It’s clear that email is still central to communications, with an estimated 281 billion emails being sent per day. So it’s no wonder almost 70 percent of marketers rely on email as a core part of their marketing strategy — because it works. How can email marketing help you and your law firm? Email marketing keeps clients connected to you, which makes them more likely to contact you when they need legal services.
Low-Maintenance Law Firm Email Marketing
If you’re new to email marketing, or even an old hand at it, try some of these low-maintenance methods for incorporating email into your marketing strategy.
1. Use Autoresponders to Create Automated Content
You can set up automated response systems to generate targeted content on specific dates and times — for example, for birthday or anniversary messages, or thank-you notes. Most email services, like MailChimp, Constant Contact and ConvertKit, have autoresponder tools that allow you to choose the parameters for when a message should be sent on your behalf. (And it is a lot easier than it used to be.)
Another example of a good use for a law practice: When a prospective client fills out a form on your website requesting information, you can set up your email software to trigger an automated message in response. You can also set up a series of follow-up messages, known as nurture sequences, which I’ll explain in a moment.
Autoresponders work best for messages that don’t need to be tailored to specific individuals. Instead, they should be focused on particular audiences. You want to develop different messages for leads, prospects and current clients. In some cases, the body of the message can be the same, but you can use the email software to personalize the subject line and salutation with the receiver’s name.
2. Create an Email Nurture Sequence
With an email nurture sequence, you create a series of brief messages designed to be sent over time. Focus on a single concept, message or goal, then sprinkle it throughout the emails. The trick is to be not only consistent, but also surprising, posting varying — but consistently useful — messages. These sequences can be sent out on social media platforms, too. But just because they’re small doesn’t mean they can be irrelevant and still have an effect. Your messages need to be interesting and informative.
A major benefit is that most of the work is up-front. Once you produce the content and set it up in your email service’s autoresponder system, a drip plan requires little upkeep.
3. Be a Curator of Industry News
The key to building a reputation as a top-notch curator is to present important trends in your own voice, supplementing news with your opinions and observations. If you want to become known as a “hot spot” for interesting content, post only quality information — and be consistent. Regularly send an email newsletter filled with articles and tips, and include news about your firm. But don’t stop there: When you read a great article, post a link on social media sites with a short explanation of why you found it helpful. You can use resources like BuzzSumo to help find relevant, trending content.
When curating, it’s OK to pass on and build from others’ content, but always be sure to give credit to the original creator.
4. Spend Time on Presentation
Be aware of how most users “read” online. Studies show most people scan pages in a singular way. This research tells us a lot about where to place the most important information on pages to maximize its chance of being seen. Apply this knowledge to your blog posts and newsletters by:
- Using headings
- Bolding keywords
- Bulleting information
5. Put Research to Work for You
Marketers’ research into what works in email campaigns shows the following are cardinal rules of quality emails that you should follow, too:
- Spend time on your subject line. Your subject line is your foot in the door. Too many people bang one out at the last minute, after painstakingly crafting the body of the message. Spend time creating email subject lines and headlines that will seize readers’ attention.
- Personalize. Just as hearing your own name might stop you in your tracks, a real name in a subject line tends to have a similar effect on readers. Personalize whenever you can. Autoresponders can help by automatically placing each recipient’s name in the salutation and subject line.
- Optimize. Responsive website design helps ensure that your site looks good on a smartphone, tablet, laptop or even a dinosaur of a desktop. But responsive design is also essential when designing email campaigns and autoresponder messages. Remember, users might pull up your email anywhere.
- Follow through. Make it easy for people to get to your site after reading your email messages. Call-to-action buttons do work, and orange and red seem to be the most effective colors for them. Paste one button at the top and another one at the bottom of your message.
Well-crafted email marketing campaigns are especially useful because they keep your name in front of your network and help people associate your business with credibility and authority.
Updated from “Smart Ways Lawyers Can Use Email Marketing,” July 2014.
More Good Content Marketing Tips from Attorney at Work Contributors
- “Capitalizing on New Developments in Your Practice Area” by Sally Schmidt
- “Does Email Tracking Violate the Rules of Professional Conduct?” by Mark C. Palmer
- “Creating Bespoke Content That Builds Brands — Four Firms” by Susan Kostal
- “Ripped from the Headlines: Using Current Events in Your Law Firm Blogging Strategy” by Laura Ernde
- “Content Marketing Strategies for Time-Strapped Lawyers” by Jay Harrington