How Can I Use Direct Email?
Direct email campaigns are one of the easiest yet most underutilized marketing tools. Remember that almost 70% of those seeking an attorney first ask friends, family, and coworkers for a recommendation. So, your marketing should be geared not only to potential clients but to those influencers. Direct email campaigns can generate new business in two principal ways – new work from old or existing clients and referrals (from influencers).
Step #1: Create a Distribution List
First, you will need to create a list (a spreadsheet works best) of potential recipients of your email campaigns. You can build this from your email contacts or your practice management system. You can also create these from membership lists and directories of organizations of which you are a member.
Yes, it takes time, but it will be well worth it. Go through the list and identify those whom you know or have met. You might want to identify each person on your list in a group or category such as “client”, “lawyer”, “family”, or “other”. Remember, under Rule 7.3 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, communications with past and present clients, others with whom you have or have had a professional relationship, family, and other lawyers are exceptions to the prohibition on solicitations. So, identifying those to whom you cannot send an email which could be viewed as a solicitation can save you some heartache (you can email them a communication which isn’t a solicitation).
Step #2: Select an Email Marketing Platform
Your list can be exported into any number of online services which manage email campaigns (Mailchimp, ConstantContact, SendinBlue, just to name a few).
It is good to use a reputable email campaign manager as it can ensure that you are compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act (https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business), which sets forth rules about to whom you can send an unsolicited email, what rights recipients have (and what you must tell them about those rights), and the stiff penalty for violations.
Step #3: Automate & Update
You should always be mindful of your email list. It is not something you create once and forget it. Creating a system to ensure that new contacts are added is essential.
If you meet someone at a conference (remember those?), add them to the list. Do you have people come to your office for real estate closings? Add a form in the closing packet by which they request updates on your firm’s services. Add them to the list. Develop a good relationship in a case with a lawyer whom you did not know? Add her to the list.
Step #4: Produce High-Quality Emails
Your campaigns should have a variety of themes. Some should remind or inform recipients of who you are and what all you do. Pick a topic and dedicate an email to that topic.
It doesn’t have to say, “Hey, I handle car wrecks!” but could perhaps include a topic related to car wrecks which they might find interesting or helpful. Sometimes it’s good to talk directly about the variety of services that you do offer, as people don’t know. If a client came to you for a will, hopefully she will tell others that you did a good job on that. But she may not know or appreciate that you also handle divorces. Some could feature individuals within your firm and what they do (cross-selling). Others could feature developments in your area of the law. Or perhaps you could publish a newsletter that would be of interest to subgroups within your target audience.The idea is to find some excuse to put yourself in the minds of these individuals who can directly or indirectly produce more work for you.