Is Direct Mail or Email Marketing Better for Attorneys?

Email Marketing or Direct Mail

Recently, the popularity of Internet-based advertising has increased dramatically among lawyers. One of the most widely used methods of Internet-based advertising is through email. Email marketing offers law firms a cheap, easy way to directly target past clients, prospective clients and potential referral sources. Meanwhile, there has been a decline in direct mail advertising, a more traditional system of sending tangible advertisements to your target audience. Despite the lower costs associated with email advertising, does it bring in a higher return on your investment? Overall which is better: direct mail or email advertising?

Advantages to email advertising: For starters, emails can link back to your website, social media pages, recent verdicts and settlements, and much more. Also, emails are sent immediately. Advertisers do not need to wait for the pieces to be printed, shipped, stamped and delivered. Lastly, the main advantage to email advertising is very basic: it is cheap. As long as a firm is connected to the Internet, sending an email comes at almost no cost. Direct mail incurs costs such as printing and postage, which can add up quickly if a firm is trying to reach a large number of businesses or households.

Downsides to email advertising: While emails can be an effective way to reach a target market, what happens if a firm doesn’t have a large email database? Organically building a list of email addresses is a difficult process that can take months to sufficiently complete. This can be avoided by using agencies that offer lists of addresses, but all of this comes at a price. Also, a large number of emails are never seen by its audience. Email advertisements are often viewed as junk mail and automatically end up in spam boxes or are deleted before they are read.

The main advantage of direct mail: You are ensured the audience will see the advertisement. Even if they immediately discard the mailer, they will still briefly look at it, giving your firm increased exposure. This also presents the opportunity to change one’s opinion with catchy designs and content. Someone may delete an e-newsletter before it loads, but an eye-popping postcard in the mail can often lead to new clients. Also, certain demographics of people, such as senior citizens or low-income households, are more likely to respond to direct mail than emails.

The Direct Marketing Association found in a 2012 study that letter-sized direct mail has a response rate of 3.4% from a house list and a 1.28% rate from the general public. Email, on the other hand, only has a response rate of .12% and .03%, respectively.  These rates can be even higher with a well-segmented list. Direct mail can still have a high return on investment and reach a wider audience.

In the end, the method that works best depends on the law firm, the practice area(s) advertised, and the resources available. Even if direct mail may benefit a firm, if it does not have the resources immediately available to make the investment, then emails may be the way to go. Often, a combination of both methods can be the best system for a law firm.

In either case, it is important to contact a marketing firm with a total understanding of the current attorney advertising rules in your state.  PR4Lawyers prides itself on strict adherence to all advertising regulations and attorney rules of conduct. If you have any questions regarding advertising strategies, please contact PR4Lawyers at 866-PR4Lawyers or email: johnzaher@pr4lawyers.com.

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