Lawline began in 1983 as producer of LAWLINE, a well-regarded legal television program broadcast in the New York Metropolitan area, having produced over 400 half-hour programs covering hundreds of legal topics and issues. In 1999, Lawline.com was established to build on its legal following by providing a more convenient and flexible means for attorneys to complete their continuing legal education (CLE) requirements. Today, Lawline.com serves attorneys in 43 different states by delivering CLE online, on demand, at a fraction of the time and cost investment for CLE and with a much broader choice of topics and disciplines than attorneys can generally access via traditional educational sources.
In 2010, the company launched a similar service for certified public accountants. CPEline offers continuing professional education in accounting/auditing, ethics, tax law, practice management and more. Lawline.com has been ranked the 21st best place to work in New York City by Crain's New York Business.
On the coattails of its successful legal television program, Lawline began offering continuing legal education in the New York Metro area but quickly realized that the opportunity was much larger. The challenge for the company was getting the word out. Its Lawline reputation on New York TV gave it a leg up in New York, along with its sales and marketing efforts focused on spreading the word via radio ads, legal trade shows and word of mouth. Launching the web site (Lawline.com) offered one means of breaking through geographic barriers, but Lawline was looking for more.
In 2007, based on a recommendation from a colleague of Lawline's President, David Schnurman, Lawline hooked up with 48HourPrint in an effort to expand its direct marketing efforts. "As an online company, we were delighted to find a partner like 48HourPrint that allowed us to do business online, but also was capable of providing real-time support when we needed it," says Jeff Reekers, COO of Lawline. "Even with the recommendation, had 48HourPrint not been an online print company, we would have sought out a company that was online. As one online company to another, we have a closer cultural match, and both understand the rapid pace of business in the online world."
Reekers explains that CLE requirements vary from state to state. Among other things, each state has a deadline for meeting CLE requirements each year. "In New York, for example," he says, "CLE must be completed by the end of the attorney's birth month each year." These deadlines give Lawline targeted dates for direct mail campaigns .
"We do more than 100 campaigns each year," Reekers says. "48HourPrint makes the process easy. We simply go online, upload our postcard templates and lists, and 48HourPrint does the rest."
This includes providing Lawline with reports that indicate mail drop dates for mailings that help Lawline with follow-up sales efforts, as well as a timeframe reference for measuring results. "We measure results both by the uptick in accesses to our course materials as well as actual sales," Reekers says.
While the online job submission process is simple and convenient, Reekers points out that not everything always goes according to plan.
"We have had cases where we made mistakes in the content or other aspects of the mailings. 48HourPrint customer support has been exceptional at helping us work through these to minimize any errors or excessive costs. In a fast-paced business like ours where we can be juggling as many as seven campaigns at the same time, it can be somewhat of a scramble getting all of our mailings ready to go each month, and mistakes do get made from time to time."
In addition, Lawline uses 48HourPrint to produce marketing materials, business cards , and its directory of over 500 faculty members that is produced annually.
Reekers states that Lawline (and now CPEline) updates postcards monthly or quarterly. "We never make more than one change at a time to our postcards ," he says. "That way, if a campaign works better than previous campaigns, or doesn't work as well, we know what was changed and the likely impact that change had so we can reverse it or capitalize on it."
Recently, Lawline has made all of its curriculum available on mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad and Android tablets and phones.
"This makes it even more convenient for our clients to complete their continuing education requirements," Reekers says. "In fact, if they are a registered user, they can take the course right on their mobile device. Once they complete it, they are directed to our website to take care of payment prior to a certification of completion being issued. This way, they can literally complete their CLE requirements on the run."
While Reekers reports that attorneys are not necessarily the most rapid adopters of new technology, the company is seeing an increasing number of its clients take advantage of mobile devices to either review available content or to actually take courses.
"I was interested to see that 48HourPrint is also going mobile," Reekers says. "While I haven't had an opportunity to use their mobile services, it is certainly on my list, and I can see that it would make it even more convenient to work with them."
Lawline also plans to work with 48HourPrint on enhancing its mailings with barcodes to make them more interactive and easier to track.
"The problem with direct mail has always been the time delay in actually getting results," he says. "We do use offer codes that track to the specific mailing, but not everyone acts immediately upon receipt of the postcards , and sometimes they don't use the offer codes. We have been thinking about placing QR codes on our mailings as an alternative means for attorneys to take us up on our CLE offer. That would allow us to immediately track activity, and also to measure how effective QR Codes actually are for our audiences."
Reekers also plans to look into postal automation options, such as Intelligent Mail Barcodes, that might improve the company's ability to track its campaigns.
"We have been extremely pleased working with 48HourPrint," Reekers says. "The mix of online convenience and extremely responsive customer service can't be beat! And as an online company, they are constantly innovating, ensuring that we can stay ahead of the curve as well in our marketing efforts."
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