John Bowie* Law firm marketing strategies encompass many often apparently conflicting ideas, but one of the oldest and best to serve your firm’s legal marketing is also one of the oldest – email marketing.
While law firm marketers will look at their search engine marketing efforts, their social media strategies, audio and video content, blogging, pay-per-click and just about everything else out there – all of which have law marketing value – the email is sometimes overlooked, despite its potent appeal as an effective, low-cost law marketing tool.
Law Firm Internet Marketing Challenges
One of the important keys to law firm marketing is clearly to attract clients. But there are others too, a principal focus being to build your brand and your relationships with clients – both existing and new.
The Big Mistake Law Firms Make With Email Marketing
There are actually two.
The first is they ignore the simplicity and power of the email marketing opportunity. It is seen by some as old hat, lacking in the power of new social media platforms, without the sex appeal of video or podcasts and simply another item to fill an email inbox that no-one wants to see.
Unless you publish emails that no-one wants to read, of course.
The fact is that email remains easily one of the simplest legal marketing strategies to implement and build upon to develop new business.
But apart from ignoring its power, many law firms will instead focus upon social media to publicize their latest video, blog post or announcement.
Your newsletter and your firm name is front-and-center in their inbox, whereas a social media announcement may easily get lost in the news feed, the multiplicity of messaging, videos and content that streams through social media channels.
Most people will not delete their email when there is something that is currently, prospectively relevant or useful to them. They can mark it, place it in a folder or pull up a thread for future reference quickly and easily – right there on their mobile or tablet.
There it is: your name, your message – your email marketing.
3 Key Email Ingredients for Law Firm Marketing Strategy Success
Not all emails are created equally.
Many should not be sent, not if they are intended as a marketing message because they are either poorly written, miss the key point of busy people like yourself or provide information that you don’t want or even care about.
And you only get a short-term opportunity to ensure your emails get opened. If you’re spending too much time boosting your firm’s profile and not providing usable, informative or entertaining information then you can kick your efforts goodbye.
Your email should have at least 3 key ingredients:
- Attention-Grabbing Subject Line. The best email open rates have great content but also the best subject lines. Conversely top content can be badly served by having a poor subject line that fails to grab that all-important and fast-slipping nanosecond of attention that your email in the inbox commands. Make that nanosecond count by putting some serious thought into your email subjecxt line.
- Enticing Call-to-Action. Have a call to action within your email that helps drive that all important engagement from your reader. This should relate to the objective of your campaign, as outlined below.
- Value to the Client. Always aim to provide the value and the information that your client or prospective client is promised. You have to deliver on your promise (the subject line) and provide the information, offer, content or other value.
6 Key Email Law Marketing Strategies You Should Use
1. Have a Good Objective & Strategy In Place
Know where you want to go with your email campaigns. For lawyers there may be a variety of things you can achieve more than just sending out a newsletter (good though a newsletter is for your law firm branding).
You should identify exactly what you want: to build a particular reputation in a particular practice area? To target a select group in a sector, gender, profession etc. To create a better audience for recruitment efforts.
You should prepare a good law firm marketing plan that identifies exactly what you are seeking to achieve to grow your practice.
Regardless of whether you have a small firm with a small law firm marketing plan, or a larger law firm that has all the experts that can provide digital marketing for law firms, you need to identify your objectives.
Once you have identified your goals you should work specifically for them.
2. Provide the ‘Goods’ in Your Email
You need to ensure you provide content in line with what your objectives are. If you’re simply trying to provide content around a particular issue – a law change, a legal development that relates to a particular segment of the population – then make sure you provide real value with that content.
As with any law firm marketing strategies you need to focus on value, delivered the right way.
For email marketing, ‘the right way’ means providing content that will be absorbed, not rejected by your prospect as you intrude upon their inbox with puffery and lightweight content.
3. Keep Your Email Concise
Don’t gild the lily with fluffy content that no-one has time to read or digest. If you have value content that is focused on what you are seeking to achieve, don’t try and over-hype it or beat about the bush.
Focus on the content and the goal in mind. Deliver it concisely and with value in mind. The law is frequently an obtuse and complex body of work. By making it understandable and providing key pointers and commentary about the key issues or developments with any legal area you can greatly help those seeking to understand what is otherwise unclear.
Infographics can be a useful tool to help build your law firm’s authority and also to create shareable content, one of the best law firm marketing strategies you can achieve with relative ease.
But regardless of the manner of delivery, work on creating something that is genuinely helpful and informative.
Long, text-heavy emails are often counterproductive in terms of efficacy and what you are seeking to achieve, so avoid them. Email contact with clients is too important to muddy with bad content and poor delivery.
But remember this key point with email marketing – if you have a particularly lengthy content piece then your email should be a brief and enticing lever to pull to achieve that important click-through to your blog content (of which more below).
4. Segment Your Email List
Email segmentation is easy with email tools and you need to target your group appropriately so you’re providing them with information they want. By doing so you are meeting both their objective and your own.
You can also personally address emails – avoid the “Hi folks” type address and focus on your potential client personally.
A good email service like ConvertKit will permit this, but there are a range of email service providers who can help deliver your email law marketing strategies highly effectively.
There are a number you can use however, like MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact and others. Make your choice, but remember that high functionality like being able to delivery personalized emails via bulk email delivery and the ability to target and segment your list will mean you can properly target your content.
Once you have got the tech side worked out you can then move onto the next, key item of success in your email marketing.
5. Measure Your Success and Open Rate
You also need to have proper analytics so that you can determine open rates, click-throughs and other intelligence to let you finesse your email marketing efforts in order to achieve the best law marketing results.
The open rate and click through rate at the two keys to monitoring your email efforts and most of the email services mentioned, (a personal favorite being ConvertKit) will permit that functionality and do so on a trial basis too.
Some key pointers on these two email marketing tips for lawyers that you need to know:
Open rates will let you see what the numbers look like in a ball park manner. In other words you can see what is working and learn how to adapt that if necessary.
Click Through rates are the stats that tell you who is actually linking through to an article or other links in your email, indicating a high interest.
And you can also then measure the success of your email marketing efforts.
6. Publish Your Newsletter
One of the easiest ways to build your email marketing is to publish a regular newsletter.
But remember, the key here is to remember that keyword: News.
Your objective needs to be to keep clients and potential clients up-to-date with the legal areas you specialize in. When you look at major law firms, they often have a plethora of email lists and letters focused on their specialist areas of activity. Below is a list from Clifford Chance on their email ‘insights’ and letters:
Make your letter newsy, informative, entertaining and engaging. By developing your firm ‘voice’ and persona you are also creating the ability to have clients and readers-who-may-become-clients the necessary connection that builds both your authority and your business.
A regular newsletter, even published just monthly, can help on multiple fronts in terms of marketing. It can provide news (ie content) about law changes and how they work, what they do and how they affect clients.
But a good newsletter will also serve to retain or build the connection with potential clients and the content can be used as part of your firm’s content marketing, one of the most important law firm marketing strategies that we have written about previously.
You can publish newsletters that not only focus on different areas of law, but are different themselve
For instance, here are some examples of the type of email letter you can publish:
- Legal Updates – we know the law changes regularly, by way of case law or otherwise, and by providing updates in a particular area focused on your ‘segmented’ client base you can provide highly useful information for your clients;
- Frequently Asked Questions – many people need to know particular answers to legal issues and by running an FAQ-style newsletter you can answer common, or uncommon questions;
- Case Studies – highlighting a recent case relating to one of your practice areas can be a highly effective way to create focused interest and engagement, as well as demonstrating your own authority in the legal area;
- Listicles – these are an externally used area of work where they can be saved easily and also used to issues relating to an area of law. Effectively they are an article in list form and can be powerful forms of legal marketing. You can see how to write an effective listicle here.
Email Marketing Summary
The range of social media outlets available to assist in law firm marketing is something that has tended to muscle email marketing out of the equation. But it remains, without question, one of the most powerful and direct ways of reaching your audience, providing you adhere to the key rules outlined here.
Don’t overlook the power of email. But in a busy, online world you need to adhere to the rules that ensure your law firm’s emails are noticed and, better still, looked forward to.