There is no secret to their success. Every leading law firm is executing it and doing it frequently. 81% of businesses still rely on this strategy as their primary customer acquisition channel, and 80% for retention (Emarsys, 2018).
The strategy is simple – implementing regular e-newsletters and growing their database.
Connecting with clients is key when trying to grow your law firm practice. One of the most effective ways to connect is by sending regular communications to your clients, potential clients, and referrers, otherwise known as your contacts or audience. Database marketing is a powerful strategy to reach new and existing contacts and generate more clients for your law firm. You can use your contact list to send information electronically to an entire audience or specialised content to a targeted segment. At the heart of your digital marketing efforts is your law firm database and the power of a good marketing database is often underestimated. The more quality contacts you have, the greater the opportunity to communicate with a target audience, create brand awareness, and generate leads. Despite this however, we find that many law firms don’t know where to start when putting a contact list together or they struggle to grow their database or keep a regular communication program going.
The power of connecting with your clients
Digital marketing is efficient and effective, providing an opportunity to connect instantly with a large audience and share valuable information.
Sending regular law firm e-newsletters is a proven law firm marketing strategy to help drive new and better business to your firm.
E-newsletters are the most popular marketing channel used by law firms. Not having a database marketing strategy means your firm is missing out on the lion’s share and leaving it to your competitors to connect with your clients.
Distributing useful and informative content to your audience on a regular basis can help:
- position your law firm as a thought leader in your practice areas;
- remind your clients and referrers about how you can help them;
- inform clients about important changes to the law;
- introduce new team members and areas of practice to your contacts;
- develop trust and increase brand awareness;
- keep your law firm front and centre when your services are needed;
- drive new leads.
Understanding the essential steps to creating an e-newsletter and the many benefits of sending regular law firm e-newsletters can position your law firm to win and accept new clients, repeat business and referrals.
How to start and grow your law firm database
Database marketing is a bit of a numbers game – more contacts equal more connections, greater brand awareness and potentially, new business. Over time however, even the best mailing lists deteriorate as contacts move on, change jobs, update email addresses, or unsubscribe. To stay ahead of the game, you need to be on the ball when it comes to collecting, auditing, and growing your law firm database. In doing so, you should aim not only for more contacts, but more quality contacts – an audience that knows and trusts you and is receptive to the valuable information you will be sending.
Following are 6 simple steps you can take to create your marketing database, capture new contacts and grow your list.
1. Use what you already have and start with a clean formatted list
Your practice management or customer relationship management software is the obvious starting point. From here you can extract details of past and present clients and add them to a list (like an excel spreadsheet) that is compatible with and can be imported to your chosen email marketing software (i.e., Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit). You can also look for data in your Outlook contacts, LinkedIn network or office accounting software, taking into consideration any opt-in or consent requirements.
Your mailing list needs to be in a consistent, manageable format, ideally set up for personalised communication for better open rates. Emails with personalised subject lines generate 50% higher open rates, so spending the time to identify your contact’s details is important. Personalisation can generally be achieved by having separate columns for first and last names (although you should check with your email marketing software for specific requirements). Some systems will not automatically extract data and put it into separate columns. Be prepared to do some formatting but rest assured that additional work in the early stages will reap the benefits in the long run.
2. Keep your list in top shape with regular maintenance
Keeping your database in shape means regular maintenance to ensure it is current, accurate and contains only those contacts you want to market to. After you commence an email marketing campaign, your software delivery service should show you any email addresses that don’t appear to be monitored or are ‘bouncing’ (undeliverable or incorrect). These reports are fundamental to updating your contact list, fixing incorrect email addresses and deleting contacts that are consistently not engaging.
3. Use technology to grow your list
With the right technology in place, your database is virtually capable of growing itself. Sign-ups and call to actions can be used to capture data through your website and social media accounts. These technical tools are highly effective in generating interest in your law firm and growing your database.
If you’re sending regular e-newsletters, or plan to, your website should have a sign-up form to subscribe to regular communications. Set up correctly, contact details can be harvested directly to your marketing database.
If you have a Facebook business account or other social media accounts, make sure you include a ‘call to action’ button to encourage people to visit your website and subscribe.
4. Create and offer quality content – e-books, guides and checklists
Offering downloadable assets in exchange for a few contact details is an excellent way to get quality contacts onto your list. E-books and checklists are great lead generation tools and provide an opportunity for law firms to showcase their expertise in a particular area. You can create (or outsource) downloadable content on any topic of interest, like an e-book on family law or business essentials, or an estate planning checklist.
When contacts give their details in exchange for downloading content, they are generally showing a level of trust in providing this information and the nature of the content chosen is a valuable indication of the type of service the recipient might be interested in.
If you need help setting up a call to action on your website or social media accounts, or creating downloadable e-books on your areas of law to offer your visitors, we can help.
5. Encourage subscribers to share your content
Making content easy to share is a simple strategy to grow your mailing list. Recipients should be encouraged to share information with like-minded people or those who they think will benefit from your content.
Ensure your digital marketing contains social sharing buttons and calls to action like ‘forward this to a friend’ as well as a subscribe button to make it easy for people being onforwarded your content to opt in.
6. Onboard your team to help grow your audience
Developing systems within your law firm to harvest new contacts will go a long way to growing your database.
Each time you make a new contact, add them (with permission) to your marketing database, and ask your staff for any suitable additional contacts that may not already be in your contact management systems.
Finally, educate your team on how to ask for contact details or how to direct people to sign up for your law firm’s e-newsletters, updates and alerts.
Where to next?
Connecting with clients and potential clients is essential for growing your law firm. A good database helps you to reach your target audience to provide regular e-newsletters and other valuable information. Once created, steps to grow your database can be as simple as adding a sign-up invitation to your website, a call to action on your Facebook page, and implementing systems to capture and add new contacts as soon as they enter your firm.
We are a law firm marketing agency. We help busy lawyers to grow their practice through digital marketing, e-newsletters, and quality content. We’ve helped hundreds of law firms get their contact lists into shape and generate leads with e-newsletter campaigns and other digital marketing strategies. If you’d like to know more about our e-newsletters for law firms, or any other law firm marketing solutions please call us on 1300 881 811 or email [email protected]
About the author
Peter Heazlewood is a management and marketing consultant, he specialises in helping law firms develop their practices using business planning marketing and performance reporting techniques refined in his own successful law firm. Peter lives in Sydney with his wife and is the father of five adult children.