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!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!