Emails are a cost-effective way to nurture clients and leads and remain top of mind. But simply sending out a slew of mass emails won’t help you gain credibility, build trust and earn more business. Marketing estate planning services via email doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are six emails you must send to stay relevant to your clients and leads, while establishing a rapport for long-term success.
- A Welcome Email
MarketingSherpa reports that your welcome email is likely to be the most opened and read email you ever send. Make the most of it! Despite its proven effectiveness in helping to establish a lasting bond with prospective clients and customers, the welcome message is one of the most under-utilized and overlooked marketing tools in a law firm’s email marketing plan. Don’t miss out on opportunities to establish productive connections and loyal relationships that will last for years to come.
Here are 4 tips to create an engaging and effective welcome email:
- Immediately send welcome messages. The best welcome messages arrive in subscribers’ inboxes almost immediately following opt-in. Send your welcome email as soon after sign-up as possible.
- Exude warmth and courtesy. A welcome email is like a virtual handshake that offers acceptance and good will. Write in a conversational tone, include an image (use a great candid shot of yourself), and sign it. Your readers won’t engage with a computer-generated, generic and static email. Some might even delete it or report it as SPAM.
- Personalize your welcome email. The more relevant your welcome message is, the better. Acknowledge your subscribers’ needs and stated interests. Put yourself in their shoes and personalize your message to connect with their deepest emotions. Don’t be afraid to show a little personality. Maximize your impact and kick off your virtual relationship on the right foot.
- Thank your subscribers. The most important element of a welcome email is the “thank you”. By subscribing to your emails, your prospects have indicated that they are interested in you and your estate planning services. Thank them sincerely. You might also consider offering them a small reward, such as a relevant whitepaper or a free initial consultation.
You might be surprised at how a little welcome can go a long way.
- An Email Newsletter
Relevance is the most important element of your email marketing campaign. Offer your subscribers relevant, informative, entertaining and valuable content. Email newsletters are a convenient and efficient means to that end. Help your leads and clients discover more about your staff, your services and your inherent value by publishing a mix of hard and soft news in an easy-to-read format in each newsletter issue: upcoming events, staff profiles, case studies, cartoons, surveys or polls, how-to articles, and content that will enrich your readers’ lives.
Videos have been shown to statistically increase engagement in email newsletters. Videos are engaging. Don’t be afraid to turn on your webcam, hit record and start talking. If you’re too camera-shy, look into packages of professionally-produced videos on relevant business topics to help you enhance your brand.
Here are 3 tips to help you generate quality email newsletters:
- Design for instant recognition and comprehension. Newsletter layout and design can have a significant impact on your readership and the overall effectiveness of your email campaign. An attractive, easy to read newsletter allows recipients to focus on your message and recognize your value and brand. Use an email newsletter template that facilitates reading. Your newsletter header should catch readers’ attention and draw them in.
- Segment your database. Many firms send one generic email newsletter to all of their readers. This can be a huge mistake. Group readers according to interests, industries and other demographics, and send targeted newsletters with relevant content to each group. Segmentation also enables you to better hone in on needs and respond to pain points.
- Deliver regularly and consistently. Give your leads and clients something to look forward to on a regular basis. Whether you send your email newsletter out bi-weekly or monthly, do it on a dependable schedule, such as every other Tuesday or the last Friday of the month. Consistent delivery of quality, targeted content will help nurture and move prospects through the various phases of the sales cycle.
- Respond to needs. Publish articles that inform your clients and prospects on important topics. Answer frequently asked questions that you hear time and again. Provide your readers with timely news and information that they need to know.
- Educate with case studies. Case studies can be highly effective educational tools, especially when written in a compelling story-telling format. Stories can help you sell more professional services. Use stories about your existing clients (change their names to protect their privacy, of course) to engage your email newsletter subscribers. Case studies heighten your credibility, while educating your contacts on lesser-known services or the benefits that they may not be fully aware of.
These email newsletter tips will help raise your click through rates (CTRs), reduce unsubscribe requests, relationships will blossom, and (assuming you give people the option to do so) more people will opt in to your newsletter. Your list will grow, extending your reach and ability to earn new business.
- A Testimonial Email
Like case studies, client testimonials can significantly enhance your credibility while subtly promoting your services. Seventy-eight percent of consumers trust peer recommendations. Sincere, relatable client comments are essentially your best source of referrals. They can be the key to a moving a prospect toward a buying decision or nudging them to take a closer look at your estate planning services.
Here are 4 tips to help you design an appealing testimonial email:
- Consider the design. Email design elements are especially important when it comes to testimonial emails, particularly if you send them out as a campaign in between other digital communications (such as an email newsletter). You want your testimonial email campaign to be recognizable as coming from your firm, while standing out from your other emails. Consider using a “module” method: one placeholder for a header, another for an image of your client, another for the most engaging pull-out quote, and finally, a placeholder for the rest of the story.
- Highlight the benefit or solution. Make sure that the benefit or solution that you obtained for your client is clear in his or her testimonial so that your readers understand that you could also help them with similar issues.
- Create video testimonials at meetings. Whenever you meet with happy, satisfied clients, ask if they would be amenable to video-recording a one-minute testimonial for you. You can help them draft the message in advance, or let them respond to questions that you pose while you record the video. Some of the most engaging video testimonials are spontaneous and the client hasn’t heard the questions before. As with referrals, the best way to get a testimonial is to ask for one!
- Tell your subscribers what to do next. Now that you’ve gotten your readers’ attention with an engaging and interesting testimonial, keep up the momentum. Include a link to a relevant resource where they can learn more about the topic discussed, such as a blog post, attorney biography, service description, case study, or article. Remember to give subscribers a way to take action in every email you send out.
- A Survey Email
Another one of the most effective yet under-utilized marketing tools are surveys. You may believe that you already know what your clients think about you and your firm. You may also believe that you know exactly what your prospects want in an estate planning attorney. Or what value-added services your existing clients would be interested in. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. A survey can give you the answers you seek, while also bringing to light potential issues that you need to address in your marketing, management or client retention.
Gain knowledge by polling your clients and prospects about what kind of content they want to see in your newsletter, what keeps them awake at night, or how they plan to prepare for the future. This kind of information is essential to prepare a relevant content marketing campaign that subscribers will find valuable and beneficial.
Here are 5 tips to guide you as you develop your survey email:
- Ask the right questions. The questions you ask must be relevant to each of your recipients in order to generate useful results. Write the questions clearly and avoid ambiguity.
- Keep it short. Make your survey or poll as easy for subscribers as possible. Keep it brief – no more than 5 minutes; less if possible – and use as many multiple choice answers as you can. Exclude free-form text answers unless they are either absolutely essential or entirely optional.
- Give subscribers a reason to take your survey. Any incentive, including such small rewards as a $5 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card, will help you get more people to participate in your survey. The bigger the incentive, the more likely the responses will be more thoughtful as well. If you have a limited budget, plan fewer, more strategic surveys that offer larger rewards. Alternatively, segment your list and send only certain surveys to specific groups.
- Explain why you’re sending the survey. In addition to unofficially bribing your contacts to complete your survey, tell them why you want the information. In many cases, your reason for the survey may be more stimulating than the reward for completion, especially if that reason is to serve them better or make their lives better. If readers will inherently benefit from answering your questions, you both win.
- A Holiday Email
Holidays are a fantastic time to show some virtual love to your contacts. From Halloween through Labor Day, you can use any national holiday to send your clients and leads some digital cheer. Holidays are relatable. Holidays are also predictable. You know when they are coming. You can plan in advance. Utilize holidays to add instant appeal to your email campaigns and let your contacts know that you are thinking about them – and give them a reason to think about you fondly.
Holidays are also another great time to utilize video in your emails. Holiday video messaging can boost spirits, melt the heart and personalize your message better than any text or image can.
Here are 3 tips to help you produce fabulous holiday emails, no matter what time of year:
- Create a holiday marketing campaign calendar. Plan out your messaging, videos, costumes, scripts, and any other technical items in advance. Determine which holidays warrant separate email greetings, and which will become the theme for your email newsletter or other digital communications that month. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare your messages.
- Stick to your theme. Use each holiday’s theme to its maximum advantage in your calls to action and email content to maximize its impact.
- Emphasize relationships and family. Business is all about relationships. Use holiday emails to reach out to prospects, but don’t forget about your existing clients and how valuable their ongoing business is. Let them know that you appreciate them through true personalization – create a video of your staff singing a holiday song, take a group picture while you and your colleagues are dressed in festive attire, or design an e-card using photos from around your office and/or from your staff’s personal collections. Your year-end holiday emails might require a little bit more time than other holiday communications throughout the year, so be sure to allocate the appropriate resources to make it truly remarkable and memorable.
Want some year-end holiday email inspiration? Check out the fun holiday video that the Van Winkle Law Firm created.
You can generate better relationships and more new business through the use of proactive email content marketing campaigns. These five emails will remind your prospects and clients that you’re not only ready to be of service, but that you are the right person for the job. Through strategic planning and thoughtful emails, your firm will remain top of mind, which will encourage your existing clients to come back to you for additional services (and refer their friends and family), and inspire more prospects to make the leap to become long-term clients as well.
Becca Fieler is an Online Marketing Specialist for the BizActions | PDI Global brands from Thomson Reuters. She provides strategic planning and oversight for our online and email marketing initiatives. Becca also helps clients develop comprehensive marketing and lead generation programs. She is a prolific writer when she has time.
Academy Guest Blogger
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555
- Reach Beyond the Transaction – Build Relationship Capital Instead - March 23, 2015
- What Attorneys Can Learn From My Dentist - January 26, 2015
- ‘Tis the Season for the Personal Touch - December 22, 2014