Email marketing can be a powerful means of bringing in new and repeat business for law firms. When properly executed, email marketing is a highly targeted and personalized strategy for firms to remain top of mind and build relationships with clients and prospects. Moreover, compared to other marketing channels, email marketing is an inexpensive way to share thought leadership content with an engaged audience. In this post, you’ll learn strategies that will help set your law firm newsletter up for success so that it can stand out among the barrage of emails flooding your subscriber’s inboxes.
Elements of an Effective Law Firm 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 them with valuable and educational content. Include snippets from recent blog posts with links back to the full article within your newsletter.
If you’re not blogging (yet), that’s OK. You can write an occasional post on LinkedIn instead. Or, guest post on another blog. Include links to your posts and articles in the newsletter.
You can also provide value to your clients by sharing reputable third party content, such as links to law journals. Only curate from trusted sources that your readers may find useful.
Lastly, don’t be a spammy sender. Be educational, not promotional. Spammy subject and intros erode trust and may cause filters to block your emails.
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.
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 ability to get them out on schedule.
There is no best time to send your email newsletter because it depends on your audience. There are certain days and times that are generally recommended, but to achieve optimal open rates and conversions you need to test! Studies show that 11am on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesdays are good email newsletter send days and time. Between 1-3pm is also recommended (MailChimp suggests 2pm). 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 better results and then make that your go-to day and time for sending your emails. Consistency matters.
Engaging Subject Lines
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
We get asked this question frequently and there’s no easy answer. Our 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 Only 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 – your web designer can create one in Adobe Indesign.
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, and Pardot.
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 an email subscription form in the footer or sidebar of your website
- Create a lead magnet, such as an ebook or whitepaper 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.
- Encourage subscribers to share and forward your law firm’s emails by including social sharing buttons and an “email to a friend” button at the bottom of the email.
- Try encouraging those in your database that have unsubscribed to opt back in with an opt-in email campaign.
- Promote opt-in offers with paid ads on social media
Automation and Segmentation
Address your contacts with personalized content based on their online behavior. 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.
Track how your law firm email newsletters are doing so you know what’s working and what needs improvement. Email providers include metrics such as open and click rates. MailChimp provides good benchmarking resources, including the legal industry. According to their data, the average email open rate for legal services is 22% and average click rate at 2.81%.
If your click rate is low, maybe the content is not resonating with your audience. On the other hand, if your open rate is low try testing out some new subject lines.
Email marketing is an effective strategy for lawyers to provide value to current clients and nurture prospects to bring in new business. Law firm newsletters perform best when they are sent on a consistent basis and are inclusive of client-centric valuable content.
If you need help with your law firm email marketing strategy, contact us today. We can streamline and automate your processes while helping you increase the size and loyalty of your email subscribers by delivering highly personalized content to them.
Updated and republished from April 25, 2017