Legal Marketing & Web Design Blog

Thursday, December 22, 2011

How to Choose the Right E-Newsletter Provider for Your Firm

With the holidays just around the corner, your inbox is probably overflowing with promotional messages from retailers and service providers. And amidst this influx, you’ve probably noticed an increase in holiday greetings sent out from neighboring law firms and colleagues by way of e-newsletter. With the number of people using email continuously increasing and the cost of postage sky-high, it seems that electronic newsletters are a no-brainer, but finding a good provider for your firm can be difficult. There are many different options on the market. Some companies simply provide a distribution system for your e-newsletters, allowing you to send out an e-mail blast. Others provide a more substantial database management and distribution system while a few others offer even significantly more with content options. So how to choose one?

Content Options

The main goal of your firm’s newsletter should be to share useful information with your contacts. As such, the focal point of your newsletter must be the content. Before starting the search for an e-newsletter service, seriously evaluate whether or not your firm will need help writing articles. Many offices are enthusiastic about writing the monthly newsletter at first but as time wears on, it can be more difficult to come up with good ideas for articles. If you think this might be an issue, be sure to sign up for a service that provides you with legal articles which can be easily reviewed and edited by your firm. Prior to signing up, request a sample article so you get a feel for the quality and topics covered. Also, see how often the library is updated. We’ve heard of companies that have some articles but rarely update the offerings to include relevant articles. If you plan to send out 3 newsletters a month, you should go with a provider who promises to add at least 40 new articles a year. In addition to being able to revise posts, make sure you are also able to add custom introductory blurbs or closing remarks which can really add your firm’s voice to a piece. Even if you don’t use the content, the topics can serve as a good starting point for writing these articles in-house.

To give your newsletter more universal appeal, you also might consider including general interest articles. Zola Creative’s Insight in Motion has an extensive library that boasts a fully-stocked (and regularly updated) legal library and also a great general interest section with articles on technology, health, recipes, trivia and quotes.

In addition to a stellar content library, be sure to consider the following factors before making your decision:

  1. Support: It seems like an obvious necessity when selecting a new service provider but make certain that any prospective e-newsletter service not only provides tech-help but also has expertise in legal marketing and can give you pointers on creating effective messaging
  2. Number of recipients: Is there a limit on how many people you can mail each newsletter to? Also take note of how individuals can subscribe. You should know whether the sign-up and database can be integrated into your website
  3. Multiple mailing lists: Does the newsletter service allow you to maintain separate mailing lists in the event that you would like to send separate newsletters to clients, colleagues or referral sources
  4. Sender’s email address: Many newsletter distribution providers will set up a domain name and email address for your firm which will serve as the sending account of the e-newsletter. If your domain name is kewestateplanning.com, you might want your newsletter to come from info@kewestateplanning.com and not kewestateplanninglaw@enewsletters1382.com. This can make the newsletters appear less authentic, as if they were sent from a third party. Before signing up, make sure the e-newsletter services allow for SMTP sending from your firm’s email accounts
  5. Design: Does the newsletter provider allow you to sufficiently incorporate your firm’s branding into each newsletter that you send?. You might also want to inquire as to whether the newsletter service offers photos which you can include in your articles. Text-only pieces can be boring and inserting a photo or two can really grab a recipient’s attention.

While the selection process might be time-consuming, making the right choice when it comes to an e-newsletter service provider is imperative to your firm’s online marketing success.