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Marketing: Firm brochure procedure

Every Issue

Cite as: October 2009 83(10) LIJ, p85

Well executed brochures play an important role in marketing a firm or practice, but the emphasis needs to be on doing them well.

Lawyers regularly question whether or not marketing materials such as brochures bring in work or "get clients".

They don't. Definitely. Not.

This is the kind of thinking about marketing that makes a marketer want to tear their hair out, because it's the wrong question. The real question is: what is the purpose of a firm brochure? Then ask: so does our firm need one? And further: Given how much we need one [a little or a lot], how can we use it effectively?

Brochures are never the whole answer to the problem of marketing a practice, but they do play a significant part.

Brochure specifics

A firm brochure performs the following functions:

  • it succinctly outlines what legal services are available and has the firm's contact details;
  • it shows the firm as professional and gives a sense of the firm's style and approach;
  • it is a "leave behind" document which potential clients can think about in their own time;
  • it can be passed between referrers and clients, and used for attendees at presentations etc.; and
  • it can be mailed out to people who inquire about your services or as a download/content basis for your website.

A law firm brochure is an overview document and does not need to be exhaustive in terms of content. That is, it should mainly be about the firm and no more than 500 words.

The content should detail:

  • the services you provide (1-3 sentences on each);
  • a sense of who you service or the kinds of clients you have. This line usually begins "We work with . . . ";
  • the benefits or value of engaging your service;
  • reasons to pick you (a one-paragraph biography on your firm's skills/experience/qualifications); and
  • firm contact details (phone, email and web address).

Try and cover the kinds of things you often get asked by clients about your firm or how using a lawyer works.

The information should be standard and static, partly because this is the purpose of the publication (think of it as a form of advertisement) and partly to contain costs by avoiding the need to redesign and reprint.

A standard DL brochure is enough to do the job. A DL is an A4 piece of paper folded twice (roll folded) so that it fits into a standard business envelope, which will save money in postage as well.

Non-standard sizes (for example, squares) cost extra as they require paper to be cut to size.

It is worth spending a few hundred dollars to get the brochure professionally desktop published (at a minimum) or designed (slightly more costly because a designer has different qualifications).

No matter how clever members of your family are on the computer or with various pieces of software, they are not designers.

If you go direct to a printer - and there are many digital printers with franchise stores and well-known brands - you can usually makes use of their design services. The benefit of going to smaller printers is that it will be cheaper when you are planning only a small print run (100 or 200 brochures).

Larger printers are best for large-scale print jobs (about 1000 upwards), or if you want something complicated.

With firm brochures your needs should be relatively straightforward.

Top tips

  1. There is no need for your brochure to be full colour - just make sure your key corporate colours are used well. If you only have one colour (which is cheaper), then ask the designer to suggest an accent or highlight colour that will work well with it.
  2. If you have ideas about exactly how you want the brochure to look or be laid out, then say so right upfront. Designers may be creative but they are rarely psychic.
  3. It is essential that you provide the designer with final text for your publication - that is, completely final, spellchecked, full stopped and utterly, utterly finished. Text changes can often lead to significant layout changes and that will cost you.

Checklist

If you are reviewing a brochure you've just put together, or a brochure your firm already has, consider (and hopefully answer "yes") to the following:

  • Are the firm's contact details clear?
  • Is the logo and name of the firm clearly visible?
  • Is the brochure size/shape cost-effective?
  • Has the current brochure (content and design) been reviewed within the past 12 months?
  • Does the brochure complement the website?

ALICIA PATTERSON is the Director of House Communications. She was previously the LIV Head of Marketing and can be contacted on ph 8611 8188 or www.house-communications.com.

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