Why Newsletters Are a More Effective Marketing Strategy Than Blogging for Lawyers

It’s no surprise that many attorneys react to the thought of doing a newsletter with the enthusiasm of a sloth. Legal marketing requires the attorney to step away from practicing law to work on something that often seems to result in disappointment. On top of this, “newsletters” seem old fashioned. They seem very 2005. Blogging, social media, and SEO sound much sexier.

But when done properly, newsletters are highly effective at generating clients, much better than blogging (especially when considering your time investment). But the difference lies also in the kinds of leads you’ll get. There is a significant difference between referral from friends and cold leads from the internet (hint – newsletters = warm referrals).

Keep reading to learn how newsletters outshine blogging in almost every respect of attorney marketing. We’ll also explain how you can outsource your newsletters to make it your time investment extraordinarily minimal.

And yes (before you start speculating), BAR Digital Media offers a newsletter service for lawyers. So, yes, I’m biased and I have a financial motive for this post. But also know this… I was a full time litigator for five years, I started my own firm, and I’ve generated a lot of clients using both methods. My success in getting clients is why I decided to start BAR Digital Media, Inc. So, I know what I’m talking about and I’ll stake my reputation on it.

Blogging Was Great for Lawyers, but Not So Much in 2019

Before going any further, let it be said that we’re well aware of the irony of us criticizing blogging by way of a blog. But here is the honest truth…. blogging is overrated. Why? Because relationships rule the legal profession. And blogs do not account for the rules of relationships.

There was a time when the blog was considered the future of attorney marketing. The allure is that you take the time to post a blog article once, and then it would forever entice potential clients to contact you. It’s nice when it works, but it rarely works like that. There are so many factors like domain authority, inbound links, the quality of those links, title tags, meta tags, time on page, etc. Most lawyers don’t have time to master these things.

That’s not to say blogging can’t work well. It does for me and lots of lawyers. But increasing competition makes it harder each year. More importantly, producing good content consistently is a commitment that most lawyers fail to keep. Finally, most lawyers don’t have the patience, temperament, or infrastructure in place to slog through lots of potential cold leads each day.

Moreover, blogging is a passive approach to marketing, which affords the attorney less control. You are at the mercy of the algorithm, competition, SEO best practices, technical hurdles, and more.

Why a Newsletter is More Effective Marketing Strategy Than Blogging for Lawyers

Newsletters Are Better than Blogging Because of How Relationships Work

When done properly, newsletters, on the other hand, are all about maintaining and strengthening relationships. Since referrals are based on relationships, your newsletter is an effort to get more referrals from your friends, colleagues, and extended referral network. Relationships are how lawyers get the majority of their cases.

Moreover, newsletters are a way of proactively attacking your marketing, not waiting around for Google’s mystical algorithm to work for you. You have control over who sees the content and when.

Think about it.  A blog more or less sits on a website. Ideally, every step has been taken to ensure that the blog finds itself in front of the right set of eyes. But there are no guarantees your content will end up in front of a potential client on any given day. It’s a bit like casting a line in a vast ocean and hoping the right fish—the fish that wants to hire you for your legal expertise — will bite.

Digital Newsletters Target the Clients You Want to Attract

If you’ve been practicing law for any amount of time, you’ve probably developed a decent contact list. This list is filled with former clients, potential clients, family, friends and colleagues. These are the people who know your work, who trust you, and who are likely to refer business your way. Additionally, these are people you want to work with.

These folks will refer good business your way as long as you manage to stay at the top of their minds. And a quality newsletter is a great way to do that at scale.

Unlike the write, watch, and wait approach of a blog, a good newsletter actively informs the people on your contact list of the type of cases and matters you handle. And it just so seems to happen, when you’re connecting with people who are in a position to refer work to you, it seems to happen naturally.

Blogging Takes a Ton of Time, Newsletters Take Much Less

There are topics, particularly in the legal profession, that are impossible to explain in a few sentences. This is another key reason why blogging can be an important tool in the legal marketing tool kit.

But good luck if you’re a family attorney trying to keep the word count on a blog post about Gavron warnings under a thousand.  And good luck trying to keep your readers’ attention all the way to the end of a post like that. It’s just a fact of life, legal blogging takes a lot of time and it’s very difficult to delegate it down to a paralegal or law clerk. On top of that, you have to blog consistently and regularly to have a maximum impact.

Meanwhile, a good newsletter can be drafted with as few as 200 words. And they’re typically sent out to hundreds of contacts using an automated system once or twice a month. By targeting your list of contacts with a well-written newsletter that’s short and features some nugget of wisdom or bit of humor, you’re more likely to stay at the top of your contacts’ minds.

Newsletters Can Help Attorney’s Grow Their Contact List

No one’s suggesting you have to choose between blogging or monthly newsletters. In fact, newsletters are a source of inspiration for blog posts. They can be reconstituted into new blogs after being disseminated to your referral network.

Newsletters can also contain links to existing blog posts and drive traffic to your website.

Herein lies yet another advantage of the newsletter. Ideally, if you’re sharing newsletter content on social media platforms such as Facebook, you have an opportunity to sign followers up for your newsletter subscription, thereby increasing your network.

This is something not as easily done through a blog. Remember, a blog basically sits on your website. People might find content there, however, if you blog infrequently, it’s probable no one will see a prompt to join your newsletter buried in the content there.

Should You Do a Newsletter In-House or Outsource it?

Even if you’re an attorney who maintains a blog and posts regularly, you should definitely considering doing an e-newsletter to stay on top of your contacts’ minds. You’re losing out on a large chunk of referral business if you don’t.

The obvious question you’ll want to ask yourself before setting out on this venture is whether or not you’ll handle the newsletter yourself, delegate it to an employee, or outsource it to a newsletter service.

First, it’s difficult to delegate it to an employee. Why? Because it requires the following:

  • The person must learn how to use an email service provider,
  • It requires that the employee take time away from your legal services and dedicate it to marketing,
  • You must pay for all that employee time,
  • It requires you to create a system for inviting contacts to subscribe to your newsletter,
  • You must pay a web designer to create and place an opt-in form somewhere online for people to affirmatively opt-in,
  • You must follow all of the laws surrounding sending email newsletters,
  • And much more….

As you can see, doing a newsletter on your own will take substantial time away from practicing law. Even if you decide to delegate it down, it’s a lot of attorney and oversight time. However, outsourcing this job to a company like BAR Digital Media represents a cost and time-effective way to produce a stellar newsletter. Most of the heavy lifting is done by someone who’s sole focus is on writing newsletters. I’m a lawyer. Your newsletter is written or reviewed by yours truly.

If you’re interested in learning about our newsletter services, click here.

How Attorneys Get Referrals with Newsletters | Legal Email Newsletters

If you’re an attorney, you’re busy. Whether you’re a partner at a large firm, or slogging it out in the trenches as an associate, marketing is the last thing lawyers have time to think about. But I’m here to tell you that email newsletters are worth a few minutes of your time. I should know – I’m a lawyer. I have my own firm and I send a monthly newsletter.

When it comes to legal marketing, email newsletters are as unsexy as it gets. These seemingly old-fashioned marketing tools take time and dedication to draft and disseminate. I resisted doing one for a long time.

But I was pleasantly surprised when my email newsletter started bringing in cases. Just today, I had a consultation with a potential client who was referred to me from a lawyer-friend who is subscribed to my newsletter. We get lots of referrals because of our newsletter.

When done right, newsletters help you maintain relationships with your referral sources. And, unlike playing golf or taking people out to lunch, newsletters do this at scale. I don’t know of a more effective tool for doing this (including social media).

Keep reading to find out how newsletters can increase your firm’s business. Before continuing, just know, we do offer a newsletter service for lawyers. So, if you’re the type of person to think that we’ve got a financial incentive to write this article…. well you’re right. I guess you got us….

Keep reading if you want to know why we think newsletters are awesome.

Legal Newsletter | How Email Newsletters Get Lawyer's Referrals

Newsletters Are All About Referrals

Referrals are the backbone of the practice of law. They are the goose that lays golden eggs. Most attorneys get the majority of their clients from referrals.

Clio’s 2017 Legal Trends report found that consumers looking for legal services typically found their attorney through friends or family (62 percent), and other lawyers (31 percent). An American Bar Association survey found that 80 percent of an attorney’s business comes from referrals.

Whichever number you want to put on it, referrals are huge. At the end of the day, every attorney needs a solid referral network.

The Referral Process

How do referrals work? Well, it’s pretty simple.

You intentionally meet people who are in a position to refer work to you. Then, you earn their trust and become friends by meeting and connecting with them. Some people play golf while others go to the bar. Some people take prospects to baseball games while others prefer taking people out to lunch.

Whatever way you do it, referrals are a relationship game.

The problem with referrals is that you can’t do this indefinitely. At some point, you become so busy with cases it becomes difficult to schmooze people frequently. When you look at referrals from a business perspective, they are very difficult to scale.

But if you want to grow your relationship with your referral sources you need to make a consistent effort to connect with them. Consistency is key to staying top-of-mind.

That is why newsletters are so powerful. Keep reading.

Newsletters Equal Referrals

When it comes to reminding friends and family about the work you do, few techniques are as cost effective and time efficient as a monthly newsletter. A good newsletter can be drafted with as few as 200 words, and can automatically be sent out to hundreds or even thousands of contacts.

The key to making an effective newsletter lies in sharing something of value with your contacts. You have years of legal experience. By sharing easily relatable snippets of this knowledge with your contact list, you increase your chances of staying at the top of their minds.

For an example, consider a criminal defense lawyer.

Such an attorney might send a newsletter containing a link to a funny YouTube video showing a drunk driver pulled over by the police. Maybe the video shows the driver agreeing to a field sobriety test while loudly slurring that he’s only had a couple beers.  In addition to sharing this video, the attorney includes a paragraph or two discussing what not to do when pulled over by police.

This will make a lasting impression in the minds of the newsletter’s readers.

When the day comes that one of those contacts need an attorney, they’re more likely to remember the lawyer who sends the interesting newsletters than the attorney they see on a billboard.

Social Media Stinks in Comparison | Email Marketing Has a Much Higher Return on Investment

While the idea of an e-newsletter might seem very 2005, particularly in an era dominated by popular social media platforms, the simple fact remains that old fashioned email usage continues to grow.

According to Statisia, in 2017, email users numbered 3.7 billion. This number is expected to grow to 4.3 billion users by 2022 (half the world’s population). With such widespread dependence on email, this tried and true method continues to be a key driver of customer retention. This is particularly true for small and medium size business.

And let’s be real, every single person who is in your referral network is in and out of their email all day long. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linked-In all have an algorithm that only shows your content to a small fraction of your connections.

There are no algorithmic limitations to email marketing.

What About Time and Cost?

As mentioned before, attorneys are busy. E-newsletters, though shorter and simpler than blogs and other forms of marketing, take time. The last thing a lawyer wants to think about when in the middle of a trial, or preparing for a deposition, is whether the flow of the monthly newsletter is hitting the right notes.

In some cases, an attorney will delegate the monthly newsletter down to an associate, paralegal or front office staffer. This can be very expensive considering that the cost of staffing a legal office is high. Associates and other staffers’ time is better spent on other projects.

So, what’s an attorney to do given the cost and time required for producing a quality newsletter? If you feel you will be consistent in drafting the newsletter, and your staff is capable of figuring out all the technology that is required, send it yourself. However, most lawyers find that their time and staff are too valuable to do undertake this kind of task.

Outsourcing Their Newsletter is the Best Option for Most Lawyers

One of the beautiful aspects of e-newsletters is that they can be outsourced to marketing firms at a relatively low cost. When you add up your time, the hard costs of doing a newsletter, and your staff’s time to send the newsletter, it doesn’t make any financial sense to draft and send your own newsletter. Obviously, we’re biased because we offer a newsletter service. But if you do the math you’ll see that we’re right.

There are services available, including ours, in which e-newsletters are drafted by competent writers on a wide range of legal issues. Many of these services will custom tailor each newsletter to your firm and your particular style.

For the Practicing Attorney, Newsletters Are a No Brainer

If you’re a practicing attorney, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be using email marketing as part of your overall referral strategy. In addition to requiring little time to review prepared newsletters, newsletter services like ours are extremely affordable. While a marketing firm will save you time, there are also a number of Email Service Providers for you to get your newsletter up and running yourself. These include: Mail Chimp, Drip, ConvertKit, and others.

With a high potential for return on investment, and low investment, there’s no good reason not to do a newsletter. If you’ve been resisting this step, it’s time to stop making excuses.  Take the plunge. You’ll be happy you did.

Click Here to Learn About BAR Digital Media’s Newsletter Service