How to use email marketing to build your firm


The sight of an overflowing inbox fills me with a dread, so why on earth would I recommend that your firm should engage in email marketing? Well, the simple fact is that email marketing does work…. when it’s done well. There are four things that make a good email marketing campaign.

Speak to your audience with purpose

The best emails are those that know exactly who their audience is and speaks to them with purpose. Whether you’re sending the latest case note or an invite to your breakfast briefing, you’ll have the most impact if you send it to the right people and are clear about why you’re sending the email. Some ways you can do this include:

  • Segment your marketing list: I know it’s tempting to send emails to everyone in your list, but the less relevant your email is to someone the more likely it is that they will send it straight to the Junk mailbox or unsubscribe. If you’re sending out an update on the latest corporations law changes, it’s unlikely that it will be relevant to your personal injury clients. By segmenting your database, and writing for your audience, you can show your clients that you really do know them and have their best interests at heart.
  • Get to the point: The average number of business emails received per day is expected to be over 140 by next year, so to be heard through that much clutter it’s important that you get to the point quickly. Most of us scan subject lines or the first paragraph of our emails before deciding whether to read on or delete. If you want to be in the former category, then ensure you put the purpose of your email front and centre, so your client knows why they need to read it. If you can’t think of what the specific point to your email is, then perhaps you should reconsider whether you should be sending it.

Add value to your audience

Even when you’re trying to promote an event, if you can’t think of a reason why your reader would find your email interesting or useful, then you may need to reconsider your content. People love to receive emails that add value to what they’re doing or provide them with relevant information that they didn’t know.

This is where many firms fall over in their email marketing strategy. They write wonderful content that is really useful to their clients, but they make it too lengthy and complex and miss mentioning up front how it will help them. While the latest case note may be interesting, you also have to explain to your audience why it’s pertinent to them. After all, most will not have time to read the whole the thing… unless they know it’s something that is useful to them.

On the flipside, I also see some firms simplifying their content too much in the hope that they’ll encourage clients to call them for advice. While I’m not suggesting you layout detailed advice in your email marketing, it’s helpful to your clients to give them enough information so they can identify whether they have an issue. This will save both you and them time in the long run. It will also ensure your

Many firms tend to view this approach as risk management. They don’t want to provide anything that may be considered “advice” in case it opens them up to risk. Of course, this is an important distinction, but there is a clear line that can be traversed were you provide useful information on how the law works and how it may apply in some situations, without providing specific advice.

Make it easy to read

It doesn’t matter how great your email is if it isn’t easy to scan, read or understand it’s purpose it is unlikely to be read. There are plenty of great and easy-to-use email tools available now, so there’s really no excuse. Some things you can do to improve the readability of your email includes:

  • Leverage tools like Mailchimp that provide templates that layout a wide variety of emails in great formats.
  • If it’s a long read, add a small note at the top of the email telling your reader how long it will take to read (for example this article is about a five minute read). You can use a tool like this to calculate the reading time.
  • Use images or subheadings to make it easy to break it up or make it easier to scan, particularly if you are sending a long newsletter or email with several sections.

Monitor and adjust so your emails are always welcome

Creating and implementing an email marketing strategy isn’t a once-off event. The things that your readers like (or dislike) in your emails may change over time, that’s why it’s a good idea to monitor your data. Some of the key metrics that will help you determine if your emails are hitting the mark include:

  • Unsubscribe rate: While some churn is expected on any mailing list, if your readers are willing opting out of receiving your emails then that may have a bit to do with the content that you’re sending. Perhaps it’s no longer relevant to them or they don’t see the value in your emails anymore.
  • Open rate: How many people actually chose to open and read your email? This metric is a good indicator of whether your subject lines are engaging your reader, and whether your reader considers your content to be valuable to them.
  • Click rate: If you send emails with links back to your website, blog or other articles, then, of course, you hope that your reader will want to click on them.

By reviewing this information each time you send an email, you can determine whether you need to perhaps adjust your email marketing strategy. You can also use this information to test out different ideas. In marketing speak it’s called A/B testing, where you send segment your list and send out two different emails. You can then compare the results to see which one has the bet response.  This research can then help you tweak your approach over time, and optimise your results.

By keeping these four concepts in mind when creating your next email campaign you can improve your results, build your brand, and provide value to your clients.