If you’re like most folks, the answer is yes. In fact, you probably have several newsletters sitting in your inbox right now. Some you may find useful, while others are destined for that great “unsubscribe” button in the sky.
So, what makes one newsletter interesting and the other one blah? Why do you read one, and discard the other? You subscribed to every newsletter in your inbox, but some of them are just not worth the click.
We’re not going to allow that to happen to your newsletter. Your newsletter will be worth the click every time, and you’ll earn that distinction by following the tips below.
Also known as a lead magnet, a signup incentive persuades your website visitors into subscribing to your list. In exchange for their email address, you’ll give away a free gift, generally in digital form (an ebook or a resource guide). But you’re not limited to digital goods. You may also offer something service related, such as a free 10 minute phone consultation.
Have a Purpose for Your Newsletter Other than Updates
Here’s the thing: Boring company updates are just that– boring. Your clients (both current and prospective) aren’t on your list to hear about you. They’re on your list to hear about them, specifically what you can do for them. It’s all about them.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t share information about your law firm. Just remember to present the information in a beneficial way.
For example, introduce the new paralegal on your team by explaining how he or she helps your practice provide better service: “Mindy, our newest paralegal, specializes in real estate law, and brings her extensive knowledge and research skills to our law firm.”
It’s a matter of shifting your perspective (and wording) to engage your readers and make the information relevant to them.
Now, let’s take a look at the different categories of email newsletters.
Newsletters fall into three categories:
Use your newsletter to answer questions and educate your clients about the law.
Use your newsletter to announce upcoming events, advertise new services, and share coupons.
Nurture and Build Trust
Use your newsletter to stay at the top of mind and turn prospects into clients.
Segment Your Newsletter
Segmenting is one of the best things you can do for your newsletter, but if you haven’t heard of it, don’t feel too bad. Most law firms haven’t heard of email segmenting at all, but it’s a proven strategy that will help you create more relevant emails for your subscribers.
Would you like a list of easy ways to segment your email list? Check this out!
Segmenting is when you group people together based on behaviors or demographics.
Let’s say your law firm specializes in family law. You provide services in the areas of child support, divorce, and adoption. Your clientele is varied, and those who sign up to your newsletter will naturally want different things. Some may want ongoing advice about child support, others may want to know the laws surrounding adoption, and others still may want to know what to expect during divorce proceedings.
While there may be some overlap, your audience is likely to need different content. In this case, one size doesn’t fit all.
You can separate each group in your email newsletter service provider and then send relevant emails based on the needs of that group. If there’s a new law that affects adoptions in your state, you may only wish to send a newsletter to the group that’s most interested in adoption.
Start the segmentation process immediately upon signup. You can have a general signup segment for everyone who subscribes on your home page. Then, create another signup segment for those who subscribe on your adoption information page, or your divorce information page.
If you already have an active email list, you can easily send out a survey via email, asking each subscriber what type of content they’d like to receive more of from you in the future. Armed with this information, you can go to your email newsletter service provider and group your subscribers based on each individual answer.
Get to the Point As Quickly As Possible
Email is no place for long, sweeping content. Make your point immediately and then give your audience direction on what to do next.
Ask yourself: What does the subscriber want to get or learn from my emails? Then, set about delivering that type of content every time.
The average email newsletter should be way shorter than the average blog post. Shoot for three paragraphs, maybe four. If that seems too restrictive for you, consider increasing the amount of email newsletters you send out from once every month to twice a month, or even twice a week, if both you and your subscribers are up to it.
This way, you can share more information without forcing your subscribers to read too much at one time (they won’t anyway).
Of course, another option is to segment your subscribers so that you can send each group targeted information without getting too wordy.
Include a Call to Action
A call to action is a simple directive you offer to the reader, telling them what to do next.
Every email newsletter needs a call to action, preferably one that drives subscribers back to your website. Give them a reason to return by teasing the benefit to the subscriber, for example, “Learn more about X on the blog” or “Download this ebook now.”
End each email with a call that gets your subscriber to take the logical next step. It may be obvious to you, but not to them. Spell it out.
Send on a Schedule
Humans like routine– this extends to the humans on your email list. Create a pattern of trust by showing up in their inbox every second Thursday (or whatever schedule you choose).
The last thing you should do is constantly switch up when you send your emails. Sending two email newsletters this month and then waiting six months to send a third is never going to work.
Instead, commit to a schedule that your subscribers can rely on. If you don’t, they’ll quickly forget who you are and may even hit “spam” on you.
Let’s pinky swear on this: set a schedule and stick to it.
When a client gives you their email address, it’s quite an honor. It’s also a mark that you’ve already impressed them. All you need to do now is follow the above tips to create a newsletter that clicks with your subscribers.
These days, having a website isn’t enough. An estimated 500 websites are created every minute. That means that a site visitor can easily leave your website, never to return again. That’s not because they don’t want to return– maybe they’ve simply forgotten how to find you.
That’s why an email list is crucial. When a visitor loves the information on your site and signs up to receive regular emails from you, you don’t have to worry about them getting lost ever again.
Here are a few other reasons you need an email list:
It helps you stay top of mind. Your email subscribers may not need your services yet, but if you keep in contact with them on a regular basis, they’ll know where to turn when the time arises.
It provides valuable information to your email subscribers. You can educate your email subscribers and keep them in the know about things going on in your practice.
You own your email list. You may have a lot of fans and followers on social media, but at any moment, a social platform could deactivate your account and poof! goes all of your hard work. With an email list, you’ll always have access to your subscribers.
Email is better than social media. A post on a social media timeline or profile only lasts for a few moments before new posts take their place. With email, you have a permanent spot in a subscriber’s inbox until they manually delete you.
Need a step by step checklist for growing your email list? Subscribe to resource our free checklist.
How do I get people to subscribe to my email list?
To get people to subscribe to your email list, you need to present it as an option. People won’t subscribe if they don’t know about your email list. They won’t go searching for it, either.
Here’s how to get people to join your email list:
Ask them. It may seem obvious to you, but it’s not obvious to visitors. They may not notice your email list unless you tell them it’s there. Ask in your blog posts, on your website (have a permanent spot for email signups– we’ll help you with this), and on your social media pages.
Give them a reason. Sometimes, asking isn’t enough. You may also need to encourage them with a lead magnet. This lead magnet will draw subscribers in and give them an instant reward for signing up to your email list.
You’ve seen lead magnets before, but probably didn’t know them by name. A lead magnet is an incentive offered to site visitors in exchange for their email addresses.
A lead magnet should be valuable and relevant for site visitors. It’s not about stroking your ego (i.e. ‘check out why we’re so great’). It should be about helping, informing, or entertaining your audience.
We have our very own lead magnet right here on our site. By entering your first name and email address here, you’ll receive a weekly marketing plan delivered straight to your inbox.
It’s not smarmy. We’re not trying to trick you into joining our email list with smoke and mirrors. You know that by giving us your email address, we’re going to email you.
It’s valuable. It gives something in exchange for joining. We tell you how you’ll benefit from joining our email list (you’ll receive a free actionable plan every week).
It doesn’t ask for too much. Anytime you’re asking your site visitors for more than a name and email address, you’re scaring them away. Keep a simple form for your email signup.
How to create an amazing lead magnet
Now that we’ve gone over what a lead magnet is, it’s time to figure out how to make one that your site visitors will actually want.
First, settle on an idea for your lead magnet. As you can imagine, your lead magnet will vary depending on your area of practice and the needs of your client.
Here’s a few examples for different practice areas:
Bankruptcy – An ebook, Which Chapter of Bankruptcy is Right for Me?
Business – A guide, LLC, Corporation, Sole Proprietorship, Oh My! Which One Should You Choose?
Criminal – A guide, Is Marijuana Still Illegal? A List of States and Their Laws Concerning Marijuana
Entertainment – A video series, How Do I Know If I Need An Entertainment Lawyer?
Family – A guide, A Guide to Calculating Child Support in Your State
Immigration – An ebook, Understanding the Rules of a K-1 Visa
Intellectual Property – A guide, A Step by Step Guide to Copyrighting and Protecting Your Ideas
Labor – A printable, A Printable List of State Labor Laws
Medical – A guide, Medical Malpractice: Should You Settle or Go to Court?
Personal Injury – A checklist, What Should You Do Immediately After Getting Injured on the Job?
Second, create your lead magnet. Don’t worry– it doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be simply created and formatted with a program like Microsoft Word or Pages for Mac. If you don’t have either of those, you can create a lead magnet with the free web-based option Google Docs.
Start by creating an outline of what you’d like to talk about within your lead magnet. Don’t hold back. The more content you can add, the better. Next, type it all out and don’t edit yourself until you’re done. After you’ve written a rough draft, you can come back and edit for clarity and cohesion. Finally, add graphics to your lead magnet to spice it up and inject visual interest. Here’s a list of free stock libraries that you can check out.
Third and finally, set up an account with MailChimp, if you haven’t already. MailChimp is an email marketing service that allows you to send out your lead magnets to new subscribers automatically. Even better– AmazeLaw seamlessly integrates with MailChimp. Set up is easy, but if you have any questions, let us know.
Maybe you’ve heard of email lists but you don’t know where to start. Maybe you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about it, but it sounds like something you should know.
Wherever you are on the spectrum, this post will help. We’ll discuss everything you need to get started on building an email list for your law firm along with why you should build an email list to begin with.
Would you like a five step quick start guide to building your email list? Subscribe to receive this extra guide.
An email list is the most valuable marketing resource you have. Your email list represents people who want to have a relationship with your law firm – subscribers. These subscribers want to know what you have to say about hot topics and enjoy reading your advice.
Let’s take a look at the main benefits of creating an email list:
Top of mind awareness
An email list keeps your law firm at the top of subscribers’ minds. They may not need your legal services now or even six months from now. However, when the need arises, you’ll be the first (or only) law firm your subscriber will think of.
You own the list
You may be thinking, Isn’t my social media platform good enough? I already have a ton of fans and followers on social media.
Although a social media presence is important, it’s inferior to creating an email list. The main reason is that you don’t own that list of fans and followers. If Facebook or Twitter decides to delete your account tomorrow, everyone who follows you will go bye-bye, whether that’s 10 people or 10,000.
When you own an email list, you won’t ever have to worry about losing your subscribers.
Promote your services
Did you know that email is one of the best ways to market your law firm? That’s because your list contains people who actually want to be on it. It’s not just random people who stumbled onto your website via an ad or review site.
The people on your email list are highly interested in the services that you provide. It stands to reason that the people who took their time to sign up for your email newsletters actually want to hear from you.
In your email, discuss what you offer. Highlight key services. Describe these services in plain English.
You may think, why do I need an email list now? My site is brand new and I don’t have a lot of traffic.
Now is the perfect time to set up an email list. You want to have a method in place to catch any and every visitor who arrives on your site and wants to subscribe.
Think about people who visit your site and then leave. They’ll never return– not because they don’t want to, but because they’ve forgotten. They may love your site and want to receive more content from you, but you don’t have a way to ask for their email address.
So, now that you know why you need an email list, let’s talk about how to create a successful one.
Email Newsletter Best Practices
1. Choose your subject line carefully
The success of your email newsletter rests solely on your subject line. Choose a subject line that makes your subscribers want to click on it.
Get them interested
Why should the subscriber open this email? How will it benefit them? Using a subject like “Granger & Associates Newsletter: June 2016” won’t move the needle, I assure you. However, a subject like, “Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About PreNups” is interesting and makes your subscribers think, hmm… what don’t I know about prenups?
It’s all about getting your subscriber to actually open your email.
Keep it short
The ideal length for an email subject line is between 50 to 70 characters. Many email service providers cut off the subject line after 70 characters. This is approximately eight words. Eight words seems short, but there’s a lot you can do in that space when you’re creative.
Avoid certain words
Creativity in word choice is a must, but you’ll want to steer clear of certain overused or spammy words and phrases. These words make your email look like spam to humans, and can also trip an email service’s spam filters. If that happens, your email won’t even make it to the inbox.
Here’s a partial list of words you should avoid in your subject line:
2. Choose your sender email address and name carefully, too
Chose a sender name that reminds the subscriber who you are. You may choose to use the name of your law firm (P&R Law), your own name (Debra Smarts, esq.), or a combination of the two (Debra Smarts from P&R Law). I’m partial to the third option because it provides maximum identification.
We’ve already discussed keeping it short on your subject line. You should also adopt this mentality in the body of your email.
Attention spans are short in inboxes. Your subscribers don’t want to spend 30 minutes reading your newsletter, and they won’t.
Instead of creating a lengthy email newsletter, provide short and easy-to-consume content. Direct them out of the inbox and onto your blog or website to get the full scoop. Email is a quick burst of information, but it shouldn’t attempt to tell the whole story.
4. Include a call to action for each email
Piggybacking off of the above practice, use a strong call to action in your emails to bring people back to your website. At the end of each section of your newsletter, include a button or a link that tells your subscriber what to do next, i.e. “Read the rest on my blog…” or “Sign up for my upcoming class here.”
Have you ever heard of segmenting? Segmenting is the process of taking one email list and grouping subscribers based on demographics or other criteria. For example, you can group everyone who signed up from your blog post about adoption law into one segment and everyone who signed up from your blog post about divorce law onto another segment.
What’s the value of segmenting? In the example above, you can see how a family hoping to learn more about adoption won’t necessarily be interested in advice to divorcees.
By segmenting, you can create specific newsletters for each group. Your subscribers win because they’ll get relevant content they can actually use.
6. Come Up with an Interesting Topic
There are so many great ideas that you can use to create content for your email newsletter. Here are some of my favorites:
Answer frequently asked questions
Highlight success stories (with your client’s permission, of course)
Discuss hot topics/current news
Tease your most recent blog post
Ask for feedback and reviews
Share company news
Highlight a member of your staff
Share the details of upcoming events (webinars, clinics, meet and greets)
Write a newsletter about past events you’ve hosted (charity drives, classes, etc)
Set up an editorial calendar on a spreadsheet and list all the ideas you have for your newsletters. Choose a frequency (once a week, bi-weekly, or once a month). Then, come up with an idea for each newsletter. By working in batches, it’s easier to brainstorm ideas.
7. Remember Your Audience
Who are your subscribers? Speak directly to them. Tone down any legalese because they won’t understand all the fancy lawyer-speak (unless they are lawyers also).
Along these same lines, choose subjects that matter to your subscribers. They may not care to know the finer details of the law. They simply want to know how a law will affect them.
I am not a lawyer. There. I said it. But I am married to a wonderful employment attorney who’s just recently hung her shingle. Like most solo attorneys out there, she’s found that building a client base is a constant exercise in hard work, ingenuity, consistency, and persistence.
I happen to be a really nerdy guy that has a background in building digital marketing platforms, so we sat down one night to figure out what ONE THING we could focus on that could get her the most bang for her buck in terms of getting in front of her ideal clients right now, and staying top of mind for when they actually had a need for her help.
We tossed SEO, as you’re not going to get to the first page in Google for anything but your name in the first few months of starting a firm. Anyone that tells you otherwise is peddling snake-oil. So what’s one to do when faced with the long-game that is internet marketing? Well, you have to get a little scrappy, and go places that most of your competitors won’t.
I’ll share what we came up with, and walk you through every step of putting this in place for you. And as long as you’re not an employment attorney in Southern NH, I’ve been given the green-light from the Mrs to let you in on the goods.
The Case For A Weekly Newsletter Over Say, Twitter or Facebook
The one constant over the last 20 years of the internet (besides cat photos of course) is email. Everyone has an email address. Everyone checks their email multiple times a day. Everyone gets a nice little dopamine kick every time an email comes in and their phone beeps or vibrates in their pocket. In short, it’s the most ubiquitous way to insert yourself into a person’s weekly routine.
One, email is easily shareable. We’re used to forwarding an email, and we don’t have to leave our browsers to do it. No fancy “Share This” buttons, no URL shorteners, just a simple forward to a friend is all it needs to spread, and spreading is what you really want right now.
Two, email generates a feeling of reciprocity. Our species has a hyper-developed urge to return favors given to us. If you’re able to provide enough value to your readers on a regular basis in the form of insights, aggregated interests, etc, when it comes time to seek legal advice in your area of expertise, you’re the one they’ll have that urge to go back to.
I promised two, but I’ll give you a bonus reason. Email is not controlled by another company’s desire for you to pay them money in order to reach your audience. It’s been shown that Facebook posts are seen by less than 6% of a brand’s followers, and internally, Facebook wants to see that number drop to 1%-2%. Why you ask? Because they need money in order to satisfy their share-holders, and the only way to do that is to be the gate-keeper (read: toll-keeper) between you and the audience you’ve painstakingly built on their platform.
So if you want to actually build that audience, you’re now going to have to use their Facebook ads platform to do so.
Own your audience! An engaged newsletter subscriber is orders of magnitude more valuable than a Twitter follower or Facebook fan.
Now that begs the question, who should your audience be?
Choosing an audience
Deciding who your newsletter is for is largely dependent on how you define your ideal client. In the example of my wife’s employment law firm, her ideal clients are small business owners and HR managers in larger companies. For her, it makes sense to market directly to those folks with updates about the changing HR landscape.
But, when coming up with your newsletter audience archetype, clients aren’t the only option. In fact, in many cases, you may want to skip writing for clients at all, and instead focus on the natural referral providers that make sense for your practice area. For example, if you focus on trusts and estates, you might consider writing a weekly update for financial advisors in your state, that would keep them in the know, and ready to hand out your business card if their clients have more complicated estate matters that the financial planner can’t handle on their own.
Choosing your content
Now that you have your audience decided, it’s time to figure out what content we can provide on a regular basis that will ensure that your email is always valuable to that audience.
It’s tough starting from a blank canvas, so I’ll outline a few items that should work for most audiences. But don’t be afraid to get creative and get inside the mind of your ideal client. Remember, this is about them, not you. If you have other ideas, please share in the comments!
An Editorial Forward
I wouldn’t spend more than one paragraph on this. Give the readers an overview of what they’ll find in the update, and perhaps a light call to action. Suck them in.
You no doubt spend a lot of time reading the latest news related to your practice area. When you come across an article that you want to share on twitter, place it in your email template as well. Be sure to add a one or two sentence takeaway from each that informs your reader why it matters to them.
If you want to link to one of your own blog posts, that’s fine, but limit it to one per newsletter. You don’t want to come across as spammy. This newsletter isn’t meant to drive traffic to your blog, it’s about keeping your readers informed.
Curate a list of networking events in your geographic area. Make sure to ask readers to let you know about any events they’re sponsoring or attending as well. Highlight the events going on that week, and then list out a calendar of events spanning the next month.
Solicit questions from your readers. If they have a particular problem that others in the group might be interested in, ask if you can publish your response to the group. Obviously, you should be careful to disclaim that the email doesn’t constitute legal advice.
If you do want to have a place for all of your posts from the week, place them in their own section, and toward the end. Follow a similar format to the “Interesting Reads” section above.
This is essentially your business card. Make sure your readers have a way to contact you, and how to find you on your various social media accounts. Also, this is a good spot for a disclaimer if you have anything in the newsletter that might be construed as legal advice. Also, a good place to let folks know that replying to you doesn’t constitute an attorney-client relationship.
So, for your initial list, we’re going to build a list of people you know in person that would genuinely be interested in your content. This is not a “dump my address book” into a list type of exercise. This is a painstaking process of going through your address book, your Linkedin contacts, your Facebook friends, etc and asking the following questions:
Does this person know who I am personally?
Does this person fit my audience archetype?
Would this person likely look forward to this email every week? (Be brutally honest)
If the answer is “yes” to all three (and a real “yes” not “maybe” or “possibly”, a hard and fast “yes”), then you want to add them to your list in the following way:
Create a spreadsheet in google docs. You can do this in excel as well, but we’re going to do this using Google Docs because everyone has access to that tool, and particularly for marketing activities like this, Google Docs can be a lifesaver.
In Column A, put the email address. In Column B, put the person’s first name.
Rinse and repeat step 2 for every person that fits.
Now that we have a list, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
There are a TON of email providers out there. There’s MailChimp, Constant Contact, Emma, Campaign Monitor, and I could go on and on and on. They’ll all work and if you have one of them in place already, stick with it. Better to work with the one you know. If not though, I always recommend MailChimp for two reasons. One, it’s free for up to 2000 subscribers, which is more than enough for every firm I’ve ever worked with. Two, it has all of the features you’ll need, is easy to use, and it works on every device so if you have a few minutes of downtime, you can work on your next week’s digest without having to bust out a laptop.
We’ll be walking through how to implement this using Mailchimp.
Once you create the account, you’ll receive a confirmation email. Just follow the link in that email to continue with the setup. Fill out the form related to your business size and whether you have a list (feel free to select “No” for now, we’ll build one later) and hit submit. You should now be staring at your Mailchimp dashboard.
We’ll start by creating an empty list. Click on the “Create List” button on the dashboard to get started.
Creating Your First Email List with MailChimp
Just click “Save” and congratulations, you now have your first email list.
Importing Your List
Now that we have a list, we want to make sure all of our readers receive it. We need to import them from the list we created before. So go ahead and click on the import subscribers link, and then select “Import From a CSV or TXT File.”
How to import subscribers from a CSV file in MailChimp.
Now, find the file that you downloaded in the “Constructing your list” section above. Once you import that file, you should see a screen where Mailchimp is going to match up the columns in your list with the custom fields that Mailchimp uses to customize your emails to each reader.
Selecting which file to import your subscribers from.
If it works, it should look like this:
Making sure your data lines up with MailChimp’s dynamic fields.
Once you click then ‘Next’ button, you should see a confirmation screen. The defaults are fine, just click ‘Next’ to complete the import.
Alright, now that you have a list, we need to build a campaign. Campaign is just another word for sending out an email to your list. To start the process, click on “Campaigns” in the sidebar then in the dropdown on the next page, click “Regular campaign”.
Starting your first campaign with MailChimp.
When you do that you’ll be placed into MailChimp’s campaign creation workflow. In the first step, just select “Send to entire list” and click “Next.” The next step is where you start to define what this particular campaign (or mailing) is.
You’ll need to create a name for the campaign. I would chose something that can be easily modified in future campaigns since this is going to be a regular thing. In this example, I chose to name it after the newsletter, and then give it an issue number. That way, in the next campaign, all I have to do is change the issue number and they’ll be easily identifiable. You could use the date you plan to send it instead of an issue number too. I’ve seen that work nicely as well.
Once you have the name, it’s time for the subject line. Now I’ve always found the subject line to be a little hard to write before you’ve written anything about the content. So for right now, put in something generic about your newsletter and move on. We can change the headline later (before we send) to make it more specific to the actual content you put in the newsletter.
And the final change I’d suggest is putting *|FNAME|* *|LNAME|* as your “To:” field. Whenever you see *|SOME_CODE|* it means Mailchimp will replace that SOME_CODE with the data in your list that matches “SOME_CODE”. In the case of FNAME and LNAME, that’s the first name and last name of each recipient that was matched up when you imported your list.
As for the tracking section, you can leave that at the default values. If you use Google Analytics, you can go ahead and check the box there so that the campaign name will appear in your Google Analytics account as well.
Here’s what your screen should look like:
How to choose your campaign options.
Choosing a Template
Once you’ve set up your campaign, it’s time to decide how it will look. MailChimp provides a number of Basic Templates which allow you to build out your email, and they also provide pre-designed themes that have a bit of design to them.
I would stick to single column layouts to minimize complexity, but find one that works for you. It’s hard to go wrong here, so have fun! If you’re concerned about which one to pick, click “Themes” and search for “Minimal”. It’s organized into nice sections that you can customize to match the content you decided to include earlier.
While a template is one of the fun parts of setting up your marketing campaigns, be careful not to fall into analysis paralysis. There are a number to choose from, and you can always change it later. But for now, just pick one that’s simple and clear. After all, you want your readers to focus on what you’re writing, not the template that wraps it.
Writing your first email
And here we are, staring at a blank canvas. Intimidating right? I felt the same way. It gets easier, particularly once you find a format that really starts to resonate with your list, but for now, we wrote up an epic newsletter template that you can use to get yourself going on the right track.
Don’t get stuck on what to write.
We took care of the ideas for you, so you can focus on getting started. Click that green button there and you’ll have that template to use for whenever you’re ready to write your first newsletter.
You’ve now created your first email and you’re ready to hit send. That’s awesome! Now, when it comes to sending email marketing campaigns, you don’t want to just hit send when you’re done with it. You’re going to want to schedule the campaign to optimize for actually getting read.
Let’s face it, while our goal is to create an email marketing newsletter that readers actually look forward to, folks are busy. Think about the day-to-day business of your clients and try to schedule the campaign to go out when your readers will be able to sit down and read it.
For example, if your clients are HR managers, mid-afternoon on a Friday might be great, as they might be killing a bit of time waiting to punch the clock for the weekend. Every list is different, so feel free to experiment.
Sending your first campaign is only the first step…
Sending your first campaign is a really really big deal. You should be proud. You put yourself out there, and that’s the first step to allowing you and your firm to be found online.
Now, let’s take advantage of that momentum and talk about how to grow your list and how to keep pumping out great content.
Getting new subscribers
That first group of readers is going to be the easiest. You already know them. Getting folks you don’t know to sign up will be a lot harder. But alas, we’ll talk about a few ways to get started. The first two require little to no technical ability. You can start doing it today and to be quite honest, you’ll likely have your best results there.
Ditch the business cards, sign them up for your list in person.
We all know the value of meeting industry folks face to face. Attorneys are some of the best networkers I’ve ever met.
All of those events, the hours of chit-chat, the passing of business cards, all with the hope that one day someone will remember your firm when they have the need.
What if they didn’t have to think back to that charity dinner 18 months ago, and instead only had to remember the person that emailed them two weeks ago?
That’s the real power of email marketing. So now that you have a newsletter, you can use it to stay in front of all of those people you’re investing time to meet with.
So rather than saying “Here’s my business card, call me if you ever need help.” you can say, “I have a newsletter that goes out every other week or so that will help you with <problem they might have>. Would you like to sign up? It’ll only take a few seconds.” And then whip out your phone, go to Lists, choose your main email list, and then in the upper-right corner click on the button to add a subscriber and just enter their name and email address. You could even hand them the phone to have them enter it themselves. Done!
Or, if you don’t want to have to pull out your phone, just keep a pen handy. When you ask about the list, if they say yes, make a quick note on their business card, then manually invite them to the list later that evening when you get home.
Your loyal readers are also a great source of new subscribers. After all, they’ve already gotten to know you and the value you’re providing them. And, like most networked professionals, they probably know others just like them that might also benefit from your newsletter.
So, once a month, or once every other month, depending on how often you email your list, let everyone know that you’re on the lookout for new subscribers. Let them know the effort that you put into the list. Maybe even pull on their heart-strings a little bit by reminding your readers of all of the value they’re getting FOR FREE. And then ask if they’d take 30 seconds and consider forwarding your email to friends or colleagues that might also benefit from the information you send out.
MailChimp has a handy little merge tag for a forwarding link that will allow your readers to forward your email and have the recipients be prompted to sign up for your list as well. Just highlight your call to action (the sentence that’s asking folks to sign up) and click the link button. Select “Web Address” and set it to *|FORWARD|*.
Creating a link that will help your readers forward your campaign to a colleague.
Another way to entice folks to forward your email is to run a little contest. For example, you could raffle off say, three $20 amazon gift cards, or maybe a copy of a book that’s pertinent to your audience. Then ask them to email you with the names of folks they forwarded your email to. For each one that signs up, enter them in a chance to win.
Worst case, you have 3 folks sign up and you spent $60. Might seem expensive, but the beautiful thing about email marketing is that you have time to make that money back. If even one of those clients calls you for a 30 minute consult in the next 18 months, you’ve likely made your money back.
Get your website to drive new subscribers…
It’s fairly easy to get a signup form onto your website. If you use WordPress, just add the Mailchimp plugin. Follow the instructions to add the form as a widget in WordPress.
If you use AmazeLaw, just go to Email Marketing, and click “Connect Mailchimp” button and you’re done.
But, like sending out that first campaign, adding a form to your site is not enough. You also need to actively promote your list in order to entice new signups.
Obviously, “promote your email list” is the type of pithy advice run away from here at AmazeLaw, so here are some easy, concrete ways to promote your new list on your own website.
A landing page is just a dedicated page whose sole purpose is to get a visitor to perform an action. In this case, the action is to get someone to sign up for your email list.
Create a page in WordPress or AmazeLaw, and give it the same name as your list. The content is pretty simple, you don’t even need a picture:
[Headline: Big benefit they’ll see from signing up]
This is a paragraph about what your life will be like after you’ve signed up and are reaping said benefit. Imagine how easy life will be. No more worrying about missing the latest news and getting caught unaware.
Here’s what you can expect:
Easy to digest updates about [your practice area]. No legalese! We promise!
Curated industry news so you don’t miss the best content out there.
No spam. Ever.
Pretty easy, huh?
Protip: Add a link to your landing page in your email signature with a simple call to action. Something like “Sign up for our free bi-weekly employment law update.” or “Free estate planning tips in your Inbox every week.”
Having a signup form on your contact page, or home page is a great first step, but often times, visitors to your site won’t be coming through the front door. A good percentage of your traffic, particularly search traffic, will likely go directly to your blog posts where visitors are looking for a very specific answer to the problem they’re searching for.
They’ll likely never see your homepage, and unless you do a bunch of cross-linking (linking to other posts or pages on your site), they may not see another page before they move on with their day, armed with the answer to their query.
But what a perfect time to start a relationship. By answering their question you’ve provided value and built trust. It’s the perfect time to remind them that, hey, if you want more quality advice or analysis just like this, sign up for my newsletter!
Alright, time to recap. We’ve gone from nothing to:
Signed up for a free MailChimp account.
Created our first email list
Built and sent our first email campaign
Set up our website to attract new subscribers by using landing pages and blog post footers
Learned to leverage our existing contacts for new referrals
Now that you’ve setup your email marketing essentials, we need to create a system for consistently delivering little knowledge bombs to your subscribers.
And consistency isn’t just how often you email your subscribers, but your ability to consistently deliver something that your readers value.
Steve Martin quipped in his autobiography that it wasn’t the ability to kill it on a given night that set the great comics apart. After all, most comics could kill it every once in a while with the right audience. It was the comics that could produce a great show night in and night out that were truly successful.
And just like Steve Martin, you need a system to deliver consistent value.
How do we do that?
Creating a schedule you can stick to…
We talked a bit about scheduling your campaigns so your customers are most likely to read your posts. Now let’s talk about how to schedule your campaigns so that they fit within the constraints of a busy attorney’s calendar.
You know it, I know it, so let’s not pretend that your email list is going to top your list of priorities for the week. So let’s just acknowledge it up front and figure out how to move forward anyways.
If you’re like me, you might tend to overestimate what you can accomplish, and that’s doubly true for todo items that aren’t sitting atop your priority list. So, if at this very moment, in your excitement over setting up email marketing for your firm (you’re totally psyched right? Right?!) you think that you could handle a weekly email campaign, let’s adjust that right now. Take your totally logical and reasonable estimate and cut it in half. Make it every two weeks, or make it monthly if your estimate was bi-weekly.
This will help you avoid the trap of committing to an unrealistic goal, missing it, and then bagging on the whole thing when a month has gone by and you missed your deadline.
And now that you’ve given yourself that break. Commit to it. You have no more excuses.
Set a recurring calendar reminder for 5 days prior to your campaign. Spend 30 minutes compiling your content. Don’t worry about being perfect. Just get a bunch of content in there.
Three days prior to the campaign spend another 30 minutes refining that campaign to make sure that the content is actually worth interrupting your audience for.
Forget for a moment that you’re an attorney and that you’re actually interested in the law. Forget that you want more clients. Forget every inclination you have to talk about yourself.
Just imagine your ideal client reading your email and constantly asking the question “What’s in it for me?” and “Why do I care?” If a sentence or bullet point isn’t written to answer those two questions, cut the sentence or rewrite it so that it is.
And finally, one day before your campaign is to go out, spend 30 minutes and perform the following exercise:
Read the following articles that summarize some simple techniques for coming up with headlines that inspire action
Now, set a timer on your phone for ten minutes. Turn off your wifi, and just start listing out subject lines for your campaign. Don’t worry about how good it is, just get it out and move on to the next one. The goal here is quantity.
When the timer goes off, look over your list. From the perspective of your ideal client, which one do you think would inspire them to skip the ‘delete’ button and actually read that email?
There’s your subject line.
For example, here are 10 subject lines I came up to use in an email that would describe this exercise using those formulas. Which one resonates with you?
5 subject line secrets that will get your email read… 7-Minute brainstorms that WILL get you new clients… Write subject lines like Don Draper, even if you’ve never written a word of copy… Send emails that get read 50% more than ‘real marketers’ with 10 minutes of work Write emails your clients WANT to read… Don Draper couldn’t beat your copy if you follow this one simple exercise… 5 minutes could mean the difference between being spammy and being awesome How to avoid writing subject lines that make your email invisible… Are your subject lines wasting the effort you put into your newsletters? What professional copywriters do when they can’t think of headlines
That was 10 minutes of work. Some of those headlines are clearly better than others. Some are repetitive, and that’s ok. But you’ll notice, the odds that the first subject line (the one you would’ve used had you not done the exercise) is the best one is slim.
This simple exercise will routinely get you two or three times as many opens on your campaign.
And that means two or three times as many opportunities to get in front of your clients, which means two to three times the ROI for all of this effort you’re putting in.
How to come up with (great) content
It can be hard to come up with something to say week in and week out. And it’s even harder when you only have 30 minutes between client meetings to do it.
So rather than setting yourself up for 30 minutes of staring at a blank page, let’s create a simple system for building up that hopper of great content throughout the week, so when it comes time to write, you just need to pull items off your stack.
First, we’ll need a central place to accumulate all of these notes.
Everyone’s style is different, so I’m sure you can come up with a tool that works best for you. But the whichever method you choose, the key is to optimize for being able to take a note as quickly as possible whenever the thought strikes.
I prefer to use Evernote. I just keep one note and add newsletter ideas to the top of it as I come across them. My wife uses Trello, creating a new card for every idea. I’ve seen folks use Google docs. I’ve also tried using a Word document or even writing in a notebook, but those two options make it hard to access from my phone on the go, or lack the ability to quickly copy and paste a URL for a link I want to remember to share.
So, over the course of the day, any time I think of something that might be worth sharing with the email list, I write it quickly at the top of the note. And at the end of the week, I have all sorts of items I can pull from to write the actual campaign.
What sort of things should you be on the lookout for? Here are just a few:
Common questions from clients that you could answer in a paragraph or two
Events that your clients might find valuable (even if they’re not valuable to you)
If you happen to be attending them, mention that and invite readers to come say hello.
Legislative changes (but only those that, upon learning about would cause your ideal client to say “Oh man, I’m really glad I know that, I’m going to change X…”)
Articles that your potential clients would want to read
Anecdotes that can bring a little levity to the newsletter
Interactions with readers that could benefit others
Positive news about those in your readership. Did someone just win an award? Did they get some positive press?
Take note and share it. And then invite others to share their good news when hey have any.
If you get into the habit of taking note of these tidbits, you should find that when you sit down to write your newsletter, you’ll spend more time figuring out what should be left out, than figuring out what to add.
This isn’t rocket-surgery. It just takes patience and practice. If you have any questions, please let me know. And if you take this advice and create your own newsletter, be sure to add firstname.lastname@example.org to your subscriber list. See! You already have an audience!
Now quick, go write your first campaign. I’ll be here, looking forward to reading it.
41 Classic Copywriting Headline Templates When you’re stuck and need to come up with headlines or subject lines in your emails, these articles will get you unstuck right quick. It’s like mad-libs, except instead of laughs, you get tons of clicks 🙂