My family and I live in a 19-year-old house, and it’s time to replace our two aging heating and air conditioning systems. Because I am a planner, I researched HVAC companies last summer and got quotes from three. They all had excellent reviews and top-notch customer service, and they were all fully qualified for the job. Each came back with slightly different proposals and prices. At the end of the process, I was unsure which company to select.
After receiving quotes, I never heard from two of the companies again. No follow-up to see if I had questions, and no additional information.
The third company was different. They followed up personally by email a few times and added me to a once-a-month email newsletter that highlights their people, shares discounts and offers tips for keeping home heating and air systems in prime shape. This third company has done a great job of staying at the forefront of my mind. All three companies could have done the replacement well, but the thing that set one apart was its use of email marketing to stay top-of-mind.
Benefits of Email Marketing
Email marketing, or a digital newsletter, is a form of direct marketing — meaning you are placing content directly in front of your audience rather than hoping they find it. If your email makes it past spam filters, your content is almost guaranteed to end up in your recipient’s inbox. Not all marketing has this guarantee; for instance, no matter how great your website is, it requires prospects to actively visit before it can work for you.
Other benefits of email marketing include:
- Analytics such as open rates and clicks.
- Recipients can easily opt out.
- No algorithms that determine whether your content gets shown.
“Won’t people just ignore my emails?” I hear you object. Maybe. The good news is that even if they do, your name will still show up in front of them, and if you use quality subject lines, most recipients will probably open your emails at least occasionally.
Ready to Get Started?
Before you decide to go all-in on email marketing, make sure you develop a content strategy. It is vital that you don’t try to be everywhere. Focus on quality, not volume.
Decide what your goal is for your email marketing program before you start. This will help you determine which analytics to pay attention to. Do you want to drive visitors to your website, or do you want to promote a particular practice area? Do you just want name recognition?
Do not attempt to do email marketing through Outlook. Not only will email marketing providers make your work easier, but they provide valuable analytics and give recipients the opportunity to opt out easily at any time, which keeps you in compliance with anti-spam laws. Email marketing providers also make it easy for you to put a form on your website for people to sign up to receive your content. A few good providers include:
Consider performing A/B testing, which can be done easily through such providers. A/B testing will help you learn what types of emails resonate best with your audience and determine the best days and times to deliver your emails for maximum engagement.
It is not necessary to generate the content of your email marketing from scratch. Some of the best content can be repurposed from other marketing efforts, thereby extending the reach of already-produced content. Here are some ideas:
- A white paper written by one of your attorneys can be summarized and included with a link to the full piece.
- Content from your website news page, blogs and social media can be repurposed.
- You can provide links to other places where your attorneys’ thought leadership is on display, such as in podcasts, webinar recordings and published articles.
Do Not Violate Spam Laws
The reputable email marketing platforms all have built-in systems to help keep their users in compliance with anti-spam laws. They will also provide information on best practices to help keep your email from getting directed to spam folders. Do not sign people up for your newsletter without their consent. Ideally, send them an invitation to subscribe with a summary of the type of content they can expect and provide them with a way to tailor the information they will receive.
Content Marketing is a Long Game
Content marketing does not result in clients overnight. It can be challenging to attribute the acquisition of a client to any single marketing effort. Perhaps a prospect hears about your firm from a friend, visits your website, realizes they do not need your services now, but signs up for your newsletter. They receive your monthly newsletter for several months and then a year later, they have a need and decide to contact you. In this example, word of mouth, your website and your email marketing would all have played a role in gaining this client, but the client would not be attributable to any one channel.
Content marketing determined who will replace my old heating and air conditioning system. I never would have found the three companies if they had not all had a strong web presence, but my project ultimately went to the one that used content marketing to stay top-of-mind with me.
If you have questions about developing an email marketing strategy for your firm, reach out to me, Chris Moyer, at email@example.com.