Law Firm Marketing: 4 Ways to Build Your Email List

We’ve talked in depth about why an email newsletter is so important for your law firm. It’s one of the best tools available to build top-of-mind awareness and generate more referrals. Every small law firm should have an e-newsletter and they should be sending it out on a regular basis.

BUT… an email newsletter is only as effective as your mailing list. We have clients who have 5,000+ recipients on their list, and every time their newsletter goes out they can pretty much count on a few referrals coming in. We’ve also had clients who have less than 50 names on their list. As you can imagine, the smaller lists are less effective.

Here’s the good news: no matter how small your email list may currently be, there are steps that you can take to grow it dramatically. Below are four ways to make this happen.

1 – Export contacts from your email program. Just about every email provider, including Outlook, Apple Mail, Gmail and just about everyone else, makes it very easy to export a list of your contacts. This step alone will typically provide hundreds – if not thousands – of contacts you can add to your distribution list. If you haven’t already done this, you should do so right now. It should take you about two minutes. (PS – if you’re worried about “spamming” contacts, I’ve addressed that towards the end of the article.)

2 – Go through stacks of business cards, past correspondence, etc. If you’re like most lawyers, you probably have a desk drawer or a cabinet somewhere in your office that is full of business cards you’ve collected over the years. These people may be potential clients, referral sources, colleagues, etc. This is a great task to hand off to someone on your team – simply ask them to create a spreadsheet and record the name and email address from each card.

3 – Offer a giveaway on your website. One of the best ways to capture email addresses on an ongoing basis is by providing some sort of resource on your website – such as a White Paper, Special Report, Legal Guide, or something along those lines. Offer it for free – but require website visitors to provide their name and email address in order to gain access. This is an effective strategy to grow your email list, and at the same time it builds your perception as an expert in your area of practice, and it engages and educates potential clients. If you don’t have a giveaway on your site, speak to your website provider immediately – it’s a no-brainer!

4 – Make a habit of always adding new contacts that you meet while networking. Whenever you’re out networking, make a habit of adding new connections to your list. You can simply hold on to the business cards you collect and give them to someone on your team to input into your spreadsheet. Over time, this practice will dramatically grow your list, even if it’s just by 2-3 contacts at a time. This strategy also magnifies the power of your networking – because rather than meeting someone once and then gradually losing track of each other, you now have a system in place to ensure regular communication and maintain top-of-mind awareness.

A note about “spamming.” Many lawyers we speak to are concerned about “spamming” people and are reluctant to add contacts to their distribution list. And that’s certainly a valid concern. But here are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, if you are doing your e-newsletter right, it is providing value to your recipients. It’s not a spammy advertisement – instead it’s providing them with practical information and ideas that they can use to improve their lives. Second, every reputable e-newsletter provider includes a very simple “unsubscribe” mechanism and includes it in every communication. So if your contacts don’t want to be on your list, it’s easy for them to opt-out.

So don’t overthink it. However, it IS important that you are only adding people to your list that you personally know and that you’ve corresponded with in the past. Purchasing mailing lists or manually adding people that you don’t know is likely going to cause problems – and it’s not going to be effective marketing.

Want to know more about our “done-for-you” email newsletter service? Click here and let us know if you have any questions!

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Daniel Decker

Daniel Decker is a co-founder and Partner at Spotlight Branding. In addition to helping lawyers stand out from the crowd, he spends his time writing, dreaming up new marketing strategies, and coming up with catchy subject lines. In his spare time, Daniel enjoys playing sports, guitar, politics, and Minnesota sports.