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June 14, 2004

Five by Five - Yvonne DiVita

We're hitting the home stretch here in Week One of the Five by Five. Up next for your consideration are the suggestions of Yvonne DiVita, a business and technology writer, president of Windsor Media Enterprises, LLC, and author of “Dickless Marketing: Smart Marketing to Women Online." Yvonne also writes the Lip-Sticking weblog.

Yvonne's responses:

The 5 Worst Mistakes a lawyer can make when marketing to potential female clients:

1. Assuming a condescending attitude. We know you went to law school, we accept that you know more about the law than we do---that's why we're there--but don't pat us on the hand with, "Don't worry, I'll take care of everything," blather or write your sales copy as if you're God.

2. Passing out flyers that have only men's pictures on them or heavily promote the executives in your firm--who all happen to be male! Or, looking around us for the 'man' in our lives.

3. Going overboard with pink. Guess what: Pink used to be the dominant color for boys. It was considered a watered down red and too ferocious for girls. Girls were dressed in blue. This is pretty much a 'christian' concept, notice that the Virgin Mary is always in blue. Today, women have adopted pink wholeheartedly, but that does not mean you should have a pink flowery background on your website or throughout your offices. Trying too hard to appeal to us using the color pink will backfire every time. We know frivolity when we see it!

4. Immediately calling us by our first name. Not many women openly admit this, but we are selective about getting personal with people. Getting to a first name basis is our choice, not yours. It's Ms. or Mrs. or Miss, and only Jane, Jill, or Sally if we offer that option. Business etiquette dictates a formal introduction. If you rush right into using our first name, we may not show it, but we're bristling inside.

5. Talking over us. Two ways this can happen: on your website or in your sales literature, using too much legalese...find a way to simplify your information without making us feel stupid. (hire a writer, if need be.) If we're visiting you in your office for the first time, don't interrupt before we're finished explaining why we're there. You may instinctively know what we mean after only a sentence or two, but let us finish anyway.

6. only asked for 5. Okay...never mind.

Now, the 5 best things a lawyer can do to secure a female's business:

1. Make eye contact. In your literature, put women's faces in prominent places and use women's names---either clients who have given you permission to use their names, or made-up clients that represent smart, savvy women...yet, ones who may be overlooking critical needs you can provide.

2. Offer free consulting. I'm not saying you should "give away the store" but if you want our business, show us how knowledgable you are about what we need (there's that listening thing from #5 above), and that you not only can meet our needs but that you want to partner with us to solve whatever issue it is we came to you with.

3. Follow the lead of banks and offer specific programs aimed at women. Develop workshops for women entrepreneurs, for widows, for women entering into business partnerships, for single Moms, etc.

4. Expand your marketing focus to women in all walks of life. Approach women executives differently than you would approach stay at home this by having separate marketing materials that speak to the individual's needs. Notice how financial firms have separate marketing materials for each service they offer, and they portray men and women together and separately.

5. ASK questions...and expect answers. Once in awhile, bring the stay at home Moms together with the business executives and entrepreneurs and listen to what they talk about. Build a community of women networking to solve family and business issues; they will ultimately see you as one of them and bring you more business.

6. Market 'couple' seminars or workshops to women not men. Show women and men together. Real life consists of real people, both male and female.Use the word partner...partnerships exist between couples, married, engaged, or merely cohabitating, and partnerships also exist between you and the clients you serve, making this word a powerful introduction to a long-term relationship.

7. Oops...there I go again...overkill.


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