[author: Kevin Vermeulen]
Email is a powerful tool in the legal marketing arsenal. However, emails that people don’t want to read won’t help your strategy. Here are our top tips to help law firms strengthen their email programs and improve email open rates, click-through rates, and lead generation.
1. Never buy email addresses
This is a mistake many companies make early on when building their email program, but it can be costly. These addresses have not accepted communications from you and may not be suitable for your services (and may even mark you as spam).
2. Create a GDPR-compliant opt-in process
This law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), aims to protect the personal data of Internet users. These measures are particularly important if one of your recipients lives in Europe. It is important to have a process that allows people to opt in or opt out of your communications.
3. Reach new contacts in a day
There is a short window of opportunity when you are at the top of people’s minds. As soon as someone signs up for your newsletter, registers for an event, etc., you should send them an email. If possible, set up automated workflows to handle this process so you don’t miss this window.
4. Make the “From” address a real person
Do not send email from your business account or “company-marketing name”. When an email is sent by a real person, open rates increase.
5. Add preview text
The iPhone Mail app, Gmail, and Outlook show all the first lines of text in an email. If you don’t set the preview text (and optimize it), the email provider will just extract a few lines from the email. Leaving the default email provider on these lines means missing out on a real opportunity to attract readers.
6. Write clear and compelling subject lines
Clickable subject lines are an important part of standing out in a reader’s inbox. Subject lines should be less than 50 characters so they don’t get cut off. They should also include language the recipients will understand and action-oriented phrases.
7. Keep your emails concise
Remember that everyone is busy and their inbox is already full. People tend to prefer short, direct emails with an obvious purpose. If your email needs to be longer, be sure to break it up into paragraphs and use visuals to make it interesting.
8. Focus on an email call to action
People tend to scan emails, not read them in depth. That’s why it’s important to have simple and clear CTAs for law firm email marketing campaigns. Choose one over email and make sure it’s in a highly visible and standout location.
9. Use alt text on your CTA images
Some email clients block images by default. By setting alt text, you can show readers the action you expect them to take even if the image isn’t showing.
10. Hyperlink the images in your email
You can increase your click-through rates — and avoid cluttering the copy with links — by hyperlinking images in your email to corresponding web pages. For example, if you’re asking readers to download content, have an image of the content with a hyperlink included.
11. Make Text Links Visible
Even if you only want one separate CTA, you can still include your suggested action in other places. In your copy, include a hyperlink or two, but make sure they stand out.
12. Place the clickable elements above the fold
If you want your emails to be more clickable, make sure you have at least one clickable element above the natural fold. It can be a CTA button, a text link, a clickable image, etc. This is especially useful for mobile users, as they don’t need to pinch, zoom or squint to read the email.
13. Add alt text to other images
Similar to point number 10, keep in mind that many providers block all images. In these cases, the images will only load if the player clicks a button. Adding alt text to each image helps your recipient understand your entire message, even if it doesn’t display correctly.
14. Don’t use background images
This is especially true if your customers tend to use Outlook for email. This is because the platform does not recognize background images at all.
15. Include social sharing buttons
Adding more options that people can click on will definitely increase your click-through rates. More messaging tools have built-in templates that can help you add them to emails. Also, be sure to include share buttons, not just follow buttons. This makes it easier for readers to forward the content instead of just following your business.
16. Create tweets for easy sharing
If you want people to take action, you have to make it easy for them. You can create “lazy tweets” that people can send with tools like Click to tweet, a free custom tweet link generator. Add this link to your Twitter share button.
17. Include an Email Forwarding Option
If you want to extend the life of your email, you can invite people to forward the content. A study found that the most forwarded emails were 13 times more likely than other emails to include “Share with your network” calls to action. You can even edit the email to have a postscript at the end that makes it easy for recipients to send it to others.
18. Store the Plain Text Version of Your Emails
Many people won’t see the crisp, clean HTML versions of your email. For this reason, some people may choose to view only the plain text versions. Eliminate extra text, shorten long tracking URLs, and keep body text simple.
19. Optimize for mobile users
More than 50% of emails are now opened on a mobile device. Optimizing for this audience is key. Focus on reducing image file sizes, make sure buttons and CTA links are larger than 45-57 pixels, and invest in responsive email templates.
20. Always Preview and Test Emails Before Sending
Make a habit of double-checking everything about your email before sending it to your database. Chances are your email marketing tool allows you to preview the email, so make sure you do that. We also suggest having an internal test group that receives each email before it goes out to a wider audience.
21. Clean up your contact list
Resist the urge to keep every person on your list. Just because someone hasn’t unsubscribed from your communications doesn’t mean they’re actually interested or even a good fit. Take the time to periodically weed out subscribers who have gone inactive so they don’t lower your stats. In general, it is important for law firm email marketing databases to have a clean and healthy list at all times.
22. Examine the performance of each email
What worked once before may not work anymore. Likewise, trying something new could improve your overall efforts. Constantly check your email open and click rates for opportunities to improve. Keep track of your email analytics and look for trends over time.
Law firm email marketing is a science. This requires sending the right offers to knowledgeable audiences at the right time. Paying attention to the fine details of each email campaign can help you achieve this. Follow these tips to improve key email metrics like open or click-through rates.