As a solo and small firm, we don’t have the same kind of marketing budgets as the bigger firms. Staying present in our clients’ and potential clients’ minds is a challenge. We are unlikely to be hosting a client appreciation event at a museum, concert, or zoo. At the holidays if you aren’t hosting something that has a “wow” factor, then it is unlikely to be well attended, as there are so many things competing for our clients’ and referral sources time at the holidays during this celebratory season.
We’ve all run into an acquaintance at the grocery store or kids’ event, and they say, something like “oh my gosh, we did our estate plan this year and I totally forgot you do that.” How do we stay present in their minds when legal needs arise? The holidays offer an opportunity to provide a form of Soft Touch marketing.
Soft Touch marketing is described as how to influence your customers to come to a decision on their own, leading to more customer loyalty and brand advocacy. Some forms of Soft Touch marketing that I have found effective over the years are: 1) Newsletters, 2) electronic Birthday cards, 3) Constant contact greetings for each holiday, 4) a Branded paper card to prospective new clients who call us or meet with us, thanking them for considering us and reminding them of our practice areas; and 5) Thank you cards with a gift to a referral source (gift card to movies, coffee house, etc.).
This time of year provides a unique opportunity to reach out to clients, potential clients and referral sources reminding them of you, that you care about them and indirectly your services. Most people would rather do business with an attorney, who seemed to care about them versus finding an attorney through a web search.
We have been sending electronic birthday and holiday cards, which result in several clients reaching out to thank us throughout the year. They have proven an effective source of Soft Touch marketing. Plus, you spread a little happiness in the world, which can be a bright spot to an otherwise challenging day.
This year we wanted to take it a step further and try physical holiday cards. But which holiday to celebrate and how to not inadvertently offend someone? I spoke with our external marketing consultant and said we were thinking of ordering personalized high quality paper Thanksgiving cards, that my team and I could each sign and otherwise needed only an address and postage. As a small firm, we can’t afford to spend hours on cards. Our marketing consultant confirmed that he really likes Thanksgiving cards, as it gives us a chance to express our appreciation while avoiding an inadvertent controversy.
Ordering holiday cards from the business stationery and supply companies appeared too pricey, especially as we wanted nice cards, foil envelopes and preprinted return addressed envelopes. Then my crafty staff started pricing the personal printing services like Snapfish, Shutterfly and Simplytoimpress. We went with www.simplytoimpress.com. They have coupons; often about 1/3 of the price of the business printing services for what appeared a nicer quality of card. They also had a much greater selection, and the cards came fast without paying expedited fees.
In closing, while we may not be able to offer the spiffy client appreciation invites for the holidays, we can show we care in a tasteful way and stay present in their minds should they find themselves in need our services. New Year’s cards were another choice we considered. You still have plenty of time to order those and deliver them to your clients.