Geoff Sharp provokes me- and I mean it in the most positive way.
His posts over at mediator blah, blah about reflective mediation practices and other general good stuff often set me to wondering. They challenge me, and hopefully you dear reader, to examine and reconsider my practices and their impact on the world. All that and he’s quite pithy, too.
This time around, Geoff, invited us ‘marketing gurus’, including Tammy Lenski and Kristina Haymes, to extract any marketing lessons from the direct mail pieces he recently received. Tammy has already shared some excellent thoughts at her blog (and I know Kristina will be insightful as well).
As promised, I’d like to share a bit of commentary on those mailers then segue into a discussion on why mediators should use direct mail as part of an overall marketing strategy. To prevent his post from turning into a long one, I’ll save the ‘how to’ advice for another article.
Tailored Suits and Speechmaking
Direct mail is a forceful tool for marketing because it works. People read snail mail. Geoff probably gets plenty of junk mail but something about these pieces, perhaps the colored stamps or the device of the handwritten note, caused him to look further (see his blog for the visuals).
That’s one of the key goals of any marketing material- to attract attention and generate interest. So, both marketers get a ‘thumbs up’ for meeting the challenges of getting read (he did) and staying top of mind (he blogged about them)
Each marketer failed, at least in my book, because neither one crafted an irresistible message or offer that would lead the reader to action. They caused a ‘so what’ reaction in me because neither spoke to me and my needs directly.
In today’s world of mass personalization (think: Starbucks, cellphones), people want to be recognized as unique and want solutions that are tailored especially for them. When people recognize their problems, interests or themselves in your offering, you’re half way to gaining a client. (ADR entrepreneurs, we could do a much better job . It’s articulating value and fit. It’s about explaining in plain English how our problem-solving skills,including mediation, can get help clients realize their ultimate goals.)
Why You Should Use Direct Mail
Mediators can be very effective marketers if we choose to be. You already know how to question to reveal concerns and interests. With that data you can create marketing messages that are specific, meaningful and highly relevant to your particular niche market. (You do have a niche practice, right??) Direct mail is an inexpensive, manageable vehicle to get those messages out into the world, especially when you use my favorite tool-postcards.
Postcard campaigns are:
You can create and mail a postcard campaign for 100 people for under $20 dollars by using resources like Vistaprint.com, which frequently offers 100 color postcards for free. By the way, if this is your first campaign, you might want to limit your mailing to less than 25 people to ensure you can devote time to the proper follow up activities. My Marketing with Postcards tele-seminar goes into more detail on that.
Have you ever NOT read a postcard? Postcards enjoy nearly 100% readership! Just about anyone you send one to will read. You easily increase your visibility. The key is to get an effective balance between graphics, copy and white space so that readers can’t put your postcard down. There are plenty of sites online like morguefile.com to find royalty-free graphics.
Postcards offer you a low-risk method to educate and generate interest with clients as part of your overall marketing strategy. By sending valuable information to their doorstep, your potential clients will begin to see you as an expert and a dependable resource who will be there when they need your services.
How? Create quarterly postcards that update clients on new developments, for instance, changes in custody guidelines in your state. Teach clients how to master a skill through a series of postcard ‘lessons’. You’re only limited by your imagination and the space on the card!
Don’t forget to include the basics that are part of every direct mail campaign, such as your name, company name, contact information and a ‘call to action’ or offer.
What does this mean to you?
Investigate direct mail as an option for your practice. Round out your knowledge of direct mail with a visit to www.targetmarketingmag.com. I’m thinking about offering a ‘How To’ guide especially for mediators with an idea list. Drop me a note at ADRPracticebuilder.com if you want to know when it’s ready.
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