Email marketing is alive and well, as evidenced by most of our personal and professional inboxes. Every day, I receive dozens of emails looking to “sell” me on case management software, marketing opportunities, or great advertising deals. Most of these emails are deleted swiftly, but a few choice ones are granted my attention. The difference between the two? Trusted and verified senders.
Email marketing draws a lot of parallels to sales: if someone makes a sales call to a cold lead – or someone who knows nothing about the salesperson, the company they are associated with, or the product they are selling – they aren’t likely to make a sale. Conversely, making a sales call to a warm lead can get you a lot farther… or at least get your target’s attention for a few minutes. The same is true for email marketing for lawyers. Reaching new potential referral sources or other business professionals can be tricky if you don’t have any sort of connection to them, and sending a cold introduction email or LinkedIn message probably won’t get you anywhere. So how can law firms utilize email marketing effectively? The answer lies in co-branded emails.
What is a Co-Branded Email?
Co-branding is a strategic partnership between two entities (or brands) where each lends validity to the other. For instance, JJ Watt promotes his own line of Reebok sneakers, Yeti offers a special edition Whataburger cup, and Dell computers advertise their Intel core processors. Co-branded emails capitalize on this concept by allowing one company to utilize a different company’s email list and “from” email address in order to reach more consumers.
For law firms looking to reach referral attorneys or increase their brand awareness in the legal community, Texas Lawyer (a division of ALM) allows law firms and legal industry vendors to purchase co-branded emails. The law firm provides the publisher with the content and selects an available date for the email to be sent; these opportunities often need to be scheduled well in advance. But instead of the email going to just the law firm’s known contacts, it utilizes ALM’s database of contacts and targets all Texas lawyers who subscribe to Texas Lawyer email news updates, which consists of both in-house and private practice attorneys.
Because the “from” email address is one the recipient is familiar with – e.g. “Texas Lawyer Partner” or firstname.lastname@example.org – the emails have high deliverability rates, much higher open rates, and superior click-through-rates. The co-branded email also includes visual branding at the top of the email identifying it as content from Texas Lawyer – another third party verification that the email is both safe and worth reading.
The Business Journals also have co-branded email options in certain markets. In Texas alone, you can utilize this option in Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. These emails reach business professionals, and can present a great opportunity for law firms looking to target the decision makers in these cities’ most active industries.
Co-Branded Emails Versus Buying Email Lists
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 prohibits sending emails to “harvested” email addresses, meaning it is illegal to purchase an email list comprised of contacts with no association to your company. Additionally, sending bulk emails from your own work email (domain) that recipients subsequently mark as spam can cause serious lasting consequences for your email sending capabilities as well as for your website (assuming your email accounts and website have the same domain).
Co-branded emails, on the other hand, are completely above-board. While you are paying a publisher to use its email list, you do not actually receive a copy of it… therefore you remain in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act. Plus, the database is likely cleaner and more up-to-date than a harvested list, and much more likely to actually include the people you are looking to target.
Need Help With Email Marketing?
Email marketing is a cost-effective means of reaching both existing contacts as well as potential new contacts when done correctly. If your law firm is looking to expand its marketing efforts, contact us to develop an email marketing campaign, including co-branded emails.