This post was updated in March 2019.
270 billion. That’s how many emails are exchanged every single day worldwide. With an estimated 3.7 billion email users in the world, that’s approximately 73 emails per person every day — many of us probably receive more than that (sound familiar?).
The average email open rate in the legal industry is around 21%. So, if we safely estimate your potential clients and colleagues receive 100 emails a day, they’re only opening 21 of them. It would also be a safe bet to say that your email marketing efforts may end up in the 79 daily unopened emails.
If email outreach is a large part of your business but you aren’t pleased with the metrics you’re seeing, it may be time to incorporate a few new strategies. We’ve outlined a handful of email marketing best practices you can follow in order to see improved deliverability, open rates, and conversion rates from your email efforts while also saving you time.
Check them out.
1. Automated Drip Campaigns
Automated drip campaigns are one of the most integral components of an effective email strategy. In addition to saving you time by automating the vast majority of your touchpoints, it ensures consistent communication with your target audience.
Automated drip campaigns are emails that are triggered by your audience’s behaviors. For example, when they subscribe to your content, submit a contact form, book a consultation, or opt-in to receive an eBook, they will get enrolled in a drip campaign that sends them a series of emails over a specified time period.
You can include a variety of content in these emails, but the content should be reflective of whatever they opted in to receive. The follow-up email they receive after submitting a contact form to book a consultation should be different than the follow-up email they receive after downloading a whitepaper. The goal of a drip campaign is to nurture the recipient: you provide value over time, rather than focusing on an immediate sale. As the sequence progresses, you can include more conversion-focused content.
2. List Segmentation
If you specialize in multiple practice areas or different case types within your specialty, list segmentation will be incredibly beneficial to your email marketing.
The purpose of list segmentation is pretty straightforward: segmenting your email subscriber list into multiple lists based on demographic, lifecycle stage, case type, location, or other important characteristics.
A popular joke in email marketing is that you wouldn’t try to sell a bald man a hairbrush, so why try to do the same thing in your email marketing? The meaning behind this is that you shouldn’t be sending your entire email list the same type of messaging, but rather sending them content uniquely tailored to their persona.
So you can send a blog digest with car accident tips to anyone who’s reached out to you about an accident, and a separate email with workplace injury tips to anyone who’s reached out about the latter.
This improves open rates and conversion rates because your content is very specific to the needs of each individual audience.
3. Monitor Deliverability
Depending on the volume of emails your law firm sends, you may have noticed issues with email deliverability. Either the emails you’re sending are not making it into inboxes (and instead are being filtered to the dreaded promotions folder) or they’re not making it altogether, and instead are landing in the spam folder.
How do you stay out of the spam folder? By monitoring your deliverability. Without getting too deep into the science of email (which is a conversation you should eventually have with whoever handles your website domain) there are a few things you can do to ensure your deliverability is optimized:
- Track your delivery rates across various email hosting platforms to see if one is causing issues (i.e. if Outlook is marking your email as spam but Gmail isn’t)
- Avoid using salesy language in your subject lines, which triggers the Spam algorithm
- Don’t mention anything about large cash settlements or include dollar signs in your email, which also triggers the Spam algorithm
- Keep an eye on the size of any images you include, and always compress them using a site like tinypng.com
- Maintain an 80:20 text-to-image ratio in your emails
If you want to take it one step further into email deliverability, you can look into ensuring your DKIM/SPF are set up properly. If you use Shared IPs to send emails, make sure none of them are listed on any blacklists. You can also set up separate subdomains for various email types (i.e. a subdomain for appointment confirmations and a separate subdomain for marketing emails).
4. Follow the 80/20 rule
The 80/20 rule is a major marketing philosophy that applies to every piece of content you produce but is particularly applicable to email marketing.
While it’s derived from the Pareto Principle, it means something a bit different in your email marketing. Following the 80/20 rule of email marketing means that 80% of the content you send out should be value-focused, and only 20% of the content should be promotional.
If you don’t follow this ratio, you risk coming across as spammy, which affects both engagement and deliverability.
Following the 80/20 rule should apply to your entire email sequence, but you can also apply it to individual emails. If you have a 10-email drip sequence, you should be providing high-value content in 8 of those emails and use 2 to outline the value your law firm can provide clients.
Within the individual emails, you can dedicate 80% of the email real estate to high-value or educational content, but ensure you include a call to action at the end(that’s the remaining 20%).
The 80/20 rule is a good rule of thumb for every piece of content you produce. It ensures you’re constantly focused on engaging your potential clients, but it also ensures you’re providing them ample opportunities to convert.
Email marketing is still a highly effective way to generate leads, but it requires you to stay on top of your metrics and monitor your deliverability. With industry open rates as low as they are, the odds are already stacked against you as an email marketer. However, if you implement the above best practices, you’ll put yourself on the path to success.