“The system works so well, we can accurately predict how many clients we will sign, based on the number of tax lien notices that trigger the start of the process.”
– Joshua Sells, Senior Tax Attorney
Many types of professional services firms use Postalytics with Zapier to develop leads, nurture relationships, or otherwise communicate with their respective audiences through the mail.
Not many have an automated attorney direct mail marketing system like J.M. Sells Law, Ltd.
This Ohio law firm specializes in tax law. They help small businesses and individuals resolve tax problems with the state and the IRS, and they provide tax planning services to their Ohio-based clients. Since they founded the firm, J.M. Sells Law recognized the power of direct mail and set out to find the right solution to help them achieve the vision they had for marketing the services of their new law firm.
As you might imagine, competition for clients seeking help with a tax problem is fierce. The abundance of television commercials from companies offering assistance show us how determined tax service providers can be as they pursue new clients.
The reason for this highly competitive atmosphere? All the providers are fishing for prospects in the same pond. An IRS tax lien is public information and all the service providers (some are attorneys, and others are not) access the tax lien notices and begin approaching the targets of the IRS’ interest.
Subjects of a tax lien are inundated with offers from organizations far and wide.
Getting noticed in a crowded, aggressive marketplace isn’t easy for a small firm just starting out. But J.M. Sells Law had an edge — their local presence. Their Ohio offices are prominently mentioned on the firm’s website and marketing materials and they stress the advantages of dealing with local attorneys instead of out-of-state companies.
Location oriented messages are easy to communicate in a letter or postcard. What’s more difficult is tuning the message so it reflects the situation and options available to each prospective client as they confront their IRS issues.
That kind of customized communication is expensive to build on your own. Joshua’s firm wanted to leverage the power of data to differentiate themselves from their competitors and they needed the right tool to do it.
After they identify a potential client from the tax lien notices, J.M. Sells begins gathering additional demographic information about the individual. Details like income and home equity will play a part in the likelihood of successfully negotiating an abatement or settlement with the taxing authority. All this information goes into a CRM database.
Mr. Sells sought an automated attorney direct mail marketing system that could use that information to compose personalized and relevant documents. They needed a way to connect with prospective clients and nurture them at critical points as they proceed through the tax resolution process.
Postalytics, with its ability to connect with any CRM system via custom connections or Zapier, was a perfect fit. The solution offered the flexibility necessary to support the law firm’s honest and up-front style of customer acquisition, plus the triggering aspect that sends those personalized communications to the clients at exactly the right time.
“With Postalytics, we are able to time our communications to coincide with the events in the IRS tax resolution timeline. Our personalized letters about the options we can provide often arrive in the taxpayer’s mailbox on the same day they receive the ‘scary letter’ – a statutory notice of impending IRS actions,” said Mr. Sells, ”That has an impact.”
J. M. Sells Law uses another aspect of Postalytics, personalized URL’s (PURL’s) and QR codes, to track prospective client actions and evaluate their level of interest. Web page visitor information is available even if the prospect doesn’t download an eBook or watch a webinar after arriving at the designated landing page. The firm spends more time and effort courting prospects that execute the call to action than those who do not.
Unlike the batch method many companies are forced to use to create affordable direct mail campaigns, Postalytics allows J. M. Sells Law to connect with each prospective client based on their individual tax lien dates.
The lead development campaign includes a series of letters and jumbo postcards delivered over a six month time period.
The Postalytics-based attorney direct mail marketing strategy is working remarkably well for J. M. Sells Law. They average a 5% response rate to the direct mail pieces and a whopping 75% conversion rate! The analytics provided by Postalytics and the prospect activity tracking capabilities of the CRM combine to give the law firm a clear picture of their lead nurturing progress.
A main point of competitive differentiation is the way J. M. Sells Law sets realistic expectations for how an individual taxpayer’s issues with the government may be resolved. Without a data-driven solution like Postalytics that leverages the CRM information, it wouldn’t be possible to do this. Most tax resolution organizations rely on a batch method of “one-size-fits-all” sales pitches which tend to emphasize the most advantageous (but often unattainable) outcomes.
When it comes to the creative for their campaigns, J.M. Sells Law relies on testing and data to determine how to best elicit response.
For example, the main call to action for new client development is a complimentary case analysis. The team has experimented with different names and descriptions for this initial custom assessment and found their potential clients are more accepting of a free service called a “case analysis” than the “consultation” most attorneys offer.
The firm is very successful at closing deals where they’ve delivered the case analysis, so the direct mail investments to encourage prospects to request the free service are well worth the expense.
Besides the benefits of the product itself, Mr. Sells cites the responsiveness and customer service he experiences with Postalytics as strong points in the software company’s favor. On the rare occasions when they encounter an issue or have a question, the staff at Postalytics has been available and helpful.
J. M. Sells Law has plans to expand from Ohio into neighboring states, using the same methods that have produced outstanding results in their home territory.
They will clone many of the Ohio mailpieces from their Postalytics template library and re-brand them for the new markets. As licensed attorneys, they can represent clients from any geographic location in Federal tax court. The firm plans to open satellite offices in the expanded markets to maintain the local presence their clients value so highly.
The firm is also looking at targeting certain vertical markets based on self-employment occupations. Postalytics will be helpful in this effort as well. J. M. Sells Law will create occupation-specific direct mail campaigns using the Postalytics’ creative tools along with media assets created by contracted designers.
Direct mail is an important lead development channel for law firms and other professional services companies. Postalytics makes it possible to address two important aspects of customer communication for this market: timing and personalization. For J. M. Sells Law, the Postalytics solution has been instrumental in their initial success and will fuel their future growth.