E-mail Marketing in 2017

By Julie Turcotte posted 01-20-2017 02:45 PM

  

Clear & Convincing Feature Article

E-mail Marketing

“I think we should add regular e-mail campaigns to our marketing schedule,” said Linda Lawyer to partner and brother, Lance. “The marketing experts say that e-mail marketing is still the most effective way to reach our clients and prospective clients.”

Lance agreed and, because of the time constraints on their growing practice, they added a quarterly e-newsletter to their marketing schedule.

E-mail marketing campaigns, which have been in use for several years, are still the best way to deliver a targeted message to a particular and receptive audience. While it’s true that many e-mail messages are deleted after reading the subject line, it’s also true that e-mails with a message of value to a particular recipient will be read.

As a lawyer, there are two kinds of e-mail campaigns you can use:

  • Newsletters sent to those who have given you permission to contact.
  • Targeted e-mail messages sent to a select group.

Newsletters

Newsletters can be sent to present and past clients of the firm who have agreed to receive them. The content should interest that particular client. A family law attorney might send information about a recent Friend of the Court decision; an elder law lawyer could discuss considerations in selecting a patient advocate; a tax law lawyer could publish a recent IRS update.

The idea is to tailor the writing to the reader who wants the news. You, of course, want to be seen as an expert in your field—a lawyer to whom clients and prospective clients will turn when in need of your service. Provide valuable information and they will keep reading. Information about firm changes, new attorneys who have joined the firm, and big wins are not seen as valuable messages. Consider including them at the end of the substantive message.

Targeted E-mail Messages

These messages are designed for a specific group. Perhaps some of your clients are in the transportation business and the spring thaws are starting so you want to update them on the frost laws in Michigan. A quick message to that group will do the job and will be read.

Other readers might want to learn about trusts for pets or any changes in the DUI law. There are many topics that only appeal to a particular consumer. You can use a targeted e-mail message to send them a quick alert.

What are best practices for an e-mail campaign?

  • Only send e-mails to those who have agreed to receive them.
  • Send your e-mail consistently—once a month, every two months, quarterly—establish a routine that works for you.
  • Keep the “from” name consistent—your name or the firm name.
  • Use clear, concise subject lines.
  • Don’t use ALL CAPS (considered shouting) or fancy fonts that are hard to read.
  • Include an easy to find way to opt-out of receiving future e-mails.
  • Be sure your contact information is clearly displayed.

Your content should engage the reader. Pay attention to your analytics—how often are your e-mails opened? How often do readers click through to your website? Are people subscribing to your e-mail? Answers to those questions can help you plan a successful marketing campaign.

E-mail promotions, when done well, are effective. They keep your name and expertise prominent in your client’s mind, leading to more referrals and more business. However, as always, remember when posting to the outside world to know your ethical obligations. When in doubt about the ethics of your e-mail communications, call the SBM ethics helpline at (877) 558-4760 before you post.

Roberta GubbinsRoberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.

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