Email marketing can be a powerful tool for lawyers to grow their practices and better serve clients.
However, crafting effective emails takes strategy and skill. In this article, we provide 11 tips to help lawyers leverage email to build meaningful relationships, improve client retention, and grow their law firms.
Whether you’re just starting or looking to improve an existing email program, these best practices will help you connect with more clients and demonstrate value on an ongoing basis.
The Importance of Email Marketing for Lawyers
Email marketing is critical for lawyers because it allows you to regularly stay top of mind with clients and prospects.
Unlike expensive ads, a well-crafted email strategy can help you nurture relationships over time at little to no cost.
The ROI for email marketing is estimated to be around $44 for every $1 spent.
Beyond monetary gains, email keeps you connected with people during all stages of the client lifecycle – from initial outreach to maintaining longtime client relationships after cases wrap up.
This facilitates referral business as past clients will keep you in mind for new needs or when recommending you to associates.
Ultimately, leveraging email as a tool builds meaningful relationships, enhances client retention, and supports steady firm growth year after year. Given the many benefits, dedication to an email strategy is well worth the effort for lawyers.
1. Collect Email Addresses From All New Consultations
The first step in building an effective email marketing program is to consistently collect email addresses from all new prospective clients. This is essential, yet something many lawyers fail to prioritize.
When someone comes in for an initial free consultation, train your staff to request contact information right away on intake forms. Update virtual meeting templates and consultation confirmation emails to include email capture fields as well.
The key is making this a standard procedure – cement it as an official part of your client onboarding process so it never gets missed.
Why is gathering emails so important?
Email marketing allows you to nurture relationships with prospects over time. After an introductory consultation, you can share helpful legal content to showcase your expertise. Send periodic updates on their prospective case.
Offer discounts or other specials to encourage hiring you for representation. Email keeps you top of mind, building familiarity and trust. Without someone’s email address, you lose the ability to easily distribute valuable information to prospects after meeting them.
Beyond dedicated forms and templates, coach all employees to directly ask for email addresses when possible. Train staff to say “May I have your email address so I can send some additional resources after our consultation today?”
Get in the habit of collecting this info from the very first meeting, verbal ask or not. An email opens the door to consistent, low-cost communication. So make gathering addresses from prospective clients an utmost priority whenever you have touchpoints with new people. This sets the foundation for keeping leads engaged, informed, and more likely to convert into clients.
2. Segment Mailing List by Practice Area
Once you have built up an email list filled with contacts and leads, it is important to take some time to segment your mailing list based on practice area and legal needs. Don’t just lump everyone together into one master list. Sort contacts into targeted segments so you can better personalize communication.
For example, group together subscribers who are going through divorce into one section. Put those needing assistance with small business contracts into another category.
Manually separate them yourself or use email marketing software that can automatically tag and organize segments when a new lead signs up.
Establish customized segments around your core specialties – perhaps those focused on DUI defense, employment discrimination cases, or estate planning needs.
The benefit of list segmentation is the ability to send hyper-targeted, relevant emails to each group. Subscribers looking for divorce lawyers don’t want to open messages about entrepreneurship law or vice versa. Sending blanket emails to your whole list with general legal information results in lower open and click rates.
However, catered content that directly speaks to their specific situation or case type resonates much more. Segmentation allows you to write emails talking exclusively about custody battles to those clients while discussing LLC formation tips with small business owners.
Overall, take advantage of email segmentation tools to categorize leads based on their unique legal needs.
This personalization helps you better provide value, build trust, and improve relationship-building through your email marketing. When you directly address their pain points, subscribers pay more attention rather than glossing overbroad, generic messages. Segment for relevancy and higher engagement.
3. Send a Newsletter With Legal Insights and Firm Updates
Consistency is critical for your email marketing to succeed. Set up a system to distribute a monthly or quarterly newsletter to all contacts and subscribers. Your goal is to provide readers with helpful legal insights and law firm updates on an ongoing basis. Don’t just email promotional offers or event announcements randomly – follow an organized newsletter cadence.
Curate interesting articles exploring trending laws, headline-making verdicts, changes in the legal industry that could impact your audience, etc. Share two to three educational pieces focused on legal topics per newsletter.
This establishes your reputation as a trusted expert in your field, not just a typical lawyer referral line. Subscribers begin viewing you as a reliable resource for guidance. However, don’t ever push sales offers or shameless plugs into newsletters. Overt selling damages consumer trust and increases unsubscribe rates immediately.
Mix educational articles with law firm-specific updates. Spotlight notable cases you’ve won, new associates who have joined the team, special honors or awards received by partners, charity work celebrations, additional locations if you are expanding, etc.
Readers connect with transparency – your newsletter allows subscribers to feel involved in company milestones big and small. This nurtures relationships by consistently keeping your firm top of mind month after month.
Intersperse brief paragraphs with ample white space, plenty of headers, and bullet points for readability too.
Regular newsletters establish reliability and demonstrate your commitment to serving clients through valuable information sharing. Both current and prospective clients then remain highly engaged with your firm over months or years ahead.
4. Share New Court Rulings Relevant to Clients
As a lawyer, it is your responsibility to stay constantly up-to-date on legal precedents, new court rulings, case law developments, and more that emerge.
Do not fall behind – whether regional verdicts or Supreme Court decisions pay attention to any judgments holding implications for your clients and areas of practice. Then, leverage email marketing to immediately share relevant updates and takeaways while things feel timely.
For example, screenshot or link to the exact text of recent child custody or divorce case decrees handed down that now set new standards in your state. Explain using your legal expertise how the judgment may impact those going through separation or filing for alimony modification in the coming months.
Digest the ruling down to key clauses and practical ramifications for people like readers navigating the family court system.
Similarly, if protocols around blood alcohol testing and DUI charges shift, inform your audience fast. Provide annotation calling out which defense approaches may need adjustment or what new options are now on the table given evidence statement changes. Always tie legal insights back to subscribers’ situations so they recognize the value right away.
Overall, being the email source clients frequently turn to whenever laws evolve or verdicts get decided builds authority and reliability immensely over time.
Instead of hearing about a class action lawsuit ruling from generic media coverage days later, readers learn first from emails sent by you near-instantly. Send updates faster than competitors, spinning court developments into action steps catered to each reader segment. Consistency sets up your firm as the gold standard for up-to-the-minute legal guidance readers feels good relying upon.
5. Send Birthday and Holiday Greetings Emails
Don’t lose the personal touch as your law practice grows. Set aside time at the start of each month to send meaningful birthday and holiday greeting emails to clients.
Personalize messages using merge tags to insert individual first names and make connections feel authentic. Craft a brief, cheerful email with a colorful graphic or photo matching the occasion’s theme – perhaps a birthday cake and candles for upcoming age milestones.
Keep the tone sincere yet professional using a simple sentiment like “Wishing you an abundance of joy this holiday season ahead, [First Name]!” or “Here’s to another wonderful trip around the sun!”.
Avoid plugging special offers or heavy promotions. This isn’t the time or place for obvious sales hooks which can damage rapport if poorly timed around personal occasions for relationship-building.
Of course, always include an easy unsubscribe link in the footer for those not want future seasonal messages from your firm.
Though these special greetings only require a few thoughtful minutes per client, little personalized outreach efforts go a tremendously long way. Existing customers feel surprised and delighted that their lawyer takes time to make birthdays or religious holidays special across the miles.
It also builds trust with newer leads seeing how you make each person feel individually valued, setting the expectation this VIP treatment will continue if they hire you. Amid case research, document drafting, and court hearings, take a breath to sprinkle in the human touch through email.
6. Cross-Sell Services With Targeted Offers
One email marketing strategy with huge potential is carefully cross-selling complementary legal services to your existing client base. Avoid randomly promoting all firm offerings constantly, which damages relationships through pushy sales behavior. Instead, thoughtfully cross-sell a few times per year using exclusive discounts and personalized offers tailored to subscribers’ needs.
First, leverage your segmented mailing lists, with contacts grouped based on current or past case types.
Look at prior matters they hired you for. Then determine what additional legal help might serve as logical next steps for those clients specifically. Craft exclusive discount codes or special introductory rate packages on those ancillary offerings to incentivize trying your wider expertise.
For example, small business owners who previously worked with you on startup filings could get 25% off their trademarks and copyright registration assistance. Those finalizing complex divorce terms after months of settlement negotiations might appreciate coupons for your estate planning and wealth management offerings now that new financial plans are required.
The key is aligning cross-promotions to each subscriber segment with authenticity and real added value. Avoid overselling services that don’t genuinely fit certain clients. With care not to seem overly pushy about continual purchases, tasteful cross-selling strengthens loyalty and expands your books of business simultaneously when client-centric at the core.
7. Spotlight Lawyer Achievements and Accolades
Actively highlight and promote achievements, media coverage, and speaking engagements featuring your attorneys through email outreach. Don’t assume professional accolades speak for themselves – spotlight key milestones proactively as part of your marketing mix.
For example, send press releases or announcements when your team secures a major class action settlement, forms huge partnerships expanding service capabilities, wins prestigious industry awards, or obtains leadership roles directing state legal associations.
Share newly earned specialty credentials or certificate designations as well which underscore advanced qualifications.
Email enables fast, clickable access to the exact media coverage, award recipient lists, video footage, or web pages showcasing the win rather than just describing it in text. This tangent visibility strengthens perceptions of your firm’s authority and trustworthiness.
Promoting team accomplishments also keeps your lawyers top of mind for retention or referrals next time someone requires legal representation for a case fitting your capabilities.
For optimal ongoing reach, evolve achievement spotlights into a monthly email series. “Attorney Spotlight” could profile a different lawyer from your firm each month, delving into their journey, skills, charity involvement, recent victories, why they love practicing law, and more.
This regular cadence continually nurtures affinity while capturing new contacts – including peers or in-house counsel who may tap your firm’s services down the road after learning what sets your lawyers apart through each spotlight edition.
8. Send Polls and Surveys To Get Client Feedback
Actively ask for feedback from subscribers by sending quick polls and surveys through your email marketing software. Avoid making assumptions about what clients want or need – give them direct opportunities to weigh in.
Occasionally distribute short, 3-5 question surveys to subscribers segmented out by practice area focus. Pose questions like “How are your legal situation and priorities shifting this year as we recover from the pandemic?”. Or ask “With our firm expanding service capabilities in several new areas, what additional assistance can we provide to serve your business moving forward?”.
Polls also quickly gauge perspectives. For example, when a new legislature around digital privacy rights gets proposed, ask audiences to click whether they support or oppose the policy changes. Engaging subscribers by asking for participation rather than just pushing one-sided messages builds rapport fast.
Surveys supply data you can analyze to tweak firm offerings, content approaches, retainer structure, and more to exceed expectations. Follow-up reporting back findings also demonstrates you truly listen to client opinions with action.
No need to over-survey either – quick feedback requests once a quarter at most prevent exhaustion. But occasional polls and surveys give invaluable insights you would otherwise miss. Email tools make facilitating easy too. Prioritize two-way communication with clients, not just outbound presentations.
9. Create Retention Campaigns for Inactive Clients
Don’t forget about long-time subscribers or past clients who interact less and less over time after initially hiring your law services. Consistently engage both very active and inactive contacts on your mailing list to minimize attrition among your audience.
A good rule of thumb is to check on anyone who hasn’t opened a single email after around 3 months of sending regular newsletters or alerts. Segment these stagnant subscribers into groups. Then create tailored retention campaigns trying to genuinely re-engage them by meeting current needs.
Perhaps send a personalized email asking feedback questions like “Jane, noticed we haven’t connected in a while. Have your legal priorities changed this year? How can we better assist you moving ahead?”.
Poll former clients on what content or skill expansions at your firm now interest them when they initially sought help with divorce cases years back but life looks different post-pandemic. You could also offer exclusive discounts on updated service packages to incentivize renewing contracts if needs have evolved.
Retention emails can be as simple as checking in by name and mentioning their past matters worked on. This demonstrates sincere care and attention that subscribers still want to feel, even during quieter periods of legal activity for them. Taking time to consistently reach out minimizes client attrition month-over-month.
Then if you capture promising signals denoting renewed interest, follow up immediately to welcome them back! Leverage retention and reactivation campaigns every 4-6 months to sustain client relationships for the long run.
10. Ensure Mobile Responsiveness
In today’s world, the majority of professionals access email constantly through mobile devices rather than desktops alone.
They squeeze in quick check-ins amid back-to-back meetings, and court hearings while commuting or waiting in line for coffee. This mobility is precisely what makes email marketing so conveniently reached.
However, don’t take responsive design for granted – optimize and test messages for flawless rendering on smartphones as the primary access vehicle.
Use basic single-column templates so content displays cleanly when scaled down. Check text sizing, links, CTAs, and images all resize correctly on a small screen where attention spans are short.
The last thing you want is critical information hard to absorb or calls to action out of sight.
- Preview all campaigns through mobile display simulations first before deploying to your list.
- Pinpoint anything appearing jumbled or tough to click due to tiny touch targets.
- Also, consider modern solutions like adding calendar integration for saving dates from legal event invites within the email.
- Maintain compliance too – ensure easy unsubscribe links are visibly placed so contacts control preferences.
While you may create emails using a spacious computer monitor and keyboard initially, envision your subscribers screening it one-handed while hustling between meetings.
Mobile responsiveness makes all the difference enabling messages to resonate and prompt action even during pockets of availability throughout busy workdays. Treat mobile optimization as the rule, not the exception.
11. Track Email Metrics To Optimize Campaigns
Too many lawyers send email campaigns once without ever tracking how each message is performed. Proper email marketing requires continually monitoring metrics and optimizing based on data insights.
Set aside 15 minutes each month to analyze your email software dashboard reporting including:
- Open Rates – What % of subscribers open your average email? How do rates compare across practice area segments? Monitor for trends up or down over sequential sends through the year. Low and decreasing open rates signal disinterest from poor subject lines or irrelevant content.
- Click-Through Rates – When people do open emails, what % then click on embedded links and CTAs for follow-through actions? High open rates mean nothing if clicks lag nonetheless. Maybe call-to-action placement needs improvement.
- Spam Reports – Subscribers mark messages as spam when they seem promotional, overly frequent, or demonstrate a lack of personalization and opt-out choices. Minimize through relationship-building copy and easy unsubscribe links.
- Unsubscribe Rate – Reviews the number of subscribers actively choosing to no longer receive your emails, preferring for their address removed from the list instead. Reduce via better targeting and segmentation so remaining readers seem highly interested based on their legal situation and needs.
Compare metrics across different email categories as well to guide future content planning. Perhaps family law contacts love timely case ruling updates, while startup founders open fundraising tip blogs at much higher rates.
Double down on niche topics resonating disproportionately well with each unique audience group based on empirical data.
Test new subject lines, send times, visual layouts, and email series concepts too. Let data direct optimization. Little tweaks over months driven by cold hard metrics and not guesswork maximizes email marketing performance.
Email marketing delivers immense value for law firms when leveraged strategically to build relationships, nurture leads, and sustain client retention over time.
By implementing targeted segmentation, sending helpful content, optimizing engagement, and tracking performance, lawyers can craft campaigns that underpin growth for years ahead. With numerous channels now oversaturated by competitors, a personalized email approach resonates for efficiency, returns, and competitive edge.
Follow these tips outlined to ensure your firm’s email marketing realizes its full potential in connecting with more clients.