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Client newsletters

21 October 2015

Client newsletters: A practical guide

So far in this series of articles we’ve looked at –

  • Why you should use your free GhostMarketer platform,
  • Why you must market your firm to remain competitive,
  • How to create a simple, effective marketing plan,
  • Choosing the right marketing tools, and
  • How to get started with GhostMarketer.

Let’s turn now to your core marketing tool – a client newsletter.

Client newsletters: What’s the buzz?
Why, for decades, has every big law firm had as its core marketing tool a client newsletter? The fact is that absolutely nothing beats regular, quality communication for remaining top-of-mind at all times with your client base (and prospective clients). For both client retention and client acquisition, the tried and tested client newsletter has a pedigree second to none. Clients simply cannot forget either your relationship with them or the goodwill you have so painstakingly built up with your expertise and excellent service.

But beware – if you don’t configure and manage your client newsletter correctly, it will at best be a waste of your time and resources, at worst a negative reflection of your firm. Have a look at the pointers below for tips on how to configure your newsletter for maximum effectiveness.

The power of “spaced repetition”
Science confirms what every successful advertiser already knows - we absorb and retain information best when it is repeated to us, over and over again, ideally at spaced, regular intervals. Deciding how often to send your newsletters is a balancing act. Too often, and they will lose impact and even cause annoyance. Too seldom, and you will dilute the benefits of repetition. Our 10 years as newsletter experts has taught us that for most clients, monthly isn’t just the standard, it’s also the best.

Format is critical
Format can make or break your newsletter. A bright and colourful format with information presented in a friendly, open layout, is far more inviting to the reader than a dull, musty sheet crammed with small print. Law is intimidating (and mind-numbing) enough already to the average layperson, without dressing it up like something from a Dickensian novel. To increase readership of newsletter articles, support each one with a compelling, relevant picture. Which brings us to …..

“A picture paints a thousand words”
A strong image not only conveys in a split second more information than any number of words, but it will access and be retained by your reader’s subconscious far more easily and permanently than text. So make sure that the first thing your reader’s eye is drawn to in your newsletter is your logo, and that your logo is an effective one (see “Branding” in “Shoestring Marketing” for more).

Spam filters, firewalls and other pitfalls
Your newsletters swim in shark-infested waters when you launch them into cyberspace. If they aren’t trapped in spam filters (which catch more and more genuine mail along with the vast floods of spam), they must still negotiate corporate firewalls and a host of other online pitfalls. So how can you increase deliverability? Minimise anything likely to trigger filters - attachments, embedded images, “spammy” words and phrases, big file sizes, etc. Large mail volumes in particular risk all your mails being blocked (e.g. MWeb’s limit is 25 per email/400 per hour) – it is essential to rather use a reputable bulk mailer.

Don’t get this part wrong! If your server or email address is blacklisted, all your emails could be in jeopardy and your professional reputation is at risk.

Content is king
Your newsletter is your best marketing tool only so long as you keep adding value to your clients' business and personal lives. Give them a gift of something they want, something they will appreciate. You want them to look forward to your next newsletter with anticipation.

What sort of content should you use? Our 10 years of research at client level has shown clearly that clients need, and want, a regular update on developments in the law. They know that the law is dynamic, they know that new legislation and Court decisions are constantly creating new rights, new duties, and new dangers for them. You will be very popular if you meet this need for them.

Remember that very few clients (even legally trained ones) have the time or interest to wade through long pages of legal theory. The demand is for short, simple, practical information, of use to them in their everyday lives. Have a look at a typical LawDotNews newsletter for example.

Your creation and transmission options – how we can help you
Consider these options -

  1. You can use GhostMarketer (which comes free with GhostConvey) to create your newsletter template and transmit it to your clients or a chosen segment thereof. If you don’t have someone in-house to write your newsletter articles and to manage the process, LawDotNews will provide you with a dedicated account manager to do it all for you.

  2. A great option if you have the marketing budget and staff resources to make it commercially viable is to write and manage your own newsletters. But if you don’t want to sacrifice billable time and other resources to doing so, consider outsourcing the whole process. Leave your client newsletter to a specialist but be careful to choose a marketing firm with a track record – your reputation is on the line here – and make sure that you get full value for every cent you spend! Our LawDotNews newsletters  are ideal if you are looking for a minimum cost but highly effective service requiring only 5 minutes of your time every month (to update your client list).

As Oscar Wilde put it: "Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result." A quality, regular client newsletter is a great place to start.

In our next article “Branding – The Basics” we’ll look at the importance of strong branding and consistency across all marketing channels.

More articles in the GhostMarketer series by LawDotNews -

Article 1:  Are you using GhostMarketer yet?
Article 2:  Six reasons to market your firm
Article 3:  Targeted Marketing: Choosing your tools
Article 4:  Shoestring Marketing
Article 5:  GhostMarketer - Getting started
Article 7:  Branding: The basics
Article 8:  Marketing mistakes
Article 9:  The proof of the pudding

Contact us on 086 110 5904 (or email info@dotnews.co.za) for more on your free set up on the GhostMarketer platform and other LawDotNews services.

Jack Crook, Director at DotNews is well known to law firms as the author of LawDotNews. Jack’s legal qualifications (LLB Lond and LLB Rhod) are supplemented by many years of practical experience in law, in marketing his own firm, and in helping other small and medium sized professional firms to prosper by using simple, low-cost, effective marketing strategies.

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