automatic system sends greeting cards through the US mail.  With this automated system you can schedule birthday cards to be sent to everyone on your list (birthday cards are sent one week in advance of the birthdate) and you can schedule holiday cards to be sent to everyone on your list.  You can choose from thousands of predesigned cards which are editable and you can also create your own custom cards.

What can I send automatically?

  • Postcards cost only $0.31 plus first-class postage.
  • 3 panel greeting cards including holiday & birthday cards.
  • Law Firm Brochure: use 3 panel vertical or horizontal cards with custom images for only $0.93 plus first-class postage.
  • Law Firm Brochure: use 4 panel vertical or horizontal cards with custom images for only $1.24 plus first-class postage.
  • Law Firm Newsletter: use 3 panel vertical or horizontal cards with custom images for only $0.93 with custom images plus first-class postage.
  • Law Firm Newsletter: use 4 panel vertical or horizontal cards with custom images for cost only $1.24 with custom images plus first-class postage.
  • You can even send any of the following with your greeting cards: gift boxes with brownies, candy or gourmet food; gift baskets; toys for children; baby gifts; books; and gift cards.

Can I create custom greeting cards for my law firm? Any law firm can use the service and send any of over 2,000 stock greeting cards automatically.  You can also customize any of the over 2,000 greeting cards by easily changing/adding text and/or uploading and inserting your own images.  You can also easily and inexpensively have a graphic designer create an entirely new custom greeting card just for your law firm, which is what I did.  Just upload the image of your custom greeting card and you’re ready to go!  Lawyers who license 800-HURT-911, 800-DRUG-CRIMES or 800-I-CAN-WIN can now use custom-designed greeting cards.

Are there any legal ethics rules I have to be concerned about? Of course, ethics rules applies to greeting cards as any direct mail. Generally, there will be no content in a greeting card, holiday card or birthday card that would be regulated by a legal ethics rules. However, sending a sympathy card or any other greeting card to accident victims may be regulated by your state’s ethics rules. I have no doubt that sending sympathy cards to accident victims could sometimes result in retaining clients, however, it just is way too tacky for me. I would stick to sending a greeting card, birthday card and a couple of holiday cards to current and former clients 3-4 times per year. Assuming that the content is similar to general greeting card content (your not making any claims or advertising statements), greeting cards will not violate ethics rules of any state.

Value: I looked all over the Internet and found several other companies providing this service. While they did not charge a membership fee, they all charged prices of $2.49 to $3.49 per card and did not provide the ability to customize cards and mail them for you.  Compare to Zazzle where you can make a custom card for $1.35 if you buy 500 cards and you have to mail them yourself!  Where else can you send cards either individually or via a mass mailing for only $0.62 per card?

Dick Larkin, the yellow page expert, has been sending out cards for several years and another friend of mine who is a financial planner has also been sending cards for several years to his financial planning clients.  I now send holiday and birthday cards to clients of my law practice.

 

How do I get started sending greeting cards, brochures & newsletters? – Find out what you should pay for and what you don’t need. Or just send me an email with your email address and phone number.


Philip L. Franckel, Esq.