This is my promised second letter in response to your kind invitation. Bet you didn’t expect your simple question to lead to such a long answer! I’ll just blame it on being a wee bit revved by the cold medicine…
In my first note to you, I closed with saying there was one really good idea suggested by the direct mail piece you supplied in your post, specifically the second one, a copy of which I’ve shamelessly placed here. What I love is the idea it’s based on: Article clipping for prospective and past clients.
This is something I do regularly and which other successful professionals also regularly include in their efforts to be of service to their clients. It’s simple and quick and one of those “value added” ideas I like so much. I’m betting I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, Geoff, but some of my readers may be new to marketing and so I appreciate you bearing with me. The process generally goes like this:
- When I meet a prospective ADR client, I try to learn what’s on their mind, what kinds of problems they face in their work or home life. It doesn’t matter whether or not those are problems that a professional mediator can or should assist. The telephone version of this conversation is not dissimilar.
- When they give me their business card, I take a moment right after we say good-bye to jot down, on the back of the card, a short list of things that came up in conversation, including items pertinent to #1 above. (Side note: It’s a good idea to keep a pocket-size pen handy at all meet-and-greet type functions.)
- I tend toward the highly organized, so this step may or may not work for all readers, Geoff: I keep a simple list on my computer of general topics past and future clients are looking for information and support on, and I link it to my name database.
- I’m an avid reader and like to read with pen and scissors in hand, sticky notes when reading books, and in web browsers, my bookmarking function. When I stumble across an article or resource that goes to the discussion described in #1, I rip the page out of the magazine, or bookmark the web page, or copy the single page from the book, being sure to include the book title and author (there’s no copyright violation here under Fair Use). Then I send it to my past, current or prospective client with a sticky note attached, saying I thought this might be of interest to them.
I can’t tell you how often I get a kind note of thanks, Geoff, and I bet you do, too. The articles I send on may have nothing to do with ADR…just recenty I sent one of my dog-loving and frequent traveler clients an article on pet-friendly hotels.
There used to be pricey article clipping services (and maybe there still are) for this kind of thing, but I’ve found that just being an attentive reader and an inveterate Internet consumer more than supply me with lots of helpful info to share.
So, Geoff, thanks for your invitation to ponder the direct mail question, because it led me to realize I had never written here about article clipping, something I’ve been doing for so long that I hadn’t given it a passing “others may not know this” thought.