Strategy

The Most Helpful Guide to Email Marketing for Lawyers That’s actually tailored for the legal industry

Siew Ann TanInka Wibowo

By Siew Ann & Inka

email marketing for lawyers

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As a legally trained digital marketer, I’ve racked up over five years of experience in planning and executing email campaigns for a variety of organizations — including a legal platform — whose email lists ranged from hundreds to tens of thousands of subscribers.

And I find email such an amazing marketing channel.

There are no pesky algorithms that control whether your target audience gets to see your content. (Social media platforms, I’m looking at you here.)

Instead, when your emails land in your potential clients’ inboxes, you get a direct line of communication with them.

You can then build your relationship with them and establish your expertise — such that when they need a lawyer, they’re likely to reach out to you.

So, if you’re looking to add email marketing to your law firm’s marketing strategy, follow this nine-step process, which I’ve drawn up with the legal industry’s unique characteristics in mind.

1. Invest in an Email Platform

Using your standard email client to send marketing emails isn’t ideal for various reasons.

For one, your email client may impose daily send limits that you could easily exceed if you’re emailing a large list. It may have also not been built to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act and other email marketing laws.

It’s therefore worth investing in a dedicated email platform designed to help you mass-send email marketing campaigns in a compliant manner. And as you shortlist possible options, consider issues like:

Ease of use

Pick a platform that’s simple to navigate, because it’ll be your main email marketing tool.

Many platforms offer free plans or trials so you can try them out, and see whether you find them easy to use, for free.

Automations

The email marketing platform should be able to automate various email tasks so you don’t have to spend time doing these yourself.

Examples of common email automation tasks include:

  • Sending a drip campaign to contacts who join your email list, and
  • Tagging contacts who click certain email links.

Availability of email form and campaign templates

Most email marketing tools offer signup form and campaign templates for customizing with your own text and images. It’s a lot more convenient than coding and designing your forms and emails yourself.

That said, some tools make these templates a paid feature. For example, you’ll need a paid plan to access MailerLite’s newsletter templates.

Availability of customer relationship management (CRM) software

A CRM helps track your leads’ progress along a sales pipeline — which is a visual representation of the various customer journey stages — and hence your ability to close new clients.

But since a CRM isn’t a standard feature in email platforms, look out for email platforms with a built-in CRM if this is something you need.

Range of integrations

Check whether the email platform integrates with the other software you use to run your law firm, so they can easily send data to and from each other.

In particular, if you use legal practice management software, you might want to look for an email marketing service that integrates with it. More on this in a bit!

Price

While many email marketing services have free plans, you often need a paid plan to unlock more powerful features.

Compare the extent of features available at different platforms’ price points to identify the one that’s the most value for money — and budget-friendly — for your needs.

Our recommended email marketing platforms

To save you time from researching every email marketing software in the market, I’m going to share some of my best recommendations of email platforms for lawyers!

With the above factors in mind, I find Mailchimp an especially strong law firm email marketing option.

Mailchimp directly integrates with popular legal practice management software like Clio, App4Legal, MyCase, and PracticePanther. This makes marketing to potential and existing clients so much easier.

For example, when you add new contacts to Clio, Clio can automatically sync them to Mailchimp. You can then start sending them marketing emails right away.

(In fact, when conducting research for this article, I signed up for a bunch of law firm newsletters and many of them were sent using Mailchimp.)

Learn more about Mailchimp in our detailed review here.

Alternatively, if you don’t use practice management software but still want to manage your leads using a CRM with email marketing tool, try either HubSpot or Brevo.

HubSpot offers a free CRM for storing up to one million(!) contacts and sending up to 2,000 marketing emails every month.

Similarly, Brevo provides CRM access on its free plan, plus the sending of up to 300 emails every day. You can also build marketing automations.

There’s a 2,000-contact cap on Brevo’s marketing automations but no limit on the number of automation actions in them. As a result, you can build some pretty extensive automations to provide customized responses based on how contacts engage with your emails.

In contrast, HubSpot restricts free users to just one email automation action (and its pricing for unlocking multiple automation actions can be high).

But if you’re especially keen on using email automation software to automate your marketing — and freeing up your time to focus on client work — ActiveCampaign is my top pick.

ActiveCampaign sports extremely sophisticated automation features I don’t commonly see in other platforms. For example, it can automatically send different emails to contacts according to their interests or the pages of your website they’ve visited.

ActiveCampaign also offers a CRM (which costs extra from its email marketing features) and can calculate your likelihood of closing potential clients.

2. Set Up Your Email Platform

Once you’ve chosen an email platform and signed up for an account, set it up.

Doing so can involve:

  • Setting up your emails’ “From” email address
  • Filling out your mailing address for displaying on all emails (which is a CAN-SPAM Act requirement)
  • Importing your existing contact list to the platform, if you have one
  • Integrating the platform with your practice management software

Good email platforms will provide guided walkthroughs and detailed support articles to help you get set up. Here’s HubSpot’s marketing tools user guide, for example:

HubSpot marketing tools user guide progress

We’ve also written tutorials for some email platforms, which you can check out below. ⬇️

3. Identify Where You Will Place Your Email Forms

People will use these forms to share their email address with you. And the locations where you place your email forms may affect:

  • Your form’s text and design
  • The lead magnets you offer on your form (more on lead magnets in the next section!)

So, decide where you will place your forms before you start designing them.

To build your email list the fastest, embed your email forms in the places your audience visits the most often. Because the more people who see your form, the more signups you’re likely to get.

For instance, if certain blog posts on your law firm’s website get a ton of website visitors compared to other posts, promote your email form on them.

This is what Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. has done on its wrongful birth blog post:

Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. email form

The law firm has added a call to action encouraging readers to download the firm’s free ebook on supporting a child after a birth injury. Readers who click the ebook’s link or banner will then see an email form where they can submit their email address and get the ebook.

You can also link to your email form on your social media pages. For example, when you click the link in lawyer Katie Lipp’s Instagram profile:

Katie Lipp Instagram profile link

It’ll bring you to her Linktree page, where you can sign up for her email newsletter (check out the last item in the image).

Katie Lipp Linktree page

And as a standard option, you can have a dedicated page for your newsletter signup form, like what Boughton Law has done:

Boughton Law newsletter form

People especially interested in receiving your emails may sign up even if you haven’t provided an incentive for doing so. But email forms that don’t offer lead magnets generally don’t get as many signups as email forms that do.

So, let’s talk about lead magnets next.

4. Create Your Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are freebies you give to users in exchange for them submitting your email form. They can come in various forms, like ebooks, infographics, checklists, and videos.

Let’s check out some real-life examples.

Ana Law offers a free business checklist to users interested in starting their own limited liability company (LLC):

Ana Law business checklist

And Hipskind & McAninch, LLC gives users a free guide to auto accidents and accident claims when they provide their email address:

Hipskind & McAninch auto accident guide

Last but not least, users can get a free ebook from The Law Office of Dustin S. McCrary, PLLC on 20 steps to take before filing for divorce.

McCrary Law divorce ebook

Find more lead magnet ideas here.

Email platforms typically don’t have lead magnet creation features, so you’ll have to create your lead magnets using other platforms. Canva is a good bet for designing ebooks or checklists, while you can use your phone and explainer video software like Vyond to put together simple explainer videos.

And where possible, make your lead magnets relevant to the locations — and content — where users will come across your email forms.

For example, if your email form will be on a blog post on hiring employees, then your lead magnet could be a guide to employment laws.

Or, if you’re linking to your signup form from a YouTube video on essential contract terms, its lead magnet could be a checklist summary of these terms.

When you tailor your lead magnets this way, users who find your main content useful may like how your lead magnet offers related “bonus” resources. They might then fill out your email form to get your lead magnet.

In contrast, if users see that your lead magnet doesn’t add value to what they’ve just read (or watched), they may ignore it and leave without sharing their email address with you.

5. Create Your Email Forms

Next, create the email/signup forms you’ll use to collect email addresses. Most email platforms will offer email form templates, and you can customize them using a drag-and-drop editor.

Here’s how MailerLite’s email form editor looks, for example:

MailerLite email form editor

Your email platform may also offer a variety of form types. Examples include:

  • Embedded forms: These forms are inserted into the page itself. They’re best if you want to display your forms seamlessly with your page content — for example, in the main content or the page footer.
  • Pop-up forms: These forms appear on the page after the user has been on it for some time or has scrolled to a certain percentage of it. Unlike embedded forms, which may blend into the page’s background, pop-up forms can help draw your users’ attention to your lead magnet — in turn potentially increasing signups.

You can also consider adding form fields that help you learn more about your contacts and segment them.

For example, MLL Legal asks users:

  • Their preferred language for receiving newsletters in, and
  • The practice areas, industry groups, or topics they’re interested in.

MLL Legal subscriber preferences

The law firm can then use this information to send its contacts targeted newsletters that are in their preferred language and cover the topics they want to stay up to date about.

Just don’t add too many form fields. The longer a form is, the more time a user will have to spend filling it out. And they may decide doing so is not worth the hassle.

Instead, stick to only getting the essential contact details you need for keeping in touch with prospective clients, and helping them get the most relevant emails from you.

Finally, your email forms should get your users’ consent to receiving marketing emails.

This is known as permission-based email marketing, and many email platforms make it a requirement for using their service. It is also a legal requirement under some countries’ email marketing laws, like the UK’s Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations.

To get user consent, you could add a checkbox that users have to check to indicate their agreement to receiving marketing emails.

This is what MLL Legal’s email form does, when you scroll further down:

MLL Legal user consent

An alternative method is to add a line that says that users agree to receiving your marketing emails when they submit your form.

This option saves users the step of checking a checkbox (and reduces the effort involved in submitting the form), while still making sure you get the necessary consent.

The Law Office of Dustin S. McCrary, PLLC has taken this route for its divorce ebook email form, which I’d shared earlier:

McCrary Law divorce ebook

6. Drive Leads to Your Email Forms

After you’ve created your email forms (and their accompanying lead magnets), it’s time to use them to generate leads!

Share your email forms on the web pages or social media accounts you’ve identified in Step 4 earlier.

If you’re embedding your form on a web page, you can grab its embed code from your email platform for pasting into the page’s code.

Here’s how this code looks for an embeddable Mailchimp form, for example:

Mailchimp embed form

Or, if you’re sharing your email form on social media, add its link to your social page. Like what McBean Immigration Law has done on TikTok:

McBean Immigration Law TikTok page

And regularly promote your newsletter on your socials, too!

For example, Taylor M. Tieman, Esq. talked about her newsletter in the caption of this Instagram post:

@legalmiga Instagram post

7. Segment Your Contacts

Email segmentation is the process of categorizing your contacts based on their shared characteristics and interests.

Doing so lets you send emails with personalized messages that appeal to your contacts, which in turn helps you:

Here are some ways of segmenting your contacts:

  • Preferred language
  • Practice areas of interest, especially if you or your law firm offers services in multiple legal practice areas
  • Geographical location, whether by country or city
  • The legal services the contact has previously engaged you for
  • The email form the contact used to sign up — as its lead magnet or embed location can indicate the contact’s interests

You can get some of this information by polling your contacts in your email form (see MLL Legal’s email form above, for example).

Your email platform may also be able to automatically keep track of certain contact characteristics, like their geographical location, for you.

After identifying the segments you want to have, use your email platform’s segmentation features to create them. This process typically involves setting up conditions that say who should and should not be in the segment.

For example, here’s how you could build a segment of contacts who had signed up via your “Intellectual property guide” form and are from Boston:

GetResponse segment conditions

This way, if you are holding an in-person intellectual property talk in Boston, you could promote it to just the contacts in this segment (as they have not only demonstrated interest in intellectual property law, but are also based in Boston). This makes them the ones most likely to register for your talk, out of everyone in your contact list.

8. Start Sending Your Contacts Emails

When new contacts join your email list, send them an automated welcome email to introduce yourself and the legal services you provide.

Just like what Ackah Business Immigration Law has done in this email marketing campaign:

Ackah Business Immigration Law welcome email

(And if you’ve promised your contacts a lead magnet, share it with them in your welcome email too!)

You can also put contacts on an automated series of emails, or a “drip campaign,” to regularly share tips they might find helpful.

For instance, if you’re a small business lawyer, you could create a set of 10 emails, sent once per week, to provide insights into the legal issues your contacts may face as they run a small business.

Running these automated campaigns helps you stay in touch with your contacts and demonstrate your legal expertise over time. As a result, they are more likely to think of you — and get in touch! — if they need your services.

Apart from setting up automated email marketing campaigns, send your contacts newsletter campaigns. These emails tend to be more news-like, sharing the latest updates or time-sensitive information.

For example, RN Legal announced its relocation in its newsletter:

RN Legal relocation news

But your newsletters can include legal tips for readers, too — just like this newsletter from Koenig | Dunne.

Koenig | Dunne legal tips newsletter

Other things you can cover when creating your email newsletter include:

  • Recent cases you’ve taken on (especially if you managed to get a good outcome for the client)
  • Changes to the law and how these may affect your contacts
  • Upcoming events or activities your law firm is organizing that your contacts may be interested in attending

Get more email newsletter ideas here.

Writing style

Your newsletter writing style should match the tone of voice your law firm is using for its client communications. And if possible, inject some personality into your writing to keep contacts engaged.

In particular, I like the informal writing style Gordon Fischer Law Firm has used in this newsletter:

Gordon Fischer newsletter

But whether you adopt a more formal or casual writing style, write your newsletters in plain, simple English.

While you may know legal jargon like the back of your hand, your contacts might not be familiar with these technical terms. They may then lose interest and unsubscribe if they don’t understand what you’re talking about.

Newsletter formatting

It isn’t uncommon for law firms to prepare their newsletters in PDF format, similar to this one by Yosha Law:

Yosha Law PDF newsletter

They then attach the newsletter to a marketing email for sending to their email list.

While you could do the same when designing your email newsletter, I suggest making your email the newsletter itself.

This way, your contacts don’t have to go through the trouble of clicking your newsletter attachment to read it, which they may not do. PDFs also aren’t the easiest to read on mobile phones.

Last but not least, you save yourself the time and effort of designing your newsletters as a PDF.

9. Track the Performance of Your Forms and Emails

Use your email platform’s reporting features to track whether you’ve executed a successful email marketing strategy.

Different email service providers may offer different reporting metrics, and they may also refer to them using different names. But I’ll cover the usual ones here.

The typical performance metrics for email forms include:

  • Views: The number of users who have viewed your form
  • Subscribers: The number of users who subscribed to your form
  • Conversion rate: The percentage of users who subscribed to your form after viewing it

Aim to improve your forms’ conversion rates so that they’re getting more people onto your email list.

Meanwhile, the typical email campaign metrics include:

  • Open rate: The percentage of recipients who opened your email
  • Clickthrough rate: The percentage of recipients who clicked a link in your email
  • Unsubscribe rate: The percentage of recipients who unsubscribed after receiving your email

In general, you’ll want to see high open and clickthrough rates, which indicate that your contacts actively engage with your emails.

Meanwhile, keep your unsubscribe rate as low as possible. The average unsubscribe rate is around 0.17%.

That said, you may experience a higher unsubscribe rate if you’re offering ad hoc legal services for matters like criminal defense, divorce, and dispute resolution.

For instance, if you’re a divorce lawyer, a contact might join your email list while deciding whether to get a divorce.

If that person decides not to divorce in the end, they might also unsubscribe from your email list because they no longer need your services.

In contrast, users regularly in need of legal services, like corporate clients, may continue to stay on your email list if they find your emails valuable. Even if they don’t need your services right now.

Learn more email marketing KPIs here.

Email Marketing for Lawyers: A Recap

In summary, to get started with law firm email marketing, you’ll need to:

  1. Invest in an email platform
  2. Set up your email platform
  3. Identify where you will place your email forms
  4. Create your lead magnets
  5. Create your email forms
  6. Drive leads to your email forms
  7. Segment your contacts
  8. Start sending your contacts emails
  9. Track the performance of your forms and emails

If you’re wondering which email platform to use (as per the first step), I’ve suggested Mailchimp, HubSpot, Brevo, and ActiveCampaign to be especially good email marketing tools for lawyers.

But you can also explore other options in our guide to the best email marketing services.

And if you have questions about improving your law firm’s email marketing efforts, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

The authors

Learn more about us

Siew Ann Tan

Hey, I'm Siew Ann! I'm a qualified lawyer who fell in love with digital marketing and never looked back. I have over 5 years of experience in SEO and email marketing, which I tap into to write value-packed marketing content for B2B SaaS businesses. I've also test-driven many email platforms along the way. So, if you need help picking the perfect email tool for your law firm, consider me your learned friend!

Inka Wibowo

Senior Content Manager

Hi, I'm Inka! I spent the earlier part of my career in agency land, helping businesses of all sizes get their email marketing campaigns up and running. Now, at EmailTooltester, I'm using my experience to help businesses like yours find the best email marketing services for your needs.

Learn more about us

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This article has been written and researched following our EmailTooltester methodology.

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