This is the second post in a series on email marketing for law firms. Last week’s post introduced email marketing platforms.
To review, email marketing strikes many as outdated but, in fact, email marketing is still one of the best investments a law firm can make in their marketing plan. An e-newsletter can spur viral content sharing and position you as a thought-leader, attracting new clients and referral attorneys. However, a bad email newsletter can be an annoyance to your clients and contacts, and even worse, create a negative image among prospective clients and cause email providers to rate you as spam.
WHEN VENTURING INTO LAW FIRM EMAIL MARKETING, YOU SHOULD CAREFULLY CONSIDER:
2) Creating your list
3) Crafting a design
4) Curating content
5) Tracking success
In this post we’ll cover items number two and three on our law firm email marketing checklist.
Your Email List
Your law firm's case management software (or customer relationship management software), if well-maintained, is an excellent place from which to start building your list. Your clients, by virtue of their contracts with your firm, have given you express permission to communicate with them electronically. Even with that permission, some prudent email marketers will still first ask their own contacts to ‘Opt In’ to an email distribution list. In addition to database mining, all firm employees can build upon the firm's email marketing list by sending a personal email from their work email address, asking contacts to sign up for the e-newsletter. Every lawyer in your firm should be required to email their relevant professional contacts and vendors with this request. You can also add an app to your Facebook Page, post a sign up form or link on your website, add your e-news subscription link to your email signature, post each actual newsletter (and the subscription link) to your social media channels, and even run a contest for anyone who subscribes to your e-newsletter.
Your subscriber list will increase naturally over time if your content is relevant and shareable.
CASE STUDY: The first SEBPC e-newsletter grew the email list by 20% and generated new business immediately. It performed 29% above industry average with open rates at 50%.
The return on investment for e-newsletters sent to active and recent clients, vendors, and referral attorneys can be extemely high when compared to other digital marketing efforts. A concise, useful newsletter that is relevant to the reader’s business or personal legal affairs can be a very powerful lead generation tool. The most important keyword in email marketing is ‘relevance.’ When building an email distribution list, it is best to break out or ‘segment’ your list based on your firm’s relationship to the reader (i.e. referring attorney, personal injury client, mass tort client, medical vendor). You can then create different newsletters or email campaigns targeted to a specific segment that is designed to be relevant to that segment's specific interests.
Email Newsletter Design
While some email marketing software options outlined in last week’s post offer well-designed stock templates, the options can be overwhelming to law firms just beginning email marketing campaigns. In haste, some firms chose stock templates that do not fit their content and/or do not use customizable options to brand their email template. Choosing a poorly designed template and/or not branding your newsletter leaves an unprofessional first impression.
Many email marketing platforms listed here offer drop and build options, professional templates, and customized design options, but if you’d like a little more customization, I suggest getting a graphic designer to build a custom template or invest in a service like EmailCraft. When designing an email newsletter template from scratch, consider these important design and development features:
- Can I read it on my phone? Think about how much email you read on your mobile devices. If possible, your email template needs to be mobile-optimized and/or responsively designed. Mobile templates can lack a lot of extras and add-on features because the design by its very nature has to fit on a small mobile phone screen.
- Connect. Don’t forget to add your social media outlets, website, and blog links in your design.
- Make it shareable! If you write good content, your readers will share it. Make user sharing easy by adding social share functionality into your law firm's e-newsletter design, so readers can share it via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and email.
Now that you have your email marketing program chosen, your lists imported and segments, and your template designed, let’s talk about what exactly relevant, shareable content is. Next week, we’ll cover how to create great email marketing content.
If your law firm needs assistance with its email marketing, from a total new setup to a major overhaul of an existing system, we can help. I have run e-marketing campaigns for over a decade, and am proud to lend my e-expertise to law firm marketing. Contact us today to learn more about how we can work together.