It is a hot summer day with temperatures in the low nineties. My kids have been bored during the dog days of summer and have asked for new LEGO sets and toys multiple times. I have a desire for them to be more entrepreneurial, but I didn’t want to have them do the typical lemonade stand. You know the one I am talking about. The one where kids don’t put in enough sugar and it is so tart that you go cross-eyed or the one so watered down you feel like you need to call the police to report highway robbery.
I know, I know… the kids need to start somewhere, and often as adults we just stop and purchase the drinks to help encourage them in their endeavors as opposed to getting any real value from what they are selling. All the same, I didn’t want to be in that situation. Then boom! I had an epiphany and realized that I was sitting on an asset that was available this entire summer. I just haven’t leveraged it yet. My parents, who live in a neighboring town, have a soft-serve ice cream machine that can be used to make pineapple Dole whips. Here is a resource that was just sitting in a garage gathering dust that wouldn’t cost me anything, but it could significantly change the way my kids approached their business. Well, I ordered some mix online, bought some supplies, and rode around the neighborhood shouting “Dole whips for sale!” And guess what? The money started to roll in and business was booming.
So, what is the asset that you are sitting on that is just collecting dust in your databases? Email addresses! The law industry is unique in that people are willing to share their accurate and real contact information with you, even during the lead submission process. This is not a luxury that is enjoyed across all verticals and that lack of appreciation can lead to not leveraging it. In fact, in many industries businesses will pay for data services to help clean their database and help supplement their existing information. Additionally, some industries pay for SEO and third-party leads knowing that a significant portion will come with incomplete or false contact information. Unfortunately for them, that is just the cost of doing business.
In the legal world, however, many of those issues are non-existent or are at least significantly smaller. If someone is in need of a lawyer and is looking for real help, they are going to provide accurate information including the highly coveted email address. So now that you are aware of the fact that you are sitting on a small gold mine of data, what can you do with it to leverage it and build your business? What is it that you can do to be different? Here are a few ideas:
This is a great way to actually build relationships with your clients and customers. Many industries provide a monthly or quarterly newsletter to their customers. Done correctly, a newsletter can be not just tolerated but actually enjoyed by the recipients. The most effective newsletters avoid “pressing” customers or giving them a sales pitch and simply create one that is purely for the enjoyment of the clients. Some fun topics to include in newsletters are: recipes, history of holidays, fun facts, movie reviews, gardening tips, seasonal activity recommendations, industry updates, crossword puzzles, and trivia.
Personally, I have seen my mortgage officer and real estate agent use newsletters really well. I have even won movie tickets from one of them simply for engaging in a contest conducted via their newsletter. The most “aggressive” thing that either of them do with their newsletter is to just generally ask for referrals if I know anyone in need of a loan or considering a move. I don’t feel any pressure, but they are always top of mind when it comes to my offering referrals to friends and family.
Speaking of referrals, this is another benefit to mining your email addresses. Businesses that work hard to deliver on their promises and contracts to clients should not feel ashamed in asking for referrals. Anyone that has tried to start or grow a business knows that doing so without referrals is exponentially harder.
The wonderful thing about having email addresses is that you have the flexibility to ask for referrals at different times. One of the times that makes the most sense is after successfully winning a case for your clients. Hopefully, this is one of the times that they are the most satisfied with you and your business. While your clients might not have a referral in that moment, it is good to plant the seed and let them know that you would be appreciative of them in the future. Additionally, you can send email blasts to clients or possibly follow up with a one-year follow-up on the resolution of their case, asking for referrals at that time.
Finally, one of the key assets that you can increase by leveraging your email database is online reviews. While a personal referral is the best way to find a good business to employ, reviews can be a nice alternative. Reviews for products are extremely common and many companies have streamlined their processes to handle any issues that arise during the purchase process. While reviews for products are important, reviews for services are critical!
Gone are the days of sending someone a piece of snail mail and asking them to provide a review of some sort. The technology exists that customers can open an email and simply click on a link and be directed specifically to the review form. This allows them to easily provide a brief review and rate their experience. Most of the time, the biggest roadblock to bolstering your online reputation isn’t having a shortage of people to ask for reviews, it’s an experience that is too cumbersome with people abandoning it out of frustration. If people have to sign into a website, reset a password, navigate multiple clicks, or really have any hiccups along the way, they will likely feel like they gave it an honest effort before walking away and not thinking twice about it.
So, are you going to leverage that database or are you just going to sit there on your assets?