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Today, I’ll introduce a series about email marketing options for law firms.

When used correctly, email can be a valuable advertising asset to attorneys who want to reach clients and leads. Advertising is a ubiquitous feature of our modern landscape — be it on a billboard or television commercial, in a radio spot, or even trying to watch a video on the Internet. (When was the last time you watched a clip on YouTube without being prompted to watch an advertisement, first?)

Email is a medium that most people check daily, if not obsessively. Email can be an excellent way to reach potential clients.

Email is a medium that requires careful crafting, timing, and analysis. You want to actually reach your potential clients, not just their inbox. (Or worse yet, their spam folder.)

Creating a balanced law firm email…

Do you spend a great deal of time crafting lengthy email newsletters?

The topics you choose may appeal to you, but they may not appeal to your potential clients.

Attorneys should check that their email content is:

  • Easily readable
  • Free of legal jargon
  • Informative but short enough to keep readers’ attention

If the body or subject line doesn’t compel potential clients to read on and take action, the energy you’ve put into creating content into becomes a waste of both your time and effort.

Perhaps you’ve promised to send out a daily or weekly email series on a particular topic. Practicing the law can monopolize your time. It can be a challenge to meet the deadlines you’ve drawn up for yourself. This can be a major disappointment to your clients and leads if they’re expecting regular interaction with you and you’re unable to provide it.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, more emails aren’t always better. Think about a product or service you really like. If you’ve given your contact information to that company, did they fill your inbox with messages?

I recently had an experience with this issue. I gave my email address to the high-end brand that makes my favorite perfume. Before I knew it, I received two or three daily emails from them. I was often alerted to my inbox, only to find another email from them. It interrupted my workflow and drove me crazy. Now, all of their emails now go to my spam folder.

Am I still likely to buy that perfume? Probably. But this company made a marketing choice that hurt their ability to offer me additional products I might be interested in. Surely, I’m not the only consumer who feels that way. A bad email marketing choice can hurt your brand and your revenue, regardless of how well-established you are.

There’s an art to providing tailored, timely, useful content to your law firm leads and clients without pestering them or overwhelming yourself.

How Marketing Automation Matters For Legal Emails

Marketing automation, much like it sounds, is designed to tackle certain marketing aspects for you automatically. Ideally, it should maximize your law firm’s productivity. One aspect of marketing automation is email.

Marketing automation, to an extent, revolves around identifying and generating leads. Not all leads behave identically, and marketing automation aims to compartmentalize leads based on their degree of interest or online behavior.

Attorneys can tailor their efforts based on the needs of the potential client. Here are some examples:

  • Do you have a lead who’s aware of your law firm, but isn’t ready to become your client at this time?
  • Do you have a potential client who’s interested in your law firm but is also considering other law firms.
  • Perhaps you have a former client who wants to encourage others to seek your assistance for legal matters.

Choosing the right attorney is a complicated process for many potential clients.

Content rich emails in conjunction with marketing automation software can help customize, nurture and guide interactions with potential clients. Here are some common ways to use email to engage your audience.

1. The Drip Campaign

A drip campaign is a feature of marketing automation that sends content to individuals based on their current standing in the legal sales cycle. Relevance is the key objective in this model.

Are your potential clients aware of what your law office can offer them? Maybe a small business owner is interested in learning more about breach of contract, or a young man who’s been arrested for DUI wants to know about the next steps he should take in handling his case. Perhaps a woman is considering a divorce and isn’t sure how to prepare her finances.

No matter what area of law you practice, and regardless of where a lead is in the sales cycle, a well-designed drip campaign can capture attention — and business.

Advantage: Drip campaigns allow you to engage web visitors, whether a person is newly aware of your law firm, shopping around for representation, or they’re already your client. These campaigns help law firms engage potential clients in a meaningful way that cements your brand in their mind.

2. A Weekly Newsletter

This is a weekly email that has a lot of content flexibility. You might choose to promote an upcoming blog series or a drip campaign, or even poll your readership on a particular topic. The results of that poll can become material for a new email or blog post. The goal of your law firm’s content should be to maintain and build relationships with your potential clients as well as to educate.

Advantage: Regular newsletters are a great way to keep people up-to-date on what’s happening at your law firm and keep your brand at the forefront of their minds. Attorneys can promote upcoming events, a blog series or address the week in review.

3. On-Demand Collateral

Collateral in a marketing sense refers to a collection of media used to promote your law firm. Marketing collateral originally referred to brochures and visual aids. Today, collateral can encompass articles, blog posts, e-books, podcasts or videos.

Advantage: Marketing collateral supports your primary advertising message. It can promote transparency, as well as educate potential clients when they are interested in more information about your legal expertise.

Attorneys can integrate these materials into drip campaigns and newsletters, maximizing reader exposure to informative, law-related content. Collateral can often be easier to get into the hands of a prospective client than having them sign up for a drip campaign.

For example, a downloadable e-book on “The Every Person’s Guide to Settling Contract Disputes” may be easier to access than a blog or email series on “Eight Weeks Of Preparation When You’re Asking For A Divorce.” Both materials are valuable, but each serves a different purpose.

In my upcoming series, I’ll review the following marketing automation systems:

Now that you have a better idea about how email can help or hurt your practice, we’ll examine various, popular email marketing systems and discuss the benefits they can provide to your law office.

Check back daily for additions to this series by visiting the Email Marketing For Lawyers Series Page.