Newsletters – The New Tool for Marketing Your Law Firm
Where Do You Start?
When it comes to marketing your law firm, it can be overwhelming to even know where to start. You are most likely constantly inundated with flyers and e-mails all claiming the newest, best, fastest marketing ideas out there. Bigger websites, more Google AdWords, more pay-per-click ads, more radio, more… sticking your photo on park benches? You name it, somebody is trying to sell it! While the idea of broadcasting yourself and the firm all over the internet, the local TV channels, radios, and maybe even billboards is certainly appealing, many of these ventures can also be incredibly expensive, and to be realistic, not an option. There are other options. One of our favorites, an option low on up-front cost and maintenance cost, is the newsletter.
Why a Newsletter?
When you’re marketing your law firm, there are a number of things you want to convey: a) your existence, b) your knowledge, and c) your success (the more current and quickly you can keep doing this, the better). The newsletter allows you to convey all of these things simply, effectively, and at a low cost. With a snazzy design that can even match your website if you have one, some expert-written articles, an introduction to your firm and any of your recent news, you cover all your bases in one easy step.
Who Do You Start With?
As a successful law firm, one of your most valuable resources for law firm marketing is already within your grasp: your past clients. Past clients have worked with you, may need to work with you again, and more than anything: can hand off your newsletter or press “Forward” on a handy email version to share with friends who may just so happen to be looking for an attorney. Almost nothing beats word of mouth advertising. Sharing newsletters is a piece of cake. Whether you opt to email or send them out in the mail, both options make it extremely easy to remind past clients you can still help them if they need you again, or that you can help their friends.
What Does it Do?
A newsletter does everything you need to for marketing your law firm. It gives you an opportunity to convey your knowledge. High quality articles that are lay-reader friendly do this with a quick glance from your audience (even if the articles don’t actually get read). You can promote all recent successes in a flash. That front page is the perfect place to display the latest case you won. It’s also a fantastic display area for your client testimonials. And finally, take that back page to write a quick note to your clients to show a little of your personal side that extends a gesture of “I’ll help however I can.”
Is it For You?
If you’re searching for a new way to market, a way that’s inexpensive and effective from all marketing angles, I highly suggest you give newsletters a shot. Whether you opt for monthly, bi-monthly, or even quarterly, the options are limitless. If you want us to put one together for you, just give us a call and 30 days and we’ll have a custom designed and custom written newsletter specific to your practice area delivered to your inbox or your mailbox!
5 Key Reasons Why You Need a Law Firm Newsletter
Although social media can do wonders for exposing your law firm to the masses, it’s important to keep up with your viewers outside of social media to strengthen client relationships and develop business leads. And sending out a regular firm newsletter (via email) is perfect for doing this, and much more.
The list is long, but here’s a look at 5 key reasons why your firm should be sending out a newsletter to present and potential clients.
1. It’s Your Content On Your Turf
Social networks allow you to have your own profile, but these sites are owned and operated by other entities, and your uploaded content, and visibility thereof, is dependent on their external servers, advertising guidelines, etc.
Business page posts on Facebook usually reach less than 1% of your audience unless your firm is paying for advertising programs, and Twitter and Pinterest aren’t far behind.1 With your newsletter being sent directly to a subscriber’s email, however, your reach is at maximum level.
2. You Determine the Girth Of Your Newsletter
While there are restrictions in regard to the size of your content posts on social media—Twitter especially—there are no restrictions when it comes to the girth of your own newsletter. It can be a brief alert letting your subscribers know of an upcoming speaking engagement, to a more complex editorial on current firm developments.
TIP: Take a lesson from social media, and keep your newsletters short and to the point. A newsletter that’s too long can be boring at best, and salesy, at worst. Also, some subscribers may be reading your newsletters on their phone—another reason a shorter newsletter works better.
3. Newsletters Can Supply Direct Gifts
On your social pages, the suggestion of a gift in the form of a free document upload or other perks usually begins with “visit our website to learn more.” With a newsletter, you can include a direct link to a subscriber’s gift, or upload a PDF within the newsletter itself.
4. Newsletters Are Personalized
Social media posts are audience-targeted, but newsletters are personalized. The “To” line in your newsletter is a personal email, and the salutation of the newsletter greets the recipient by name, where this kind of personalization is not possible on your social media posts.
5. Newsletters Are Good For SEO
The connection between newsletter email and lawyer SEO isn’t quickly apparent; Google doesn’t crawl/rank individual emails. But, you can turn long newsletters into individual blog posts, and insert relevant keyword phrases throughout.
If your newsletters are short, you can create a number of related newsletters, bundle the content together, and turn the newsletters over a couple of times as one blog post. Still great for law firm SEO juice.
How To Create A Fantastic Email Newsletter
Have you noticed that more and more cereal brands are featuring nutrition facts front and center on their packaging? It seems like an off-the-wall question, but it may have more to do with attorney marketing to prospective clients than you may think.
Many consumers feel that possessing more information empowers them to make good decisions, which means they may be willing to reach for products that readily provide data and other information. This can apply to the legal field as well. In fact, a legal email newsletter (e-newsletter) that abides by the following guidelines can provide valuable information to current and potential clients, and brand your law firm as the “go to” legal resource in the community.
Write about Specific Topics
It can be tempting to write about broad subjects in order to appeal to most readers, but painting too large a picture can actually work against you. Zero in on a hot topic sure to strike the fancy of a niche audience group, and then run with it. Then, appeal to a different group of readers the next time. This strategy ensures that all readers find relevant content in your legal e-newsletter and that the content remains fresh.
For instance, a firm specializing in bankruptcy and family law could fashion a newsletter geared toward divorcees with children, providing content focused on how to help kids adjust to post-divorce life. In the next edition, the focus could switch to young divorcees in their 20s and the long-term financial effects of divorce.
Create a Riveting Email Subject Line
None of your legal newsletter content strategies matter if prospects don’t open the email in the first place. The first step toward accruing readership is to create email subject lines that catch the recipient’s attention quickly and thoroughly enough that they’re willing to interrupt their day to read your content.
The email marketing service provider MailChimp, which scrutinized the click rates of more than 200 million email campaigns, suggests the following best practices for creating email subject lines.
- Do include a brief teaser of the email content.
- Do keep subject lines to 50 characters or less.
- Do utilize local terms such as city names.
- Don’t repeat the same subject line for every newsletter email campaign.
- Don’t use the terms “help,” “percent off,” and “reminder.”
- Don’t use excessive capitalization, exclamation marks, and clichéd promotional phrases.
Craft an interesting blog article
When it comes to choosing a stimulating topic, keep it simple, engaging, and relevant to your audience. A family and divorce law firm, for example, could feature a main topic titled “5 Inexpensive Outings with the Kids” or “Fun Facts About Independence Day.”
If you’re stumped, just think: what might make readers stop their day for a few minutes when your legal newsletter comes into their inboxes? What kinds of blog and social media posts normally receive the highest level of engagement? Then, write a brief 200- to 300-word post on your chosen topic.
Make the Features Relatable
Nothing screams “don’t bother reading me!” louder than dry legal content. It’s important to be informative, but your legal newsletter doesn’t need to read like a textbook. Make sure your audience can relate to the features on an emotional level as well as an intellectual one; human interest pieces and analyses of current events, Q & A’s, and even short videos can keep things entertaining while remaining educational.
Help readers stay connected to your firm. Announce upcoming events, highlight recent news about your practice such as awards or significant cases won, or feature your involvement in the community. It only takes a few minutes to keep recipients in the know about things that your team is doing, which can engage your community.
Share valuable tips and advice
A newsletter shouldn’t focus only on your firm; it should also supply helpful information to recipients in order to be valuable reading material. Even something as simple as giving readers a heads up about a new law that might affect them—and what they can do to respond—can add value to your legal newsletter.
Include feedback and photos from clients
On that same note, an e-newsletter is a great medium to showcase short testimonials or photos from clients. If a happy client sent in a thank you note for fighting for their Social Security disability benefits, for instance, then feel free to share it with the rest of your connections! Just be sure to receive permission to attribute their name to the quotation beforehand.
Don’t forget contact information
In a sidebar or at the end of your legal newsletter, list the contact information for the best person to contact with questions or concerns.
How To Get The Most From Your Newsletter
When it comes to marketing your law firm, your newsletter is likely a core component. After all, it marks the gateway to your sales funnel… it provides you with a means to stay in front of clients and prospects and it is the easiest way to help those clients and prospects learn more about what you do.
It makes sense then, that you’d want that newsletter to be the best it could possibly be. That you’d want to create something that’s actually more than just another marketing piece – that you’d want to create something that allows you to connect with your subscribers, build a rapport and generate a genuine interest in your firm’s services.
The good news is, a newsletter can do all that and more… you just need to think a little bigger.
Your Design Should Engage
As businesses go, law firms tend to be more conservative and traditional than their non-legal counterparts. And rightly so… the law, after all, is serious business. But serious doesn’t necessarily mean boring and contrary to popular opinion, a serious law firm CAN have an eye-catching newsletter.
It doesn’t have to be flashy – that minimalist look you know and love will still do just fine – but it does need to engage your audience. Take advantage of section headings and story titles; use larger, specialty fonts to draw your readers to the different segments of content. Employ a layout that allows you to maximize your space while encouraging your readers to learn more. Use graphics that are professionally created and if your newsletter is digital, consider opting for a responsive layout… remember, 48% of emails are opened on mobile devices, yet only 11% of emails sent are optimized for this format. Make sure your digital newsletters read just as well on a smartphone as they do on a desktop.
Learn to Write Catchy Titles
Creating a good title takes practice – it’s an art form, and definitely one you should master. Titles should make your readers want to learn more. It should entice them to click a link, by giving just enough to pique their interest, yet not so much that they no longer need to actually read the article.
Unlike your design, titles need a little flash and in one way or another, should give your readers a reason to click through or read more. Lists work well for this purpose, i.e., “Top 10 Ways…” or “3 Things You Never Thought…” as do titles that present a solution to an annoying problem – “How To Ensure…” or “How to Stop…” are both good examples.
Offer Something Exclusive
Your newsletter is most certainly a promotional tool, but it should do more than rehash content they can get elsewhere. Link to recent blog posts, promote upcoming seminars or events, but also give your readers something exclusive – a feature article for example, published only in the newsletter. This not only gives new prospects a reason to subscribe, it also gives existing readers something to look forward to.
Give Your Content Some Personality
While your newsletter should definitely cover topics related to your practice area, it should also help build your rapport with your readers… and this requires some personality. Include some more personal features in each issue – a note from you for example, a story or experience that you consider a defining moment or even pictures from your latest office party.
The more personal the newsletter, the more intimate the read and the more your readers begin to feel like they really “know” you.
4 Tips for Your Legal Newsletter: Preventing Email Opt-Outs
Email opt-outs result from a variety of factors, not the least of which is recipient disengagement. When readers don’t connect with you, your brand, and/or your content, they are much more likely to unsubscribe from emails due to a lack of engagement. With these tips for preventing opt-outs, your firm can build a solid subscriber list for your legal newsletters and general marketing emails.
Tip #1: Gather better quality recipients from the get-go
A quality email list full of engaged recipients starts from step one: gathering email addresses from people who are genuinely interested in your brand in the first place. Of course, the number of recipients on your email list matters, but it’s always better to have a smaller list of recipients who open your emails, read your legal newsletters, and respond to calls to action (by contacting your firm, participating in marketing surveys, sharing blog content, providing referrals, etc.) than a much larger list of low-quality leads.
Ensure that you’re building a quality list from the get-go by reaching out to the right people, including:
- Website visitors
- Past clients
- Connections from networking events and in-person marketing events
Tip #2: Pay attention to formatting
If poor formatting makes reading or navigating your legal newsletters difficult on desktop, phone, or tablet, most readers won’t hesitate to opt-out of receiving them. Quality check by sending test emails to ensure that links work, images are properly sized, and the overall design looks pleasant and cohesive.
Tip #3: Don’t just sell
Strike a balance between pitching and simply providing free advice and information in order to deliver valuable emails. For example, a bankruptcy firm could include a newsletter article describing 10 ways to stop accruing debt, and then follow that information with a gentle call to action: “Bankruptcy may be the best solution to address your debt. Find out your options by calling our knowledgeable attorneys at 1-888-888-8888 now.”
Additionally, another way to ensure value is to portion your list so you’re not sending the same content to everyone. A personal injury firm, for instance, could separate their list into those interested in on-the-job injuries and those who would prefer information about off-the-job injuries. That way, recipients receive content that is relevant to them, such as Worker’s Compensation information for the former category and medical malpractice content for the latter list, and have more reason to value your firm’s emails and legal newsletters.
Tip #4: Communicate just often enough
Make a game plan for keeping in touch with different categories of contacts. Your warmest contacts, for example, may appreciate receiving emails relatively often from you—maybe a message every two weeks. More than once a month for cold recipients is probably overdoing it and could lead to lower subscription rates.
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