Why and how your law firm should start a newsletter

By Peter Boyd, Florida attorney who founded PaperStreet. He has helped over 1,500 law firms with their websites, content and marketing.

You’ve probably heard that your law firm “should” start sending a regular email newsletter. But you’ve also heard that there are a lot of things to do, so you want to look at some specific reasons before you invest time, effort, and money into a newsletter.

Marketing agencies that work with law firms tend to be big proponents of email newsletters as part of a solid marketing strategy. As the president of a company that produces email newsletters for law firms, here are three of the reasons why I recommend newsletters so highly.

Newsletters build credibility for your business

People hire lawyers when they need help with a big problem. They may be in the middle of a crisis or trying to prevent one in the future, but either way, they fear some serious negative consequences. They need a lawyer they can trust.

They want to work with someone who:

• Understands all legal issues.

• Knows the best solutions for their situation.

• He will explain what is happening and guide them through the test.

• He genuinely wants to help them succeed.

A newsletter can show all of these features. If you publish a newsletter with advice on boating safety, for example, it shows that you care about preventing accidents and keeping people safe, even though it means they may never become your customers. You put their interests before your own. This shows integrity.

If you publish a newsletter explaining how a revocable trust can help them avoid volatility, you show your willingness to understand solutions and solve problems. You establish your authority in your field while at the same time showing that you are approachable.

Newsletters Get your name in front of customers

Regular newsletters keep you up to date with current customers and help you reach new customers. When your current customers see your message in their inbox each month, they are reminded of you in a hopefully positive way. This keeps you top of mind when they encounter a friend or colleague with a legal problem.

A newsletter also provides your customers with information in a format that they can easily pass on to others.

Newsletters can give you high ROI with minimal investment

A newsletter is a low-risk, high-reward marketing tool. You can start a newsletter with minimal investment of resources. You can produce content in-house or engage the services of a freelance legal content writer. There is a variety of email marketing software available for formatting and sending newsletters, and programs are available at little or no cost.

You can experiment with the content, delivery options, and other aspects of your newsletter at little or no additional cost. The email platform you use to create and deliver your newsletters should be able to provide metrics that show how many recipients opened the newsletter and how many links they clicked to read more or visit your website, so you can measure the effectiveness of your strategies.

You can also use your newsletter to promote special events, such as a conference or seminar. If your business sponsors a charity event or staff members participate in community service, you can highlight these efforts in your newsletter to show your company’s commitment to community support. You can recycle informative content as a blog post on your website and tease it on social media to get more exposure for your company with minimal additional effort.

Find success by avoiding these common pitfalls

Newsletters are the perfect medium to test what works and what doesn’t, and what works for one law firm doesn’t necessarily work for another because every email list is different. However, there are a few key don’ts you want to avoid.

Don’t forget to link your social media accounts

It is best practice to include a link to your website and all of your active social media accounts at the bottom of your newsletter. Some firms even link to specific attorney profiles on LinkedIn using a custom icon from the LinkedIn headshot and logo. While this is above and beyond, you definitely need to make it easy for readers to find all the places you post content regularly.

Don’t forget to show your human side

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the presentation of numbers and case summaries. Take the time in each newsletter to present something that humanizes your business. After all, potential clients hire you as a person. Write a short letter to include at the top or bottom. Include a bio preview or “meet the team” feature. Add a picture of a fixed event like a birthday party or a fixed retreat. We always recommend adding a few smiley faces to your newsletter: anything that humanizes the work you do.

Don’t forget to regularly edit your mailing list

It’s so easy to finish growing your list by a certain number of subscribers, but if you only focus on the number, you forget to analyze the relationship of all those email addresses to your law firm. Is your list 90% referral sources? Or maybe they are mostly old customers who have already worked with your company. The type of content you should create depends on the audience your mailing list is targeting. Referral sources (like other attorneys) don’t need to know tips to stay safe at the fair. Look beyond the number and check back regularly to see how your audience groups are changing and growing.

You have a lot to gain and little to lose by starting a newsletter

It’s easy to outline the reasons why your law firm should publish a regular newsletter. In fact, it would actually be much harder to come up with that many reasons why you shouldn’t start a newsletter.

In many cases, busy lawyers cringe at the thought of adding one more thing to their long to-do list. But you can always test the strategy and stop it if you don’t get results that justify the resources.

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