How to Create an E-mail Law Alert:
Powerful Marketing Tool Replaces Printed Newsletters
by Trey Ryder
Thanks to e-mail, you can now write and distribute a weekly Law Alert without
buying a single postage stamp or sacrificing even one tree. What’s more, you
can e-mail your Alert to prospects and clients anywhere in the world in minutes.
Here’s how to design and promote an e-mail Law Alert that attracts new clients
Purpose: E-mail Alerts are secondary marketing documents. You should deliver
your primary marketing message through your information packet, brochure, seminar
and web site. Then your Alert should support your message by highlighting and
reinforcing the most important points. As a result, your Alert does not need
to contain your entire message. Still, your Alert’s contents should be well
planned so within a certain period -- for example, six months -- you have delivered
your full message. In addition, your Alert should clearly state various offers
and create urgency so your prospects act sooner rather than later.
Frequency: The frequency at which you send your Alert is more important
than the amount of information you deliver. I suggest you send your Alert at
least monthly. More often is better. I send my Lawyer Marketing Alert every
Format: Send your Alert within the e-mail document itself. When you involve
attachments, you soon discover that some recipients can’t open them. Plus, your
e-mail takes longer to send. But when you send your Alert completely inside
an e-mail, you make the process easy and nearly trouble free.
Masthead: This is the area at the top of your Alert that identifies your
document. Design your masthead to seize your reader’s attention so he can’t
stop reading. To attract attention, your masthead might include a descriptive
title, a descriptive subtitle, topics in this issue, your name and phone number,
your reason for publishing it, and the date and copyright notice. Here’s a sample
masthead for a business lawyer:
* New Sexual Harassment Rules
* Reduce Vendor Lawsuits
* Decrease Payroll Taxes in this issue of the
BUSINESS LAW ALERT
Your complete source for information that affects your liability and profits
Provided as an educational service for friends and clients by Business Lawyer
Tom Spencer, who welcomes your questions and comments at 123-456-7890.
(Issue Date) © Copyright (year) by Tom Spencer, P.C. All rights reserved.
Content: In a weekly Alert, focus on one or two subjects. If neither subject
interests some readers, they will receive another Alert in just seven days.
In a monthly Alert, include news items and short articles on at least three
or four subjects. This way you help ensure that every recipient finds something
The more readers profit from your Alert, the more likely they are to forward
copies to their friends and colleagues, who may request their own subscriptions.
Also, make clear to your readers that you provide services that prevent, mitigate
or solve the problems you discuss.
Question/Answer Section: Include a commonly asked question with your answer.
One question and answer are enough. If you have room, include more. Invite readers
to ask questions for future issues.
Seminar Schedule: Feature the title, time, date and place of upcoming seminars.
Include a list of teasers that relate to your program’s content. “At this
fact-filled program, you’ll discover how to (subject), three ways to avoid (subject),
why you should never (subject), seven steps to (subject), and more.” Teasers
that promise specific information dramatically increase attendance, so write
and use as many as you can.
Biography: Include details about your education, qualifications, certifications,
professional memberships, and courts to which you’re admitted. You can include
charitable and civic activities, too. Even hobbies, if you like. The more prospects
know about you, the more comfortable they feel.
Services: Make sure your prospects and referral sources know the services
you offer. If you provide only a general description and hope your prospects
will fill in the blanks, you’ll be disappointed. Prospects check your list to
see if you provide the service they need. If you don’t include a specific list,
prospects could easily conclude that you don’t perform that type of work. The
services you list directly affect the services prospects and clients request.
Offers: The more offers you make, the more likely you are to attract new
inquiries and refer-rals. Consider these: Offer educational articles (listed
by specific title) that you will send by e-mail. Offer an initial telephone
consultation without charge. Offer to add names of readers’ friends and colleagues
to your e-mail list. Offer to answer a question submitted to you by e-mail.
Offer to answer prospects’ questions in your Q&A column. Offer to speak
to groups that include your prospects.
Add/Remove: Include simple instructions for new readers who want to subscribe
and for those who want off your list.
How to Build an E-mail List
1. Identify the people you want on your list. They should include past,
present and prospective clients, as well as referral sources. Then, if you don’t
already have one, compile a list of their names and mailing addresses.
2. Write your e-mail list reassurances. When you invite people to give you
their e-mail addresses, you may find they are skeptical. This is because they
don’t know how you might use their e-mail address. Immediately their thoughts
jump to the worst-case scenario.
When I started compiling my e-mail list, I discovered that some lawyers
assumed I would charge them a fee to stay on my list. As a result, when I invite
lawyers to give me their e-mail address, I reassure them in three ways. My copy
reads as follows:
You’ll be glad to know that this e-mail list is...
FREE: You pay nothing to be on this list.
CONFIDENTIAL: I will never provide your name or e-mail address to anyone
for any purpose.
OPTIONAL: If you ever want off this list, just say the word and I will promptly
delete your name.
I suggest you reassure prospects to overcome whatever obstacles they might
have to joining your list.
3. Create attractive offers. After you have reassured prospects, you can
collect new addresses as follows:
-- Offer your Law Alert by e-mail. Tell readers that in your Alert you will
(1) explain legal principles, (2) provide helpful tips, (3) interpret court
decisions, (4) discuss proposed legislation, (5) review actual case histories,
and (6) invite readers to upcoming seminars. To receive your Alert, ask readers
to send you their name and e-mail address.
-- Offer to e-mail specific educational articles, listing their individual
titles. After readers give you their name and e-mail address, add them to your
e-mail list so they receive all your marketing communications, including your
4. Offer your Alert.
Direct mail. Send a letter or post card to everyone on your mailing list.
Explain that on (some future date) you will phase out the printed newsletter
you send by regular mail. Explain that you’re starting a new Law Alert, which
you’ll send by e-mail. Next, reassure prospects. Then invite them to send you
their name and e-mail address. (You can also use direct mail to offer individual
Web site. On various pages throughout your site, invite prospects to receive
your Law Alert by e-mail. Next, provide reassurances. Then insert “submit”
forms where prospects can type in and send you their name and e-mail address.
News releases. Send them to editors at publications read by your target
audience. Offer prospects your free educational articles and your free Law Alert.
Advertising. Run classified or small display ads in publications where your
target audience will likely see them and respond.
Articles. When you submit an article for publication, put a biographical
note at the end that provides prospects with your e-mail address and offers
your free educational articles and your free Law Alert.
Inserts. When you send mail to prospects and referral sources, slip into
the envelope an insert offering your Law Alert. Invite them to request a free
subscription by e-mail.
Forward. Invite recipients to forward your Law Alert to friends and colleagues.
The faster you build an e-mail list of prospects, clients and referral sources,
the sooner you’ll benefit from your Alert’s high impact and low cost. My weekly
Lawyer Marketing Alert has brought me more new clients than any other method
I have used. I hope you enjoy the same success.
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