The decision about which email marketing software is best for lawyers was much easier about 10 years ago when there were only a couple to pick from.
Now it seems that every person and their pet of choice is producing an SAAS email marketing platform that you can use.
So what do you need in email marketing software?
*Links in this article are affiliate links, since I actually use both pieces of software that I'm going to recommend here
The major essential element is, of course, deliverability. By and large you want to use software that actually gets your emails to the people that have asked for them. Otherwise, you might as well not bother.
Now if you want, you can do your head in and actually look at all the number crunching, like this sample from the helpful analysis done by Email Tool Tester.
The challenge with this kind of testing however, is that it has to ignore the specifics of your own methods and email habits. Things like how you build your email list, what you send people, open rates, domain history and the like can all affect these figures significantly.
Also bear in mind that “deliverability” doesn't only mean “doesn't go to spam” – they are related but slightly different topics.
But, at the very least, try and pick something that has a pretty good shot at getting your emails to their intended recipients.
Avoiding the Two Most Common Email Marketing Mistakes
Other than “will my email go anywhere” the main thing I've noticed with lawyers is that we tend to go in one of two directions:
- We pick Mailchimp because it's the only one we've heard of and we figure that all email marketing providers are basically the same; or
- We dramatically over-spend on something that has 1,706 bells and whistles that we don't need and will never use.
Both of these aren't very sensible, for obvious reasons.
First, the thing you've heard of the most isn't necessarily the right solution for you..
Next, until you actually start using your email software it's going to be hard to know what you will or will not use.
I mean sure, it's nice to be able to segment your audience 987 ways, set up complex automations with 32 other tools and have your email software make you a coffee each morning – but I'm betting none of that matters to you right now (ok maybe the coffee thing)… and possibly never will.
So here's my tip: get what you need. Which is…
So What do you Actually Need?
For the vast majority of law firms, all you need is email software that:
- sends emails;
- is easy to use;
- integrates with most things you might otherwise be using;
- gives you some simple analytics (meaning – how many opened the email, how many clicked on a link, and how many unsubscribed);
- allows some simple segmentation so you can have discrete sub-audiences within your email list.
That's it. And here are my two solutions for you.
My Two Go-To Email Marketing Solutions for Law Firms
No – despite many others doing so, I don't usually recommend Infusionsoft/Keap. It's simply too expensive and too confusing for almost any busy lawyer to use. Is it good? Yes. It is for you? Not usually.
For almost all firms I work with, there are two go-to recommendations I have in terms of email marketing software.
I use both of these myself, and so I'm fairly familiar with their pros and cons.
Here they are:
ConvertKit is a beautifully simple email marketing solution for small firms without complex needs.
It has a clean, simple user interface and is (mostly) fairly intuitive to use.
ConvertKit allows you to segment your audience via tags, but not in different lists.
Each email address in ConvertKit counts as only a single subscriber irrespective of how many tags they have (in Mailchimp and some others, if a single subscriber is on multiple lists they count as multiple people).
For more advanced users, ConvertKit allows you to perform any number of straightforward automations (if this then that kind of stuff). The automations are easy to create and execute well.
Finally, for those who don't wish to design their own landing pages, ConvertKit also comes integrated with some simple landing pages and popups that you can use on your site if you don't have another solution for that.
So what's the downside? There are a couple of reasons some people might not like ConvertKit:
- If you wish to segment your email subscribers by both list AND tag, then you can't – so everything has to be controlled with tags;
- It doesn't come with inbuilt pretty email designs – so the default is a fairly plain email broadcast. If you want to design something more fancy you can, but that's probably going to involve paying someone to do it for you.
Other than those, for most small firms just starting to build their list, I'd go with ConvertKit unless there was a good reason not to.
Plus as an added bonus it has a free plan which you can find here.
However, for “apples and apples” reasons we are only looking at the “lite” package – which is essentially the email marketing component without the additional CRM bells and whistles (which, again, most law firms don't really need, and when they get it they tend not to use it anyway).
However, ActiveCampaign allows you to segment your audience by both list AND tag. So, for example, you might have different lists for different practice areas within your firm, and then tags to get more granular if you desire to do so.
ActiveCampaign also comes with a bunch of slightly more interesting templates for your emails should you wish to use them.
While a very powerful piece of software (it has a LOT more options than ConvertKit) there are a couple of things that annoy me about it:
- the user interface is cluttered and busy;
- while there is a drag-n-drop email design component, it's fairly clunky and inelegent;
- if you're on the lite plan then you'll really need another popup/form software to collect your email addresses, as the inbuilt ones are terrible and have ActiveCampaign branding on them.
That said, these are fairly minor issues and easily overcome.
If you want a powerful email marketing software without breaking the bank, then ActiveCampaign is also surprisingly affordable.
So Which One Should you Pick?
Honestly – it doesn't really matter. They are both perfectly fine and will do 99% of what most firms need right out of the gate.
Get a test drive of both, see which one you prefer, and go with that.