An email newsletter can be an effective tool for generating referrals and referrals are the lifeblood of many law firms.
Among the biggest challenges when it comes to generating referrals is the simple fact that we’re all busy. How many people have you met in the last year, individuals that you liked and respected… but have simply lost track of in the weeks or months since you last interacted with them?
The same thing is happening to you, I can guarantee it. There are people out there who like you, trust you, and wouldn’t hesitate to refer work to you. But they’ve lost track of you over time and now they aren’t likely to think of you when the opportunity to make a referral arises.
That’s the value of an e-newsletter—it allows you to maintain top-of-mind awareness with referral sources. And it allows you to continue to educate them as to the type of work you do, and the type of referrals that you look for. To illustrate how this works, below are four specific benefits of a law firm e-newsletter.
Your e-newsletter creates additional touch-points with your referral network.
Let’s face it: in the age of the smartphone, we are all over-stimulated. Email, social media, sports scores, breaking news updates… there is always something clamoring for attention. The result is that even when you meet a potential referral source and have a great conversation—as soon as it ends, he’s going to be bombarded with information from all directions and there’s a good chance you’re simply going to get buried. To avoid this fate, you need to take action to stay relevant. An e-newsletter provides an opportunity to consistently engage with your audience and remain top-of-mind.
Your e-newsletter allows you to remind your audience of exactly what you do—and what a good referral looks like.
In order to send you referrals, your network needs to understand what you do, and what a good referral looks like. You can use your newsletter to make this clear for your readers. A simple way to do this is to include a list of your practice areas – but you should go several steps further by including educational content directly related to those areas of practice. More on that in the next point.
Your e-newsletter provides an opportunity to “push” content to readers who wouldn’t otherwise engage.
We highly recommend that lawyers include educational content on their website—blog entries, informational videos, special reports, and so forth. This content should feature practical, relevant information to potential clients. Answering common questions is a good approach. For example, a divorce attorney could create content around the topic, “How is child custody determined in a divorce?” Once you’ve created this content on your website, use it in your e-newsletters as well. This gives you the opportunity to reach people who may not otherwise visit your site.
Your e-newsletter allows you to publicize special offers and new services.
Are you adding new practice areas? Creating a new “package” or service for your clients? You can use your email newsletter to directly promote specific services or special offers. However, make sure that this promotional content doesn’t dominate your message—because if readers aren’t getting value from your emails, they’re going to stop reading them.
These are real benefits and opportunities that your email newsletter creates. But none of this matters if your audience isn’t opening and reading your emails. And that can be a challenge, because we all get more email than we can handle. So your email newsletter needs to provide value to your readers – or they’re just not going to read it. Here are three ways to do that.
Focus on your readers, not yourself.
Frankly, most of your audience isn’t interested in the internal workings of your firm, unless it impacts them. So the traditional “newsletter” format where you highlight firm birthdays, milestones, and other internal happenings won’t work. Instead…
Provide practical, actionable, relevant information.
Give your audience information they can use. If you own a business law firm, include content like “four steps your business can take to minimize your risk in a lawsuit.” Try to make the information in your newsletter so valuable that your audience would pay to receive it. Don’t be theoretical, don’t be academic, don’t go overboard with legal jargon; be practical and relevant to your readers.
Use a variety of media formats.
Include pictures, include videos, include short blurbs in addition to longer content. Studies show that most people (but certainly not all) prefer to watch a video than read text. So include video tips with the same approach discussed above. Here’s a tip: You can’t actually embed a playable video file within your email. But you can take a still-shot from the video, include it as an image, and link it to the video file on YouTube (or even better, on your website). Then, when a reader clicks on the image in your email, he’ll be directed to the video file and can watch it on your site.
Done right, your email newsletter can be an incredible tool for increasing your referrals. If you’d like to learn more about how your internet presence can help you grow your practice, please click here for free access to our special report, “Five Ways Your Internet Foundation Will Make or Break Your Marketing.”