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There is no denying that I’m rather fond of handbags. Well, everyone is allowed a weakness, aren’t they? But I never thought I’d be writing about them… that is until the latest eshot arrived from Mulberry.

I subscribe to a lot of mailing lists. It’s a great way to get ideas for my clients and to see what the ‘rest of the world’ is up to. Frankly, if we only looked at what other law firms were doing then the life would very quickly get rather dull. Mulberry have impressed me twice this month.

First, they sent me an eshot asking whether I’d fill in their customer survey. Nothing particularly inspired there. It wasn’t complicated – they’d enter me into a competition to win a handbag, if I completed the survey. However, the way in which they packaged it hooked me in. First, they offered me the choice of which handbag I wanted, should I win. I instantly felt that this might be a possibility! Needless to say, I haven’t won. But at the time I felt like I was being  engaged with and offered the chance to choose for myself. Second, the tone of voice in the copywriting was personal and seemed to be directed to me as an individual. It didn’t feel like a mass-mailer. The survey was short (ish), logical and well thought out. The sort of information that they wanted was clear and it didn’t take me too much time to complete. Finally, they actually said a proper thank you at the end. All in all, a great execution of something we often have to do in our own firms.

But then last week I got another eshot from them. This really impressed me. It was a simple one page, one image eshot with a heart on it. Marketing themselves in relation to Valentine’s Day.

They weren’t directly flogging handbags but instead were offering free ecards ‘for your valentine’. Animated ecards that had roses on them, in Mulberry fabrics (from their new range). The clever part was that there were four fabrics to choose from and only two of them were ‘selectable’ from the landing page you arrived at from the eshot. For one of the others you had to click to follow them on Twitter and, for the other, you had to click to ‘like’ them on Facebook. Inspired!

So how is this relevant to law firm marketing? Let’s tackle the survey first. I think we can learn a lot from this. I’m  regularly asked to develop online client satisfaction surveys for firms, and to suggest ways that they can a) get people to complete them more effectively and b) use them for cross-selling.

The first thing to note is that I haven’t actually ever bought anything from Mulberry Online. They asked me to complete the survey to get to understand why I wasn’t buying from them, as much as why I might/was. Law firms rarely invest in lost jobs surveys, or surveys for people that haven’t instructed for a while… perhaps this might be a good place to focus a campaign on?

The second thing is that they really nailed the copywriting and style. They’d taken their time to understand their target demographic so that they were writing in our language and style. How many law firms write in the way they want to, rather than thinking about how their clients communicate?

Finally, they offered a choice. So many firms are bogged down by offering ‘free first half hour’ or ‘fixed fee’ as an incentive that they ignore the importance of choice, as a relationship builder. What worked for me was that I got a choice of two handbags. I felt like my opinion was valued and they recognized that being given a choice was as important as being given a fee bag. The same applies to law firms. If you’re looking to incentivize why not offer a choice? Demonstrate that you really do understand that all your clients are unique (rather than just writing it in your website copy and then forgetting about it).

And what about the Valentine’s Day eshot? This really inspired me in terms of how firms might build up a social media following. How about writing a four-part guide to the Equality Act or Moving Home or Wealth Management… but then only allowing people to download the first two from the eshot. Get them to follow you on Twitter for part three and Facebook for part 4? Or doing something similar on your website. Offer people the choice of four free downloads (of useful legal fact sheets) and let them choose from a suite of topics. But the deal is they have to follow you on
Facebook to get the third and Twitter to get the fourth. The possibilities are endless in this one. But the important point is that element of value. By asking me to do something I felt (rightly or wrongly) that those two extra patterns were somehow more exclusive or ‘valuable’. By asking people to ‘give in return’ you increase the perceived value in your offering.

So, the moral in this story? Five golden rules:

  1. Give people a choice
  2. Consider those that aren’t buying, as well as those that are
  3. Know your customers – get the tone of voice right
  4. Increase your value by asking for something back
  5. Look outside the professional services for inspiration for your marketing

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