I have a lot of conversations with people either about to start law firms, or who have just started their law firms.
Sometimes they hire me to help with their law firm marketing, and sometimes they don't. In either case, though, the discussions are always informative (hopefully for both of us!).
You see, most often when startup-phase lawyers reach out to me they already have a website and have laid a few foundations for their new enterprise. That usually means their service pages are in place, their social media channels exist and they have their shiny new logos and brand guidelines ready to go.
But I'm noticing a disturbing trend: everyone is forgetting about email marketing.
So, while the benefits of email marketing have been well trodden over the years, I thought I'd better put my own little stamp on the topic and explain why, even in 2021, it's important for your law firm to adopt some kind of email marketing strategy rather than just doubling down on the “Lawyer Reviews Suits Episode 1” space on social media.
You don't own your Facebook followers, your LinkedIn connections, your Instagram devotees, or your raving fans on TicTok.
And, in a world where your social media presence might be removed at a moment's notice it's pretty important to have a contact list that you actually control and can use as you see fit.
This means: your email database. Simple names, emails and (ideally) numbers in a list you control. It's no different from the roladex of business cards that we all used to have – we could reach out, pick up a phone and dial whoever we wanted.
In this case, however, it's a list of people that you have the ability to email useful things to that might interest them, because they have actually asked you to do it.
So don't build your digital house on rented land – own your list!
It's true that most of us get way more email than we can possibly read. As a result, while “open” and “click” rates back in the early days of email marketing were very high, they are considerably lower now.
That said, what's even lower than the open rates on email, is the number of things you see but don't read on social media. Honestly, how long do you spend scrolling through stuff you don't care about and don't interact with on social media?
I'm betting that with email you at least notice something exists, and might occasionally read it.
The volume of email, while large, still contains much less noise to signal ratio than social media.
As a result, emailing helpful stuff to people simply increases the chance of seeing it, reading it, and finding it valuable.
I'm going to guess that if you're a lawyer then a tonne of your LinkedIn Connections are other lawyers, right?
And how much of your marketing effort are you spending to get in front of other lawyers exactly? I'm guessing not much (there are rare exceptions to this rule).
Beyond that, what if some of your clients are single mums, and others are business owners? What if some work in property development and others work in hair salons?
Unless they need a new ‘doo, you might not always want your property development clients to be reading your articles about “Insurance Risks with Sharp Salon Scissors”, since it takes up their valuable time and makes you seem less relevant.
So wouldn't it be nice if there was some way of sending relevant things to relevant people, or at least being able to strategically decide what went to whom?
Oh wait, there is – it's called email marketing.*
*in fairness you can run targeted ads on social media too, but most people aren't running ads against their articles and even if they did it's a pretty clumsy instrument compared to email segmentation
So Where to Start?
Those are really the big three, and if they don't convince you then my bothering to type out a longer list of less important things probably won't either.
But let's say that you've read this and you're thinking – dang, that Hargreaves bloke is right! But what on Earth do we do about it?
Fear not, gentle reader – I've got you covered! Over the next little while I'll work through the decisions to make and steps to take to get your own email marketing machinery up and running.
Here's a preview (and also my way of deciding what to write about next):
- Choose your email marketing software;
- Import, upload or gather your initial tranche of email subscribers;
- Segment (if needed) your people;
- Set up your database growth strategy;
- Decide what kind/s of content you are going to release by email;
- Produce that content;
- Send out emails;
Are you ready? Then make sure you're subscribed to my email list (scroll down), and let's get cracking!