Guide to email marketing for law firms
Email marketing (often called electronic direct marketing or eDM) should be considered an important part of a law firm’s marketing strategy. But like any form of digital marketing, there’s a knack to it and this article is designed to address the primary things to look at.
When you run your own law firm, you’re fighting a battle on several fronts. You need to fully service your current clients but at the same time, you need to keep hustling for new clients and generating new business.
Get that balance wrong and you could find yourself in trouble. Lean too far one way and you’ll struggle to gain new client traction. Lean too far the other way and you’ll spend more time and effort on marketing than servicing clients and generating revenue.
Email marketing is a great way to walk this fine line; improve your firm’s visibility and generate business without consuming hours that would be better spent with clients, retaining staff etc.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is used by all kinds of businesses to engage with existing clients, referrers and contacts to share knowledge, build their brand and generate new business. Lots of law firms use it to keep their clients abreast of what’s going on with their firm and maintain their relationships. Some use it more proactively in ways we’ll discuss shortly.
As with any form of marketing, however, execution is the key to success.
Successful email marketing for law firms (or any business) requires three components;
- A quality recipient’s list;
- Appropriate software (we’ll discuss why later);
- Quality content. Lots of it!
When law firms put too little effort or consideration into any one of these three, their efforts are less likely to be successful. Here, we’ll look at how to address these components in ways that won’t erode your billable time.
The benefits of email marketing
At this point, you may be wondering whether it’s really worth putting your time and effort into mastering this marketing strategy. To work through that, it’s worth taking a look at some of the benefits.
Helping you develop your business
Many law firm’s worst nightmare is being forgotten by former clients. Email marketing keeps your firm at the forefront of existing clients’ minds while also helping you to gain new work from referrers (on your recipient list) and brand awareness (directly from people on your recipient list and those who share your content).
Keeping leads “warm”
When coupled with a relevant and useful landing page, email marketing can generate new leads. It can also be used to ensure that those leads stay “warm” and more likely to arrange a consultation because they haven’t been given the opportunity to forget you. Also, when your emails are full of high quality, valuable content it can help to build legitimacy and trust in your firm.
Improving the client experience
One of the most common complaints about law firms is poor communication. Investing in email marketing means investing in automation. And that can be used for far more than distributing newsletters. It can be used to confirm appointments, follow up after consultations and collect client feedback. All of this can improve the client experience.
Low cost / high return
Email marketing is a highly cost-effective form of digital marketing. You can ‘reach’ thousands of contacts for a relatively low cost. It is low cost and (at least potentially) high return.
Creating a recipient list
Now that you’re (hopefully) sold on the benefits of email marketing, let’s look at your first action… creating a recipient list.
This goes way beyond collecting and cataloguing the email addresses of your clients. You need to get creative in collecting the email addresses of promising leads too (including referrers, potential referrers). The best way to do this is by creating a piece of content of real value such to your proposed audience. This could be an e-book, a case review, a webinar or other piece of useful content. This is known as a “lead magnet”.
Next, create a landing page (which could be as simple as a blog) which allows prospects to enjoy your lead magnet for free; sharing your knowledge and experience and building trust.
This helps to get your relationship with your email leads off to a good start because they’ve already gotten a piece of free quality content. Over time, you can improve this relationship even further by giving them more.
What is "segmenting" and what are the benefits?
People will join your email marketing list for all kinds of reasons. Some may be more likely to convert than others, and different leads may be interested in different services.
Segmenting allows you to create a more relevant stream of content for people on your recipient list, based on set criteria. This increases your chance of understanding what they want from you and ensuring that you follow up with the right content to engage them.
Segmenting can improve open rates, reduce unsubscribe rates and improve your relationships with prospective clients before they’ve even walked through your door.
You might, for example, have segments for ‘In-house events’, ‘Networking’, ‘Family Law seminars’, ‘general blog’ etc. Recipients can belong to more than one segment.
Of course, segmenting is all well and good. But if you don’t have a stream of high-quality content, you may still see unsubscribe rates rise or open and engagement rates drop. Good quality, useful, relevant content can improve trust in your firm, establish your experience and expertise, help to create a personal connection and generally build value for leads and existing clients.
That said, maintaining a steady stream of content can be challenging, especially if you’re doing it all by yourself. But don’t forget that you can easily use (or repurpose) content from your blog to liven up email marketing copy. This also has the added benefit of driving traffic to your website which is of course, great for SEO.
Choosing a software platform
A software platform is really the only way to manage your email marketing effectively. Sending marketing emails through your professional email account could get you blacklisted as your emails are marked as spam by some recipients.
Further, there are ethical considerations. You can’t unsubscribe from an email sent from your personal account. Your provider may also limit how many emails you can send out in a given day.
- There are many different kinds of software platforms for email marketing and it’s up to you to choose which one best suits your needs. Standard Email Marketing Software - (eg. MailChimp, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor).
- Advanced Email Marketing Software – these have additional features like connecting with your CRM or using automation sequences for different lead magnets (eg. Active Campaign).
- Marketing Automation Software - these often have their own built-in CRM’s, blogging software and the capability to create your own landing pages (eg. Hubspot).
The right choice for you will depend on your needs, scope and budget.
Monitoring your campaign results
Whatever software platform you choose, it’s important to stay proactive in monitoring your campaign results.
Try different lead magnets to see which generate the most interest. See what kind of content gets the highest open rates and which segments of your recipients list engage the most with your content.
This will help you to ensure that you’re getting optimal engagement from your email marketing.
How we can help?
As you can see, effective email marketing involves keeping a lot of plates spinning on top of managing the day-to-day operations of your firm.
We can work collaboratively with you on your email marketing to help you build your brand and drive engagement without investing your own time and effort that could be better spent with your clients.
Want to know more about what we do?
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