Almost all technologically savvy law firms today engage in some kind of email marketing. However, according to a 2012 study of over 8 million emails sent from law firms to potential or established clients, only 20 percent—just one in five—of those emails is ever even opened. Once the email is opened, the numbers can be even more dire. Only one in ten people who opens the email you send will make a call because of it. With numbers like that, even small improvements can translate into big increases to your client base. In this guide, we'll look at how to create email marketing that pops for your clients, lowering your bounce rate and increasing your open rate for law firm emails.
#1: Make Your Emails Look Good
It may seem a bit shallow, but people do like to have an email that is well formatted and looks competently designed. This doesn't mean that you need to do your marketing emails with big photo backgrounds and desktop publishing programs. Even an email that's almost exclusively text can still be put together in a way that conveys an attitude of professionalism.
Verify before sending any email to a large email list that it looks good in most or all browsers and operating systems. You don't want to send an email to thousands of people, including hundreds who will open the email on their Android phones, only to find out that Android displays the email all wrong and you'll now need to send a corrected version. Making sure that your emails are formatted correctly and look good the first time is key to avoiding embarrassing re-sends later on.
#2: Include Video When You Can
Many law firms forget that video can be one of the best tools for establishing client contact and making clients more at ease with talking to a lawyer. Studies have shown that video has a significant impact on conversion and bounce rates. Make sure that your video is hosted reliably—perhaps through YouTube or another free online video host—and that you keep it around 3-7 minutes. Too short and people won't want to start your video—too long and they won't want to finish it.
Your videos shouldn't just be a longer version of your television advertising. Instead, you should use the videos for different purposes: introducing yourself or other attorneys at your firm, discussing commonly asked legal questions, or giving information about legal consultations and current legal issues.
#3: Use Targeted Lists of Contacts
If you're sending all of your emails to the same one, big list of clients—stop! What are you doing? It's the 21st century, and today it's much easier to divide your emails into targeted lists of contacts that will be most likely to open and respond to them.
For example, you may want to divide your clients by type of case, so that you can target your emails to exactly the kinds of clients that you want to focus on with that email's copy. This avoids other people on your list getting “ad fatigue.” If you make sure that every email they receive from your firm is in some way targeted at them, readers will be more likely to open and respond to your email.
#4: Have a Sense of Humor
Sounding boring and like everybody else is a great way to get your email tossed into the trash with barely a second glance. When people check their email in the morning, they often have many emails to look at and are already feeling overwhelmed. By making your content quirky, funny, or otherwise relatable, you ensure that your clients will see something different in their inbox—and something different is much likely to get read than something that looks just the same as every other mass email.
#5: Don't Mislead With Headlines
Some consultants will actually advise law firms and other businesses to make “linkbait” headlines that do more than just tempt people with the actual content of the email. Their advice is to mislead—leading to people opening the email, being disappointed, and bouncing right back out. That's not the kind of email response you're looking for, so make the headline something that's real and gives a good idea of what's actually in your email. This may decrease your open rate slightly, but it will also decrease your bounce rate.
#6: Give Something Away
Even if it's just something in electronic form, having something to give away to the people on your email list can be a great way to get your emails opened and read. Consider creating a brief guide in .pdf format about how to deal with a common legal situation that clients of yours commonly find themselves in. The sky's the limit—you can also give away real, physical goods with a consultation or appointment, if you so choose.
#7: Be Personal and Personable
Don't make the mistake of thinking that just because your emails come from a law firm, they need to sound like a stuffed shirt wrote them. Being personable and telling stories in your emails is one of the best ways to keep people reading. If you're using some personal narrative even when talking about current events, you're not being unprofessional—you're creating a great way for people to understand the underlying legal issues. Personality matters when it comes to choosing a law firm, and by letting your personality shine through you'll be doing more to convert business.
#8: Don't Oversend Emails
The single biggest mistake you can make with your email marketing campaign is to flood people with so many emails that you start getting sent to spam or trash folders before you can even make a case for someone to open your new email. That means no sending multiple emails every day. In fact, usually you should try to keep your mass emails limited to just one per week. This will minimize the chances that someone will consider your emails spam, while maximizing the quality of your content.