It’s not a good idea to blast out emails with an Outlook mail merge or by BCC’ing hundreds of people. Your email campaigns will be easier to manage and more effective if you use email marketing software.
With email marketing software, you draft the email, but the software takes care of delivering it to everyone on your list. Here’s why that is better:
Email Marketing Software Advantages
Look your best. With email marketing software you can create great-looking emails with easy-to-use drag-and-drop templates that are great for newsletters and prompts to take action. Or if you are trying to mimic the look and feel of a personal email, you can also just send in plain text.
Avoid sending limits. Email hosting providers (Google, Microsoft) and clients (Outlook) cap the number of people you can email at once. Gmail limits you to 500 emails, and Outlook maxes out at 100. Email marketing software can send your email to a much larger list.
Track performance metrics. The most important things to measure for an email campaign are open and click rates—how many people actually opened your email and how many clicked on a link in the email. These metrics tell you which subject lines work best, which style of link is most effective, and which of your subscribers are most interested in your emails. Neither Outlook nor Gmail offers this kind of tracking.
Automate your email campaigns. If you use downloads or webinars on your website to generate potential client leads, you should consider automated email sequences that are based on the actions taken by a subscriber. For example, if someone provides their email address in order to download a PDF, you could follow up with a sequence of emails on a related topic.
Automation sophistication varies from basic email sequences to complex triggers you can use to move someone down your client conversion funnel.
Manage your list(s) of subscribers. Email marketing software makes it easy to add subscribers to your list with signup forms on your website. It will also keep track of who has asked to be unsubscribed and segment your list according to criteria you define. It is difficult (or impossible) to do this manually with a list of dozens, much less hundreds or thousands.
Spam protection. Don’t send spam, obviously. But don’t fail to comply with the CAN-SPAM requirements, either. Under the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, you must include the sender’s physical address and an unsubscribe option. Email marketing software will help you stay in compliance with built-in features.
Email Marketing Software Options
There are a lot of options for email marketing platforms to use. They all send mass emails, but each has its standout features. Basic email marketing software works fine for most lawyers, but some will want more advanced features.
Basic Email Marketing Software
The most popular platforms are probably MailChimp, AWeber, and Constant Contact. All three have the features described above, with minor differences.
MailChimp is friendly software that will probably do exactly what you need. It has an intuitive interface with beautiful templates for its user-friendly drag-and-drop editor, and list management and automation are easy.
It also integrates with a lot of third-party apps. Integrations are one of MailChimp’s most defining features, and they can make your life easier by making it simple to do things like add signup forms to WordPress or update contacts in your law practice management software.
But if you need complex automation, MailChimp is not the best option. It does basic automation well but doesn’t attempt to do anything approaching the complexity of what HubSpot or Infusionsoft can do.
MailChimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. For many solo and small-firm lawyers, that is plenty, but your emails will include MailChimp branding. If you want to remove the branding or send more emails, subscriptions start at $10/month. Pricing scales to the number of subscribers you have. 2,500 subscribers costs $30/month, 5,000 subscribers costs $50, and so on.
AWeber is very similar to MailChimp, plus AWeber has an industry-leading deliverability rate (the chance an email gets to the recipient’s inbox rather than getting bounced as spam). This isn’t critical if you have a small list, but as your list grows AWeber might make a difference.
AWeber also offers excellent customer service by phone, email, and chat. If you are new to email marketing and need some handholding, this might be a major consideration.
Regarding templates, AWeber has nearly as many as Constant Contact and MailChimp combined. If you cannot find the perfect template in AWeber, you probably have not looked hard enough.
One big drawback to AWeber is that, unlike MailChimp and Constant Contact, it does not integrate with Google Analytics, so its reporting features aren’t as strong.
AWeber pricing starts at $19/month for your first 500 subscribers and $29/month for up to 2,500 subscribers.
Constant Contact‘s main point of differentiation is its intuitive user interface and the wide array of email templates. Constant Contact also has very good-looking mobile design—a big consideration since many recipients will probably be reading emails on their phones.
UI friendliness aside, there are some drawbacks. In particular, email delivery is slow (~15 minutes) relative to MailChimp and AWeber.
Constant Contact is also more expensive than MailChimp and AWeber for some standard features. An account with automation (free with MailChimp and available with any paid subscription at AWeber) starts at $45/month. Otherwise, Constant Contact’s basic feature set is on par with MailChimp and AWeber and starts at $20/month.
Advanced Email Marketing Software
If you want to do more than just send newsletters and follow-up sequences, you’ll need to consider advanced (and more expensive) software. These are powerhouse email marketing platforms that do a lot more than just send emails.
Note: these are very expensive and very unnecessary for most law firms.
If you have a sophisticated online marketing strategy and a team to manage it, though, you’ll probably want the extra horsepower.
Infusionsoft is basically customer relationship management (CRM) software that also integrates with your website and sends emails. Infusionsoft knows where your contacts have been on your website (and what they do with your emails). You can create triggers so that, for example, if someone visits the contact page on your website but does not reach out, you can send them an email asking them to schedule a call and assign someone a task to follow up with them.
It is very powerful software. If you have a serious advertising and marketing budget—around $10,000+ per month serious—it can definitely help you convert potential clients into paying clients.
The drawback to Infusionsoft is its massive learning curve and numerous superfluous features. Infusionsoft is also very expensive for email software. It starts at $199/month for 2,500 contacts. There is also a required $1,500 onboarding fee because Infusionsoft is so complex (and unintuitive) that you need a consultant to teach you how to use it.
Hubspot is a CRM with high-end business management, not just email. Beyond email marketing automation, HubSpot includes search-engine optimization (SEO) advice, social media monitoring, calls-to-action, landing page help, lead management, Salesforce integration, calendaring, and more.
Hubspot, like Infusionsoft, also has a steep learning curve—although the online training modules are very helpful and you can probably learn on your own, at your own speed.
While the basic HubSpot CRM is free, you’ll spend anywhere between $200 and $2,400/user/month, plus $600–5,000 for onboarding, depending on which add-ons you choose.