Stephen Fairley 2014-11-24 09:34:47
How to Build a Lead Generation Machine With Email Marketing A recent lead generation benchmark survey conducted by marketing research firm Ascend2 and Research Partners is worth paying attention to for the insights gathered from 50,000 U.S. and international marketing leaders representing a wide range of company types, sizes and locations. That is what is known as a statistically significant survey. When queried on the most effective tactics these companies deploy to generate leads, the #1 choice by a significant margin was email marketing. So if you are serious about lead generation, you need to have an email marketing program working for you right now! What is an email marketing program? Do you have one? And is it really working for you – as in delivering a steady stream of qualified leads? If not – or you don’t know what it is – keep reading. What is an email marketing program? An email marketing program is any use of emails sent to potential clients, current or former clients, or potential/current referral sources for the purpose of increasing business, generating new leads, or developing relationships for the purpose of referrals. This can take the form of follow-up emails, a drip marketing campaign, an autoresponder series or a monthly newsletter. How to Measure Your Email Marketing Performance Electronic newsletters (e-newsletters) have proven to be one of the most effective methods for attorneys to market themselves to prospects, clients and referral sources. Every year, email marketing service provider MailerMailer provides a report on email marketing metrics across 34 different industries, including legal. They just issued their 2014 report, based on data gathered from 62,000 e-newsletter campaigns totaling 1.18 billion emails sent between Jan. 1, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2013. Here are the results – and your new minimum benchmarks – for your law firm e-newsletter: • Open rate (what percentage of your recipients opened your email): 13.5% • Click rate (what percentage of your recipients clicked on a link in your email): 1.6% • Click-to-open rate (of the recipients who opened your email, what percentage of them clicked on a link): 11.8% • Bounce rate (the percentage of emails that cannot be delivered): 2.4% Every email service provides these statistics for each e-newsletter you send out. If your e-newsletters are not delivering at rates that meet or exceed the benchmarks above, you have a problem. If you have a lot of experience sending e-newsletters, like we do, you should easily exceed those benchmarks. Please note, open rate cannot be accurately measured when emails are opened on a smartphone, so if many of your readers only use smartphones to read their emails your true open rate will be higher than what is reported. Here’s what you should consider to improve your click, open and bounce rates: Are your subject lines engaging to entice people to open your email? Short subject lines –one to three words are best. A study by Contact Monkey, an email newsletter provider, found the length of subject lines directly correlates with open rates. Subject lines with two or less words in them (for example, RE: Follow up, Re: Update, Re: Introduction or Re: Checking in) consistently obtained over 70 percent open rates while more traditional subject lines (like ABC Law Firms Summer Newsletter or November 2014 Newsletter) received less than 15 percent open rates! Are you sending emails on the right day and at the right time? The highest open rates vary widely depending on your audience. In general, Monday morning before 10 a.m. is the worst time to send a newsletter, but on other days open rates are higher between 8 a.m. and noon. However, it's important to test different days and times to see if you can find ones that are better because every audience is different. With our e-newsletter (that focuses on business development & marketing for law firms) we have had some of our highest open rates to be Friday afternoons and Sunday evenings. We would have never discovered this unless we tested it out. Is your email list updated regularly and cleaned of old, undeliverable email addresses? Bounce rates reflect when an email is unable to be delivered, making it bounce back. There are different reasons for your email to bounce, but three common ones are the person’s inbox is full, their Internet service provider has a problem with your email (perhaps misidentifying it as spam) and bounces it back to your server, or they have changed email addresses. Bounces are inescapable, but can be improved if you send out emails on a regular basis. The less frequently you send out a newsletter the higher your bounce rate will be. If you are just starting out, we recommend going back through your client files and getting emails addresses, but only from those who you have done business with in the last two years; otherwise you will get a significantly higher number of spam complaints. Have you segmented your email list so you can tailor your content to different audiences? Targeted emails deliver 18 times more revenue than general blast emails. We recommend at least two lists: one for your current & former clients and another for everyone else (referral sources, networking contacts, colleagues), just in case you want to send something different to each group. Are your emails personalized? Personalizing the message content can boost open rates significantly. Something as simple as using their first name in the body of the newsletter goes a long way. Do you use a responsive design template so your emails are displayed properly for every screen size? More than half of emails are now opened on mobile devices. Be sure to preview your e-newsletter on your smartphone before you send it out. If your e-newsletters are performing at or above these benchmarks, you may still have some work to do: if you don’t know the source of your success, you can’t repeat it. 4 Proven Email Tactics Law Firms Can Use to Find Qualified Leads Law firms and other service providers often struggle with effective ways to use email and newsletters to find qualified leads. This is primarily because they misunderstand the purpose of these keep in touch emails. They are best used to keep you at the top of mind for former clients and referral partners. Often, a direct call-to-action such as “call for a free consultation” doesn’t work. It's better to offer them a variety of options. Here are a few creative ways for law firms to entice prospects to take the next step: 1. Web forms and surveys. Law firms that offer free appointments can repackage that offer in a more creative way by including surveys or Web forms in their e-newsletters and making a free appointment the prize for subscribers who fill these out. For example, take this survey to find out how vulnerable your small business is to an employee lawsuit. At the end of the survey they can get the results along with an offer for a free consultation with a labor & employment attorney or a small business lawyer to give them the results. 2. Free reports. Free reports that are offered to prospects on your website, via social media or through your e-newsletters are a great way to discover qualified leads. First, you have to have a good handle on topics of interest to your target market. Then generate a three-five page report with a snappy title that addresses any of your prospects’ problems. For example, “The Top 10 Mistakes Small Business Owners Make And Why They Get Sued By Employees” or “5 Things Never to Say To Your Insurance Company When You're In An Accident” or perhaps “10 Questions to Ask Any Divorce Attorney Before You Hire Them.” In exchange for receiving the free report, you ask prospects to provide you with an email address and phone number, which you can then use to reach out to them personally to further develop your relationship. 3. Webinars. Hosting a free webinar on a topic of interest to your target market is another good way to gather qualified leads. You can promote your event through your e-newsletter as well as on social media, which helps you build your email list of qualified leads. At the conclusion of your webinar, offer something of value like a free consultation and make it extra enticing by limiting it to the first five people who respond. Webinars are a good tool when: (a) your clientele is spread over a wide geographical area (immigration); (b) your topic area is sensitive (bankruptcy); or (c) you're targeting executives, business owners or general counsel (business or litigation). 4. Social media. For people who are in the early stages of their search for an attorney and not ready for a consultation, inviting them to like your Facebook fan page or connect with you on LinkedIn or even follow you on Twitter can be a good alternative. You will need to tinker with various tactics to discover what works best for your prospects, as not every tactic will work for you. The important thing is to keep making your engagement with prospects interesting for them, and not serving up the same old thing in every communication they receive from you. Email Marketing Stats You Shouldn't Ignore Email marketing software and services provider Emma recently aggregated the most recent research on email marketing from industry sources and they are worth sharing with you for the insight you can gain to make your email marketing program more effective: • The average open rate for welcome emails is 50%, making those types of emails highly effective. Whenever someone signs up for anything and provides their email address, an automated welcome email is a no-brainer and a great chance to engage your prospects. • 51% of email is now opened on a mobile device, so always use responsive design email templates to ensure your emails look great on any screen. • 80% of people just scan emails, so be sure you have bold headlines for your main subject and engaging graphics. • Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than leads that are not nurtured. Having an automated series of emails triggered by time or events can pay off big for you. • The human finger is approximately 46 pixels square, so be sure your call-to-action buttons are large enough for mobile readers to tap. • 58% of people check their email first thing in the morning, so send your emails early to increase your open rates. • The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, so choose good images that tell your story. • People check their mobile phone up to 150 times a day. Using email and social media together can reinforce your message in the places people visit most often. • iPhones cut off a subject line after 32 characters, so be sure the most important words are at the beginning of your subject line. • Using white space improves comprehension by 20%, so don’t crowd your content. • Eye tracking data shows that readers look at the same section of the screen where pictures of people are looking, which makes that area a perfect place to put your call-to-action. • The #1 reason people unsubscribe is because of too many emails. Use automation to send emails at just the right time instead of blasting emails out with every little piece of news. • Adding video to your emails can increase click rates by 300%. • Email conversion rates are 40 times greater than that of Facebook and Twitter. Use social media to encourage people to sign up for your emails, and then use those emails to convert your browsers into buyers. • Personalized emails improve click rates by 14% and conversions by 10%. • People share content they feel will entertain or benefit others. 94% of people consider how what they share will be of use to others before sharing. Use these stats to improve your email marketing program and you should increase your open and click-thru rates – which in turn will increase the number of qualified leads for your law firm. If you would like some help with your email marketing program, contact my office and ask for a complimentary strategy session with one of our trained Rainmaker Law Marketing Consultants. Two-time international best-selling author, Stephen Fairley is CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, LLC, the nation’s largest law firm marketing company specializing in marketing and lead conversion for small to medium law firms. Over 10,000 attorneys nationwide have benefited from learning and implementing the proven Rainmaker Marketing System. Over the last 12 years, he has become a nationally recognized legal marketing expert and been named, “America’s Top Marketing Coach.” He has spoken numerous times for over 35 of the nation’s largest state and local bar associations and has a large virtual footprint with his highly successful Rainmaker legal marketing blog and has over 150,000 followers on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. For more information, please visit www.TheRainmakerInstitute.com or call (888) 588-5891.
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