In this post, we detail 7 proven reasons your law firm needs to use email marketing. Law firm email marketing has a high return on investment, low cost and is less complicated than some of the other types of online marketing campaigns.
There is an abundance of information out there on different marketing channels – which is most effective, which are hot right now, how you should allocate budget etc. Before you jump into launching any marketing campaign, read this post about why you should focus on email marketing first.
#1 – It’s easy to get started fast
It sounds simple enough but it’s true. Launching a new email marketing campaign is fast! Most lawyers, attorneys and law firms we work with are very busy. They don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to understanding new marketing efforts. They want results.
Basic steps to get started with email marketing:
- Sign up with an email marketing service (No Cost, takes 5 minutes)
- Start creating your email list or import any existing lists
- Choose an email template (No Cost)
- Create your professional message
- Schedule to send in the future or send immediately
- Measure who viewed or opened
- Wash, Rinse, Repeat (Keep it up or schedule future blasts)
What’s an email marketing service and how to I choose one?
An email marketing service handles the sending, tracking, subscribing, lists and legal aspects of email marketing. In a nutshell it is software where you login and manage your email marketing campaign. You can’t use your regular email account to send commercial email. This is against the law.
Signup is easy, it’s typically FREE for the first few thousand subscribers/messages. Templates, forms and everything else you need to get started are included.
At VWM, we have worked with multiple services. We like to recommend MailChimp to clients that are just starting out. There are lots of other options depending on CRM, enterprise use or other preferences and each company may have different specific needs.
Creating Email Lists
Most law practices have a decent list of email subscribers. It’s also easy to export/import older lists you have if you are trying to reignite an old or dormant email marketing campaign.
Building a fresh group or list of subscribers from existing email addresses is another option. You can start with clients and/or prior business contacts and ask them to join your list. A lot of times contacts can be exported from Outlook and cleaned up using Excel and then bulk imported or filtered against lists to compare. These might be able to act as the initial email list building block but there are some important legal considerations (jump to the end of this post for details)
The best way to get started building a new list:
Once you sign up with an email marketing service, they allow you to easily create a signup page or form. You can use this link or add it to your website giving new users a place to signup.
Once this form is setup, members of your practice and attorneys can send this to contacts directly, add a link in their email footer or encourage contacts to subscribe in other ways. People who signup up get automatically added to your list.
Pro Tip – Many companies put a subtle link to subscribe to their newsletter in their individual employee email footer message.
Having an email list of subscribers who actually want to hear from your company is ALWAYS the most successful when it comes to engagement and impact. This also ensures you’ll be compliant with your email provider and any laws that might apply. It might seem like a bit of work and you might hear some grumbling from employees, but building a great list from the beginning the right way pays off big down the line. Think long term when building your law firms email list.
#2 – Email Marketing has a high Return on Investment
There are so many statistics showing how effective and efficient the return on email marketing is we will spare you the pain (Google it). Just know that it has and continues to be a dominant force in the marketing channel mix – especially for attorneys, lawyers and law firms.
To maximize the impact of your law firm’s email campaign, use these common sense best practices to get the best ROI. Following these best practices will help your law firm retain existing clients as well as start to attract new attention.
- Professional Looking Layout
- No spelling errors
- Smart Email Subject line
- On Brand colors or logo
- Send on effective day/time
Make sure your email marketing message looks professional. You definitely want to protect your firm’s reputation. This also allows partners and members of your practice to trust that providing their contacts won’t be something they regret later.
Spelling and grammar sound obvious but it’s always the little things that get missed. Make sure to proof your email thoroughly, or better yet, have more than one person read through it. Always send a test email that others can review.
Email marketing subject lines for attorneys matter a lot so stay on topic.
Pro Tip – Avoid email subjects like this graphic:)
Think about how many email messages you get every day. Your goal when crafting the subject line of an email blast is to compel a person to open it or at least peak their interest. The best email marketers know that a great email doesn’t matter if nobody clicks and reads it.
All email messaging that gets sent out as part of your email marketing campaign should stay on brand. At a minimum this means using the correct colors and/or official logo of your firm. Font choice is also something to consider if your firm has a standard.
The day and time you send your law firms marketing email matters. Very few people are reading business email on Saturday morning of after hours compared to the work day. You have much better odds that someone will click and open your email if it is sent out during business hours.
Pro Tip – Sending out email Tuesdays thru Thursday from 10am – 12pm is a great time for open rates, but you should test this over time to be sure.
Segmentation and Personalization can help move the needle even further – but we’ll get to that later.
#3 – Maintain reputation and strengthen relationships
Building and keeping a good reputation always helps attract clients. This is true in any business. This is especially true for attorneys, law firms and practices in the Tri-State area that face heavy competition competing for clients.
Sending out an email blast keeps your law firm top of mind. This is great for existing clients and helps cement an already good reputation. The content of various or individual e-blasts can vary, but the message it sends is clear – your firm is active and engaged.
Regularly scheduled email blasts help to build your list and often generate referral business. Existing clients can forward these emails or share with others. When they might be looking for attorneys or interested in the specifics of your message, they know where to look.
Success stories or featured cases and litigation might also be something that clients can promote to their networks or other contacts.
# 4 – Email marketing costs less than other channels
There are a lot of email marketing programs and software suites to choose from. Most of these are free for the first few thousand users and/or email blasts.
When you compare the costs of email marketing with PPC (Pay-Per-Click), Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing or other digital marketing channels, it’s easy to see how much more cost-effective email marketing is.
Just because the software is free doesn’t mean you should skimp on effort. Put time into crafting a professional message that looks good. It doesn’t have to be long or flashy (at least to start), it just has to look good.
Pro Tip – Invest your time and let email marketing save you money.
# 5 – Easy to automate and segment
All marketing campaigns have to walk before they can run – but automation and personalization can be powerful.
Most Law Firms and businesses should already have some level of personal information from members in their subscriber list – first and last name, address, etc. Email marketing programs make it easy to personalize an email to include a person’s name. You can also send it to them in their own time zone or include their company’s name. This can be done automatically in the software, even if there are thousands of subscribers on your list.
This isn’t as scary to setup and configure in email marketing campaigns. The best way to start with automation is to consider drafting a ‘Welcome’ type email or ‘Thank You for being a subscriber’ type email that will automatically get sent out to new people on your list.
If you have first names of members on your list, you can automatically include that in the beginning of any email message. This is an easy way to save time and make a good first impression with new and potential clients.
Including FAQ’s or general Contact Info, location or hours could also be helpful without sounding too salesy.
This is another very powerful tool, but again, only if you have the time and want to take your legal email marketing campaign to the next level. For example, you could send a message out that only goes to existing clients and a separate email that goes out to colleagues, prospects or leads.
Being able to control who gets what message by segmenting your list can be a powerful tool if used correctly.
#6 – Re-purpose email blasts for newsletters or blog posts
If your business is doing any existing public relations or content marketing, you can re-leverage the existing content in email marketing for even more exposure in other areas. This helps your business by re-using assets you have already created.
Lots of companies are publishing blog posts weekly or print newsletters on a monthly/quarterly basis. If you work for a company that has been considering a blog or even a better SEO strategy – re-purposing the content you already create into email blasts, blog posts and/or sharing on social media is a great way to maximize exposure.
Content can be shared across different channels ‘as-is’ or for best results you can slightly modify to seem unique or better fit a specific channel.
#7 – Easy to measure clicks, opens and impact
One of the things we love about email marketing for attorneys, lawyers and law firms is how easy it is to track . Most popular email platforms automatically include basic information on who opens and clicks on every email you send out in a campaign.
Depending on how many members or subscribers are on your email list, this info can be really useful.
For example you could use it to test the effectiveness of different title and subject lines. Sending out similar emails each month to similar lists is a great way to gauge the effectiveness of titles when it comes to open rates. Obviously the more people who open your email the better – but knowing why they opened it is even better.
This is also a great way to see who the most active and inactive users are. For example, if you notice that there are some subscribers who open the email every time it gets sent out and others who never open at all – you can use that to your advantage. Saying thanks or offering something special to active users and/or purging inactive users can help keep your list clean and more productive.
Summary, Takeaways and Links to further reading:
- Email marketing for law firms is easy to implement quickly and in a professional way.
- Law firm email marketing can be especially effective at building and maintaining reputation and attracting referrals.
- The Return on Investment for email marketing campaigns is high and the cost to get started is low.
Further Resources, Email Program Recommendations and a shameless plug for our agency:
What is the best email marketing program?
This is a question we get asked a lot as an agency. 90% of the time we like to recommend Mailchimp. This serves most new clients that are just getting started and want an easy to use professional email marketing provider. The setup is fast, and you get up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails in their FREE tier.
We also hear some good things about the email marketing platform Emma but haven’t had a proper chance to kick the tires.
Email List compliance and legal FYI
It’s important that you don’t just bulk import random contacts/lists that haven’t specifically subscribed. Creating lists via import is technically possible, but sending out email to a list that hasn’t specifically subscribed can get your company flagged by your provider.
Doing this is also against many top providers terms of service. The CAN-SPAM Act created specific regulations that apply to commercial electronic email messages. There’s not enough coffee or time to delve into the legal details of the CAN-SPAM act but here’s the main takeaways.
Quick CAN-SPAM Act takeaways for commercial email
- Applies to all commercial electronic email
- Requires a way for users to opt-out
- Prevents the use of misleading headers and deceptive subjects
- Requires sender to provide valid physical address
Note: If your business is based in the European Union (EU), or you process the personal data of EU citizens, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) may be something you need to keep in mind. Read more GDPR here.
Email service providers take care of most legal requirements for email marketing and monitor open rates, clicks and other activity. Not only do you want to avoid coming off wrong to those on your list, but it is important you also stay compliant with the law.
If your law firm is in New York, check out our free guide – Top Marketing tips for New York Law Firms. There is a particularly good section here related to the rules of conduct and staying in compliance.
Links to more free Email Marketing resources from trusted sources
Here are some links to a few free email marketing guides, eBooks and articles. Only links that are valuable were included.
Web Rules for NY Law Firms – Free Ebook
Download this free eBook with the top 5 tips for 2018-19 on the NY Rules of Professional Conduct, Email marketing and more. (*Shameless disclaimer: we produced this eBook)
2018 Statistical Fact Book from the DMA (Data & Marketing Association formerly the Direct Marketing Association) The DMA offers advocacy, innovation, education and connections to help marketers seize the full potential of their data.
Statistical Facts – Table of Contents PDF
Sneak Peak chapter download link
Digital Marketing Depot – Agencies Talk State of Email Marketing
Hear straight from marketing agency execs on ways they use email marketing for client and agency growth.
2018 Email Marketing Industry Report from Campaign Monitor
This 10-minute read is a great guide into the email marketing industry. Do not take it for granted when compared to other channels
Get this free download Bundle of 6 checklists to optimize your email marketing. This site has been around a long time and has extremely valuable info on a wider range of marketing.