The Law Firm Guide to Email Marketing

Many people have proclaimed that email is dying, with social media and mobile messaging poised to take over all our digital communications. But that is simply not true, at least not yet. Email is still a powerful communication channel, and particularly for marketing purposes. In fact, it’s one of the only good methods for a business to communicate directly with its customers (most people would get annoyed if a business was sending them messages on WhatsApp). So to help you get started, here is our law firm guide to email marketing.

The Law Firm Guide to Email Marketing

Here are the 4 basic steps to set up, execute, and analyze an email marketing plan that will help you grow your law firm:

1. Choose a Good Email Service Provider

To get started with email marketing, the first step is to setup an account with a reputable email marketing platform. You may think you can just send out all the emails yourself from Gmail or Outlook, but there many reasons why that’s a bad idea.

There are a ton of additional features and benefits that email marketing software provides, which you would not be able to accomplish through your regular email account:

  • Managing lists
  • Avoiding spam filters
  • Allowing unsubscribes (as required by anti-spam laws)
  • Providing nice email templates
  • Tracking statistics
  • And much more…

We are big fans of MailChimp, but MadMimi, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, InfusionSoft, and many others work just as well.

2. Build Up Your Email List

An email marketing campaign is only effective if it reaches the right people. But as you probably know, email is a permission based communication channel, so people will have to opt in to receive your messages.

Here’s a simple formula for collecting emails that works (we also covered a few other ways to collect emails in our low budget law firm marketing tips):

  • Define your target audience
    • The key to effective marketing is making connections between your audience and your brand. Think about who your target clients are. How old are they? Where do they live? What do they do? Get a clear picture in your head of the type of people you strive to work with, and write it down so you remember.
  • Produce great content
    • Once you know your audience, the next step is to produce amazing content to draw them in. Content can be in any form, including articles, videos, infographics, etc. We highly recommend starting a law firm blog where you publish this content regularly. Great content brings in targeted web traffic from the type of people who could become your clients.
  • Offer free resources
    • Now that you’ve got targeted visitors viewing your content, the next step is to offer them some additional free resources. Perhaps a premium piece of content, like a legal form, ebook, or whitepaper. Maybe a video guide to drafting a will/recovering from a car accident/starting a business, etc. Promote this content right alongside the other piece of content the person is viewing. We also recommend remarketing this content on Facebook using the custom audiences feature.
  • Collect emails in exchange
    • Once you’ve got people interested in the additional free resources you’ve offered, the last step is to provide access, but only after they input their email address. You can use the autoresponder feature of most email marketing services to automatically send them the download link, or otherwise provide access to the content, as soon as they input their email. As long as your content truly is premium, an email address is a small price to pay, and it provides a lot of value toward your marketing efforts.

3. Nurture the Relationship

Once you’ve got an email list, the next phase of email marketing is crafting your campaigns. It’s wise to put some thought into this before you jump right in. And always keep in mind the end goal of establishing trust and building a relationship.

The entire goal of email marketing is essentially one thing, and that is to establish a strong relationship with your customers and prospects.

Coming up with a law firm email marketing strategy involves making a few important decisions:

  • What type of emails will you send?
    • Newsletters with updates from your firm?
    • Updates from your blog or other content you publish?
    • Industry news and trends?
  • Who will you send them to?
    • Only your clients?
    • Only prospects for a certain practice area?
    • Everybody?
  • How often will you send them?
    • Every week?
    • Once a month?
    • Only when something happens that’s worth sharing?

For example, a basic strategy might be sending out a quarterly newsletter with updates from your firm (new hires, trials won, new office space, etc.), and a monthly or weekly email with new content you’ve published and the latest news from the industry.

Alternatively, you may want to focus exclusively on your leads and build up different email lists for different types of practice areas or services you offer, and then only send them relevant content. This is known as “segmentation” and it’s a powerful technique to drive conversions because the emails you send are much more targeted.

The possibilities are endless, but what it comes down to is finding a formula that works and sticking to it. Consistency is the name of the game. When somebody signs up, let them know what emails they can expect to receive and when, and then deliver according to that plan.

Track Your Results

We always stress the importance of using analytics and studying data to make better decisions, whether you’re tracking website visitors, measuring the lifetime value of a client, or keeping track of where your leads are coming from. Email marketing is no different.

The three key statistics to measure for your email marketing campaigns are:

  • Open Rate
    • The open rate is the percentage of recipients that actually open the email, as opposed to ignoring, archiving, or deleting it. Open rate is an important statistic for a couple reasons, mainly because it indicates whether people are interested in the emails you’re sending. It’s also a good measure of subject line effectiveness. Open rates are usually lower than you’d probably like, so don’t let it discourage you. But ideally, you should strive to keep your open rate steady or improving over time.
  • Click Through Rate (CTR)
    • The click through rate measures the percentage of total recipients that both opened the email AND clicked a link from inside. Much like open rate, the click through rate is a good indicator of how engaging your email content is. For certain email campaigns, such as a newsletter where most of the content is in the email itself, you shouldn’t expect a very high CTR. However, if you have a campaign where the goal is specifically to get people to visit your website or take some action, the CTR is a very important statistic.
  • Unsubscribes
    • Unsubscribe stats simply count the number of people that unsubscribe, or leave an email list, from a particular email message. This is perhaps the most important number to be aware of. If a lot of people are removing themselves from your list, there’s a good chance you’re doing something wrong and you should refactor your email strategy. Unsubscribes most likely result from sending too many emails, sending unwanted emails, or providing uninteresting content. It’s usually not exactly clear why people are unsubscribing (although some email software includes a survey when somebody unsubscribes), but you should keep an eye out for particular emails or campaigns that have a high unsubscribe rate, and avoid sending similar ones in the future.

Over time, you’ll be able to use these basic stats to come up with an effective email strategy. Figure out the best way for you to communicate and engage with both current and prospective clients, but without annoying people or turning them away.

Strive to provide value to your email list however possible to build a long term relationship, because that is the key to leveraging an email marketing strategy into a thriving law practice.

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