Email Marketing Dos and Don’ts for Lawyers


Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing channels, but it can also be one of the most competitive, especially for lawyers. According to The Radicati Group, 111.1 billion consumer emails are sent on a daily basis. That means you have to figure out how to cut through the noise to get your email noticed – and do it ethically to avoid any possible sanctions. 

Do: offer value

If readers are taking the time to open your email, they want to get something in return. You absolutely must deliver value with every email. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean financial value, though. 

For lawyers, offering coupons or discounts isn’t all that common. So instead, your value has to be information. More and more, people are digitally engaged with brands – businesses, organizations, individuals – because they want to benefit from their knowledge and insight. This is a huge advantage for lawyers, who have plenty of industry expertise and insight to share. 

Leverage this asset by using information-rich content in your emails. Blog posts are a great, reusable source of email marketing content. Include upcoming events, answer commonly asked questions, or include intriguing articles or news from outside sources to generate value-added content to share. 

Don’t: make it all about you 

When thinking about what’s valuable to your audience, don’t overuse your credentials or successes. To truly be successful in providing valuable information, you want to come across as authentic while keeping in mind your audience. This is pretty important, so before you start drafting an email campaign, take some time to figure out your goals and target markets. 

Keep in mind though, if you don’t share your successes at all, no one else is going to do it for you. It’s more than ok to share these important achievements, as long as you do it within the guidelines of your local bar association. Every state has different rules when it comes to law firm advertising, so you want to be mindful of those when sending out any emails. 

To strike a balance between informative and highlighting the firm, including a section in your email dedicated to office news. This gives a structure to share smaller bits of good news without dominating the entire email. For seriously impressive updates don’t be afraid to make that a headline item.

Do: carefully consider email frequency

Frequency can be challenging to nail down. If you send emails too often, you’ll get a quick “unsubscribe.” But if you don’t send content out often enough, you won’t have the opportunity to build a relationship with your audience.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but studies show that audiences typically tolerate up to five emails a week or 20 times a month from brands. Who just wants to be tolerated though? 

To stay on top of email frequency:

  • Focus on quality over quantity
  • Pay attention to your email statistics 
  • Start slow and work your way up
  • If possible, give your audience the option to choose email frequency

Don’t: Neglect your subject lines 

A good subject line can’t be underestimated. According to Convince & Convert, 35% of email recipients open an email based solely on the subject line. There are lots of ways to approach subject lines: posing questions, adding deadlines, content teasers, and more. You can’t go wrong with leading with the main reason for the email, either. 

But while it can be fun to brainstorm ones that are clever, attention-grabbing tactics can just as easily backfire. When crafting the perfect subject line, be mindful to avoid clickbait techniques. Direct and to-the-point will build your audience’s trust and misleading will break it down. Especially in the legal industry, which is often held to high standards, it’s important to keep this in mind.

Do: Personalize your emails

If you want to stand out from the crowd, you have to do your audience to the courtesy of not treating them like they’re not just part of the crowd. This is a good job for your CRM, which can help you pull out valuable data from consumer profiles and reach your audience in the most meaningful way possible. With these, you can segment out your email list and send them information they’d actually want to hear about. 

Personalization can look a lot of different ways, from embedding names into subject headings to targeting audiences based on age range, geographic location, or any number of other demographic metrics. 

Don’t: forget reader-first email marketing

If you do nothing else, think of who might be reading your emails. Reader-first email marketing means several things:

Designing for mobile

Poor formatting is the primary complaint about mobile email. Even if the content is amazing, it’s likely to be deleted in less than three seconds in more than 70% of cases if it’s badly formatted.

Keeping copy short and actionable

Unless you are sending an email newsletter, keep your emails under 200 words.

Lead with your CTA

In print, journalists always want to appear “above the fold.” The same goes for email marketing. To make it easy for users to engage, place your CTA at the top of your email, not at the bottom.

Choosing images wisely

All images should be formatted for size. If a file is too large, an email won’t open quickly and you’ll lose their attention. Or worse, it could be rejected by their spam filter and they won’t see it at all. 

Effective firm email marketing 

Email marketing, with its low cost and ability to reach people where they are, is something every firm should be using in their marketing strategy. Maintaining relationships, staying top of mind and increased sales are all reasons to use email marketing, but law firms need to be careful to adhere to their bar association advertising rules while doing so. With consistency and valuable content, law firm email marketing can generate significant marketing ROI. 

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