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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Guidelines for Repurposing Content from Your Newsletter

We extend permission to all active Let America Know members to repurpose content from the monthly You Should Know newsletter to any other medium. For example, we have some members that use the content in their print newsletters. Other members like using the feature story to write blogs. Others highlight the newsletters or selected content on their websites. And many others cut and paste posts into Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler or other social media platforms. We love it all as it furthers the impact of your marketing while reaching more Americans with important information on their health, safety and legal rights.

There are a couple of important guidelines you should keep in mind, however, if you repurpose content from the newsletter:

  1. Only post information from the newsletter AFTER final publication and not from the Preview issue you receive several days prior to final publication. We occasionally make content changes between Preview and final publication as well as style/grammar or usage edits. New or revised sources might be added between Preview and final publication. And in rare instances, a content change may include a correction or other clarification.
  2. Also note that many of the photos we use are licensed to us from iStock, Getty or some other stock photo source just for use in your email newsletter. If you want to use one of our photos in repurposed content, let us know and we will give you the information you need to purchase the rights directly from the owner. These fees normally run somewhere between $25 and $50 per image. In some cases we use photos or other graphics that are in the public domain as well, and those would be available free of charge.

If you have any questions about these guidelines, let us know. We are always available to help you get the most out of your participation in Let America Know.

 

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Customize Your Newsletter for Marketing Success

Yes, you can just set your customized information – greeting, featured links and message – and let’em ride each month. But you are missing an opportunity to better engage your subscribers by not changing things up on a regular basis. Here are a few tips on how to get more marketing bang for the buck out of your Let America Know newsletter:

  1. Change The Docket Customized Links
    You can enter up to five customized links on your newsletter, which appear under the heading The Docket (view example here). Your first priority should be generating traffic to your own website, which help improve your search engine rankings. Link to your profile page (or attorney profiles page for a law firm newsletter). Link to practice area or news pages with catchy headlines like “Bike Accident Basics” or “New Office Opened.” If you don’t have much to share on your website, bookmark interesting information on other websites. And if you change a link that hasn’t been changed for some time, put NEW in front of your  headlines to grab moreattention.
  2. Feature Your Blog
    Your Let America Know newsletter provides you with another great opportunity to improve traffic to your blog. Since most blogs (like this one) create a unique URL for each post, you can easily cut and paste a link. Feature at least one or two of your most recent blogs in The Docket, again using short headlines that grab reader attention. We also recommend using your customized message as a teaser to a more lengthy blog, which brings us to tip number 3.
  3. Engage Readers with Your Customized Message
    Your custom message (view sample here) appears just below The Docket and can feature promotional blurbs about you or your firm up to 600 characters in length. You can also link to additional information on your website or elsewhere and prompt readers to continue reading.The best way to start customizing your message is to set aside a little time and plan several issues in advance. Grab a copy of our yearly editorial calendar (now in progress for 2015) and consider tying into the featured topic for the month with related practice information or a case you might have handled. As mentioned above, the customized message is perfect for featuring a long blog that readers can continue viewing on your blog page. Otherwise, feature any major accomplishments including award recognitions, case settlements/verdicts, articles in the news media, etc. And don’t forget that people love to hear about personal accomplishments and activities, so don’t be afraid to share a little information about yourself or your staff when appropriate. We have members that even feature recipes or good jokes on their customized message space.And of course, any time you can encourage feedback, do so. Ask for comments on a particular issue or initiative. If you publish consumer guides on any topic, feature them on a regular basis and tell people how they can order their own copies. Be creative!
  4. Change Your Greeting
    As you know, we also provide you with a suggested greeting each month to ensure that your customized information is topical just in case you don’t have time to make changes. However, if you want to draw attention to a particular nuance in the featured story, don’t hesitate to change the greeting.

These are just a few tips on customizing your newsletter for marketing success. If you have questions or other ideas, let us know!

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Repurposing Your Newsletter

By Steve Miller, Editor

Okay, lets make this simple. Instead of a long dissertation on the mechanics of re-purposing our newsletters, we’re simply going to show and tell. Hey, it worked in grade school!

Mitch Jackson, a highly-successful trial attorney in California, was a leader in the use of social media by attorneys long before we came along. Upon joining Let America Know, he quickly recognized the power of this program, equating the newsletter “to a fine sports car parked in the garage and ready to go if attorneys would only learn how to drive it.”

Earlier this week Mitch sent us an email as follows: “Here’s how we shared and re-purposed You Should Know this morning. This may give your members some idea about how to get the message out. Feel free to share if you think the examples might help.”

Share we will!

Mitch added that he has scheduled several tweets over the next week using the 10 conversations from page two of the newsletter (available in the Marketing Download as well). Each Tweet links back to Mitch’s Blog, which of course gives him lots of online credibility from various search engines.

Blown away? Frankly, so were we. For more nuts and bolts direction from Mitch on how to use some of these platforms with the Let America Know newsletters, visit the show page from our recent joint Spreecast.

Now I know not everyone has the “social savvy” of a Mitch Jackson (although he happily shares his experiences here at Trial Lawyer Communication Tips for EVERYONE!). But the point is Let America Know makes it easy for you to up your game with quality content and credible sources that make you look like the expert while helping people. What could be better than that?

One more very important note: Always wait until final publication of the newsletter before publishing content to other platforms. Why? We often make changes to the newsletter between sending you the Preview issue and publication of the final issue to your subscribers. Some are minor copy edits, but others can be substantive based on feedback we receive from our members and editors.

Next time I’ll share some of the hot tips I received during the recent marketing seminar for trial attorneys in Chicago hosted by the American Association for Justice. It was outstanding!

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