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Email Marketing for Lawyers (Explained Like You’re Five)

When most lawyers say, “I’m doing email marketing,” what they’re actually saying is, “I’m doing a monthly newsletter.”

If they have time.

That’s why most monthly newsletters become quarterly newsletters. Then biannual newsletters. Then annual newsletters.

The newsletter goes from monthly to forgotten pretty quickly.

Not Enough Frequency, Not Enough Value

The fact of the matter is, newsletters are hard. Consistently publishing content according to a schedule is hard. Especially when you’re running a business and trying to take care of your clients.

That’s why people do this stuff full-time.

The second thing that trips up lawyers is that they write about themselves. They think that’s what puts the “news” in newsletter.


People care about themselves and their problems, not your law firm.

Maybe they have a passing interest. Maybe.

But they’re not staring at their inbox just waiting for your newsletter to pop up, hoping to learn the latest “news” from your law firm.

And most firms don’t have enough “news” to fill a newsletter. They end up stuffing it with generic filler content.

Related: What James Bond Can Teach You About Automating Your Law Firm Marketing

So not only do attorneys typically struggle to keep up with a schedule for email marketing, but when they do get around to it, the content isn’t worth a client’s (or prospective client's) time.

To be fair, something is better than nothing. But you must understand the psychology and marketing components of an effective digital strategy if you want an email campaign to work. Winging it is a recipe for wasting your time, and ineffective marketing.

The Job of Email Marketing

The goal of all marketing is to bring more clients. Email marketing is no different.

Email marketing should remind people to contact you if they have a need for your services.

It should have “pass along” value, meaning that the recipient will forward it to someone else whose problem you can solve. This is how most law practices get clients from email marketing.

At the very least, email marketing keeps you top of mind. You become omnipresent.

Even if your email is deleted – which is usually the case with standard lawyer emails because they look like stale, useless newsletters – the simple fact that you’ve been seen in the inbox has value.

What Lawyer Email Marketing Should Do

All lawyer marketing, not just email, should achieve two things.

First, it should convey your expertise in a non-threatening way.

Second, it should convey your personality. People want to communicate with a real human being, not the big, scary lawyer-monster (never forget, we're intimidating to non-lawyers).

What Lawyer Email Marketing Should Not Do

There are two kinds of email marketing that miss the mark.

The first is the 'stuffy professor' approach, with all kinds of legal jargon and citations that no non-lawyer will read or understand.

Related: Introverted Rainmaker: Marketing for Lawyers Who Don’t Like to Leave the Office

That crap doesn’t make you look smart. It makes you look pompous.

True experts can take complex concepts and present them in a way that’s easy to understand.

Of course, some newsletters swing the pendulum all the way to the other end and have no substance whatsoever... Sudoku puzzles. Photos from your summer vacation. Promotion of community events. Recipes (no joke, I've seen newsletter companies put that in attorney newsletters).

That does nothing to earn someone’s trust and make them feel confident in hiring or referring you.

Finding the Right Balance

Effective email marketing has a little bit of both, but not too much of either.

It should position you as an expert who can convey – in plain English, with no legalese and no citations – how you can solve a problem and the quality of your services.

It should present you as a real human being. You’re not scary, and you can be trusted.

Practice Alchemy develops email marketing campaigns at the right intervals with the right mix of personality and expertise. We test them. We know they work. To take the guesswork out of marketing.

You either need to do the same for your firm or find someone to help you do it.

Stop Trying to Do a “Newsletter”

When you start email marketing with the intention of doing a newsletter, you’re beginning with a constraint.

Instead of working from a preconceived and often incorrect notion of what email marketing should be, focus on the result you want your email marketing to deliver.

Make sure you have the necessary components in place to drive the results and work back from there.

Remember, if it looks like a newsletter and stinks like a newsletter, it’ll get deleted like a newsletter.

Download "Complete Marketing Guide to Building a Marketing Strategy for Your Law Firm"

Raj Jha