E-Newsletters Still Excellent for Marketing

My friend Tom Kane posts on his blog, "Legal marketing efforts using e-mail give me great concern. Particularly, I worry about the amount of e-mail these days that inundates you, me and, most importantly, clients. I am just not convinced that it is a viable form of lawyer marketing. However, others may disagree."

While Tom and I agree on most other things, the facts show that e-newsletters still work great.  I sent out the August 12 edition of the Professional Marketing e-newsletter to 4,000 subscribers.  A counter I put on the newsletter showed that 4,980 unique readers opened the email.  How can this be?  Simple: nearly 1,000 people forwarded the newsletter and gave it a whopping 124% "open" rate.

Email newsletters have survived as one of the most potent electronic marketing weapons in a law firm's arsenal, even though everyone seems to be talking about other e-marketing tactics du jour --- blogs, podcasts and news aggregators.  That's because the basic and original e-marketing methods still work:

  • An e-newsletter is still the fastest and most personal way to deliver a marketing message to clients and prospects.

  • They easily show return-on-investment, by measuring number of messages opened, what elements the recipient read and whether the destination address was correct.  Web sites and blogs come close, but can't match this detailed measurability.

  • E-newsletters still take advantage of viral marketing in that they are easily forwarded.

  • They are still the best way to find out exactly who is visiting your Web site.  The Web site log will reveal the machine numbers of visitors, but a newsletter sign-up form on a firm Web site can record the person's name, email address and demographic information.

  • E-newsletters do manage to get through the recipient's firewall, spam filters and technical roadblocks because they come from a trusted source or have been "whitelisted" by recipients to be certain they get the e-mail.

  • They are the most cost-effective form of "push" marketing.  A newsletter that must be printed and mailed not only is more expensive but also takes longer to reproduce and mail.

  • They can offer the colorful beauty and design of Web sites and magazines by using HTML coding.

To be sure, the glory days of colorful HMTL email newsletters is over.  Three years ago a marketer could blast out a newsletter and be assured of a 90% open rate.  But the spammers, criminal hackers, and virus writers put an end to that.  Many people complain about email overload and unwanted messages, which are hurdles that e-newsletters can and do overcome.

Law Office Computing will publish a lengthy article I wrote about the advantages of e-newsletters for law firms.  Keep your eye out for upcoming issues of the magazine.

Trackbacks (4) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
Stark County Law Library Blawg - August 15, 2005 10:08 AM
Patrick Lamb posts:
Legal Marketing Blog - August 17, 2005 1:44 PM
As I mentioned in my recent post relating to e-mail marketing, I have concerns about the effectiveness of this tool in legal marketing because of the pure volume of e-mail that seems to overwhelm all of us these days, including...
Legal Marketing Blog - August 17, 2005 1:46 PM
As I mentioned in my recent post relating to e-mail marketing, I have concerns about the effectiveness of this tool in legal marketing because of the pure volume of e-mail that seems to overwhelm all of us these days, including...
LexBlog Blog - August 21, 2005 6:42 PM
Larry Bodine, who is a pretty bright guy and well respected in the legal marketing arena for good reason, recently lauded the value of email newsletters. Email newsletters have value, be it diminishing, but Larry may have gone overboard here....
Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Kevin O'Keefe - August 13, 2005 2:14 PM

Not sure I buy that 124%. Some email programs do with a file being being opened. That file is the html etc which would open in a preview pain on an email client whether the email is read or not. Those numbers are then used by the email software folks to impress buyers of the solutions

Patrick Lamb - August 14, 2005 8:18 AM


I generally agree with your view on this, though Tom's point is important. Here's how I resolved this disparity in my post this morning:

I read several postings this morning about the continued importance of email marketing. Compare this post from Larry Bodine with this one from Tom Kane. In my view both are right in their views, but both ignored the critical common ground of client focus. Tom is absolutely right that clients are innundated with email drivel from many sources and that the last thing most want is another email marketing piece from a lawyer. Larry is right about just how effective good email marketing can be. My contribution to the discussion? First, make sure anything you send out is substantively valuable. There is nothing worse (well, maybe a lobotomy) than getting email that says nothing other than "look at me!" Content counts for a huge percentage of positive reaction. Second, for current clients, ask whether they are interested in receiving your emails and let them look at one or two to make a judgment. Asking counts for a lot. It shows your sensitivity to the volume of email traffic they must navigate and puts the control in their hands, not yours. For prospects, the same can't happen, at least until you're getting close. But I promise, if your content is valuable, people will want to read what you have to say.

Frank Levert - August 17, 2005 8:42 AM

Thanks for sharing the info. Kind of amazing to realize how succesful email marketing can be and what I'm missing on. :(

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