Typical percentages usually mean nothing

friday, 27 october of 2006

Typical percentages usually mean nothing

by Trey Ryder

When lawyers consider sending direct mail to prospects, they often think if they achieve a certain percentage, their mailing will be a success. They often call me and ask, “What is that percentage?”

Response percentages are the most misunderstood element in direct mail. You may have heard that a one percent response is good -- that a two percent response is excellent. But by themselves, these percentages mean nothing.

The percentage response depends entirely on your offer. The source of the “successful” one or two percent response arose from marketers who sent letters to people in hopes they would buy products. Depending on the marketer’s costs, a one or two percent rate of purchase was often very profitable.

Personally, I’ve had responses to direct mailings that exceeded fifty (50) percent, but I wasn’t asking anyone to buy anything. Instead, I was offering free information to a highly targeted audience as a way of building my mailing list.

For you, the only percentage response that’s important is the percentage that brings you the number of new clients you want. In addition, you should understand: Responses for different practice areas can vary widely. The response for estate planning will be completely different from the response for personal injury. Likewise, the response for environmental law will differ greatly from corporate bankruptcy.

Start by creating what you think will be your most compelling marketing message. Then launch your effort and track results so you know the number of new clients you attracted.

When you prepare for your second effort, strive for results that are better than your first. Then compare your past results with your present results because that’s the only comparison that carries any weight.

People, not buildings, create eye-catching photos

When preparing a brochure, display ad, web site, or anything else that involves photographs, keep people in your photos.

Lawyers often show their building, office or conference room. These are fine as backdrops, but prospects and clients want to see your people.

People like to look at people. They like to read about people. They like to build relationships with people. That’s why People Magazine is one of the most successful magazines in history. That’s also why most popular magazines feature people on their covers.

While you may want to show your facilities, realize that most prospects don’t care what your building looks like. Instead, they care about who you are, who they meet when they come to your office, and who they work with.

“Who’s” are far more important than “what’s.”

Keep people in your photographs. And in some photos, show them sporting warm, engaging smiles and looking directly into the camera. This will seize your readers’ attention, hold their interest and make an immediate emotional connection.