(1) Document's purpose key to content and use in marketing program and (2) Attractive brochures often fail to persuade

friday, 5 february of 2010

(1) Document's purpose key to content and use in marketing program and (2) Attractive brochures often fail to persuade

Document's purpose key to content and use in marketing program

by Trey Ryder

Lawyers often ask me what should go into their brochures and newsletters. Before I can answer, I ask them the purpose of the document.

Most lawyers give me a broad purpose -- "to support our marketing effort" -- but few have defined the specific role each document should play.

First, here's how I break down the role of various documents and marketing methods:

Information packet: Should deliver your entire marketing message, which could take many pages. My most recent packet varied from 40 to 50 pages in length. You want your information packet to explain your prospect's problem, the solutions you can provide, and answer every question your prospect is likely to ask.

Brochure: Should deliver your entire message because many lawyers use it as their all-purpose marketing vehicle. If you plan a long brochure, then you have plenty of room to include your entire message. If you want a brochure that is only one page printed on both sides, then you may have to abbreviate your message and hit only the high points.

Seminar: Should deliver your entire marketing message, along with your brochure and information packet, which you distribute as your seminar materials.

Newsletter: I view newsletters, alerts and bulletins as secondary marketing documents. By this I mean your information packet, brochure, seminar and Web site should deliver your entire message. Then your newsletter comes in as a support document to highlight and reinforce key parts of your message. If this is how you use your newsletter, then each issue does not need to contain your entire message. Still, your newsletters' contents should be well planned so within a certain period -- for example, six or nine months -- you have delivered your entire message within your newsletter.

Advertising: Should generate inquiries by offering your marketing message, which you deliver by mailing your information packet or directing prospects to your Web site.

Direct mail: Should generate inquiries by offering your marketing message, which you deliver by mailing your information packet or directing prospects to your Web site.

Publicity: Should deliver part of your message (whatever the editor or producer includes in your article or interview); then it should generate inquiries by offering your marketing packet or directing prospects to your Web site.

CDs & DVDs: Should deliver your entire marketing message. You can create CDs simply by recording one of your seminars. Or you can script your program and dictate it into a recording device.

Web site: Should deliver your entire marketing message. In fact, everything you create for your information packet also can be posted on your Web site. If you reserve one or two articles and offer them from your Web site, you give prospects a reason to contact you. This results in their giving you their mailing address or e-mail address, which helps you build a contact list of genuine prospects.

After you determine the part each document or method will play in your marketing program, then it becomes a lot easier to identify the information that will go in each.

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WARNING: attractive brochures often fail to persuade

by Trey Ryder

Things seem to come in groups. Lately I've seen several law firm brochures, some very short, others many pages long. They contain a sad consistency. They all look relatively attractive, yet when I read the words, they say almost nothing.

Nearly anyone can create a law firm brochure. And that's the problem The term "brochure" is so loose, it can refer to almost anything on paper about your firm.

Many people (including artists and consultants) use this brochure recipe: Start with a pile of photographs. Add lawyers' biographies. Stir in the firm's practice areas. Print in full color. Bake until the ink dries. And presto: You have a law firm brochure!

The cost? It can be anywhere from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on how big and colorful you want it to be.

But here is the key question: How well does the brochure deliver your marketing message?

Your marketing message should have a specific beginning, middle and end. When you create your law firm brochure, you should start with a competent marketing message. Then you spread that message throughout your brochure so when someone reads it, they digest your message from beginning to end.

Some people think a brochure is simply bits and snippets about your firm -- in no particular order, other than what looks good on paper. The result? A brochure that is made up of bits of information in no particular order about no particular subject. After all, it doesn't have to be about anything, it's simply your law firm brochure.

What a waste!

If you are fortunate enough to have your prospect's attention, you want to deliver your marketing message. A complete, competent, persuasive marketing message. After all, you want your prospect to hire your firm and not even consider hiring anybody else. Yet when your prospect picks up your brochure, he gets a few random facts that form no clear impression in his mind.

What a waste!

Most brochures are pitiful examples of a marketing document. They look great because many are in full color. They may be wonderful coffee table pieces that impress prospects and clients because they look attractive and expensive. But when you get down to brass tacks, you usually find no substance, no marketing message, no compelling reason to hire your firm.

Here's another trap: Your artist may create a wonderful brochure that doesn't look like anything you've ever seen. As a result, you may wrongly conclude that because it's different, it's a powerful marketing document. Not true

You want your brochure to look good and provide information about your firm. But keep your priorities straight. Written content is everything. It makes no difference how the brochure looks if it doesn't immediately communicate your competitive advantages -- the reasons clients and prospects choose your firm over all others. If you don't convey that message -- immediately and completely -- nothing else matters.

Advice: Don't be quick to hire a person or communications firm to create a brochure based on what you see they have done for other law firms. Instead, take time to read brochures they have created for others. Does the brochure persuade you to do business with that firm? Is it compelling? Does it provide enough information for you to make a decision to meet with members of the firm?

Beware: Anybody will offer to create a brochure. But unless the brochure contains a powerful marketing argument that clearly explains why prospects should hire you, you've wasted your money.

Copy always comes first. Because without powerful, persuasive copy, your brochure won't work.

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© Trey Ryder

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