Email marketing is the first step for many businesses. Email marketing is accessible, inexpensive, and sometimes fun. However, email marketing is also very easy to mess up. New marketers typically make a few missteps when they start their email marketing. That is why we wanted to give you a few tips to improve the performance of your law firm's email marketing campaign.
Many of the topics in this article are long-term strategies that will help you today and two years from now. However, we included a few things you can do today to help your email marketing. If you implement these ideas, you should see an improved open rate, fewer opt-outs, and better engagement with your list.
Curate Your Email Audience and Keep the List Clean
For starters, you should be building your list. Buying a list may seem like a quick way to jump-start your marketing, but it will ultimately sabotage your efforts. Purchased lists have high opt-outs and rarely yield qualified leads.
Instead, use lead generation to build your list. This way, you are ensuring that your subscribers are pre-qualified (they are interested in your practice of law, live near your location, and are familiar with your law firm.)
Building your list will also ensure your opt-out rates will never be too high and engagement will never be too low. This is a great start for your email marketing.
As we will talk about later in this article, you should also keep your list clean. This means removing spam-bot submissions and old leads at least once a month, if not more often. When possible, make sure you are using a Captcha that filters out these erroneous submissions.
Keep it Simple Sweetie - How Clean Design Helps Email Deliverability
If you read that phrase and thought, "it means Keep It Simple Stupid," rest assured that I know. I just can't bring myself to call my readers "stupid."
What I mean about keeping it simple is keeping your email design clean. Too often we get ambitious with our emails, adding several images, color, and even embedded videos. Your intentions are good; you want an engaging email. However, you forget a few key points of email design. 1) Text to image ratio and 2) design responsiveness.
A big banner may display well on a desktop, but it looks distorted and unreadable on the phone. On wifi, your email loads quickly and all the images appear right away. On a mobile network, the email loads so slowly the reader would prefer to delete it instead of waiting for the content.
Both these scenarios support the idea of minimalist email design. Clean lines, simple images that are easy to scale, and an HTML only version for slow connections. Take a look at your templates; if they are too busy, it is time for a design upgrade.
Encourage People to Reply to Your Emails
Are you sending your subscribers emails from a no-reply email? If so, you may be missing out on great conversations with your list. At BenGlassLaw and Great Legal Marketing, we regularly get replies from our email broadcasts. These conversations are usually valuable because they connect us with our audience and show them that we are real people.
Your emails should be much more than a one-way conversation. By using a real email, you are giving your list an opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions. A real email address will make your emails more authentic, and hopefully, decrease your unsubscribe rate.
Are You Sending Too Few or Too Many Emails?
When someone opts-in to your marketing, typically by downloading a report or filling out a contact form, are they bombarded with emails from day one? Or, do they receive one follow-up email per month?
Neither extremes are preferred.
How often should you send your marketing emails? The answer depends on your ideal client. Some email marketers recommend letting the user set their schedule using "preference centers." A preference center can be a good idea, but it is likely the only time a subscriber sees the preference center is when they are ready to opt-out.
For BenGlassLaw, we created a two-month long follow-up campaign for our two most popular reports. After they have completed the follow-up sequence for the ebooks, they move to our general email list.
In some practice areas, it may be a good idea to remove subscribers from your general mailing list after a few months or years. Removing subscribers from your list will prevent opt-outs and unsubscribes from people who have been on your list too long. However, for some practice areas, the lead time is long, and it may be a good idea to leave contact on your list until they remove themselves.
Treat Your Subscribers Like They Are People
You are writing for regular people, not lawyers. Make sure your writing is easy to understand, engaging, and touches on topics of interest. If your list is made of local contacts, talk about local issues when you can.
Social media groups and local news outlets can give you some ideas for your newsletter. Often, local events outperform general topics. Holiday emails are overused and easily ignored. Instead of sending a benign "Happy Holidays" email, write about a specific local event. This will give your emails character while your competitor's emails look like canned email marketing.
Keep in mind, anything of quality is usually hard to make, but you can turn your email marketing into a system that you teach to your employees. Write standard operating procedures with step-by-step directions and tips on how to create a compelling email newsletter for your law firm.