23rd October, 2018
Author - MetroMail
Legal firms have undergone some fundamental changes in 2018. The longstanding business model of which so many great companies have based their practises around has begun to change. Research has shown that growth is continuing to slow down and demand for legal services is decreasing - it is now more important than ever for firms to improve efficiency, productivity and margins.
Firms are facing a multitude of market forces that challenge their top-line growth – all of which have a negative impact on the revenue of the legal sector, this article will aim to highlight which areas are of concern for firms and how direct mail can help you to become more efficient.
» Growth and Demand
According to the 2018 Legal Industry Outlook (GreenTarget), the industry’s growth as whole will slow, with expenses eclipsing revenue growth. This is due to the weaker performance of the UK economy and the slower growth in exports of legal services, as well as the slowdown of the housing market which will affect conveyancing work (one of the most commonly used legal service) (The Law Society).
Another big factor that could contribute to the future growth rates of the legal sector is, of course, Brexit. While in the short-term firms can benefit from an increase in extra legal work, if Britain were to agree to the Canada-style free trade agreement that is currently on the table then growth from 2019-2025 could only amount to 1.5% rather than 2.2% with a soft Brexit.
» Structural Changes and Pricing
As of 2018, 6% of legal firms operating in the UK are functioning under an alternative business structure – for the first time non-lawyers will be able to invest in legal services, as well as own them. This means that those who are able to organise themselves into this structure will be able to provide a range of professional services, rather than just legal ones (Langworth). One notable industry hoping to shape out their corner of the market are accountancy firms, effectively trying to create a “one-stop-shop” for all legal and financial needs for consumers.
Due to this increasingly competitive landscape, there has been a rise in law firms merging and partnering with others in an attempt to grow their consumer base and to close gaps in their market offering (GreenTarget). There are also changes in terms of the finance model – hourly billable models are no longer feasible for law firms and many plan to change to a flat-bill structure instead – benefiting both the lawyer, in terms of broadening its client base, and the customer in terms of being able to afford legal aid.
As well as this, many legal firms are leaning towards automated services, many billing, administrative and secretarial processes no longer require a person to do them (The Law Society) – this helps them reduce costs. But, this does reduce the amount of one-to-one contact clients have with firms and therefore reduces the chance of them building trust with the brand.
However, this does not mean that the concerns highlighted in the article will totally diminish the success of individual firms – in the next few years, those who improve their efficiency, productivity and margins will be able to slice out their own place in the market and see great returns. According the 2018 Legal Outlook (GreenTarget), those firms that don’t try to change their approach to efficiency will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage in the long run.
So how can direct mail help you become more efficient and dominate your market position?
When done correctly, direct mail can increase your return of investment higher than other forms of communication – this includes, email, online display, social media and paid search marketing – with 56% of consumers feeling that printed communications are the most trustworthy of all marketing channels. This makes it the perfect avenue for you to conduct your campaigns.
» Database and Target Market
One of the most important things to consider when sending out direct mail is your database. Direct mail allows firms to stay in control of who can see their marketing messages and with a detailed database your firm would be able to send highly personalised mailers to your target market. Creating a one-to-one relationship with the recipient can help to build trust and can increase your response rates. This means, instead of spreading your marketing communications thin by sending a generic mailer to a particular geographic location, you can further segment it through their use of your services in the past or through their household situation.
Another aspect to consider will also be the presentation of said mailers. As a marketer you will need to decide the type of mailer to send. Do you want to send a one-piece mailer, transactional mailer or a brochure? You would also need to consider the quality of paper, size and quantity. This is vital in deciding how you want the message to be perceived.
Direct mail is the perfect gateway into converting customers. Combining this with a form of digital marketing such as social media and content marketing will create an extremely effective campaign. 54% of direct mail recipients were driven to online activity such as social networking (MarketReach), so remember to build your online as well as your offline presence to become more customer-focused and trustworthy.
As a whole, through out-sourcing to a mailing house to carry out all your direct mail needs, you can create a more efficient work environment – freeing up your employee’s time to work on more important matters.
Want to hear more about how we can help you? We’d love for you to contact us!
Legal Industry Outlook, 2018
Legal services sector forecasts, 2018
It’s all about Mail and Email, 2014