Jason Hennessey, an internationally recognised SEO expert, author and speaker, shares his understanding of how law firms could effectively target clients and nurture meaningful relationships through the power of law firm newsletters.
How to start and grow a newsletter for a law firm
Email marketing often gets a bad rap. After all, we all know the annoyance of getting spam and promotional emails. Much of this content just ends up deep in our inbox. The same can happen to newsletters… especially boring ones.
Don’t let your law firm email newsletter fall to this fate. In this guide, I’ll talk about how to start a successful newsletter and use it to attract clients.
Plus, you’ll get 10 content ideas for creating an engaging newsletter.
Why start a newsletter
A study conducted by Law Technology Today found that 86% of law firms fail to collect an email address when they acquire a new lead. Starting an email newsletter is one way to prioritize growing your email list and taking down information to nurture users into potential clients.
With this in mind, an email newsletter is about more than just sending a generic email every month; instead, it can be an effective tool for drumming up new business for your law firm. It also gives you a medium through which you can share firm news, build trust with your subscribers, and establish your law firm’s brand.
Benefits of law firm newsletter
Email newsletter marketing offers many benefits to your law firm. Beyond simply sending updates to your email list, an email newsletter can bring the following perks:
- Connection - A law firm newsletter builds connection with your new and potential clients by telling them more about your firm and offering a way for subscribers to respond directly to your email.
- Traffic - An effective newsletter can work to drive more users to your website and social media pages.
- Sales - Newsletters offer a convenient way for subscribers to reach out to your firm, increasing the likelihood that they will turn into new clients.
- Community - Sending a consistent newsletter can help drive users to your social media accounts, therefore growing your community and visibility on social.
- Reputation Management - Email provides an avenue for you to build rapport with your audience, get ahead of bad PR, and ultimately build trust in your firm.
How to write a law firm email newsletter
Before you sit down and start typing away at your newsletter, you’ll want to understand the fundamentals of what it takes to write and market a great newsletter. Here’s how to get started.
Define your target audience
Generalism is the killer of many marketing campaigns. If you don’t define your target audience - that is, the interests and persona of the people you are trying to reach - you risk offering the wrong type of content to the wrong audience. And disjointed messaging won’t bring the client-generating results that you want.
Instead, you’ll want to brainstorm a few factors to ensure you are writing for your ideal audience. These factors include:
- What types of legal services your audience is interested in
- What legal issues they are struggling with most
- What questions they’re likely to have about the legal process
- What their goals are when it comes to hiring a lawyer
- What interests they have in understanding law, the legal system, etc.
If you’ve been in your field for a while, you’ll likely have an idea of how to answer these questions. If you’re more green, you can always ask your network, social media followers, and existing clients some of these questions to better understand their interests.
Grow your email list
Of course, before you can see results from an email newsletter you’ll need an audience to send it to! Now, building an email list organically takes time, but it’s worth it to build a list of subscribers who are actually interested in your content.
Never buy email subscribers, as these will likely be dead accounts or otherwise users who will never work with you. Instead, invest in blogging and website marketing in order to grow your community organically.
Here are some tips for growing your law firm email list:
- Embed a signup form on your website in order to capture users’ contact information (at the very least, their email address and name)
- Publish helpful blog content to drive organic search engine traffic and traffic from social media
- Offer downloadable content - like PDFs, infographics, guides, etc. - behind a sign-up wall to encourage users to subscribe
- Use email marketing software like Mailchimp to add email list signup forms to various pages or articles on your website
- Offer value with impactful content. If you’re able to demonstrate that you are an authority in your industry, people will be excited to subscribe for future updates
Plan your content
With your target audience in mind, you can begin to plan your newsletter content. I highly recommend choosing a “theme” and then building out a newsletter based on that theme.
For example, one month you may decide to talk about common mistakes people make in hiring a lawyer. So, you write four newsletters over the course of the month - each one addressing a different ‘mistake’ people make and how to avoid it.
You can use a notebook, Google Doc, or spreadsheet to plan your content and keep organized. Try to plan at least a month in advance so you are prepared with content ideas ahead of time. You can even write your content and schedule the delivery weeks or months out.
Write your newsletter
Whether you consider yourself a good writer or not, drafting a great email newsletter is relatively simple. There are just a few tips to keep in mind to help you produce engaging content every time:
- Write an eye-catching subject line. Rather than simply say “newsletter”, you can include the actual subject of your email (e.g. ‘Don’t make this mistake…) to entice subscribers to click
- Make it “scannable”. Instead of typing a long wall of text, break your email content into shorter paragraphs, sentences, or bulleted lists. This makes it easier for readers to ‘scan’ your content and find the content they are interested in.
- ‘Close the loop’. This is a concept I got from an email copywriter. Open your email with a ‘hook’ - could be a tip, a question, or an intro to a story - and then resolve the hook at the end of your email. For example, you could open with “Many clients make a huge mistake in hiring a lawyer…” and then at the end of the email you say “Don’t want to make that mistake? Here’s how to avoid it…”. This keeps readers interested from start to finish.
- Add a link. Include links to related blog posts, social media posts, videos, etc. to drive traffic to your other channels.
- Include a call to action. Either encourage readers to respond to a question (e.g. “What do you think about…?”), contact you directly (e.g. “Respond now to schedule a consultation”), or visit your other platforms (e.g. “Visit our website to learn more about…”).
Use an email platform
Email marketing software like Mailchimp and ConvertKit makes it easy to write, format, schedule, and deliver your newsletter content. There’s no need to create a long CC chain to your subscribers and send your email manually. These tools allow you to send your newsletter to an entire list, schedule the delivery date, add media, and more.
Preview and test your newsletter
It’s always a good idea to preview your newsletter to check if you made any mistakes. Further, send yourself a test email to make sure there are no delivery issues. You can then also see how your newsletter looks on different devices and decide if you need to change up your content.
Send it out
Once your email template is complete, give it a final once-over for any selling issues or mistakes. When you’ve double-checked your content, you’re ready to send it to your email list.
Most email marketing tools will also provide analytics regarding your email open rate, subscriber growth, or unsubscribe rate. These metrics will help you determine the success of your newsletter and make adjustments over time. For example, if you see that your open rate is low, that may mean you need more engaging subject lines. Or, if there have been a lot of unsubscribes, this may mean users aren’t enjoying your content.
Try these creative law firm newsletter ideas
Now, the funnest part of publishing an email newsletter is the amount of creativity there is in thinking up content ideas. I strongly encourage you to be adventurous with your newsletter and not be afraid of veering from the same old script.
Here are some creative law firm newsletter ideas for you to consider:
1. Topic series
Produce a series of newsletters that cover a primary topic. For example, you can commit the month of November to talk about “DUI FYIs”, in which you reveal helpful tips in addressing a DUI over a series of emails. This approach gets subscribers looking forward to your upcoming emails and makes it easier for you to plan your content.
The legal process can be super confusing for clients and the general public. With this idea, you can address a single question and answer via email over the course of the campaign. Again, this can encourage users to look forward to your upcoming Q&A sessions.
Know an industry expert who has a perspective to share? Highlight this individual and provide value to your audience by including an interview in your newsletter. You can do this several times in your email marketing strategy. And, it can get subscribers to ask questions to your email campaign, which is great for deliverability and engagement.
4. Email course
Some topics warrant a deeper explanation. For subscribers wanting to learn more about the legal process or a particular topic, you can offer a multi-step email course. They will have to open each email to get new nuggets of information and to complete the course.
It’s no secret that today’s users love video content. Including videos in your emails is a good way to improve open rates and direct users to your video (typically, your YouTube channel or website). Be sure to include “Video:” in your email subject line to encourage subscribers to one your email.
Many email marketing platforms offer professional-looking email templates you can use so you don’t have to design your newsletter from scratch. A great-looking email could encourage users to engage with your content. Typically, these templates include social media icons as well, which can direct more traffic to these platforms. You can update colors, fonts, logos, images, and more.
7. ‘Get to know me’
When new subscribers join your newsletter, they may not know much about you. A “Get to know me” email can help introduce them to you, your interests, and your approach to law. Keep it fun by sharing interesting facts about yourself, likes and dislikes, hobbies, or whatever you think will be exciting to your audience.
8. Meet the team
Similarly, you can run a “Meet the team” series to introduce your entire staff to your list. This is a great way to build trust and provide that added human connection. If you have a large staff, consider breaking this out into several emails for even more content.
Email subscribers love a good story. Now, while you don’t want to share any confidential information about your cases, you could share lessons learned from the industry, funny office stories, or a personal life story. You can even slowly tell the story over a course of emails to keep readers interested.
10. In the news
We’ve all come across hot news stories where celebrities land themselves in legal trouble or a large company is going under. Turn trending topics into legal lessons, offer your own unique spin, and make the legal process more relatable to your readers. We are all talking about these pop culture stories anyway, might as well use it for great email content!
Email newsletters build client relationships
An email newsletter is one of the best ways to build trust and connection with potential and existing clients. Remember, subscribers care less about “marketing content” and more about the value your firm can provide, the stories you tell, and how you can help them navigate their legal woes.
So, keep things fun and interesting with creative email content. Try different media, switch up topics, and, above all, stay consistent so you nurture a strong, engaged audience.
Authored by: Jason Hennessey
An internationally recognized SEO experts, author, keynote speaker, entrepreneur, business executive, frequent podcast and webinar guest & CEO of Hennessey Digital
Copyright 2022 © Hennessey Digital
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Novum Learning or Legal Practice Intelligence (LPI). While every attempt has been made to ensure that the information in this article has been obtained from reliable sources, neither Novum Learning or LPI nor the author is responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information, as the content published here is for information purposes only. The article does not constitute a comprehensive or complete statement of the matters discussed or the law relating thereto and does not constitute professional and/or financial advice.