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Law firm uses e-mail to increase efficiency, new biz opps

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Midsize law firm Pryor Cashman is making the most of its routine news and communications, using e-mail to help create new sales opportunities. The company, which has 125 attorneys and 90 practice areas, has been using e-mail marketing for about five years. Before that time, said Elizabeth Wall, the company’s marketing manager, Pryor Cashman--with offices in New York and Los Angeles--used direct mail such as holiday cards to communicate with its clients and prospects.

Back in 2008 Wall wanted to find a way to send out holiday cards electronically as part of a new environmental mission called Thinking Green. The e-cards would eliminate paper waste as well as wasted time--no small feat for a two-person marketing department. Traditionally it took between three and four weeks to get the holiday cards ready for mailing because the marketers had to coordinate which partners had to sign which cards and make sure the right clients were on a master mailing list. “It was amazingly inefficient,” Wall said.

That year, in order to streamline the concept and design as well as the delivery and tracking, Pryor Cashman engaged digital agency Concep to create and send the e-cards. As a result, the company was able to get more than 18,000 e-cards out within a few days, Wall said. Buoyed by the success of the electronic program, the firm decided to send out change of address cards electronically during a big move in July of 2009. Using the same strategy, Wall sent out about 60,000 messages on behalf of the 125 attorneys and more than 60 support staff announcing the news. Soon after, about 100 congratulatory calls came into the office, and one in particular even resulted in some new business, she said.

“As the marketing person, it’s my job to put the attorneys in the right place at the right time so they can go out and sell their services,” Wall said. “When clients see news and information from us it gets them thinking, ‘Hey, maybe I am about to start a franchise. Let me give that attorney I worked with a call.’ The new office message was a re-introduction that led to lunch and a tour of the new office space and—eventually--new business.” The company also forwards this information to industry groups it belongs to hoping to get picked up, and uses e-mail to promote all of the work-related parties and events it holds during the year.

Recently, Pryor Cashman launched an e-mail newsletter called Pryorities, and continues to use e-mail marketing to announce key company events and news, Wall said. “The newsletter focuses on five stories or things that have happened in the office that are newsworthy--new practice groups, new partners, big decisions or cases, big settlements,” she said. “We’re getting this information out to people on a regular basis so we stay top-of-mind. We would not be able to reach all of our clients and contacts the way we have been without our e-mail marketing program.”

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