Getting your firm in front of your audience is the hardest part of gaining clients in today’s digital world. In the UK, the average marketing cost for law firms ranges from 0.5% to 5% of annual revenues, far below that of other industries.
It’s no secret that law firms often find themselves behind the curve in digital marketing, but in that lies tremendous opportunities for forward-thinking legal professionals to take advantage. One such avenue to explore is email marketing.
With 59% of marketers claiming that email is their most effective channel, harnessing its power can supercharge your bottom line. But starting an email list isn’t enough. You need to go about it the right way.
Do law firms use email marketing?
Law firms are gradually discovering the benefits of email. Although stats from UK firms are unavailable, the American Bar Association revealed that 41% of law firms were using email newsletters for marketing in 2021, up from 26% in 2020.
This is far below other industries, meaning that unlike other forms of marketing, such as PPC and social media ads, this is a blue-water zone to be exploited.
What can you expect from adopting an effective email marketing strategy? According to the Digital Marketing Association, email marketing has an average ROI of 42:1, meaning for every £1 spent, you generate £42 in business.
How can law firms benefit from email marketing?
Email marketing is yet another channel solicitors must add to their marketing mix. Unlike other channels, email marketing offers several unique benefits.
Understand that an email is a personal conversation. It’s an intimate communication technique that allows you to speak directly to prospects. This is why it’s so effective at building relationships: the message can be customised and delivered to the right people at the right time. It’s an alternative to the legacy scattergun approach.
Mastering email marketing is an opportunity to humanise yourself while demonstrating thought leadership. It’s the action that builds trust and formulates genuine relationships between you, your prospects and your existing clients.
Ultimately, this results in more brand awareness, leads and business.
Considering the low-cost barrier to entry of email marketing, this is a cost-effective marketing option requiring little investment. You can benefit from email marketing, whether you’re a large firm or a one-man operation.
Creating an email marketing strategy for your law firm
Gathering emails and blasting out corporate news is no strategy at all. People want information that’s relevant to them. For example, if you specialise in tackling unfair dismissal cases, there’s little point in sending out a newsletter on human rights.
Understand that despite the high ROI of email marketing, MailChimp research reveals average open rates for the legal industry are a relatively low 22%, with a paltry 2.81% click-through rate. So, it’s vital to avoid being disheartened.
You need a strategy that reflects your firm and the interests of the future clients you’re targeting. So, what aspects make up an optimal email marketing strategy?
Target Audience – Who are your target audience, and what do they care about? This will be specific to every law firm. Typically, you should begin with your primary practice areas when divining content for your newsletter.
Competitor Research – What are your competitors sending? One of the easiest ways to conduct competitor research is to sign up for a few of their newsletters and create a database of the subjects they’re tackling.
Goals – What is the purpose of your email list? Not every firm’s primary goal is generating direct business. Some use them to create brand awareness and generate industry authority. Defining your goals establishes the line between success and failure and the KPIs you prioritise.
Content Type – What sort of content are you planning to send? This could be anything from promotional emails and legal guides to invoices and special offers.
Frequency – The frequency of your emails is another defining factor. Setting expectations early is crucial to avoid annoying/abandoning your audience. Make it clear what your subscribers can expect from you.
Thankfully, email marketing strategies don’t require a budget because of the minimal startup cost. The primary challenge for law firms is setting aside the time to write newsletters and measure the results.
Email marketing best practices for law firms
Email marketing requires constant learning and development to master. After all, the habits of subscribers change over time. However, certain best practices remain. Let’s discuss some top tips for law firms getting to grips with email marketing.
- Set Clear Goals – Every email marketing campaign should have its own goals. Whether it’s acquiring more clients, retaining existing ones, or increasing awareness of your legal niche, you need a goal because this is what influences your measurables.
- Keep Your List Pruned – Building your email list is always a priority, but so is keeping your list clean. Only 56% of email subscribers stay on a list for 12 months, meaning you may be swayed by results from emails that are no longer monitored.
- Offer Value – Your emails are not a place to discuss why you are the best solicitor in the country. Instead, seek to offer value in as few words as possible. Stay away from complex legalese and leave your subscribers coming away feeling like they’ve learned something.
- Monitor Your Performance – Pay close attention to your metrics for each campaign, and don’t be afraid to change if something isn’t working. A/B testing is as relevant to email marketing as any other channel.
- Beware of Legal Compliance – The legal industry has more stringent policies to protect client confidentiality. This extends further than legislation like GDPR. Familiarise yourself with what you can and cannot feature to prevent potential problems.
Best email marketing software for law firms
Countless email marketing platforms exist to help you write newsletters, consolidate lists and launch campaigns. Let’s look at some of the leading options law firms use today.
Active Campaign is widespread across multiple industries because it integrates email and marketing automation. Although it’s often used for B2B clients, it’s also perfectly serviceable for B2C clients.
It allows you to tag contacts based on their behaviours, enabling you to drill down into different subscriber segments for more targeted communications.
MailChimp is one of the largest email marketing platforms in the world. It’s mainly designed for small and medium-sized businesses and offers several unique features.
For example, you can build landing pages in minutes, deliver personalised email postcards, and even send surveys to gather client feedback. However, beware that MailChimp gets expensive as your list grows, so some prefer MailerLite.
Most email marketing platforms’ fees are based on how many people you have on your list. However, Sendinblue is among the few that charge based on the number of emails sent.
Newbies to email marketing will love their drag-and-drop editor to design their emails, and their customer support team is proficient in helping with things like GDPR compliance.
If you’re ready to step into the law firm email marketing world, Tao Digital is waiting to support you in growing your firm. To get started, read our Beginner’s Guide to Digital Marketing now.