Don’t Neglect the Humble Newsletter for Law Firm MarketingThere are a number of skeptics in the legal world who question the effectiveness of newsletters. Whenever an attorney comes to me and tells me that they’ve sent a newsletter in the past, but found it to be ineffective, I know they did something wrong.

Here are some cardinal mistakes you need to avoid:

Frequency – A newsletter isn’t an annual update. You need to send 12 newsletters per year to be effective.

Length – Your newsletter needs to be interesting and to the point. People are too busy to read lengthy pieces. Keep it to less than two pages.

Tracking – If you aren’t using an email service like Constant Contact – and checking the statistics – then you are wasting your time. Whatever you do, do not send it as an attachment via Microsoft Outlook. People are very skeptical about viruses hiding out in attachments these days.

Expectations – If you are expecting to receive a sudden influx of phone calls, you need to adjust your thinking. In general, it takes six months of consistent newsletters before you start to see some results.

One of the greatest values of a newsletter is that it allows you to strengthen your relationship with your entire network simultaneously. This cannot replace personal interactions, but will certainly help keep you top-of-mind. You can easily keep referral sources updated on your firm. Did you receive an award recently? Did you just settle a big case? Did you bring on a big gun? Did your firm or one of your employees do something meaningful for a charitable organization? Sharing this kind of news is a great way to humanize your firm.

A monthly newsletter also gives you the opportunity to educate your clients about your various practice areas. If you handled my divorce, I may not know that you also create estate plans. When I go to hire an estate planning attorney, your name will not come to mind unless you educate me and keep in touch. You need to educate all of your clients – past, present and future – on all your services.

By sharing pertinent information with your network of contacts, you will ensure that you are at the forefront when it comes to any type of legal challenge they may encounter. The more valuable and relevant you make the information, the more positively they will think of you and your firm. By giving them information that is relevant to their legal needs or industry, they will see you as a constant asset to them. It is a long road of small interactions, but by focusing on creating a solid relationship with your network you will benefit in the end.