If you’ve been practicing law for less than 40 years, you might not remember when lawyers couldn’t market their services. It wasn’t until 1977 that the Supreme Court even made attorney advertising legal. Now, marketing legal services is the norm, and 89% of large surveyed firms use in-house marketing departments. So, how do the little guys keep up? Two words: lawyer email.

Email is a marketing powerhouse. According to a 2019 survey, it yields an average ROI of approximately 4,200%

Get new clients and drive referrals with marketing tools and advice for legal professionals.

Lawyer email is personal, customizable, and convenient. It reaches people where they are and uses channels they’re already engaged with. That’s part of why digital marketers rank it as one of their most effective tactics, above social media marketing and paid ads.

With all this potential, you might assume that email marketing is difficult or time-consuming to implement. Nothing could be further from the truth. Read on to learn how you can build an email list and create dynamic campaigns that keep you connected using tools that are already at your disposal.

Step 1: Collect email addresses

A great email marketing strategy starts with a robust contact list, and it’s easier than you might think to create one. 

The watchword here is create. When you first start building a mailing list, you may encounter offers to buy lists of emails. Stay away. Unsolicited emails are spam, which can get you blacklisted from your contacts’ inboxes. Also, respectable email marketing tools like Constant Contact don’t allow you to use purchased email lists.

Using an opt-in email list is safer and more effective. The average open rate for lawyer email marketing is over 17% and the average click-through rate is 7.6%, close to the all-industry average. People open your emails when they’ve knowingly given you their address, and you have plenty of opportunities to collect those addresses.

How to do it

  • Add a sign-up form to your website so it’s easy for visitors to subscribe. On your end, you can customize and embed a form, or add a pop-up in just a few steps using Constant Contact. You don’t even need any programming or design experience to use the platform.
  • Use the platform’s text-to-join feature, which lets people join your list by texting a keyword to a generated number. This makes it easy for new or potential clients to sign up when they visit you in your office or meet you when you’re out and about.   
  • Add the Join My List tab to your Facebook page. Join My List tells people more about the advantages of subscribing and lets you add new sign-ups to particular audience groups.
example of email sign-up on Facebook
Join My List lets you add email signups seamlessly to your practice’s Facebook page.

Step 2: Organize your audience into lists

Law practices serve diverse audiences. You connect with different people through each of your practice areas, and even within those groups, clients have a variety of interests. 

With email marketing, you can send relevant messages to each of your subscribers, no matter how big or small your practice is. All you have to do is create audience segments — groups of people who have similar needs and will be interested in similar content.

How to do it

Start small with audience segmentation, creating two to three groupings at first. You can always add more once you’ve had some practice. Segments are easy to create, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Creating an email list segment in a Constant Contact account
Create segments in just a few clicks with the Create Segment tool.

A great way to start segmenting is by practice area. With Constant Contact, you can gauge new subscribers’ needs by tracking what forms and content they were interacting with when they signed up. You can also ask them directly by adding a question to your sign-up form.

Step 3: Create lawyer email campaigns and schedule one-off messages

Effective email marketing is ongoing. It’s not about sending a one-off message to your subscribers; it’s about touching base regularly with valuable and welcome information. That’s why you create email campaigns — sequences of messages that people receive in a particular order.

The first campaign you create should be your welcome campaign. Start by setting up automated messages to welcome everyone who signs up for your list. Then, a few days later, you can send a follow-up email with links to your social channels, inviting people to get regular updates. 

That first set of emails is just the beginning. Plan to email everyone on your list at least once a month (though not necessarily at the same time). 

How to do it

First, create a branded template. Be sure to maintain consistent use of colors and logos from your website and Facebook page as a starting point. From there, you can add your own images, change the layout, and otherwise make it your own.

Once you have your template, it’s easy to create messages and schedule them to go out according to your strategy. Don’t limit yourself to your welcome campaign — there are lots of other possibilities.

One highly effective strategy is the drip campaign. This approach uses a series of emails that “drip” into a subscriber’s inbox based on the actions they take and the ways they interact with messages.

For example, if someone fills out a form on your website requesting information about your personal injury practice, they’d get a pre-designed email with an explanation of your services, perhaps with an invitation to schedule a call. 

If they do schedule that call, they’d get a confirmation. If not, they might get a reminder or an “are you still interested” email a few days later. These kinds of prompted messages are easy to set up and automate with a quality email marketing platform, and they’re great for establishing your practice as a provider of relevant, helpful information.

Step 4: Design a newsletter

Newsletters are great ways of staying on your audiences’ radar. You can use the same template for your newsletter as your other emails, or you can design something different. 

If you do create a separate newsletter template, try to keep the same color scheme and aesthetic. Consistent branding looks more professional, and it helps people remember you. 

How to do it 

Once you have your template, start adding content. You can:

  • Announce news and developments related to your practice areas — changes in the law, landmark cases, etc. — and add your commentary
  • Share answers to frequently asked questions from current and prospective clients.
  • Offer an incentive for subscribers who refer someone to your practice or mailing list
  • Share community news (new businesses in town, changes in local government, etc.)

Feel free to create content in advance. Thanks to email automation, you can set up newsletters several months ahead, changing or adding more timely references as the need arises. 

Taking the first step

Now that you’ve learned about the steps involved in creating a lawyer email marketing strategy for your firm, you can get to work building your list and creating your first messages. For some inspiration, take a look at The Download. This comprehensive guide to digital marketing for professional services will give you all the information you need to get started.

Maybe you’ll choose to develop your template, write your welcome email, or brainstorm a list of newsletter ideas first. It’s all about what works for your practice — and you know that best!