I admit that as I’m writing this, I’m sipping my pumpkin spice latte, or PSL for short. It’s only appropriate since October 25 is national pumpkin day! Most likely, you’ve also had at least one pumpkin spice latte this fall, but hopefully more. You can love it or hate it, but you can’t deny that it’s extremely successful and profitable for Starbucks.
If you’re scratching your head and wondering what is a PSL, it’s exactly what it sounds like – a latte with a pumpkin-cinnamon-nutmeg flavor. Starbucks was one of the first coffee shops to release the drink in 2003, and it’s currently Starbucks’ top selling beverage. Starbucks continues selling the drink seasonally between August and November, and since its release there have been more than 350 million PSL cups purchased. Starbucks’ PSL success has led other coffee shops to sell their versions of a pumpkin spice latte as well, and other companies in general tend to produce pumpkin flavored anything in the fall, ranging from doggy treats to vodka.
With that said, why is the pumpkin spice latte so successful and what can you learn from its popularity that’s applicable to your law firm? Here are five PSL tips to improve your firm’s legal marketing.
1) Experiment and tweak.
The PSL wasn’t very successful at first, but after Starbucks played around with the flavor and listened to its customers, the drink became a phenomenon. Likewise, continually improve your calls, emails, website, and workflow in the office. Keep track of what's working and not working to make sure you’re sending the best mass emails possible and streamlining your work in the most efficient ways. Some metrics your firm likely needs to monitor is your conversion rate, average cost per case, and percentage of hearings won by attorney.
2) Understand the exclusivity and seasonality of your business.
One reason the pumpkin spice latte is so successful is because it is offered during the fall only, so millennials rush to buy it when it’s available. Perhaps there is something you can offer for a limited time too, like a discount or a holiday special. If a claimant knows that this bonus isn’t around forever, he/she is more likely to take part of it.
On a related note, do you usually have more business during one season, but are lighter around other seasons, like the summer or holidays? Consider supplemental forms of marketing, such as lead generation, during your less busy months to make sure that you have a consistent stream of clients.
3) Consistently build your brand.
The PSL came out in 2003 but its popularity peaked around 2014. It took a while to catch on, but Starbucks continued to release it in the fall. After years of work, the PSL is now very trendy with a cult-like following. Likewise, keep working on establishing your firm as the go-to firm for people in your area.
One of the best ways to do this is to encourage your clients to come back if they have any other cases, or to refer their friends and family to your firm. Ask your clients to write you reviews, to ensure that you are easily searchable and so that potential clients see you in a positive light online and want to work with you. Add content to your sites to help your website appear higher in search results and so new clients can find you easily. As you grow your network, you might first be known as the go-to firm in your town, but eventually your brand awareness could expand to a city, state, regional, or potentially national name.
4) Tell a story.
Be more than just an attorney. There are a lot of great drinks sold in coffee shops, but why is the PSL more successful than a regular latte, a hot chocolate, or even another seasonal drink, like the peppermint mocha? The PSL tells a very compelling story and it’s more than just a drink - the pumpkin flavor symbolizes our favorite parts of fall.
The pumpkin has long been an American icon, as it’s the oldest domesticated plant in the U.S. that helped colonists survive. Once colonists began moving to cities, it became a romantic symbol of the agrarian past.
Although you probably don’t think about that when ordering your PSL, during fall we do try to have a rustic connection by decorating our homes with pumpkins and gourds. Fall is a somewhat depressing season - it’s cold outside, leaves are dying, it gets darker earlier, and so on. However, by attaching a meaning and pumpkin symbol to fall, we’re making the season more enjoyable. When we add value to anything we stimulate nostalgia; we’re assembling memories and emotions, and overall this improves our mood.
Likewise, offer a story to your clients so they see you as more than just an attorney. Try to associate yourself with something nostalgic or comfortable that clients will want to come back to. For example, when sharing your biography, paint yourself as a relatable human being, rather than just an accomplished attorney. We can find many successful and educated attorneys, so add an edge to your story that goes beyond listing your professional accomplishments. Tell your potential clients where you’re from, what hobbies you have, how many kids you have, and more. This will help them connect with you on a personal level, and you’ll be more to them than just their attorney, just like the PSL is more than just a drink.
5) Know your audience.
The PSL knows its audience very well; it’s composed of millennials who you might describe as “basic.” Starbucks capitalizes on this by not only creating advertisements geared towards millennials, but also by maintaining an Instagram and Twitter account for the PSL. Millennials use social media, so it’s a great platform for PSL ads. Further, social media helps enhance social conformity, which is the wanting to match our attitudes and behaviors towards the social “norms.” When millennials see others millennials posting basic fall pictures of themselves apple picking or in a pumpkin patch with a PSL in hand, they want to get on board too.
Just like Starbucks figured out its target PSL audience, you need to do the same. For example, keep in mind that claimants are coming to you because they need help and they want an improvement to their current life. They may be uncomfortable, depressed, or come from dire circumstances. Therefore, be understanding and compassionate when advertising yourself or interacting with them. If you focus on Social Security disability, find avenues to target claimants who are in their 50s. If you’re a personal injury attorney, potentially seek out auto shops where you can advertise your services. The better you know your audience, the better you can target your advertising.
As you rush out now to buy a PSL, consider one of the tips mentioned above. Purchase legal case leads to help balance out any less busy months and to ensure that you have a steady amount of clients. eGenerationMarketing offers leads for Social Security disability, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and credit harassment. If you’re interested in our services, contact us at 617.800.0089!
Sources: *https://www.cookinglight.com/news/how-did-pumpkin-spice-become-popular-why-do-people-hate-love-it *https://www.inverse.com/article/48509-pumpkin-spice-latte-psl-science *https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/why-do-we-pumpkin-spice-so-much-science-behind-psl-ncna815071 *https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/3-things-learn-from-success-starbucks-pumpkin-spice-latte-dipeolu *https://cloudagentsuite.com/blog/3-marketing-lessons-can-learn-pumpkin-spice-lattes/ *https://jemully.com/6-marketing-lessons-from-starbucks-pumpkin-spice-latte/ *https://www.investopedia.com/articles/markets/111315/how-profitable-pumpkin-spice-latte-starbucks.asp *https://www.forbes.com/sites/garystern/2018/09/21/starbucks-pumpkin-spice-latte-exceeds-expectations-but-will-it-turn-the-tide-for-sluggish-stock/#220b05b520cb