Success Leaves Clues is my occasional series of interviews with interesting ADR professionals who have effectively navigated the intersection of technology use and ADR practice-building.
This time around, I have the pleasure of interviewing fellow ADR blogger Nancy Hudgins. Nancy is a San Francisco, CA lawyer and mediator specializing in civil cases. She’s also the blogger behind Civil Negotiation and Mediation, a Mediate.com-featured and Alltop-honored ADR blog she started in January of this year.
Nancy and I have gotten to know each other via email chats and when she shared a sample of her most recent print marketing piece, the 22-page page full-color pamphlet, “Winning” at Mediation: A Blueprint for Preparation, I knew I wanted to profile her here. Nancy sends the pamphlet to attorneys interested in using mediation to resolve a civil case and the pages walk an attorney patiently through how they can maximize the opportunities provided by mediation. It’s clear from the moment you open it that Nancy put great care into the content and quality.
Tammy: Nancy, what prompted you to publish the piece?
Nancy: Two reasons: A perceived need and a focused marketing plan. I decided on the topic because I see lawyers in mediations who are not as well-prepared as they could be, but when I ask lawyers in general if they are interested in attending a continuing education program on preparing for mediation, I get a tepid response at best. I saw a need but couldn’t get lawyers to buy in to the need. So I began writing about preparing for mediation on my blog. My blog is fairly new, so I wasn’t convinced I was really reaching my target audience. Then, it occurred to me that I could leverage my blog writing in another form and send it directly to my target audience.
Tammy: Who is the piece primarily directed at and why them?
Nancy: My target audience is lawyers who have litigated cases they need to mediate. They are the gatekeepers to the mediation process in civil litigation in California.
Tammy: How has the piece helped you with your marketing?
Nancy: This was tightly focused marketing. It was a direct mailing to lawyers who need to retain a mediator. Even if they don’t read the entire 24-page pamphlet, its import is that I have experience and I know what I am doing. It provides gravitas. It’s also a gift, for which I hope the rule of reciprocity works.
Tammy: What did you learn from putting it together that other mediation marketers could benefit from knowing?
Nancy: Two things. First, traditional color printing is very expensive. Catalog printing, however, is more reasonably priced. Second, it’s easy to do. I learned the graphics program, cut and pasted the blog posts and photographs, and uploaded it to the printer in a week. (I wrote the essays over a three month period.) I used PsPrint and was very pleased with the result.
Tammy: How did you decide how much to invest in the pamphlet to ensure good ROI?
Nancy: This question suggests a level of sophistication I don’t possess! Here’s how I looked at it. The essays were already written. They hopefully had some value. The photographs had already been purchased from iStockPhoto for my blog. A 24-page color pamphlet would create more interest than a one-page three-fold flyer. I wanted to spend less than one dollar per pamphlet plus postage (I forgot to calculate in that postage would be greater than 42 cents. Duh.). Sometimes it’s better to just go with an instinct and hope it turns out well! The pamphlet has created a lot of buzz. Check back with me in six months and I’ll let you know how it has enhanced my mediation practice.
Tammy: I will check back, Nancy! I think it’ll be great to benefit from the longer view of your marketing piece, too. Thanks for being willing to take the time to talk about your marketing piece and share some of your thinking with Mediator Tech readers!
Nancy: Tammy, you are a wonderful role model. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to connect with your readers.
There are so many important marketing take-aways from Nancy’s words and ideas: It’s just plain smart to re-purpose mediation marketing material you’ve already created. It’s important to have clarity about who you’re targeting before you create materials. There’s still room in a Web 2.0 world for well-crafted print items that will stay on people’s bookshelves as resources.