Law Firm Newsletter: How to Nurture Leads and Get More Clients

law firm newsletterWhether your firm is B2B with an existing client base or B2C working primarily with one-off cases, a law firm newsletter can help you reach, connect, inform, and generate new clients.

Newsletters should be a central part of a law firm’s content marketing plan, yet they’re underutilized.

Did you know that an email marketing is 4-6 times more likely to be seen than an organic post on Facebook?

Open rates for email marketing messages are generally around 20-30 percent, while Facebook organic messages have open rates of only around five percent. (Source)

Email marketing boasts one of the best returns on investment (ROI) of any marketing strategy, including SEO, content marketing, social media, direct mail, and so on.

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

So, law firm newsletters are worth the time and effort. But many firms don’t have one because they don’t know where to start.

In this post, we’ll cover everything there is to know about newsletters, including how to build an email list, what should go into your newsletter, and the best email marketing software.



Why do law firms need a newsletter?

Increasing the number of “touch points” with existing and potential clients is a central tenet of generating business through content marketing.

If each connection with clients is focused on bringing value, you can continuously nurture leads that may turn potential clients into paying clients.

Even established law firms like Anderson O’Brien understand that newsletters are essential to their content marketing strategy.

Legal Newsletter
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Newsletters fall into the “long play” marketing category, nurturing interest and turning it into revenue over time rather than producing instant results.

Highly targeted campaigns can help law firms achieve several important marketing goals:

  • Establishing and building trust with regular contact
  • Demonstrating authority with informative content
  • Keeping potential clients up to date with the latest relevant legal content
  • Staying “top of mind” with clients/potential clients
  • Promoting community work
  • Bringing the firm “to life” with a focus on the “people behind the professionals”

Law firm newsletters achieve all this without much effort. It’s an affordable marketing channel, even if you need to outsource the writing of articles to feature in the newsletter and pay for email marketing software.

Most potential clients already use email, and newsletter marketing has less “noise” to contend with than social media marketing. Your newsletters are more likely to be read from clients’ email inboxes.

Newsletter marketing is targeted, unintrusive, and cost-effective, helping you build your law firm’s brand over time. When readers need your services, they’ll come to you first.


Who should you target with your lawyer newsletter?

As with any marketing campaign, deciding who to target is the key to success.

If you already have a list, you’ll need to look at how old it is, the types of clients/prospects on it, and whether it represents who you need to reach.

The great thing about newsletter databases is that they can be segmented. Email marketing campaigns can be designed specifically for each segment of your audience.

Larger firms might customize different newsletters for different sectors (there’s no point in sending a divorce-based newsletter to people interested in writing a will, after all).

The Demetri Law Firm PLLC creates three newsletters for different segments — estate planning clients, elder law clients, and advisors.

Law Firm Newsletters Segmented Audience
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You might also create two versions of your newsletter to target new and existing clients with different calls to action. A “thank you for your business” will be appreciated by existing clients but is not relevant to prospects.

Law firm newsletters are usually sent to most current clients or prospects who have opted in. Other legal industry or related-industry professionals may also be included in the regular mailout as they can be an essential source of referrals.

By getting your target audience to opt-in to receive your newsletter, you pass the first test in ensuring that you don’t break any spam law. You may have a newsletter opt-in form on your website like this one from King Law Firm in North Carolina.

Law Firm Newsletters Subscription Optin
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In the US, email marketers must follow the rules of the CAN-SPAM Act. Understanding and complying with these rules is important before sending a newsletter within the U.S.

The good news is that most of the major email marketing software options (see below) remind you about your responsibilities concerning this and help prevent you from breaking spam laws.

Once you know who wants to read your newsletter, you can start tailoring content to them. If you’re an estate planning lawyer and 80 percent of your clients ask about wills and trusts, targeting these prospects with content that explicitly addresses their questions makes sense.


How to grow your newsletter list

Maintaining and growing a mailing list is critical to successful newsletter marketing. It’s the foundation of your newsletter campaigns.

It may be tempting to gather everyone you can on a single list and “mailshot” them each month. The more subscribers you have, the more people you reach, and the more clients and referrals you get, right?

However, it’s unwise to round up everyone into a single list. Your campaigns must be targeted and relevant for the best results.

The more relevant your content is, the better chance that your email will be opened, read, and engaged with.

To grow your list, you have three basic options:

  • Add people manually: Most email marketing software allows you to upload contacts in bulk from a spreadsheet. However, to abide by the anti-spam laws in most jurisdictions, you need an individual’s permission to send a newsletter.
  • Add automatically using CRM software: Most law firm CRMs allow you to tag and categorize contacts and will send them to your email list automatically when entered into the CRM database.
  • Use opt-in forms on your law firm website: These forms can be created from your email marketing software and embedded into pages on your website using the code provided. They can capture contact information (name and email) from those who want to sign up. The key to getting more subscribers this way, apart from designing easy-to-complete forms, is to demonstrate your expertise by including informative and engaging content on your website or law firm blog.

How do you create a law firm newsletter?

Let’s take a quick look at the “nuts and bolts” of creating a law firm newsletter.

You already know you need to target a specific audience and grow your list.

Once you know who you’re sending your newsletter to, you’ll need to consider some basic questions like:

  • How often will you send your newsletter?
  • What content will it contain?
  • Who will write your newsletter?

That’s all dealt with in later sections.

Your email marketing software will deal with creating, sending, and tracking your newsletter. Your software options are covered later in this post.

Following are the basic steps you will need to follow.


Create a customized template to brand your newsletter

Your email marketing software will provide a variety of pre-designed templates to help you create a professional-looking newsletter. You can usually customize the chosen template with your firm’s logo, color schemes, videos, text boxes, images, buttons, and other types of content.

This gives you a good idea of how the Earley Law Group in Massachusetts does it.

Law Firm Newsletter Branding
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Add the content you’ve created

Whether it’s an article, video, infographic, or another form of content, you should be able to easily add it to your chosen template along with relevant links back to your website, social media profiles, etc.


Preview the email and test-send

Most newsletter marketing software options will allow you to preview your newsletter (on different devices) and send yourself an email test to check for mistakes. Don’t miss this step, as even the best writers make grammatical errors and typos.


Send out your newsletter

Once you’ve completed the above steps, you’re ready to schedule your email, meaning everyone selected from your list will receive a copy.


Best practice tips for newsletter content

We’ll get into the type of content to include in your newsletter soon. But here are some general tips for content writing that you can follow.

  • Keep it readable for your target audience: In plain English, concise and digestible with no “legalese.” Don’t bombard readers with too much info. Think bullet points, short paragraphs, sub-headers, and links to articles where the reader can learn more.
  • Focus on the value you can provide: Answering your audience’s questions and discussing topics important to them, like in these personal injury law newsletters from Clancy & Diaz in California.
Law Firm Newsletter Content Value
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  • Design it to be read: Spend time on creating a newsletter design that’s professional, attractive, uncluttered, and asks to be read rather than junked like this one from Scott R. Marshall.
  • Use photos, tables, graphs, and graphics: Relevant, eye-catching images break up text and make content more readable.
Law Firm Newsletter Design
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  • Optimize for mobile: People may read your newsletter when commuting to work or away from their desktop on a phone or tablet. How does it look?
Law Firm Newsletter Responsive Design
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  • Avoid being too promotional: Newsletters should not be sales emails. Promoting a webinar or special event is okay, but keep content relevant and informative.
  • Use calls to action: Even though you don’t want to be salesy in your newsletters, call-to-action buttons tell your readers what they should do next (book a consultation, find out more, visit our website, etc.).
Law Firm Newsletter Call To Action
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  • Write an interesting subject line: When designing your newsletter, don’t forget the subject line. It should tease the reader, prompting them to open your email. Whet the reader’s appetite like in the Winter 2022 newsletter from personal injury firm Rosenburg & Gluck.
Law Firm Newsletter Teaser
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  • Include links to your website: By linking back to your website, you can drive traffic to information pages to find out more about a topic and encourage potential customers to contact you.
  • Promote downloadable content: If you have written practice area eBooks, guides, or white papers that readers would find helpful, include links to download them in your newsletter — like this one from Frankl & Kominsky Injury Lawyers.
Law Firm Newsletter Download LInk
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  • Include contact details and social media links: Make it easy for readers to contact you by having all your contact details (phone, email, website URL) and links to your social media profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). This is how Schaffer Family Law in Illinois ends its newsletter.
Law Firm Newsletter Social Media
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What to include in law firm newsletters to increase engagement?

Many law firms struggle with content ideas for newsletters, but they shouldn’t.

The following types of content (with examples) are all fair game for a newsletter. But the exact mix will depend on your firm’s focus and target audience.


Repurpose your most-read blog posts

Include a summary of the blog posts that have received the most traffic and a link to the original for readers to learn more. This divorce newsletter from Laufer, Dalena, Jensen, Bradley & Doran, LLC in New Jersey does that.

Law Firm Newsletter Repurposing Posts
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Answer the questions in your target audience’s minds

What are the questions new prospects most ask you? Answering FAQs helps you be engaging and relevant. A Q&A column could become the most-read section of your newsletter.

Here’s the FAQ part of a recent newsletter from Fitzgerald Law Company, an immigration law firm in Boston.

Law Firm Newsletter Content FAQs
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Pass on the latest relevant legal news

You might like to arrange a webinar about the latest legal changes and promote it through your newsletter.

Alternatively, pass on updates to relevant laws or other legal news with articles, like in this newsletter from employment law firm Wimberley, Lawson, Steckel, Schneider & Stine P.C. based in Georgia.

Law Firm Newsletter Content News
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Teaser articles

Share helpful legal tips with easy-to-read content like numbered lists, quick guides, and news updates.

Use teasers and link to content on your website or blog to read more, as in this employment law newsletter from Pavese Law Firm in Florida.

Law Firm Newsletter Content Teaser Articles
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Promote charity or community work

For many law firms, the local community is a significant source of clients and a recipient of sponsorship or charitable support.

As a respected community member, your newsletter can highlight this community involvement and inform readers about upcoming or past events.


Firm news

If a new lawyer has joined, you’ve won an award, or worked on a high-profile case, consider putting in your newsletter.

Behind-the-scenes peeks are also a popular way to build trust and engagement with clients or potential clients — but don’t overdo the self-promotion.

Vacca Law Group in New York gets the balance right with content like the following mixed with informative articles.

Lawyer Newsletter Content Behind the Scenes
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Industry news

If you work in a particular industry/sector, such as financial or medical, news from the sector may also be engaging and relevant for your audience. This is especially useful for existing clients.

Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman specializes in health law and creates this weekly health care real estate news roundup.

Lawyer Newsletter Content Industry News
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Trending news or legal cases

Suppose there are high-profile or popular news stories in your practice area or local jurisdiction. In that case, you can “newsjack” the trending topic and add your opinion or ideas to it. It’s sure to capture the reader’s attention if it’s relevant to them.

Here’s an excellent example from a newsletter from The Law Offices of Gary S. Dolgin.

Lawyer Newsletter Content Newsjacking
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Case studies

Case studies of successful client work promote your firm in a way that also provides value for readers.

Potential clients can learn how similar problems can be solved, building credibility and trust for your firm — just be careful about client confidentiality and remove identifying details about cases.

Twomey Latham, Shea, Kelly, Dubin & Quartararo LLP opens its Winter 2021 newsletter with a case study of a family law case.

Law Firm Newsletter Case Study
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Interviews or employee spotlights

Spotlights on key members of staff or interviews with new or prominent lawyers in your field are also “fair game” for your newsletter. This can help readers get to know your people better or get a different perspective on a legal matter, for example.

Snellings Law PLLC in Texas includes regular employee spotlights.

Law Firm Newsletter Employee Spotlight
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Videos

Embedding videos in your newsletter is a great way to differentiate your firm. People are turning increasingly to video for content. Video FAQs are especially good for this purpose as they are usually concise and digestible.

This one from immigration law firm Marks Gray advertises an upcoming immigration news webinar and includes a video at the bottom of the newsletter.

Law Firm Newsletter Content Videos
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Curated content

Newsletter content doesn’t have to be limited to what your firm has produced. If it is of interest to your target audience, you can link to engaging content that you’ve read and vetted. This shows you have their best interests at heart.


Testimonials

Testimonials are promotional, so use them sparingly, but positive comments from clients should be shared. Be sure to respect client confidentiality —but a testimonial at the foot or top of the page is a great way to open or end a newsletter.

The aforementioned Fitzgerald Law Company adds a testimonial to the top of the web version of their newsletter like this:

Law Firm Newsletter Content Testimonial
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Light-hearted legal content

Occasionally, it’s OK to add a touch of humor to your newsletters. It shows you’re human.

People love stories that make them laugh. Consider adding something like this conversation from an actual court case to the end of each newsletter:

Counsel (to man in the hallway): Are you a witness, victim, or defendant?

Man: I’m the guy who did it.


Who will write your newsletter?

Re-purposing blog articles and including teasers in your newsletter is a great way to reduce the volume of content required for your newsletter.

If you don’t have time to sit down and write articles or an in-house writer to look after the task, outsource it to an agency specializing in law firm content marketing.


How often should you send a newsletter?

Weekly? Monthly? Quarterly?

How often should your newsletter be sent out so that you can stay top-of-mind with your audience?

Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. in Washington D.C. chooses to send newsletters only twice per year.

Law Firm Newsletter Frequency
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Consistency is important. Create a schedule and stick to it. The frequency is up to you. It depends on the resources available and the demands of your target audience.

A topic like family law is vast with almost endless potential content that could fill a weekly or fortnightly newsletter if you have the resources to create it. However, if you’re a patent and trademark attorney, the scope for content is narrower, and business clients may not have time to read more than a quarterly newsletter.

As a general rule, a monthly newsletter should be manageable for most small firms with an active content marketing plan.


How do you measure the performance of newsletter campaigns?

Marketing campaigns should have clear goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

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Creating a monthly newsletter uses valuable resources. You must be able to track and measure performance to review and tweak strategy if necessary to improve the success of your campaigns.

If your newsletter aims to attract new clients, your goals will be different from a newsletter sent to a list of existing clients. For instance, if you are trying to attract new clients from a monthly newsletter, a SMART goal might be:

“To attract five new contacts by leads per month for the first three months of the newsletter”

To assess performance, the primary metric will be the number of calls, emails, or contact form requests completed by those who received your newsletter.

For many firms, the goal may be less specific. Newsletters will be used as a branding tool that works overtime to build more awareness and trust in your firm. This is harder to gauge, but you might start by measuring newsletter opens and click-throughs to your website, for instance.

CRM software can help you track the source of leads, which you should be doing.


What’s the best newsletter marketing software?

Once you have your lawyer newsletter strategy nailed, it’s time to select the software you will use. Professional email marketing software is a must for law firms. Don’t expect to manage campaigns from your standard email account.

The best attorney newsletter software can help you:

  • Follow anti-SPAM laws
  • Create eye-catching, branded email templates
  • Maintain and manage segmented lists of contacts
  • Schedule and send emails at pre-appointed times
  • Track the performance of your newsletter campaigns

What follows are a few of your best options.


Mailchimp

This is one of the most popular, with a free plan and paid plans up to $299/month.

Lawyer Newsletters Mailchimp
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AWeber

AWeber is another popular email marketing platform, with plans ranging from free to $148.75/month.

Lawyer Newsletters AWeber
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Constant Contact

Constant Contact provides plans from $9.99/month to $45/month.

Lawyer Newsletters Constant Contact
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Campaign Monitor

Campaign Monitor is another email marketing software option, with plans from $9/month up to $149/month.

Lawyer Newsletters Campaign Monitor
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While these apps differ in detail, they are all excellent, scalable options for law firms planning an email or newsletter marketing campaign and looking to:

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

Some also include advanced features like automation options 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, etc.).


5 troubleshooting questions for an underperforming newsletter campaign

If the open or click rates on your newsletter are too low or your bounce rates (returned emails) too high, start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Are your subject lines engaging enough to encourage “opens”? Short, enticing subject lines are generally best for improving open rates.
  • Have you cleaned up your email list? A high bounce rate damages your reputation so cleaning out old or redundant email addresses from your list is essential.
  • Have you segmented your email list? Unless you’ve done this, you might not be sending the right newsletters to the right people — which is damaging your open and click rates.
  • How do your emails display on mobile devices? Responsive design templates ensure that newsletters are viewable on all screen types (which is essential for emails nowadays).
  • Are you sending your newsletters at the right time? Opinions vary but the optimal time to send newsletters is generally thought to be Mondays between 8 am and noon.

Get started with newsletter marketing

You now have the reasons, the strategy, the best practices, and the tools to start a successful law firm newsletter.

You might not get your newsletter strategy 100 percent right the first time, but simply deciding to send out a newsletter will get you thinking more strategically about increasing your touch points with existing customers and developing a content marketing plan to attract new clients.

This can only be good for your firm in the long run as you build credibility, authority, and trust.


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