It's not that paying lots for email marketing is necessarily bad – it's that many law firms get distracted by the bells and whistles that they'll never, ever use. They often think that if they pay way more for their email marketing service then in some way they'll get better results.
It's a case of true/not true.
It's not that the most expensive options on the market are bad – it's that you're probably not using them to get the value of the money you're paying for them.
Hot Tip: The Links in this article are Affiliate Links – so if you sign up to any of these services I'll get a small commission.
Why Email Marketing?
Hopefully if you're reading this then you already know why. But just in case:
- your website exists to collect leads;
- the best way to do that is with email, not social media;
- you shouldn't use your normal email provider to send marketing emails – it's bad;
- therefore you need email marketing software.
How Did I pick these Email Marketing Options for Lawyers?
I've picked three that you should check out, each of which I've happily used at various times for different reasons. I think that they're robust enough for law firm use, but not so bloated that you need to be a mega-firm to get the benefits.
Here are my basic rules:
- They have to scale – if you grow your numbers of email subscribers, then you always need a service that grows with you. Some of the cheap options have cheap lower tier pricing, but get really expensive very quickly as you grow. That sucks.
- They must have tagging and segmentation – although you might not use it at first, services that are exclusively list based have been excluded. You shouldn't have to cut and paste a bunch of people to a new list, get charged twice for the same subscriber, and deal with that level of complexity just because you have a practice that sends out newsletters AND podcasts and you want to keep interested parties separate.
- They must be fairly straightforward to use – this way, if you're a solo practitioner or smaller firm, you don't need to hire someone just to send an email out to your own prospects or clients. All email marketing has a bit of a learning curve, but it can't be too steep or I've left it out.
I want to be transparent about something too: I don't use all of the ones I'm recommending at the moment, for the obvious reason that I don't usually need more than one email marketing provider. I have used all of them at some point, and am happy to recommend them. Right now I'm using ActiveCampaign, if you were wondering.
With those parameters in mind, let's take a look.
Why Aren't the “Usual” Suspects in this List?
There are three commonly recommended names not in this list and you're probably wondering why:
- Mailchimp – I like Mailchimp and the fact that it has a free tier is attractive. However, it fails test 2 above in that it's still list based and not tag based (recent update – you can tag your subscribers, but fundamentally Mailchimp remains a list based system). This is going to cause problems in the long run if you want to do more fancy things down the track.
- Aweber – this didn't make the list for the same reasons as Mailchimp.
- Infusionsoft – this fails test 3 above, in that it's stupidly difficult to use the program. It's also expensive, and frankly overpriced for what you get. The chances are high that you're not going to use all the bells and whistles, which means you're going to be paying a fortune for a bunch of stuff you don't use.
That's why. I just don't think any of these are viable choices for law firm email marketing over the long term.
What All Three Email Marketing Options Offer for Lawyers
There are some basics that you'd expect in every email marketing solution for law firms, and rather than repeat myself over and over I'll set out here what you can expect from all of these solutions:
- collecting email addresses with some kind of optin form – duh;
- sending people lead magnets or optin incentives;
- an unsubscribe option for your email subscribers;
- the ability to tag people (eg: “interested in online business”) – this complies with rule 2 above;
- sending people email broadcasts (newsletters, latest articles, sales or the like);
- sending automated email sequences (eg a 6 part email sequence designed to introduce them to your firm, your best content or perhaps to explain process stuff to new clients).
If you're using an email solution that doesn't do these things, then stop using it.
Option 1 – ConvertKit Email Marketing
Simple automation, tagging and segmentation options are really good in ConvertKit. I particularly like how easy it is to set up automated email sequences, and the way in which ConvertKit offers some cool ways of getting double optin emails (for example, people can be “confirmed” to your list when they click to download your free lead magnet, thus removing a step in the optin process that can be a pain to users).
Option 2 – Drip Email Marketing
Drip is now owned by LeadPages, and I haven't really figured out yet what that means for the platform, but for the moment things appear to be going nicely enough.
Drip offers some greater complexity in functions that ConvertKit and is a step up in the pricing again. Think of Drip as “Email Marketing Plus”, in the sense that it offers some additional bells and whistles. If you're not going to use those bells and whistles though, then the question is whether you need to pay the extra? It's not bank-breaking kind of stuff, but a few bucks more per month compared to the other 2 options in this list.
One of Drip's big claims to fame in the past was its visual automation builder (ie – drag and drop email sequences of triggers/actions to help you sort out your email automations without going mad) but as of writing this article, all three options presented here offer visual automation builders.
Drip offers split testing, which can be handy as your email list increases in size. If you're not familiar, the basic deal is that you set up 2 versions of an automated email and see which one performs better. Similarly, Drip offers the ability to “score” your email leads. For example, you can set scores and triggers for people who read a certain amount of your content or click your links most often, and use that to show your biggest fans a bit of love.
In short: Drip offers more power in the engine room, but as fancy as all of this sounds you have to think about whether you're actually going to use it or not. Because most lawyers won't even come close.
Option 3 – Active Campaign Email Marketing
ActiveCampaign is what I'm using as I write this (update – I'm currently using both ActiveCampaign AND Convertkit), and it's one I strongly suggest that any law firm interested in upping its email marketing game consider.
Let's start with a few things that bug me about it, because I think that's fair. I don't like:
- that on the lower tier plans you can't remove Active Campaign branding from your optin forms. This is easily solved by using a third party form solution like OptinMonster or Thrive Leads though;
- how harsh they are on sending affiliate links to people via their email service (basically – don't). Since you're a law firm, you don't care about this but since I recommend products I like it's a bit annoying sometimes. Not really a big peeve, just an occasional “gee I wish I could…”
- their email editor. I just don't like it. I find it clumsy and annoying to use. It works ok most of the time, and eventually I end up with what I want, but I just don't get along with it very well;
- there's no simple way of sending somebody your lead magnet. You can do it, but it's nowhere near as simple as ConvertKit is to set up.
Those are fairly minor issues though when you consider the good parts.
First – it offers all of the power that I've mentioned above in both ConvertKit and Drip, depending on your price point. If you want, you can get a plan that includes CRM functionality, but you don't have to. You can score your leads, track website activity, and build sophisticated automation sequences.
Second – the price is right. You can start inexpensively for the available power, and scale up as your needs grow. This avoids the “we're paying for more than we need” problem but also the problem that your system can't grow with you.
Third – it's flexible. ActiveCampaign offers both lists and tags, which I find very useful. It allows you to organise your email subscribers in the way that makes most sense to you, while still offering the good practice of allowing you to tag your email subscribers based on whatever criteria matters to you.
You can check out ActiveCampaign here.
Which Email Marketing software is Best for your Law Firm?
As with every technology decision, it depends on your needs and priorities. All of the three options in this article are good alternatives to Infusionsoft for law firms, and at a fraction of the price.
However in general, if you want:
- Ease of Use – choose ConvertKit. It's easy to set up and use even for those who aren't too tech savvy, and fairly intuitive.
- Powerful automation – choose Drip. It's got a steeper learning curve and complex automations get tricky to set up, but it's powerful. However the price rises to suit, and even the lower tiered options are quite expensive.
- Flexibility – choose ActiveCampaign. You can start with a good set of useful features and get you off the ground, but expand if your needs should grow in the future.
Got other email marketing software that you'd recommend for law firms? Let us know which ones and why in the comments!