Leveraging Emails To Engage Existing and New Legal Clients
Email is one of the most effective tools for growing your practice. You use it every day, but are you using it to its full advantage?
The Benefits of Email Marketing for Lawyers
The National Law Review recommends email marketing as an effective strategy for firms of all sizes.
- Email builds relationships. When you provide consistent value to current, former, and prospective clients, they feel a stronger connection to your practice.
- Email keeps you top-of-mind. Staying in touch every few weeks — or even every few months — helps clients think of you when they or their loved ones need legal representation.
- Email lets you customize your marketing. You can send the right message to the right person at the right time.
- Email is client-friendly. More than 80% of people check their email at least once daily. Your messages can reach clients wherever they are.
Steps for Starting or Revising an Email Marketing Strategy
Building engagement strategically provides the best possible results.
1. Identify Your Goals
Designing an email marketing strategy is easier when you know what you want from it. If you already have a marketing plan, analyze it to determine which goals email can help you achieve. If you do not, decide how you want to use email to grow your practice.
Make your goals as specific as possible. Possibilities include:
- 25% more phone calls from prospective clients this year
- 10% more new clients
- 200% more client recommendations in two years
Discrete and measurable goals make it easier to determine whether your strategy is successful. They also help you craft more focused emails. For instance, if your objective is to boost recommendations, you might focus more on emails to current clients rather than prospective ones.
2. Build Your Email List
If you’re building your list from scratch, start with your current clients. Collect email addresses from your correspondence and send a message introducing your new email program and how it can benefit them. You might send the first issue of your newsletter if you have one.
Subscribing potential clients is a longer-term effort. Start by creating valuable resources you can offer in exchange for a web visitor’s email address. Effective examples include:
- How-to guides
- Worksheets and checklists
- Educational videos
Promote these resources across your digital marketing channels, including any social media accounts you have.
If you do local seminars or other in-person events, have an email list signup available. This can be as simple as a QR code allowing people to sign up on their phones.
3. Segment Your List
Like any business, your clients and potential clients will have diverse interests. For this reason, it is important to divide your email list into “segments” — that is, groups that share the same interests and needs.
If you have more than one practice area, create a separate list for each area or group of related areas. For instance, a personal injury attorney may have a segment for car, truck, and motorcycle accidents, and a separate one for workers’ compensation.
You may also create segments for current and prospective clients if you intend to send separate promotions or updates based on client status.
4. Create a Content Plan
It’s important to email your subscribers often enough to keep them engaged, but not so often that they feel spammed.
One web marketing firm suggests starting with monthly or quarterly newsletters. Monthly is helpful if you have the bandwidth, but consistency is more important. It’s better to advertise and deliver a quarterly newsletter than promise a monthly one and fall short.
Also, don’t limit yourself to newsletters. Law firms have multiple touchpoints for communicating with clients and can extend that contact with different types of emails, such as:
- Promotional emails: Announcements of special offers or events, such as a subscribers-only webinar or in-person event.
- Drip campaigns: Email sequences triggered by a particular action or event and with a particular end goal, such as encouraging a new subscriber to book a consultation.
- Transactional emails: Messages that trigger when a subscriber takes a particular action, such as requesting a consultation or downloading a resource.
5. Choose Your Email Software
Email software makes it easier to design and send professional-looking newsletters and promotional emails. It also helps you schedule and automate messages.
Some practice management systems come with email, but don’t worry if yours doesn’t — stand-alone email services can also work wonderfully for lawyers. Mailchimp and Constant Contact are two well-known examples, but it’s important to find the one that will work best for you.
6. Create a Few Messages Before You Start
It’s tempting to jump right in and start sending emails as soon as your strategy is finished, but make sure you have enough content first. You want to avoid getting two newsletters into your plan just to realize you’re out of ideas.
Best Practices for Email Marketing
Use Actionable Language
Every email you send has two goals: to get the reader to open the email and to encourage them to take a specific action, such as visiting your website or booking a call.
The opening and closing language of each email should include active words such as:
- Find out
These words are especially important in your call to action — the part of your message that encourages the reader to do something, such as book a consultation. You may embed action words in the header, especially for newsletters and more education-focused campaigns.
In all cases, keep your language active and in line with your brand identity.
Add Engaging Design
If content is king, design is its queen. Build your emails around a reader-friendly design that’s engaging and reflects the character of your practice. Most email software programs also offer templates.
Track Your Return on Investment
Most email services can easily track key metrics like how many people open each email and how many take the suggested action. Use these statistics to learn which campaigns get results and which fall short, then design your next campaign accordingly.
Incorporating Email Into Your Overall Marketing Strategy
Email works best as part of a comprehensive digital marketing plan. Martindale-Avvo can help you with the most important elements of that strategy, from website optimization to advertising. Learn more today.