Email Marketing Dos and Don’ts for Law Firms

Email marketing is one of the best marketing channels for engaging clients and attracting new prospects to your law firm. Compared with other channels, it consistently comes out on top in terms of flexibility, client reach and return on investment (ROI).

Done right, email marketing can provide around 122% ROI – four times higher than other methods.

“Done right” is the key. You need best practices in order to email market successfully. Some of these practices include segmenting your email lists, using an email address checker and personalizing emails to build and nurture relationships.

Read on for a list of the primary Dos and Dont’s of email marketing for legal firms. These tips will make marketing for your firm via email significantly easier.

Do: Build Your Own Email List

To begin marketing your firm via email, you’ll need a list of people to contact.

In general, you should avoid purchasing lists of email addresses from marketing firms – emailing people who haven’t given you permission can land you in hot water. Instead, build a list from scratch using your existing contact network.

Do: Start With Your Current Contacts

First, list your current clients’ details in a spreadsheet. The fields should include First Name, Last Name, Email Address and Type of Contact. And you should separate the fields in columns indicating whether the contacts are Current Clients, Past Clients, Prospects or Other.

The list doesn’t have to be fancy – Excel spreadsheets are simple to maintain and, if necessary, easy to import into email automation platforms such as MailChimp.

Do: Leave Room for Additional Information

In general, it’s a good practice to add a few custom columns to your spreadsheet so you can jot down personal information.

This can consist of the legal service for which a client hired you, the client’s age or location, or any other information that may help you later.

(To learn how to manage your contacts effectively using Lexicata, read our previous post here.)

Don’t: Forget Your Online Contacts

Once you have the basis of an email list, you can export contacts from your online address book as well. Neglecting to do so will limit your email marketing reach.

Usually, your online contacts will include potential clients and referral sources. (Be sure to categorize each contact in the proper spreadsheet column.)

One simple best practice is to regularly download a report from your website which lists all the people who’ve passed you their details via that platform. After downloading it, you can integrate it manually with your master email list. (Some website platforms do integrate with email software so you can automate this task to update and clean your list regularly.)

Don’t: Stop Adding to Your Email Marketing List

Once you’ve created your email list, you’ll need to keep adding to it by networking, inviting people to subscribe (during presentations and events), and by including the email addresses of people who download free resources from your website.

One successful method for growing email lists is to have hooks on your website such as downloadable resources, How To guides, recorded presentations and interviews with aligned organizations. To access these special pieces of high-value content, visitors have to provide their full names and email addresses.

Even if website visitors aren’t ready to become your clients just yet, getting them on your email lists keeps them engaged with your firm in case they need your services in the future.

Prinz Law Firm provides an excellent example of a website sign-up form that lets them continue to increase email subscribers without much work on their end.

Don’t: Segment and Personalize Without Intent

Now that you have an email list, it is useful to break it down into groups of like-minded people, or audiences with similar traits.

Segmenting your email list allows you to personalize your emails, which in turn will increase engagement from recipients.

However, segmenting your list without specific goals is pointless. At the beginning of each email campaign, you should have a clear strategy and adjust every segment to fit well-defined objectives.

If you want to attract more employment contract work, for example, you should segment your list and email business owners, founders and managers. Then, you should send them tailored offers or industry news which are relevant to their lines of business.

Don’t: Send Generic Emails

Sending generic emails to people is more likely to encourage them to unsubscribe rather than engage with the content.

This includes “personalizing” emails only by including the recipients’ first names – generic emails with names on them still feel like generic emails.

To do it right, the recipients need to feel as if the content in the email is actually relevant and selected for them. That’s why segmentation and personalization are so important: They enhance direct connections between you and your audience.

The Jurewitz Law Group’s email template is a great example of clean and simple presentation. The firm’s newsletter is clearly organized and separated into content blocks, with just enough imagery to hold readers’ attention. And the site includes a PDF version of their newsletter, for even easier accessibility.

Don’t: Forget Presentation

Presentation is as important in email marketing as it is in any other channel. Email templates should be created and adapted for your audience segments and campaigns.

Lean toward clean and simple designs which are optimized for mobile devices but aren’t overly reliant on images.

Don’t: Fail to Optimize for Mobile

The majority of people open and read their emails on mobile devices. If your email is unintelligible on a smartphone, recipients will hit Delete rather than read it.

Summary

Email marketing is a tried-and-true method for initiating authentic, personal connections with past, present and future clients.

Done well, email marketing can improve your firm’s reputation, increase referrals and move potential clients toward hiring you. Adhere to the above Do’s and Don’ts to get the most from your email marketing.

Want more resources?

Lexicata’s software and in-house experts can help you develop strong marketing practices and streamline client communications. And of course, feel free to contact us for a consultation or product demo.

Author Bio

Rae Steinbach is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course. Follow Rae on Twitter: @araesininthesun

Run a better law practice. Get free updates every Friday.

* indicates required