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Email Marketing: How to Attract Business Without Annoying Clients and Referral Sources

Christopher Earley


  • Email marketing is an effective marketing strategy to generate referrals; however, it will waste time and money if poorly implemented.
  • Tips for your weekly email blast include using a website to design and send your emails, investing in a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) to segment your list and review data on effectiveness, and keeping your email list clean and scrubbed.
  • Regarding content for your email blast, use a great subject line to increase open-up rates and ensure the content will provoke interest and engagement.
Email Marketing: How to Attract Business Without Annoying Clients and Referral Sources
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One of the best ways to grow a law practice is through a consistent stream of referrals from past and current clients, as well as from referring attorneys. And an effective marketing strategy to generate these referrals is email marketing. Specifically, a weekly email blast to your list is a relatively easy and inexpensive marketing tactic every law firm should execute.

When done right and sent out on a consistent basis, this can help your office’s marketing efforts tremendously. But when done the wrong way, it will not only waste effort and money but will also irritate people. Here are some things to keep in mind if you already send out, or are considering sending out, a weekly email blast to your list.

Websites such as Constant Contact and Mail Chimp do a fine job of providing a platform through which you can both design and send out your emails blasts. These programs are very reasonably priced. They have easy-to-use templates that can help you get started.

If you want to take things up a notch and you are willing to invest more money, I highly encourage the use of a CRM (customer relationship manager). We use Keap (formerly Infusionsoft), but there are plenty of other CRM platforms available. A CRM is a powerful tool that allows you to segment your email list and also can provide insightful data and reporting that enables you to constantly adjust and improve your overall email marketing strategy.

Regardless of how you send your emails out, be sure to keep your email list clean and scrubbed. In particular, be sensitive to both “hard bounces” as well as “soft bounces” (a hard bounce is a permanent error that means the recipient will not receive the email, and a soft bounce is a temporary problem that means the recipient may eventually receive the email). If you are sending to email addresses that are no longer valid, then your emails may be considered spam. That can seriously undercut the effectiveness of your email deliverability.

Before these emails can be effective, they first must get opened. I believe the key to getting email blasts opened is a great subject line. Think creatively and invite curiosity when writing your subject lines. Give the recipient, who likely gets hundreds of emails per week, a reason to open it. Examples of effective subject lines can be questions or something that sparks intrigue or mystery because that is what people are drawn to.

Once the email is opened, there must be content inside that will provoke interest and engagement. Make sure the email has a personalized greeting to the recipient (“Dear Joe . . .”). Many email programs allow you to create a custom greeting line that automatically merges the recipient’s name into the greeting. This layer of personalization goes a long way.

For the body of the email, some of the content that we use is a positive message or story at the beginning of the email, followed by pictures of happy clients who have recently come to the office to pick up their settlement checks, an option to download a free book or free report I have written, videos, links to our newest blog post, an inspiring quote or idea, a request for a review, a request for referrals, etc.

Don’t make the email all about your firm, and don’t make it all about the law, either. People will find that boring. At my firm we frequently run giveaways on social media, and the email blast is a great place to announce these giveaways to our list. The key is to keep things fun so your list finds value in the emails and does not unsubscribe. Make sure above all else to never be spammy at all with these emails.

Always be sure to give your email audience a reason to stick around and not unsubscribe. Bear in mind, however, that no matter how well you execute your email blast strategy, people will still unsubscribe. That is an inevitability, so don’t let unsubscribes ever discourage you from continuing to send out your emails.

Some may think that a weekly email is overkill, but the more you can interact with your list in order to encourage their engagement with your office, the better. This allows for creating and maintaining top-of-mind awareness so that when people on your list require legal services, they think of your firm. Also, you want to stay top-of-mind with your referral attorneys as well, and an email blast is a great way to do that.

A weekly email blast can be a very effective addition to a law firm’s marketing arsenal. If you have other ideas on email marketing, I would love to hear them. Please share them with me by emailing me at [email protected].