Norman: good six points all around. I would say that #1 is pretty obvious and applies to most activities for a firm: don't put out trash just to have something out there.
Where would you say that #2 should go b/c for the firm, it's competition, and prospective employees such announcements are relevant? Should this be confined to the firm website or a place like martindale.com Connected that is trafficked by lawyers?
Dead on for #3, and this applies to most customer facing communications. If we can give clients something they can use right now to help them either save money or time in decision making about legal services then our communications will be effective. They will also build trust among clients, rather than appearing self promotional. The same philosophy applies to blogs, comments, etc.
I find #4 interesting. Do you think something like blogging or ads on networks like Facebook and LinkedIn would be more effective than a newsletter to prospective clients?
I won't comment on #5 and #6 as these seem pretty well explained here. Any insights that you or others have on the four points I mention above are appreciated.
I?ve designed and managed e-newsletters for a handful of companies. With that, I completely agree with Norman?s point no. 4. The ROI on sending enewsletters to prospective clients/customers is low, but so is the time, cost and resources needed to put the newsletter together. It's a nothing ventured, nothing gained scenario. With that, enewsletters always should be used as an entry way to the firm's site. So you always have to give prospective clients/customers a reason to click a link, vote in a poll, request a white paper, etc. The worst examples of enewsletters are those that require the readers to do nothing else but read what's already in their inboxes. Also, it goes without saying that an engaging, topical subject line is always needed when you send the enewsletter.
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The point of sending out written material, either physical or electronic, is to build the profile and reputation of the professionals and the firm, to position them as experts in their field and to demonstrate the value they can offer. The material needs to be helpful and thought-provoking. This is what thought leadership is all about - generating a flow of valuable information that clients can use, that will attract clients to the lawyers and to the firm.
How can lawyers best know what that is? Do they get this information from their marketing department (if they have one) or is it just a gut feeling? What firms get this right and have great newsletters?
Ask the clients. Asking great questions will uncover issues to discuss.
Right, clients will tell you whether and what portions they read of your newsletter and other marketing correspondence.