In today’s digital age, email marketing has become a crucial tool for law firms. Email marketing allows you to engage with your audience, nurture client relationships, and drive business growth. A well-planned and executed email marketing strategy can help your law firm stay connected with your clients. You can also provide your clients with valuable legal insights and showcase your expertise. In this article, we will explore the key steps to create an effective law firm email marketing strategy that works. It can boost client retention, attract new leads, and ultimately drive success for your legal practice.
In this article, we will discuss the following aspects of a law firm email marketing strategy:
- Understanding the Importance of Email Marketing for Law Firms
- Defining Your Law Firm Email Marketing Goals
- Building and Growing Your Email List
- Crafting Engaging Email Content
- Designing Compelling Email Templates
- Implementing Effective Email Campaigns
- Measuring and Analysing Email Marketing Performance
- Enhancing Your Law Firm’s Email Marketing Strategy
Understanding the Importance of Law Firms Email Marketing
If you have dipped your toe into the digital marketing world, you will quickly realise it is both varied and confusing. The social media focus tends to push lawyers in the direction of LinkedIn for individual lawyers in the firm. The argument is showcasing your expertise will attract new clients. Create a page for your firm and add articles to promote the services your firm provides. But are you appealing to clients or are you giving other law firms ideas? You might just have noticed that now, LinkedIn is awash with all things AI!
You might decide Facebook is the place for you or even Twitter (now there’s a challenge!). Instagram might be an option and, heaven forbit, TikTok! If you are promoting your services on social media, you must provide copy that interrupts avid social media users who all have their own individual agendas!
You might think about Google or Facebook Ads or even paid promotions in LinkedIn. At least with Google, a well-designed Ad might actually send people looking for services you provide to your website!
Content marketing is certainly something you should focus on. Why have a website if you don’t regularly add new content? If people visit your website, you should keep them informed by regularly updating your content. A blog with weekly articles is an excellent way to inform people about the services you provide. And your website shouldn’t embarrass you!
Finally, we have the lowly email marketing. The unsung jewel in the crown of digital marketing. Which other digital marketing option allows you to put your message right into your recipient’s inbox? Multiply that several thousand times and law firm email marketing is a sure-fire winner every time!
Exploring the Benefits of Email Marketing for Law Firms
There are undoubted hurdles to overcome when you set out to create a law firm email marketing strategy that works. Let’s start with the challenges of building your list. Of course, you need to decide which email marketing tools you will use. Then we move on to creation of your email templates. The next stage is to provide excellent and engaging content for your readers. After that you’ll be ready to run your campaigns. Finally, you can do the analytics to find out how your campaigns performed.
These hurdles are daunting for normal mortals, never mind busy lawyers. However, the benefits of sticking with it are huge. Executing your successful email marketing strategy will bring you benefits other forms of digital marketing cannot and will not.
Leveraging Email as a Relationship-Building Tool
The first thing your email marketing strategy will do is help you build up a relationship with the people on your list. This can be a mix of existing clients, potential clients and people who have signed up on your website or social media pages. To build up an excellent relationship with the people on your list, it’s important to communicate with them regularly.
By providing excellent content you will keep their interest. You can encourage them to contact you if there is something you’ve highlighted in your email that will help them. Email marketing allows you to explain different areas of the law and how it might affect certain clients. You can point out things they might not be aware of but will affect them. In addition, clients like to hear about the people in your law firm. They love hearing about the charity and community events you get involved with. They like to hear about new people who have joined the firm and new qualifications people have achieved.
Talk about your successes and any awards you’ve been nominated for or won!
You also need to remember that it isn’t just those on your subscriber list who will hear about you. People are always talking to their family, friends and workmates. If a family member, friend or workmate asks them a question about a legal topic, even if you haven’t covered it in your email marketing communications, your subscriber might just mention your firm to them and encourage then to contact you. You can even be up front and ask your subscribers for referrals!
An effective law firm email marketing strategy that works generates all these benefits and more.
Defining Your Law Firm Email Marketing Goals
You might decide to keep your law firm email marketing strategy in house. If you do that, make sure you set aside time every week to deal with it. If you don’t, your strategy will fail! Before you set out on your email marketing adventure, whether you deal with it in house or outsource it, please set up sensible and achievable goals.
Setting Clear Objectives for Your Email Marketing Campaigns
When you set clear objectives, you can measure the success of each campaign. You can also chart the overall success of your law firm email marketing strategy. Your objectives will depend on what you are looking to achieve from your email marketing efforts.
For instance, you might decide to run email newsletter campaigns to existing clients. Your aim might be to continuously increase your subscriber list of existing clients, win new business and referrals from them. You must remember to record the source of new business so you can track it back to your email marketing campaigns.
If your goal is to win referral business from existing clients, how many referrals are you looking for? What kind of incentive do you think would persuade clients to refer a family member, friend or workmate to you? Clients love competitions and quizzes too so don’t forget about those.
If you have a specific offer, decide what return you want from it. Be clear about what the offer is and how long people have to take advantage of it. The offer can be incorporated in other email marketing communications or can run as a stand-alone campaign.
Aligning Email Marketing Goals with Your Law Firm’s Overall Strategy
It is also a critical factor of your law firm email marketing strategy that it aligns with the goals of your firm. That means when you set out your law firm email marketing goals, first check the goals you’ve set out for your firm. You’ve probably heard the old SMART acronym for goals being Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound. If you don’t have goals or objectives for your firm that are set down in this way, you should seriously think about doing that. You must then set out your email marketing goals to compliment your law firm’s overall strategy.
Building and Growing Your Email List
Before you can start creating your email list, you need to decide on which email marketing tool you wish to use. There are many of these on the market. Here at Client Communications, we use MailChimp as this has met all our needs to date. It is not the cheapest email marketing tool out there. There are others like Aweber, Email Blaster and Campaign Monitor to name but a few.
The choice of email marketing tools is yours to determine but if you need any help with this, please contact Client Communications.
Creating a subscriber list to market to is, perhaps, one of the biggest obstacles law firms perceive they face. Law firms get caught up in the vagaries of the Data Protection Act and the GDPR and begin to lose the will to live when it comes to managing the data. Thinking about how to create and manage a marketing list might just be a step too far!
Strategies for Building an Email List
One key thing law firms miss when they consider email marketing as an option is that they already have a list. Most of the time they have a list running into the thousands!
Let’s get back to basics. You can market to your existing clients based on the contract you created with them when you sent them your terms of business. I don’t know any law firm that doesn’t mention keeping in touch with clients in the future with information on the services the firm provides.
If you think contract as a lawful basis of processing the personal data is too restrictive, consider legitimate interests as an alternative. It’s a very good option. Of course, you need to conduct a legitimate interests assessment. However, that’s straight forward and can be dealt with quickly. If this is your lawful basis of processing it means you can also send marketing information on the services you provide to people who have enquired about your services.
Now, back to that list. You will have a client list in your practice or case management or accounts systems. There are two critical aspects of this. The first is that you do record client email addresses in that application and the second is that you can easily extract it. If you do both things, you can have an email list that runs to thousands of clients.
You can also add to your list before every campaign and it will continue to grow.
Don’t forget to ask your readers to forward your email to a friend if they think that your email content will interest them. Referrals from existing subscribers are likely to lead to new subscribers for your list.
Leveraging Website Sign-Up Forms and Landing Pages
Your existing client data is not the only source of new subscribers for your subscriber list. You can embed sign-up forms on your website and in your social media pages and encourage people to sign up. You can also encourage their friends to sign up.
If you are running other digital marketing campaigns with landing pages on your website, you can ask those who land there to provide their name and email address and you can also add them to your subscriber list.
When sending a “thank you” message after they’ve signed up, you can ask them to recommend family members, friends and workmates who might also like to receive communications from your law firm.
From a technical point of view, the lawful basis for processing for these subscribers is consent. They will be easily identifiable in your email marketing software as someone who has signed up using a form. There is no difficulty in holding client and potential client data in a single list for marketing purposes.
Crafting Engaging Email Content
Crafting the right messaging is an essential element of your law firm email marketing strategy. You must ensure the messages are meaningful to your audience and it is likely that you will need to create different messages for different audiences.
Understanding Your Target Audience’s Needs and Interests
To create engaging email content is a key element of your law firm email marketing strategy. That means it is important to understand your target audience’s needs and interests. Your audience will be varied and the various parts of your audience will have different wants and needs.
Perhaps the best way of approaching this is to create your “ideal client”. This is not a single target client, but a typical client who avails themselves of your services. You may also have several “ideal clients” for the same service. For instance, would you give someone who’s 35 years old the same reasons for making a Power of Attorney as a 55-year-old? The service is the same but the reasons might be entirely different.
Think about your “typical client” to whom you deliver your services. Look at which of your residential conveyancing clients also asked you to prepare their Wills. Did they ask you to sell and buy their house at the same time as you prepared their Wills? Did they ask you to prepare their Wills or did you suggest it to them. What demographic did these clients fall into. Do you know what their fears and aspirations are? What was it that triggered them to have their Wills drawn up? You need to ask yourself these questions about the different types of clients across all the services you provide.
Once you know who your clients truly are and their needs and interests, you can then begin creating compelling and relevant email content.
Creating Compelling and Relevant Email Content
Knowing your client is one part of the equation. The other aspect is the nature of your email marketing campaign. If you are running an email newsletter campaign, your aim is likely to inform clients about different aspects of the law. You might want to stimulate their interest in something that might affect them. Email newsletters tend not to be full on sales messages – but they do generate regular business!
When your email is an information email – like moving office or launching a new website, keep is simple and straight to the point.
If you are using automation with a series of emails, keep them short, snappy and very much on point.
If someone has opted into a specific campaign, make sure your content matches what they signed up for.
You can use email marketing to celebrate with clients. For instance, every year Client Communications runs an e-Christmas Cards for law firms campaign. We prepare a series of Christmas Videos, ask clients to choose one and then re-brand it with their logo and message and send it to their subscriber list. It’s a great way to send something that’s fun to clients. It’s also an opportunity to contact clients and ask them for absolutely nothing in return!
Special events are also an opportunity to keep in touch with clients. You can, for instance, send out Budget and Scottish Budget special reports on the evening of the Budget. Clients will not only appreciate hearing your assessment but also that you sent it directly to them!
You can promote your guides, videos, brochures, surveys and other information through email marketing campaigns. A client of Client Communications sends out a Christmas Quiz to clients every December. The options are endless and you get to communicate directly into the clients’ inbox!
Designing Compelling Email Templates
Every email you send gives you an opportunity to get your brand in front of clients. Your firm’s name and logo should be on every piece of email you send to clients. Even if they don’t read it, the fact that they saw your name and logo will remind them your firm looks after their interests.
Best Practices for Designing Professional Email Templates
First of all, if you are going to link readers through to your website, make sure your email Header matches your website. Consistency is key so that the email matches, as far as possible, your website design.
To quickly create an email, use the tools provided by your email marketing service. They are all similar and have similar capabilities. Use an email service you are comfortable with. It is important to realise that if you design an email that is too wide, it probably won’t look good on a mobile device. There’s a reason why most emails generated through email marketing are 600px wide – it allows them to be viewed properly across PCs as well as mobile devices!
Choose a style and stick with it. If you are publishing an email newsletter, make sure the style stays the same across each publication whilst the content changes. If you are sending a promotional email, make sure your firm’s name and logo are clearly visible. Importantly, make sure your logo is sharp and not blurry.
Layout, images and sign-up forms
The layout of your email is important. It should flow, not jump about. Make the navigation easy and include links to your website (and other sources where cited).
Videos do not play in emails so when you embed a link, make sure the landing page where the video will play presents the video quickly and seamlessly.
Intersperse your communications with images. However, be aware that if the recipients use Outlook, they will need to allow the images to download. Certain mobile devices do the same but most of them will display the images by default. Also, when it comes to images, make sure you do not breach anyone’s copyright. You can get lots of royalty free images on the Internet. Just make sure you have commercial rights to use them even if they are free.
Always make sure you include the signup information in the footer along with the firm’s contact information. Importantly, every email you send must have an unsubscribe link to allow people to opt out of receiving your communications. Finally, if you have segmented your list, allow your subscribers to select their preferences to ensure they receive content relevant to their interests.
Optimising Emails for Mobile Devices and Accessibility
Most email marketing tools will do the work for you so that the email resizes for different devices. However, there are certain issues you should be aware of.
As mentioned in the section above, the width of the email is a critical factor for those who view your email on a mobile device. 600 pixels is the optimum width for an email so if you are using images, resize them to make sure they do not exceed the width. Also, if you resize the images, you are more likely to be able to preserve the definition.
If you decide to use the “rounded corners” setting, these will look fine on mobile devices. However, they will still appear as square corners when viewed in Outlook.
If you are sending out email newsletters, you need to keep the attention span for mobile users. Add the full articles to your website and include a brief introduction in your email newsletter. Then add a link to the full article on your website.
When you use images, it is best to include a description of the image. In MailChimp, you can provide an alternative description of the image. In addition, when you add any links to your email communications, make sure you also give them a description. The reason for this is that if you have subscribers who are blind or who depend on text to voice recognition, they will miss these items if you do not accurately describe them.
Implementing Effective Email Campaigns
By now you will have created your list, your email Templates and your content. Now your challenge is to create the types of campaigns that supports your law firm email marketing strategy.
Types of Email Campaigns for Law Firms
Perhaps one of the key types of email campaigns law firms promote is the email newsletter. This enables firms to explain different aspects of the law. It also helps clients to understand that they may have a need of help from their solicitor. Email newsletters can also inform clients about changes in the law and how decisions in court cases impact on people.
You might decide to use email marketing to announce changes happening in the firm. Consider announcing new arrivals or departures and new qualifications for people in the firm. If you have won or been shortlisted for any awards, you can let the people on your list know all about these.
Office moves, remodelled website, new arrivals and quizzes
Moving office or new office openings are another favourite of law firms. It is a very quick way to let your clients know where you are. It also allows you to update your contact information.
Have you remodelled and launched your new website? Why not let your clients know about this and invite them to go and take a look? Sometimes clients are gloriously ignorant about the range of services your firm provides!
If you diversify into a new area of law or decide to provide a new service, let people know about this. You do not want to miss an opportunity to win new business in this new area, so you should let people know.
Some firms will use email to send clients a quiz whilst others will use it to conduct surveys.
If you use Google or Facebook Ads and drive people to a landing page on your website, it is common to try to collect email addresses. When you do this, you might consider creating an automated series of email to send to those who sign up over time. This series of email should keep on point and focus on the subject that caused people to sign up in the first place.
Developing a Well-Timed and Personalised Campaign Strategy
Consider when to send out your email in your campaigns. MailChimp allows you to schedule when your email should be sent. It also allows you to let MailChimp select the timing based on the location of your subscribers. The important thing to remember is to send your publications at a time when you get maximum opens and clicks. That will depend on content. You will also need to conduct analysis over time to decide on the best publication time.
If you send first thing in the morning, is it likely to clash your recipients’ morning email that needs urgent attention? If your client base is predominately businesspeople, should you send during or outwith office hours. What about sending over the weekend? Conduct trials at different times and analyse what performs best.
Wherever possible, personalise your email. At the most basic of levels, include your clients first and last name in the email subject line. If you address email to company or corporate clients and only have the company or corporate name, include that in the send field. If you depend only on the recipients’ email address, spam filters might just decide your email is spam and send it to junk!
You can incorporate your clients’ names in the body of your email. You might want to use the subscriber’s first name or their title and surname. Finally, you can use these merge fields anywhere in the body of the email and, importantly in the subject line. Become familiar with the merge codes in MailChimp or other email marketing tools you use.
Measuring and Analysing Email Marketing Performance
“Only what gets measured gets managed” was a phrase developed by Peter Drucker, an Austrian-American management expert. Measuring the performance of your email marketing campaigns is essential to help improve your performance and attract new subscribers and new business.
Tracking and Analysing Email Metrics and KPIs
There are a range of metrics available through most email marketing tools. They will provide a vast range of data. You can check how many people opened your email and how often those people opened it. Opportunities to click links in your email is key. When you measure this, you can see how many people clicked a link in your email. You can also look at the number of times a link was clicked and see what people were looking at. When you know what people are looking at, you can then decide to supply more information on this. In addition, if you are brave, you might then decide to send a follow-up email to those who have clicked a particular link in your email. Not a lot of solicitors do this!
You will also be interested in the number of people who unsubscribed from your list and how many bounced. Be careful to distinguish between hard and soft bounces!
Email marketing tools allow you to check out who has opened and clicked your email most and it can assign a score to your subscribers. This enables you to target your biggest fans or create and promote VIP groups.
Only you know what you want to achieve through you remail marketing campaigns. By being clear about this, you can set your Key Performance Indicators to check your campaigns are meeting and exceeding your expectations.
Leveraging Data to Optimise Campaigns and Improve Results
You might say the devil is in the data, and that is certainly true when you design your law firm email marketing strategy. You must get a clear understanding of what the data means. By doing so, you can then decide how to best target future campaigns.
If you have a subscriber list that has been around for a while, it makes sense to check who has been opening your emails. If you find you have subscribers who haven’t opened, say, any of the last five campaigns, do they really belong on your list?
You might also consider using an email cleaning tool, such as Bouncer Email Checker to check that the emails you have on your list are still valid. Remove those that are not because this improves your delivery rate! Bouncer can be embedded in MailChimp and it allows you to clean your data within MailChimp itself!
Create a VIP group and communicate with them more often about the things they are interested in. Don’t be afraid to ask them what they would like to hear more about. If they open and click through your email multiple times, those are the subscribers you want more of. Ask them to recommend others they think would also be interested in your emails.
Continuous testing improves engagement and returns
Look at what works best in the mix of images versus text. If your email is too heavily image led, how does the interaction look? When you have too much text versus images, did your subscribers interact?
You can conduct A/B testing on your list by offering different subject lines and content. This allows you to find out where the better interactions lie and then re-target your emails accordingly.
Think about re-sending your emails to those who didn’t open on the first send. You might want to be careful about this because some subscribers will receive your email in Outlook and not download the images. That means the “open” pixel will not trigger and you will not receive an “Open” report.
Review the contact clients are looking at when they click through to your website. You might then want to serve up more of this to them.
As you become more familiar with the reporting tool in your email marketing software, you can design the reports that suit you best and create even better, targeted campaigns.
Enhancing Your Law Firm’s Email Marketing Strategy
It is likely when you embark on your law firm email marketing strategy, you’ll start small and build up. There is a clear opportunity to connect with clients between transactions. You can also win new clients and new business from new and existing clients. Over time, you can grow your email marketing reach.
Incorporating Automation and Personalisation
Email marketing tools are very capable. One-off emails are excellent for mass communications, but you might want to send out information in a regular flow. Sometimes, a subject is just too big to cover in one email.
That’s when automation comes in.
You can design a series of emails that are sent to your subscribers on a regular basis. There is an opportunity to encourage interaction with your subscribers. Over time you can increase the complexity of your automation to respond to subscribers’ responses to your emails. The whole point about automation is engagement.
Hand in hand with that is personalisation. If you capture your subscriber’s first name, you can address them by their first name in every email you send. You can also use their first name in the subject line. This is extremely powerful because it looks like you are addressing them personally. Personalised automated email campaigns are an excellent way to engage with your subscribers.
Continuously Testing and Refining Your Email Strategy
Continuous improvement should be engrained in your law firm email marketing strategy. You must review every campaign and work out what works and, importantly what doesn’t. Concentrate more on what works and look at changing what doesn’t so that it then starts to work.
Drop the parts of your email strategy that simply do not work and replace them with things that do. Do not be afraid to conduct some A/B testing or doing different things with different segments of your subscriber base.
If you make any offers to your subscribers, analyse which are successful and reason out why. If some offers are completely unsuccessful, drop them or look to change them.
Your review and analysis should be a continuous process throughout all your email marketing campaigns. By doing this, you will, over time, have complete confidence in your email marketing decisions.
Email marketing is a powerful tool, helping law firms to connect with clients, establish trust, and drive business growth. You should consider implementing a well-defined law firm email marketing strategy that works. You can enhance client retention, attract new leads, and strengthen your brand presence. Remember to adapt your strategy based on feedback, industry trends, and the evolving needs of your law firm. With dedication and a thoughtful approach, your law firm can harness the full potential of email marketing to achieve remarkable success.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your law firm email marketing strategy, we’re only a phone call or email away. We work only with law firms. We help our law firm clients not only develop their email marketing strategy but execute it too! All you need to do is pick up the phone and call us on 07855 838395 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.