Let’s be honest, when you think about email marketing, you probably think about those irritating emails that you delete before your eyes finish scanning the subject line. Email marketing campaigns tend to be spammy and irritating. But when done right, they can offer something that grabs a recipient’s attention and provides them with something useful. A successful email marketing campaign will keep your firm’s name in clients’ minds and keep them coming back and even making referrals. Email marketing is something that really, really needs to be done right, or it shouldn’t be done at all. The bottom line is that you need to offer something to recipients to prevent them from hitting the unsubscribe button.
Typically, email marketing consists of a newsletter, sent out monthly, or quarterly. There is also something called a “drip campaign,” that sends content to specific leads with relevant information at the right time, and builds loyalty over time, like a dripping faucet builds a pool of water. There are various types of drips depending on one’s intended purpose, for example, “re-engagement” drips are designed to win back the interest of colder leads. Like if you have a pool of clients that have not contacted you in five to ten years, you may want to slowly try to reinforce your brand with them to gain referrals or a direct conversion.
Now that we have outlined the format of a successful campaign, what about the content? How do you actually reach your target audience before they hit “delete,” or even worse, “unsubscribe?” The focus on your message needs to be about your audience. What do you clients want? Do they want to be alerted about potential class actions that might be of interest to them? Updates about your firm’s attorney’s family happenings? It is all about knowing your audience, and designing a message that appeals to them. Are you located in a small town or a big city? Newsletters that deliver best practices advice, or succinct easy-to-read updates may appeal more to big city firm clients, while updates about the attorneys at your firm may appeal to a small town firm’s clientele. If you have decided it is best to tell interesting stories about the people at your firm, you may want to provide announcements about new attorneys who have joined your firm. However in general, talking about yourself instead of offering useful information may not be received well.
Some commonly employed strategies for law firm newsletters include:
- Cutting edge legal news (precedential case law) with unique commentary
- Local community news with commentary
- Common questions from clients
- News headlines related to your firm’s practice area
Finally, be aware of CAN-SPAM laws. If you are “promoting or advertising a commercial product or service through electronic communication,’ you must comply with this Act, or face hefty penalties into the millions, and possibly even jail time. You should consult with an attorney to determine you are compliant with CAN-SPAM, but generally speaking, you need to tell recipients where your email is coming from, write an honest subject line, and give your recipients an easy way to unsubscribe (and actually unsubscribe them if they elect that option).
In short, take some time to think about providing something interesting and useful to your clients, instead of just talking about yourself and your firm. In the age of social media, it’s all about referrals, so it is good to keep your name on people’s minds—in a positive way.