In the process of preparing for client interviews, we often get asked to obtain the opinions, interest or perceived value of the firm’s newsletters. It is a good question and worth asking given how much time your firm, staff and lawyers spend writing articles.
To be candid, the answers range. Many interviewees cannot recall if they receive the firm’s newsletters. Some in-house counsel appreciate being on mailing lists and do not mind sometimes receiving multiple emails on the same topic from various firms, while others say they only have time to read the first one that arrives. Some clients admit they delete every email because they do not have the time, and others seem to have a handful of favorite firms or niche practice topics they highly value. However, there is one response related to customization that we almost always hear. Universally, interviewees appreciate and praise the lawyers who take the time to write a customized message when sending a newsletter. There is great value in notifying the recipient why he or she should care about the information, how it relates to the company and/or industry and any future considerations.
One of our favorite quotes at Wicker Park Group is “One size fits one,” meaning that every client is unique with unique preferences. Before you take the time to write your next article, newsletter or client alert, take a moment to ask your clients what kind of communication they prefer. Consider calling your top 10 clients and asking the following:
I know you are incredibly busy and I want to make sure we are respecting your time and making your life easier. You are currently on a few of our firm mailing lists.
- Do you find our newsletters useful and would you like to stay on the mailing lists?
- If not, is there something we could be doing to make them more valuable to you?
- Are there topics of interest to you that you would like to see us covering more?
- Do you have other newsletters (within the industry or outside) that you find particularly valuable?
I have never interviewed a client that complained of having too much time or being completely caught up on email and to-do lists. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is overwhelmed, overworked and looking for ways to make life easier. Clients appreciate when you take the time to ask them how you can do so. Even more, they appreciate when you save them time and provide added value by telling them why they should read something and what they should do with the information.