The best way to stay top of mind with prospects and clients is with an email newsletter.
Unlike social media and other marketing efforts, your readers give you permission to send them an email. They’re already interested in what you have to say; now it’s your responsibility to provide value.
Why is this important? Because you want to be the lawyer or firm the reader remembers to call when they or someone they know needs help.
But you must provide value, which leads us to the first and most important element of crafting an effective email newsletter: Trust.
Build trust – We’ve discussed blogging as the center of your content strategy. Include links to your blog posts in the email newsletter. This is part of establishing your voice as a thought leader in your niche practice.
If you’re not blogging (yet), that’s OK. You can write an occasional post on LinkedIn Pulse or Medium. Or, guest post on another blog. Include links to your posts and articles in the newsletter. And don’t forget links to
Don’t be a Spammy sender. Be educational, not promotional. Spammy subject and intros erode trust and may cause filters to block your emails.
Curate from trusted sources. Include a few links from other sources that your reader may find useful.
Repurposing from your “Publications” tab – Many law firms have a “publications” tab on their website that lists practice area and topical alerts. Convert each into a newsletter or compile links to them in a monthly email. Ideally, these should be segmented. See more on segmentation and automation further below.
Frequency – Shoot for weekly but monthly is fine, also. It depends on your bandwidth and feedback from clients. Don’t do a weekly newsletter if you don’t have the help to get them out on schedule.
Studies show that 11am on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday are good email newsletter send days and time. Use as a guide with an understanding that based on your target audience, other send days may work just as well or better.
Test a few different days and times to see which gives you a better click rate and then make that your go-to day and time for sending your emails. Consistency matters.
Subject line – The general consensus is subject lines should be limited to 6 to 10 words or 60-70 characters. Desktop email displays about 60 characters and mobile about half of that.
Enter your subject line at subjectline.com and you’ll get a score and some feedback on how to improve. Again, remember, these are guidelines. Rules are made to occasionally be broken. Don’t always try to manipulate copy to fit the perfect recommended size.
More important than the length of your subject line, is that you put the most relevant information in the first 30-60 characters. Over time you’ll get a second sense about this.
Number of links to include – I get asked this question frequently and there’s no easy answer. My own anecdotal evidence shows decreasing click rates on links further down the email.
Some studies have shown that 11 links may be a sweet spot. But if you only have three useful links to include in your newsletter, go for it. It’s not about the number of links but the quality of the information you link to.
Include one call to action – Remember that your email newsletter is educational rather than promotional. Each link is essentially a call to action, and you’re allowed one to your “services” page, but preferably, to an informational video, webinar or e-book. Banner ads work well here. You can go on to Fiverr and get one on the cheap or have your marketing agency create one for you.
Email platforms – Solos, small firms, and legal vendors have an exhaustive array of choices of email clients. We covered a few in: A Review of Email Marketing Platforms For Law Firms. Larger law firms have additional choices among enterprise-level email/marketing automation platforms including HubSpot, InfusionSoft, and Pardot.
Mobile-friendly – More people today are scrolling through emails on their phone. All of the top email platforms include mobile-friendly versions. If you want to see how your email renders on different devices, check out Email on Acid or Litmus. Think mobile first when you create your newsletter in terms of how much content and graphics you include. Less is more.
Growing your email list – Your email list will decline over time due to unsubscribes or newly inactive email addresses. To keep your list growing you’ll need to invite people to sign up for your newsletter. You can do this several ways:
- Place a email subscription form in the footer or sidebar of your website.
- Create an e-book or white-paper related to each practice area and require an email to download. Remember to craft these pieces with the client’s problems in mind.
- Put on a quarterly webinar focused on the needs of the people you serve. An email address should be required to register for the webinar. Add a “resources” page to your website and put the webinar recordings there and require an email address to view.
Automation and Segmentation – This is next-level email marketing. Don’t do this unless you have the bandwidth to create, monitor, and iterate. In a nutshell, segmentation lets you tailor an email campaign to a person’s specific interest. For an overview of this, see: Marketing Automation and Segmentation: How to Deliver the Right Content to the Right People at the Right Time.
Measure your performance – Track how your email newsletters are doing so you know what’s working and what needs improvement. Email providers include metrics such as open and click rates. MailerMailer provides good benchmarking resource, including the legal industry. For instance, the 2016 Email Marketing Metrics Report puts the email open rate for legal services at 16.5% and click rate at 1.3%.