Email Marketing for Law Firms: 7 Proven Strategies for Attracting Email Subscribers

law-firm-email-marketingSome law firms still doubt the power of email marketing.

According to DMA in the UK, the average Return on Investment from email marketing is $42 for every $1 spent.

That makes it the highest ROI tactic of any marketing activity.

Over the years, our team at JurisPage have built extensive email marketing campaigns for clients. We’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work. In today’s post, I’m going to share the “golden nuggets” that will generate more subscribers from your email marketing campaign and more revenue for your firm.


Just before we get into the practicalities, let’s touch on the importance of email marketing, in case you’re still unsure.


Why email marketing?

Most law firms reach out to their clients by email from time to time.

However, email marketing is more than that. It is a structured strategy to connect with existing clients and prospects using automated sequences of emails.

A well-written series of emails providing informative, educational, and engaging content to the right people at the right time is incredibly powerful.

What makes it so effective?

It works on multiple levels:

  • Business development – reach out and nurture leads so that you stay top-of-mind. When a prospect needs the types of services you provide or knows someone who does, the business comes to you. This is an important part of creating a “sales funnel” but many law firms have no lead nurturing system in place and lack follow up with potential clients.
  • Customer experience – improving the experience of potential or existing customers with relevant updates, news, and opinion in newsletters is a powerful way to retain them for longer.
  • Increasing customer “touchpoints” – simply sending an automated “thank you” email for enquiries or a “schedule a meeting”/“meeting reminder” email is a great way to increase touchpoints with clients and encourage loyalty. Poor communication is the single most-common ethics complaint lodged by clients against their lawyers.

Once you have put some initial effort in upfront to plan and design your automated email sequences and campaigns, it works for you even when you are short on time.


Getting started with law firm email marketing

Getting started with email marketing requires three basic elements:

  1. Email List (Jump To: 7 Strategies for Building Your Email List)
  2. Content (Jump To: Creating Engaging Content)
  3. Software (Jump To: The Best Email Marketing Software for Law Firms)

Take the time to get each element right:

  • A high-quality email list will ensure that you have willing prospects who want to hear from you
  • High-quality content will mean that you engage your target audience effectively so that they take the action you want (Get in touch? Download an eBook? Book a free consultation?)
  • The right software allows you to get your information out automatically on time to the right people and track your success rates and ROI

Below we go into detail about best practices in each of these areas and more.


7 Strategies for Building Your Email List

You can’t do anything without an email list so it’s the obvious place to start.

The most effective way to grow your subscriber list is to capture contact details in exchange for providing free content.

These are sometimes called “lead magnets”. They are designed to draw your target audience in with valuable content demonstrating your expertise on a topic, providing valuable help to your target audience, and enabling you to capture their details.

But the content is hidden behind a sign up form – available only in exchange for providing contact details.

This content needs to be original and of value. When deciding what to offer, think about the following types of questions:

  • What does my target audience want to know?
  • What are the burning questions in their mind?
  • What are they searching for?
  • How can I help them with a problem?
  • How can I provide something short and sweet that is of high value?

So, you get the picture: something of value that helps your target audience out with a problem and focused on them not you.

Here are a few examples:

1. eBooks

eBooks can be about practically any legal topic. This firm in Wisconsin created a personal injury eBook about what to do next if you’re in an accident:

Personal-Injury-eBook-Email-Marketing-for-Law-Firms

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2. Guides

This law firm in Georgia created a guide for financial advisors on regulatory investigation:

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3. Cheat sheets/ Tip sheets/ Worksheets

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This law firm in Indiana created an estate planning worksheet prominently available for download on their homepage:

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4. White papers

Thomson Reuters in Canada created a white paper for other law firms on how to overcome business challenges:

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5. Subscribe to our newsletter

The most popular way for law firms to try to grow their subscriber list is to feature a Subscribe to our newsletter button on the website.

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This is better than nothing. However, it is unlikely to get prospects forcing down your door for a legal consultation.

Being proactive with your marketing will produce better outcomes: think gated content and valuable, downloadable resources designed for your target audience.

6. Community presentations

Some lawyers give presentations in the community.

These may include seminars on different areas of law, such as estate planning seminars for the elderly or for people with ageing parents.

You might also deliver continuing legal education (CLE) presentations to educate other lawyers about their practice area.

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Regardless of the type of presentation, you should have a sign-in sheet at the event to collect the contact details of attendees.

Then, after the event, add them to a list/automation sequence specifically geared towards this target audience.

7. Resource libraries

This estate planning firm in Ohio provides access to a complete library of resources in return for contact details:

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You’ll see in the later section on drip campaigns how email marketing software can be used to set up an automated series of emails from free downloadable lead magnets.

Each app has a different setup but most allow you to create new contact forms for downloadable content and automation sequences for people who have filled it out.

Once you design your form, you normally insert the code on your website (or integrate with your existing web form via a third-party integration):

  • When someone fills out the form, they are automatically added to your list and receive the downloadable content and automation sequence emails
  • The automation sequence starts with an email that includes a link to the downloadable content that the subscriber is looking for
  • You then create a series of “nurturing” emails to educate subscribers and persuade them to book a consultation (more about this later)

Your form might look something like this:

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At this stage, you may be thinking: “I don’t want to give away my legal knowledge for free. That’s what people are paying me for!”

However, the type of information you provide for free will not convince real potential clients that they can do a lawyer’s work.

If anything, it will make them trust your abilities more because you wrote this content about your area of expertise.

Some people will never pay for legal services. There is enough do-it-yourself info out there for people who will never hire you or any other lawyer. These people are not your target audience. Forget them.

Your target audience is those who want to make informed decisions before hiring a lawyer. They are in the informational/research stage of finding a lawyer. They want to learn more and may not necessarily need to hire a law firm right now.

The lawyer they eventually hire will be the one who helped them along the way. If you provide valuable information, the recipient is likely to feel a debt of gratitude to you AND be persuaded that you know what you are talking about and are genuine. That’s when they pick up the phone.


Creating engaging newsletter content

Law Firm Newsletter

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We’ve covered the formats, structures, testing, reporting and mechanics of email campaigns but what should you actually write about?

What are your emails actually going to say? How do you make them engaging?

Weekly, fortnightly, monthly or quarterly newsletters are a fine way to stay top-of-mind with your audience. It’s a format that most lawyers and most recipients are comfortable with.

Newsletters can be sent to:

  • Existing clients
  • Prospects
  • Referral sources
  • Colleagues

They are an excellent long-term strategy for building trust and generating leads. However, many lawyers struggle to get to grips with the content of their newsletters.

It should not actually be too difficult and you have a lot of scope.

Here are a few ideas:

1. Repurpose your most-read blog posts

Summarize the blog posts that have received the most traffic. Link back to the original article so that your readers can learn more.

2. Answer frequently asked questions

What are the questions you’re most asked?

Answering FAQs is a great way to remain engaging and relevant to readers. You could even have a column exclusively devoted to explaining certain legal concepts.

3. Promote community events

As a lawyer, you are a respected part of the local community. If you sponsor local events, feature a piece on these. Even if you’re not directly involved, your readers may be interested in local events like health fairs, county fairs, or other community information of note.

4. Advise of law changes

Legal changes that affect your readers should be featured, along with your opinion and advice if appropriate. You may even like to host a free seminar to discuss the changes and list the seminar date, time and location in your newsletter.

5. Provide news about your firm

Another type of content suitable for newsletters is news and behind-the-scenes peeks from your law firm. Perhaps an interview with one of the lawyers or a new staff member, a look at an important case you’ve been working on recently, or news about an award you’ve received.

6. Provide industry-related news

Does your law firm specialize in certain industries? Medical? Financial? The environment? Or maybe your main practice areas revolve around estate planning or family law? Whatever your focus, relevant news stories relating to your practice area are searchable on Google. If they could be of interest to your audience, include them in your newsletter.

7. Use images in your newsletter

Use this article as an example. It’s easier to read when there are images. Not just stock images for image sake but choose images that add value to the content. Diagrams, tables, graphs, and infographics are great for breaking up the text too.

8. Optimize for mobile

Most readers of your newsletter are not going to be anxiously waiting for it to drop into their Inbox. They might read it later on the train when they have more time. They are more likely to read it on a mobile device than a desktop so ensure that your campaigns are all optimized for mobile.


The Best Email Marketing Software for Law Firms

Some email marketing guides put this step first. However, to me, it makes sense to get the email marketing strategy straight in your head before you start applying it.

The software you use to make email campaigns happen is just the vehicle you use to get from A to B.

First, you need to know where A and B are.

Now we’ve got that straight, let’s take a look at your main software options. And, yes, you must use email marketing software to make this work.

Don’t try to arrange email campaigns through your regular email account, as it is almost impossible to manage and can result in your standard work email being blacklisted. It’s not pretty when that happens as you miss vital communications.

So, what are the best software options out there?

Standard email marketing software

At the core of it, email marketing software needs to:

  • Maintain lists of contacts
  • Have an email builder with templates you can work with
  • Send emails to your audience
  • Send basic automated emails
  • Track the results

Standard email marketing software does just that. For most small law firms, that’s all you need.

Here are a few commonly used examples to consider. They’re easy to set up, easy to use, and integrate with many other software programs that law firms use:

Mailchimp

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AWeber

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Constant Contact

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Campaign Monitor

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Hubspot

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Each of these apps has an easy-to-use interface to help you:

  • Create emails
  • Schedule emails to send to your subscribers, and
  • Track the opens and clicks on the emails

Some also include more advanced features like more complex automation that allows you to send specific emails to subscribers once they take a certain action (e.g. fill out a contact form, visit a certain page on your website, open X number of emails you send).

SUMMARY: all of the above are excellent options to consider and are fine for most law firms just looking to ramp up their email marketing efforts.


The smart way to grow your practice

What happens at your firm after a prospective client reaches out? What about existing clients who have not heard from you for a year?

From experience, a lot of business falls through the cracks due to a lack of communication. Reaching out and following up with people can turn lost business into new revenue.

Email marketing helps you do that.

It requires a little work upfront to get a system in place. But you can outsource it to reduce the time that it takes you out of the business.

Even if you decide to set it up yourself, there is plenty of good information and useful tools to assist you.

Once in place, the system markets your business automatically, even when you’re out of the office. Emails can be sent out at preset times and, based on user behavior, follow-up emails automated too.

This all makes email marketing a fantastic way to grow your practice cost-effectively.

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