Somewhere along the line, everyone ends up on someone’s emailing list. But have you ever stopped to consider the marketing value of that e-newsletter? It could be the tool you need to fill out your online marketing strategy.

This week’s blog continues a review of the book, Reinventing Professional Services; Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace, by Ari Kaplan. In Chapter 12, Kaplan explains the value of an e-Newsletter to demonstrate expertise and renew old connections. Kaplan says:

“With the proliferation of free professional newsletter tools such as, managing contacts and business cards is easier than ever. The tools allow one to time a message and motivate one to accomplish a relevant task for each monthly, semi-monthly, even weekly communication. They can also provide a forum in which to recognize clients, colleagues, and prospects, or engage in cross marketing to a shared audience.”

E-Newsletters Are Easy to Set Up

The beauty of building and sending an e-newsletter is that it is easy, and inexpensive. Using one of the free or low-cost online tools, you can create an appealing layout, compile a list of recipients, draft content, and even automatically populate it with your blog or other online material. This means that if you are already blogging or recording short YouTube videos, you may not need to write anything to create a successful e-newsletter effort.

The Dark Side of E-Newsletters

Easy, cheap? Sounds great. But there is also a dark side to e-newsletters. If not well-crafted and timed carefully, it could be seen as spam by the people you send to. If you send too often, at inconvenient times, or don’t include valuable content in your posts, you may end up doing more harm than good. Kaplan likens the timing of e-newsletters to an umbrella salesman:

“Just as an enterprising umbrella salesperson appears at an urban metro station or bus stop the minute rain begins pouring down, professionals marketing with e-mail newsletters need to offer information that their recipients will find relevant and timely. Focusing on them will keep a positive level of interest and ensure readership.”

Choosing the Right Subject Line

“There is intense competition for one’s attention in an already crowded inbox,” Kaplan says. To stand out from the spam, you need to pay careful attention to the very first words recipients see: the subject line. Kaplan recommends:

“With the goal of specificity in mind, try tailoring the subject line and the content you share to particular groups within the mailing list by job title, location, or the nature of the interaction, among others. Doing so will help ensure that they will both open the note and actually read its contents.”

Consider breaking your newsletter mailing list down into subcategories. For a business lawyer this may include:

  • Start ups
  • Financial resources
  • Coaches
  • Past clients
  • Growing businesses.

Then rotate your subject line, and your content to target a different subcategory each time. That way you will draw your readers’ attention and they will feel like you are writing specifically for them.

When it comes to wording your subject line correctly, think of it like pitching a story to the media. Kaplan suggests:

“Professionals need to give the media [and their readers] mini muffins: good ideas coming from credible individuals that appeal to their sense of timing.”

You may want to lead off with an upcoming holiday or event, from tax time to back-to-school. Then link the issue to them based on their need. By touching on a pain point, you will draw recipients in and turn them into readers.

An e-newsletter is an easy, effective way to build an ongoing connection with referral sources and past and prospective clients. By taking the time to produce well-crafted content, you can make yourself a regular resource for your readers and generate new and repeat business to keep your firm growing.

Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist in Ferndale, Michigan. She writes online marketing content for law firms and small businesses. If you want help crafting your e-newsletter, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.