Recently a blog post from Hubspot “A Content Marketing Playbook for Times of Crisis” noted that email open rates were 25% higher than pre-pandemic levels. As a communication and marketing tool email is effective, easy to use, and inexpensive. There are many email marketing platforms, and Mailchimp is one of the most popular. If you are looking for a way to send CAN-SPAM compliant email marketing messages, Mailchimp is easy to use and has many great features.
It is easy enough to send an email, but there is an art to getting people to open it and interact with it. Crafting an intriguing subject line and providing information that engages the recipient are primary goals. There are two main ways to market with email – newsletters and campaigns.
A newsletter is an email sent periodically to subscribers with a consistent theme or topic, such as relevant legal news, changes to the law, answers to frequently asked questions, community activity, or repurposed blog posts. The content should be focused on the audience with consideration given to providing valuable information to them, and not all about the firm.
You can get subscribers by offering a link or popup on your firm’s website to subscribe to a newsletter, letting them opt-in to receiving the content. People who opt-in are more likely to engage with the content and less likely to unsubscribe. However, growing your list through opt-in often takes a long time. You can also subscribe people to your mailing list from email addresses you already have. If they choose not to receive it, they can opt-out. If you focus on making the content useful and relevant to them and they find it valuable they will be less likely to ask to be removed from the mailing list.
To grow your subscriber list you can offer something of value, like an ebook, checklist, webinar or other content from your website that is available as a download. To get access to the material a person must fill in a form that allows you to capture their contact information and email address. Typically there is a box on the form that is unchecked by default to allow the person to immediately opt out of receiving any further communication from the firm after the download has been delivered.
If you have been maintaining a list of email addresses for potential, current, and former clients, as well as referrals, you can add them to your subscriber list for your newsletter. Be mindful of the CAN-SPAM law before you add a subscriber to a newsletter or email campaign.
An email campaign is generally a series of emails sent to a “lead” – a person who has shown interest in doing business with your firm by interacting with your firms website, emailing an inquiry through the firm’s website or social media, scheduling a consultation or has had a consultation but not signed on with the firm yet. Tracking inbound leads and sending emails for follow-up can be time intensive. A CRM (client/customer relationship management) system designed for law firms is the best tool to help track, monitor, and interact with potential clients. There are many products focused on law firm workflows, automation and intake.
The free version of Mailchimp caps the number of contacts in a list at 2,000 with 1 primary audience and 10,000 emails sent per month. You will get an audience dashboard to manage subscribers, the ability to segment the list, monitor subscriber engagement and access basic reports. The service provides basic templates for your newsletter. You can also use the free version of Mailchimp to send subscribers surveys, deploy a marketing calendar, set up subscription options for your website, link to newsletter archives, and social posting. The free version enforces CAN-SPAM requirements, including the required footer and opt-out link.
While there is a step up from free to “Essentials” at $10 per user per month, if your firm is really going to leverage all the tools in Mailchimp the Standard option, at $14 per user per month, gives you a full suite of tools that include removal of Mailchimp branding, A/B testing, send time optimization, custom templates, retargeting ads, social post scheduling, and much more.
Recently Mailchimp has added websites and domains to the mix in response to COVID-19. Paid and free subscribers can get a free domain (or use an existing domain) and build a website. The website tools are not particularly sophisticated, but if your firm does not have a website, or the website is very old and is not responsive this may be an easy interim option to get started.
If your firm is looking for an effective way to keep referrals, potential, current and former clients engaged and to keep the firm top of mind an email newsletter can be a good way to share valuable content. Mailchimp’s free subscription is generous enough to get a good start for no additional cost (except for your time of course).