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What are Legal Letters?
Direct Mail
April 4, 2024

What are Legal Letters?

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Direct mail marketing is a powerful tool for reaching customers and clients. At least 84% of marketers agree it provides the highest ROI compared to other media like email and socials—particularly when used as part of an omnichannel approach.

However, not all direct mail is for marketing purposes. Sometimes, an organization needs to get a serious message across or prompt a recipient to send them some critical information. Legal letters are the mail format needed for this, with size and features that help quickly communicate the urgency of their contents.

Understanding mail formats: Legal letters explained

Around 14.6 billion letters are received every year by American households. Legal letters need features that differentiate them from other mail form factors to stand out in a sea of junk mailers and advertisements. That's why legal letters measure 8.5" x 14" instead of the standard mail size of 8.5" x 11". For example, legal letters may also contain perforations, allowing recipients to tear off and send back reply slips.

An organization might need to send an official legal document for any number of reasons. A customer may have failed to pay or reneged on a promise to return goods. A property company might have to let tenants know of an upcoming eviction.

However, not all legal letters carry negative messages. Benefit awards, medical information, and tax rebates can all come in a legal letter mail format. A legal letter could also contain a job offer or notification of a successful scholarship.

Quote about legal letters
Learn more about legal letters in our recent webinar

What industries use legal letters?

Because of their nature, multiple organizations across varied industries will have to utilize legal mail formats at one time or another. Industries that use legal letters include:

  • Legal/government agencies: These may include summonses, court orders, or social security benefit updates
  • Utility companies: Legal letters from utility providers include utility statements, late payment notices, and notices to disconnect services.
  • Financial services: Examples include loan agreements, account notifications, and other regulated communications
  • Real estate: Landlords and property agents use legal letters to send eviction notices, lease information or notices, property disclosures, or purchase agreements
  • Healthcare: Medical legal letters include insurance claim information, invoices, private patient communications
  • Professional services: A range of professional service providers use legal letters for private correspondence and legal notices.

Individual consumers may even source legal letters from a trusted provider of direct mail formats. This may be due to a personal dispute or if they're taking self-funded legal action against an entity.

Best practices for using legal letters

Just like all your direct mail marketing efforts, legal letters are more effective when you apply certain best practices:

  • Use the entire space: The larger format of legal letters provides an extra three inches of space to add logos, images, or further information without paying any postage increases.
  • Make communications targeted: Use the right format for your audience. For example, legal letters allow for perforations for mail-reply, so use your audience segmentation data to send this mail format to those likely to take that action.
  • Include a strong message: Make sure the legal format includes direct language that prompts action.
  • Include a CTA: Whether you need a reply or for the recipient to log onto an online system and send some information, make sure this CTA is bold, clear, and actionable.
  • Get a recipient's attention fast: Legal letters always arrive in a sealed envelope. Use official wording and logos to prompt the recipient to open the envelope immediately.
  • Personalize your mailers: Like any other form factor in direct mail, personalization can make or break the success of the mailer. Personalize the legal letter with relevant customer data to ensure they know it's official and requires action.
  • A/B test: Test the wording, layout, and included images against other versions to continually improve your legal letters.

The more you hone your direct mail communications, the more success you will have in terms of response rates.

Direct mail attribution: Tracking the success of your legal letters

With that in mind, learning to track response rates and other key metrics is vital. Your legal letters should give your organization a significant return on investment (ROI). Measuring that helps understand how cost-effective your mailer strategies are. Use reliable and intuitive software to measure:

  • Response rates: The number of recipients who respond to legal letters.
  • Conversion rates: This metric could include how many late payments are made or how many clients update their personal information.
  • ROI: What's the return on your investment with this format?

Use your software to create reports that show the effectiveness of your legal letters and how they fit into your overall direct mail marketing strategy.

How to get started with legal letters

Ready to test legal letters in your direct mail marketing program? Learn how easy they are to send with Lob.

Schedule a demo to learn more about our direct mail automation platform and the other form factors we support.

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