Your Firm Newsletter—Print, Digital, or Both?

Clear & Convincing Feature Article

Speaking Engagements

"I've had comments from several clients asking about our old print newsletter," said Lance to Linda at L&L Law's monthly marketing meeting. "They said they miss getting it in the mail."

"Interesting," said Linda. "I've had some comments, too."

After more discussion, they decide to research the question of print versus digital. They discover that for the past several years, print brochures, newsletters, and other printed items have been replaced with e-mail, web content, and online video.

Both print and digital newsletters contain interesting articles and news about the firm. Print newsletters, however, must be physically printed and mailed. Therefore, the cost of developing and mailing a print newsletter is far greater than a digital version. E-newsletters can be distributed with a click of a button.

Does that mean we should abandon print marketing and be all digital?

Neuroscientists would say, "Maybe not."

A study sponsored by the Canada Post compared the effects of paper marketing (direct mail pieces) with digital media (e-mail and display ads). The study found:

  • Printed mail is easier to understand
  • Direct mail is more memorable; when asked to name the brand of the ad they had just seen, participant's recall was 70% higher for the paper ad
  • Readers spend more time reviewing print content

Print material has other advantages. The decrease in "snail mail" makes your newsletter stand out—studies report that readers enjoy getting something in their mailboxes. The printed newsletter also provides opportunity for longer articles that help to establish your firm's credibility and trust. Finally, printed matter sits on the desk longer keeping your name in the client's mind.

Digital has advantages also. Readers can instantly link to your firm's website or blog post and to related sites or articles of interest enriching their experience. Digital communication is all about access, speed, and convenience. The content is short and on point and also allows for:

  • Audio & video
  • Links to other resources
  • Topics that relate to individual client interests
  • Forwarding to colleagues with a click of a button
  • Easy distribution & inexpensiveness

Which should you use—print or digital?

First, look at your client base. Are they twenty-somethings? Boomers? Seniors? A mix? Each group of readers has its own level of acceptance, enthusiasm, or interest in e-communications or print. Second, ask or survey your audience to determine which format they desire.

Or, use both. A monthly e-newsletter covering recent news and new services can work nicely with a quarterly printed newsletter offering more detailed information about your firm, new legislation, or trends that could affect your clients.

Newsletters are a powerful way to build lasting relationships with your clients. When you use both digital and print newsletters, you can boost firm recognition and your business will grow.

Roberta GubbinsRoberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.

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