Using e-mail for client advisories, alerts and newsletters can be a powerful marketing tool. It’s a fast way to get important and presumably useful information directly into the hands of people who need it. Done right, it can communicate your expertise and care, while strengthening the relationship you already have.
But if you’re not careful, your e-mail marketing can also deliver a real sucker punch to your reputation. For example, if you’ve been using the “spray-and-pray” approach—that is, you just spray the messages out there to as many people as possible just to see who bites—it’s time to reconsider. Besides being ineffective, that approach, in the best of circumstances, irritates the world with unwanted e-mails. Worse, if you are identified as a spammer you can be permanently blocked from communicating with those you want to reach.
A Better Approach to E-mail Marketing
Instead of spray-and-pray, try these tactics:
- Target your message to a specific audience—characterized by industry or location, for example.
- Choose a current topic that will appeal to that specific audience, and write the message in a way that speaks directly to their needs.
- Capture the reader’s attention with a pithy Subject line.
- Include a personal note to each recipient if possible, explaining the relevance to that reader.
- Do not buy e-mail lists—build your own lists, based on real connections or relationships.
- Invite people to opt in or subscribe to your list, and include a way for them to opt out—preferably with one click.
- Include a privacy statement that makes it clear you will not be broadcasting their e-mail addresses to the world.
- Develop a reputation for delivering value every time.
- Make certain you don’t send e-mail marketing messages too often, or you’ll wear out your welcome.
- Finally, less is better when it comes to message length as well—so keep articles short and, if possible, limit each e-mail to one topic.
As with any marketing or advertising for your practice, check your juridiction’s ethics rules before you press “Send.”
Spraying the world with e-mails in any form is just not polite. Moreover, spraying people with messages that try to sell things they aren’t interested in is bad marketing strategy.
Tom Kane writes the Legal Marketing Blog and is president of Kane Consulting, Inc. A former practicing attorney, he has more than 25 years of experience assisting lawyers with their marketing and business development strategies and coaching needs. Tom has served as an in-house marketer, including as chief marketing officer of an AmLaw 100 firm, and as a consultant to law firms.