To opt in or opt out, that is the question. Well-written and well-designed emails, whether regular newsletters or occasional missives, are an extremely cost-effective way to keep in touch with clients and referral sources as well as to reach out to new prospects. This is why multiple platforms are available, including Constant Contact, MailChimp, Emma, Zoho, and Mad Mimi. It’s why ElderLawAnswers offers pre-written client e-newsletters for its members to send to clients and referral sources. And while we’re all inundated with emails these days, they still work better than any other method of on-line marketing for lawyers. To quote David Carr in The New York Times: “Newsletters are clicking because readers have grown tired of the endless stream of information on the Internet, and having something finite and recognizable show up in your inbox can impose order on all that chaos.”
But how do you find readers for your eletter? Here are a number of methods:
- Download all of the emails from Outlook or whichever email service you use. Sure, these contacts have not asked to receive your eletter (opted in), but they are not complete strangers. You have exchanged emails with them in the past and whichever email system you use will make it easy for them to opt out.
- Download all of the emails from your firm’s contact management program. Again, these people haven’t asked to receive your eletter, but they are your clients, their families, other professionals and referral sources. They should welcome information from you and, if they don’t, they can simply unsubscribe.
- Begin making a more concerted effort to collect email addresses from everyone you interact with – clients, their families, their advisors, your referral sources, people to whom you refer – and adding them to the list for your eletters.
- Invite subscribers at talks you give and in any print marketing you prepare.
- Put a subscription sign-up form on your website.
You might stop here if you are uncomfortable adding names of people with whom you have not previously had contact. But you could also have a staff person go online to find email addresses for the types of people who might value your information and refer clients to you, such as financial planners, accountants, geriatric care managers, and hospital discharge planners. Clearly adding these addresses to your list is “spam” and you run the risk of annoying someone. There’s also the slight possibility that your software provider will object and shut down your account. Those are the risks. On the other hand, if you provide quality information, your eletter will be valued and those who don’t like receiving it can always opt out. So, it’s up to you whether to attempt to expand your list in this way.
Another approach would be to create a list of new people with whom you are not already in contact and send them a one-time offer to subscribe to your eletter. It’s hard to believe that anyone would object to this, but the numbers may be so small that it may not be worth the effort.
Whether you reach out to your existing contacts or expand the list to new ones, your eletter can be an unparalleled way to stay in touch with your clients and referral sources. The longer you work on building your list, the greater the reach of your message and brand. The longer your list, the greater the benefit you receive for writing and editing the newsletter.