So, now you should have an idea of the software you want to use to create, send, and manage emails. Next, we will need people to whom we shall send the emails. And, we will need to grow that list of recipients over time. This chapter breaks down strategies on how to grow your email list, and segmenting subscribers.
Building an Email List
Without recipients to send to, there’s no point to any of this. You will need contacts to send emails to. The typical types of contacts you will want to have on your lists will be current clients, potential clients, and colleagues / referral sources.
Chances are, starting out, you have contacts that you can send information to. In your current email client of choice (Outlook, Gmail, etc.) you have contacts that you can export. It may not be immediately apparent, since exporting contacts is a bit of an advanced move, but I guarantee you that your email client can do it. You may have to find a help guide to find where to do the export. Here are tips for exporting for Outlook and Gmail. Once exported into a spreadsheet (typically in CSV format), you can delete the lines of contacts that you do not want to include in your import.
Now, if you have amassed a list of contacts over the years and have not been in touch with many of them for years as well, they probably are not expecting an email newsletter from you out-of-the-blue. You may want to send an initial email campaign to these contacts to let them know that you will be sending them firm updates and news, and if they want to opt-out they may do so by hitting the unsubscribe button. Every email app has an unsubscribe button on every email they send, to ensure legal compliance.
So, now you may have an initial batch of subscribers, but you will want to build more. On an ongoing basis, you can add new prospective clients, new colleagues / referrals, and new clients to your lists. But, depending on how many cases and prospective clients you see each month, that may not add a ton of new subscribers to your emails.
Lead Magnets / Downloadables
One recommendation to build your subscriber list is to offer free “premium” content on your website. Content like ebooks or downloadables or calculators. By providing useful information to your audience in exchange for their email address is a win-win for everyone. You get a new potential client’s contact information; they get useful legal-related information they have been searching for.
To set up a downloadable, also known as a “lead magnet”, you will need to set up an automation within your email marketing software. Every app is different in their setup and rules, but the gist is this:
- You create a new contact form in your email software specifically for your new downloadable content
- You then create an automation sequence in your email software for people who have filled out that form
- The automation sequence first has one email that includes the downloadable content that the subscriber is looking for
- You can then create subsequent “nurturing” emails to further educate that subscriber and try to convert them to reaching out to you for a legal consultation
- You insert the contact form’s code on your website (or integrate with your existing webform via a third-party integration) so that when someone fills out the form on your website, they get added to your email marketing software list, and they can get the downloadable content and automation sequence emails
Lead magnets are amazingly effective at getting subscribers to your list. In our experience, lead magnets are much more effective than just having a “Subscribe to our newsletter” bar on your website. The lead magnet offers something your visitor knows they want. A “subscribe to our newsletter” button is nowhere near as compelling.
For some law firms, the idea of offering free premium content can come with some apprehension. “I don’t want to give away my legal knowledge for free. That’s what people are paying me for!”