Getting more business and meeting potential new clients are constantly on lawyers’ minds. But in chasing new business, too many lawyers overlook their best possible source of referrals: former clients. Marketing initiatives intended to help to meet new people are important, but lawyers also need systems in place to stay in touch with former clients who already know the lawyer, have experienced the lawyer’s service and have paid for it.
Whether you have the kind of law practice which lends itself to repeat business or not, it makes sense to stay in touch with former clients on a consistent basis. Even if your former clients are not likely to need your services again, statistics show that repeat clients spend more and refer more. But if you’re not on their radar, they might not remember to refer to you.
One of the best ways to stay in touch with former clients is with an email newsletter. Email newsletters can be a good way to provide continuing value to past clients by providing periodic reminders about what those clients might need to be on the lookout for in their business, educating them about changes in the law or regulations they need to follow, or providing interesting information to help their business grow. Email newsletters are an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and remind clients about your service offerings without an overt sales pitch.
Don’t overlook the features that most email newsletter programs include, like split testing. If your email newsletter service permits you to do split testing, take advantage of it. Test headlines, times when the email is sent, check open rates, formats and subject lines. See who opens your messages and when and learn what they click on. Not only will it help you to provide more of the content your audience is looking for, but it may give you insight into your audience’s thought process, or even ideas for new services. Segmenting you list is also a good practice, because segmenting allows you to target messages to the people who are most likely to be interested in them.
When writing content in your email newsletter, don’t just provide generic links back to the home page of your website or blog – include links that take your readers to specific landing pages or content that relates to the topic of your email newsletter.
Images can greatly enhance your email newsletter, but don’t rely on them to convey important information. Some people reading your email newsletter might not be able to see the images, and you want to be sure that your message will still be communicated to those readers. Include image alt tags, but remember to keep your main messages in the text of the email. Make sure your email program creates a plain text version of your email so that readers who can’t receive html messages can still read your message.
Email newsletters are not the only way to stay in touch with former clients. Use multiple avenues, including social media, individual emails, telephone calls, snail mail and in-person meetings wherever possible. Set up Google alerts with client names; if you see a story about them it’s a great opportunity to reach out. Keep track of important dates such as your clients’ business anniversaries or birthdays and get in touch then. Create a schedule and follow up with a few former clients every month. Send a message through LinkedIn, invite them to an event you are attending, or drop them a quick line to let them know you’re thinking of them. Send an article that you think might interest them.
Whatever method you use to keep up with former clients, make it genuine and make it about them, rather than you. The goal is not to sell yourself or your law practice or to push your services, it’s to keep in touch with those past clients, to continue to build a relationship with them and to stay on their radar so that they know who to call when they need help.
(image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pacdog/4968422200/)