Law firm website? Check!
Social media profiles? Check!
Email list? Huh?
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.
What’s an Email List?
An email list is a collection of people who’ve given you their email addresses so that they can stay in touch with your law firm.
Why Do You Need an Email List?
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.[Tweet “If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to set up an email list.”]
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:
W o r d s w i t h g a p s
Amanda MacArthur at Mequoda has a list of the most offensive spam trigger words.
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.
You should also choose an email address that sounds welcoming. Instead of using a email@example.com as your email address, choose something like firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Don’t get too wordy
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.
Remember that an email list is a crucial part of your ongoing marketing efforts. It’s never too soon to start capturing email addresses from your site’s visitors.