Ancient internet marketers, like those who existed 8 years ago and still flourish to this day, banged on about “the list.” At digital marketing conferences, everyone wrapped their presentation about it, blogs were preoccupied with it, information products derived millions of dollars from it, pressing upon people to focus on building your “email list,” to treasure it and never, ever compromise it with bad content.
Despite the years that have passed and the succession of “new” media, notably social media as another potent medium for engagement, email still is the primary and most successful.
The fundamental reason that law firm email marketing is so important is to do with the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). CAC simply refers to both the money and time a law firm has to allocate in order to acquire new clients. Email has a relatively low CAC, but is dependent upon getting the fundamentals right at the outset.
1. Segmented lists: no matter how great your content, if it’s going to one list that consists of potential, current and past clients across multiple practice areas, then you’re simply having a wild guess that the information will apply and be of interest (and value) to the whole list. Rarely is that the case! Some firms try and get around this, by instigating email campaigns with the methodology that within it is “something for everyone or everything for someone.” It doesn’t work!
Conversely, what does work is when you have a segmented list of all those current clients who had a Will prepared in the last 6 months, who do not have an Enduring Power of Attorney, or a Advanced Health Directive or acknowledges that there is a significant spike in divorce rates among people post 50 years of age and maybe that in itself is worthy of a campaign (done delicately), with the over arching principle of creating value. To adopt the principles of Daniel Pink, the best way to sell is firstly by adopting a attitude of service and believing in the value of your legal help and how it will impact the life of the client or potential client.
We have also found it to be very effective to have singularly focused email campaigns that drive viewers to a specific, one dimensional page that is dedicated to solely to the topic, with very limited options to navigate from the web page itself.
An example of what we’re using successfully at present is a custom web page like this:
2. Great content: it goes without saying, at the very heart of any law firm email marketing strategy is to make certain that the content that you’re putting before your list is relevant, on-message and of value even if it does not result in business for your firm. Be prepared, inevitably you will get unsubscribes which isn’t necessarily a bad thing (list-cleansing).
3. List Management Software: your firm is probably building a list combined of new, current and past clients and people who have opted in via your website following the download of a guide or white paper etc. These groups of people aren’t at the same point in their interaction with your firm and shouldn’t be treated as such. Hence the need for list segmentation, but also management software that tracks engagement and then informs the marketing approach for each. A CRM (content resource management) system in this regard can be very useful.
What do we mean?
For example, in your family law practice, your marketing approach will be significantly different for a current client, then a warm lead who has just opted in through the download of your “Family Law Guide.” You would acknowledge that the messaging will be different, but so too does your management of both relationships.
A CRM is an incredibly effective tool in mapping the journey of each and the marketing interactions along the way.
4. Email Software: You cannot send email campaigns via your Microsoft Mail account. Correction, you can but it will do either one of two things. If you have a large list, you will crash your email server and secondly, you will sharply increase the risks of your email campaign being deemed by email servers receiving the email, as SPAM and it won’t be delivered and your server address, you may be marked as a SPAMMER and you will have ongoing difficulty with a number of things as a result, which we won’t go into here.
We offer both, but the latter is what we strongly encourage if you’re serious!
5. Be Consistent: At the next firm strategy meeting, actually sit down and track the path of a client as they move from a prospect to past client in every practice area that your firm offers. As you move from one step to the next, stop intermittently and ask yourself, what is happening for this person now and how can we speak to it. Collectively you will be surprised at the depth of engagement opportunities your firm has during the path, but is failing to do anything with.
With your email marketing, don’t expect open rates to be phenomenally high. Industry rates are within the 20 – 27% range and CTR (click through rates) at approximately 5%. Although, when done right, as a client of ours experienced recently, open rates can be substantially higher. In this client’s case, they experience 41% open rate of their segmented Wills and Estates campaign for the segmented list of current and past conveyancing clients.