The Crisis of Relevance in Email Marketing Answering: “What’s in it for Me?”

When it comes email marketing, always keep in mind the triumvirate of email marketing savvy: Anticipated, Personal and Relevant. Email campaigns should always try to be all three to recipients. While the first two are clearly important, it is the third, Relevance, that is the most difficult to deliver in a sustained campaign.

The Answer to the Big Question

Much of the email we receive from companies today fails to be relevant to recipients. The reason for this is because many marketers are stuck providing copy that encourages sales rather than providing valuable content that recipients might read. It doesn’t matter how great a product or offer is, if it shows up in an inbox and it isn’t relevant, it goes straight to the trash. Readers sit down and read content that is important and valuable to them. When putting a marketing campaign together you must get in your customers’ shoes and ask yourself: “What’s in it for me?”

Every campaign must offer immediate and obvious value to the reader. If you can provide an answer to the reader’s “what’s in it for me?” question in the first couple of seconds they see your email, there’s a chance they’ll give you a few more seconds of their attention.

Attention is gold in email marketing. Your potential clients have it. You want it. And you’re going to have to do some work to get it. But, if you do, you are rewarded with your clients’ trust and loyalty. If you fail, your subscriber base will start to shrink – the kiss of death in email marketing.

So how do you offer immediate and obvious value?

First, you need to know that people are interested in their safety, well being and other key needs. At Let America Know, we produce an editorial calendar centered around these concerns. Think, tips for shopping for safe toys, summertime child safety and distracted driving. Each month our writers focus on one issue and dig deep into the concept. The articles vary from month to month and address issues of civil justice, safety and consumer advisories.

If you can catch a reader’s attention, they may want to dive deeper into the topic. Accordingly our writers provide links to outside sources that give even more information on the month’s topic, and occasionally our very own You Should Know podcast. Additionally the newsletters always have a quick read “By the Numbers” section that provides immediate, eye catching and valuable content. At Let America Know, each issue is personalized for the participating member attorney, providing links to their web presence and any personal message they would like their readers to hear.

If you have any questions or ideas you’d like us to share we look forward to hearing from you. You can reach us at: info@letamericaknow.com.

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Generating Higher Open Rates Over Time

Welcome back to the second and final part of our blog series focusing on getting the most out of your email marketing. In this segment we will be focusing primarily on open rates.

Many LAK open rates fluctuate depending on the topic, and the law firm. We see some attorneys getting open rates upwards of 20 percent, while some top out at eight or nine percent. However if we look at and calculate cumulative open rates (unique opens over the entire year, since readership varies greatly on a month to month basis) the number of views is much higher, and your message gets in front of far more people than a low monthly open rate may suggest. Many times we have found that simply having your name appear in a person’s inbox helps build top of mind recognition. One member says he receives positive feedback and direct referrals from some of his clients who do not open and read his newsletter, but simply because the attorney’s name appears in the contact’s email inbox.

We could do a seminar on generating higher open rates, but here are some of the basics our research has shown to be successful.

  • Be realistic: A 15-20% open rate is a great benchmark for You Should Know. A consistent send pattern helps so readers don’t forget who you are between sends, you may find that some readers anticipate their newsletter each month. Good content that engages the reader’s interest and not yours is imperative. That’s why Let America Know currently works with AAJ and seven other state trial lawyer associations to develop a solid content strategy. At Let America Know, we know that our best content focuses on one or more of the following: safety, health and legal rights of the public.
  • Cumulative Open Rates: Remember you won’t always have the exact same readers every month, and that is a really good thing! The more diverse your readership is, the farther your name and message travels. Readership depends greatly on your contact’s schedules, the topic of the email, and many other factors that keep us from our inboxes each month. Accordingly, cumulative open rates for the year are actually much higher than what you experience on a monthly basis in the metrics we provide to our subscribers.
  • Content for Social Media: Don’t forget you use the content we provide all of our members each month via the marketing download. It’s a great way to expand your reach in a way that is consistent with your monthly topic. You already have the newsletter content so why not repurpose it.

Keep in mind that email marketing is just one piece of an overall marketing and public relations strategy. Relationship marketing is not an exact science but it does work and when done correctly helps build the image of who trial lawyers are.

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Email as a Core to a Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy

There are many channels in which attorneys market themselves today: online advertising, print advertising, web sites, seminars, print mailings, TV, social media and email.

We all know that marketing is a game of leading people to what you have to offer. Each marketing strategy gives you a different entry point into your target market. The savvy marketer quickly learns to develop a multi-channel approach to generate the greatest return on investment. Let’s face it, there is no magic bullet. There is no one right answer. The miracle of effective marketing comes from those who learn the value of blending all their efforts toward one strategic goal: Top of Mind Awareness.

If you have not been thinking about how to stay top of mind in your marketing efforts, there’s no better time than right now. You want your market to think of you the minute someone mentions the word attorney. To do this you need to get out there and make your presence known. And that presence should feel consistent across the board. In this industry, you are your own brand.

The Upshot

So remember, don’t judge the effectiveness of an email campaign solely on clicks, opens and conversions. If you do, you may be underestimating the true impact that your email campaign is having on driving productivity. By keeping people connected to your brand identity, it is likely that your email program is influencing behavior that may sometimes be attributed to other marketing channels. They all work together to win the game.

‘Til Next Time

Our mission is to change the way the world sees trial lawyers, and you’re helping us accomplish our goal. The more attorneys participating in the Let America Know campaign, the stronger we become. Take a moment and tell your friends about what they’re missing. It helps all of us. Thanks! We really appreciate it.

If you have any questions or ideas you’d like us to discuss, please send them to info@letamericaknow.com. Expect more best practices in email marketing in the weeks to come. We cherish email marketing-messaging and want everyone to understand the power of this extremely important 21st century marketing tool.

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Leveraging Your Email Address for Higher Open Rates

This will be the first in a two part blog series answering several major questions we have seen crop up recently about developing your firm’s e-marketing strategy. We are starting with a brief discussion on email addresses, and choosing one that is most likely to get the best metrics.

When engaged in email marketing, take caution using a free originating address like @aol.com, @gmail.com or @yahoo.com. In an effort to stop fraudulent emails coming from these free addresses, many email clients (the service used for receiving emails) made changes to their DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance) policies. These policies can push down delivery rates for email newsletters coming from the free @aol, @yahoo, @gmail, etc., and can have an impact on your You Should Know sends.

As an alternative to these domains, we recommend contacting your webmaster and requesting email address domains that match up with your firm’s website domain. For example, instead of using an @aol.com account, you should use an account featuring your firm’s name: @yourfirmname.com. This will solve the DMARC issue. Using this kind of address is also a good idea for other marketing reasons, since it helps brand your web presence.

A second factor to consider that also helps brand your online presence is the name you choose to appear in the “from” line of your emails. Email marketing is based on personal relationship marketing and using your name tends to have a positive affect on open rates. This is especially true if you are adding personal contacts to your distribution list, many who should recognize your name immediately.

FYI, we do recommend that all attorneys at a firm have their own newsletter accounts with their name as the sender rather than a generic from address. No, it’s not because we want to sell more newsletters! Rather, the personal touch that comes with receiving an email directly from someone you know can make a huge difference on open rates. Also note that we can create one global administrative account to manage custom messages and mailing lists for multiple newsletters from the same firm.

Next up, open rates!

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Online vs. Offline Campaigns

By Art Kosieradzki, Co-Founder, Trial Attorney

Many attorneys practice some degree of offline marketing. Often this consists of postcard campaigns, print newsletters, flyers, etc. In this post we’ll look at online and offline marketing campaigns. We’ll look at some of the similarities, some differences, and some common pitfalls that are worth avoiding.

What’s In Common – Online & Offline

1. Both strategies are about relationship building. For the large majority of your intended recipients, you won’t know whether they’re in need of legal services or not. And on any given day, it’s a good bet that only a small percentage of them will. Therefore, use your marketing efforts to provide some substance to both of these groups.

Granted, if someone is in immediate need of legal services, you want to be front and center, ready to serve. But if your reader is not in need (again, the overwhelming majority of your recipients at any given time) would you rather they keep and retain your marketing message, or would you rather they throw them away?

2. Each strategy is an opportunity to grow your brand. Regardless of what firm you work for, every time you send out a message you’re not just representing yourself, but the whole industry of trial attorneys. Take a good look at each piece you send out and ask yourself: “How does this make me feel about my firm?”

3. Finally, frequency is an issue to be considered. We once heard about an attorney who started sending out one mailing a month. He was pleased with the positive response from his contact list. He then reasoned that if he was getting a good response from one a month, imagine how much better three a month would perform. That was a mistake. As soon as he started sending three per month, he started to receive complaints that he was sending too much stuff. The information he discovered here is valuable to all of us.

Likewise with your online email campaign, frequency is important. In fact, it’s even more critical online. The reason it’s more critical is because as soon as one of your recipients unsubscribes, you have to honor that request. End of campaign. Therefore, do NOT send too many emails in your email marketing campaign. Once per month is plenty. If you send more than that (unless there are special circumstances), you’re likely to see your unsubscribe rate climb.

Major Differences: Online vs. Offline

1. Tracking. With an online email campaign, you’re able to determine whether your recipients are receiving, opening and responding in some way to your campaign. The information is direct and immediate. With offline campaigns there is usually no appreciable way to determine the success or failure of the campaign.

2. Price. Stamps are free online. With an email campaign, your costs per piece drop through the floor. While this may tempt you to start sending more frequent emails, resist that temptation ( See item #3 above). So while the costs can be far less, look at your online campaign investment in terms of savings – you’ve boosted your top-of-mind awareness for a lot less.

3. Opt-outs. When somebody unsubscribes from your online campaign, that’s it. You can’t send them your email campaign anymore, according to the Federal CAN-SPAM Act. But really, the feds have done you a favor. Why would we WANT to be wasting money sending stuff to people who get angry at us when they receive it?And the benefit of doing this via email is that it’s easy for someone to opt-out. How often do people opt-out of your offline mailing campaign? Almost never! So again, your online campaign gives you an opportunity to spend your marketing budget wisely.

‘Til Next Time

Our mission is to change the way the world sees trial lawyers and you’re helping us accomplish our goal. The more attorneys participating in the Let America Know campaign, the stronger we become. Take a moment and tell your friends about what they’re missing. It helps all of us. Thanks! We really appreciate it.

If you have any questions or ideas you’d like us to discuss, please send them to info@letamericaknow.com. Return here for more best practices in email marketing in the weeks to come. We cherish email marketing-messaging and want everyone to understand the power of this extremely important 21st century marketing tool.

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