I assume that MOST of you understand WHY email marketing software is essential.

But, it doesn’t hurt to explain it in more detail.

Software vs Regular Email

“I can save a few dollars per month by using my regular email account. So, why should I pay for software?”

This is a common question. But, sending marketing emails from your regular account is a rookie error.

Here’s why:

1. Your work email account can get blacklisted

Some people will report your emails as spam. It’s inevitable. This can get your regular email account blacklisted. What does this mean? Your emails will go to spam folders. Standard client emails, communication with other parties and invoices.

These are some of the essential emails that will treated as junk mail. Yes, your emails will live with West African scam emails. And we both know that your emails don’t belong there.

Can you imagine the drama? Your firm will also have to get a new email account, set it up, tell everyone, change stationery and online assets. What a pain.

2. Email limits

Regular email accounts are generally not built for mass emailing. This includes limits on:

  • How many emails you can send in a 24-hour period
  • How many emails you can send in one go

3. Adding/Unsubscribing

This will be a challenge.

You’ll have to do it manually. Or, pay a staff member to do it.

Also, this is the type of information that you’ll want data on. It shows you what works and what doesn’t. For example, you can measure open rates, reply rates, reading time and unsubscribes.

Naturally, you’ll want to create the type of content that performs well. I don’t know how you can get reliable data unless you do it manually. Once again, bad idea.

4. But wait, there’s more

  • How will you create an automated email sequence with a regular email account?
  • How will you design stylish newsletters?
  • How will you schedule email blasts?

5. Ethical considerations

It’s unethical to NOT include an option to unsubscribe. Some jurisdictions even have anti spam laws (e.g. CAN-SPAM Act). So, ensure you comply with all ethical and legal considerations.

6. It’s pretty affordable

Entry-level options can be free. Some options start at only $9 per month. When you consider the typical expenses of a law firm, this is a drop in the bucket.

Types of Email Marketing Software for Lawyers

There are many options available. It mostly depends on your needs.

Do you only need to send emails to your list? Or maybe you want to track website visitors with a built-in CRM software tool? Perhaps you’re after some tailor-made landing page templates?

I like to keep things simple. So, here’s how I categorise email software: standard, advances and marketing automation.

1) Standard Email Marketing Software

This is what EVERY email marketing software program should do:

  • Maintain a list of contacts
  • Provide an email builder with templates
  • Send emails. These can be manual and/or automated
  • Track results

Most law firms will be happy with this.
Common apps include:

Some of them include more advanced features.

What do these include?

Maybe you want to send emails to targeted subscribers once they take a certain action. This could be once they’ve filled out a contact form. Or, when they visit a certain page on your website. Maybe a specific email should be sent once they’ve opened X number of emails. Thus, your targeting strategy can become very precise and intentional.

Recommendations?

MailChimp and Campaign Monitor.

Why?

  • Easy to set up
  • User-friendly
  • MailChimp has a lot of third-party integrations with common law firm software
  • MailChimp is also free for < 2,000 contacts

2) Advanced Email Marketing Software

Sending emails is nice.

But, what if your goal is to convert subscribers into paying clients?

If so, you may need to take it up a notch.

This could include

  • CRM functionality
  • Automation sequences for different lead magnets

Recommendations?

Active Campaign.

Why?

  • Built-in CRM. This lets you actively manage your subscribers through the buying cycle. Why is this important? People have different pain points. These issues need to be solved. That’s why it’s essential to create tailored email sequences. This allows you to ‘speak to your audience’ more effectively.
  • LegalSites has several email automation sequences. Including downloadable content (‘lead magnets’) and weekly/monthly email campaigns. Active Campaign has been crucial to our success with email marketing.

Get your toes wet with MailChimp. Then, once you’ve ‘out-grown’ it, move to Active Campaign.

3) Marketing Automation Software

Now we’re moving into ‘big boy’ territory.

This type of email marketing software has EVERYTHING you could ever need.

What are some examples?

The two most popular are Hubspot and Infusionsoft (now ‘Keap’)

They have the standard tools for email creation and automation. But, it doesn’t stop there. Some of the features include:

  • Landing page creators
  • Contact / intake form creators
  • Social media posting apps
  • Blogging software / hosting
  • Complete CRM with contact activity tracking
  • Advanced contact tracking and lead scoring

These apps will track your contacts like the ATO. Want examples? You’ll receive information on:

  • Which emails they’re opening
  • Which website pages they’re visiting
  • What type of content they’re engaging in

Why is this important? Well, you can use this data to send them TARGETED email campaigns.

Is Marketing Automation Software Necessary?

I know of legal marketing consultants that market these apps to law firms. But, in my professional opinion, it’s unnecessary. Why?

  • < $800 per month. Most of the features will never be used by law firms.
  • ‘set up fees’ and hidden costs. These can be several thousand dollars.
  • The list goes on. Generally speaking, these apps are overkill for the needs of most law firms.

Why do consultants promote these apps? Well, I can take a guess. It might be due to the sizeable referral fee. Also known as an ‘affiliate fee’. These apps offer incentives to consultants because they know it’s a tough sell.

While they provide a tonne of value, law firms generally don’t need it.

So, What Should I Do?

Here’s a piece of advice that most consultants will never share with you:

If you’re a rookie, start with an app in the Standard category. Get started with MailChimp.

This is what most businesses start with. Chances are you already receive emails from this tool.

A few reasons for starting simple:

  • You’ll make mistakes and learn along the way
  • Email marketing is a skill. It takes practice. Don’t pay for a service that you barely understand.
  • Building an email list also takes time. Don’t pay for expensive tools when your list is small.

Start out by sending newsletters. Listen to feedback and refine your skills. If you have ‘lead magnets’ (e.g. ebooks or guides), you can automate them easily through MailChimp. Once you outgrow MailChimp, explore more advanced options.

I’ve seen too many law firms pay for expensive consulting. Then, to add salt to the wound, they buy software that far exceeds their needs. This inevitably provides a low ROI. And, the value of email marketing is distorted. So, please start with modest software.

Remember — it’s easy to export your subscriber list and import into another.

When should you upgrade?

Well, a good rule-of-thumb is: consider upgrading once you have more than 1,000 contacts.

Also — what do you want to achieve? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I want to track leads?
  • Do I want to create complex automation sequences based on user-activity?
  • Do I need to integrate the software with other apps?

Please start your campaign with a specific purpose. Choose your software based on this purpose, and go from there.

If you need help with your email marketing, we’d love to hear from you.

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