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I have to say that I’ve never been a big fan of the Client Alerts and traditional newsletters that law firms package up and send out to clients. Not because they don’t have relevant information, but because they tend to be poorly managed, and clients view them more as SPAM because they tend to be inundated with the same information from multiple law firms… usually all at the same time. I’ve even joked with General Counsels about the number of Client Alerts they get when the US Supreme Court comes down with a major decision. Unfortunately, it seems that firms love creating the client alerts and the practice group newsletters that go out to hundreds (thousands?) of clients each month, week, or day. So, since we seem to be stuck with them, is there a way to make them more relevant, or at least stand out in the crowd? I’ve looked over a “tips” list from Bloomberg’s Speed Desk and have attempted to modify them to fit the client alert/newsletter functionality we use in the law firm environment.
Tip 1: Don’t Send on Heavy News Days
Your “news” will have to compete with all the other news that is out there. Do a little research before sending and determine what are the busy news cycles for the industry your clients are in, and determine what times are lighter news times than others. Here’s an even better tip: If you know it is really important for specific clients to be informed on news that will affect their industry… pick up the phone and call them.
Tip 2: Don’t Send on the :00, :15, :30, and :45’s
Everyone sets up those news feeds to email out on the typical quarter hour increments. Be original, send them on the :07’s or other off-peak times.
Tip 3: Keep it Short and To The Point
You’re competing for the attention of someone very busy. Don’t waste their time. In fact, the Bloomberg tip was to keep it shorter than 65 characters (that’s half a Tweet!!)
Tip 4: Put Your Firm Name Up Front
Let the client know who you are. The idea that Bloomberg uses, that might apply to these client alerts, is that you want the reader to place your firm’s name in relationship to the topic.
Tip 5: No “Cute” Headlines
Keep your headlines to the point without attempting to “bait” clients into clicking on something only to find out it doesn’t really fit the content of the alert. Being cute may trick them the first time, but it will probably end up with them not trusting you, and sending all your other newsletters and alerts straight to the trash folder.
Tip 6: Place Good Contact Information on the Alerts
Know when you are sending out the alerts, have good contact information on those alerts, and be prepared to answer the phone calls or emails if the client responds to your alerts.
Tip 7: Man the Phones
The whole idea behind these alerts and newsletters is to drive business. If you send out an alert at Noon and then you take off for lunch, then you better have put your cell phone number on the alert.
(Note: if you just shook your head at these last two suggestion because you have never had a client respond to a newsletter or alert, then you have bigger problems than any of these seven tips can help you with. If that is the case, then I have only one tip for you: Stop Sending Out Client Alerts and think of better ways to spend your time in order to get your clients’ attention.)