Email Marketing - Part 4 - Automation for Law Firms
Join our host, Toby Rosen, in the fourth episode of our email marketing series. We're talking about the potential of automating your campaigns, breaking the misconception of losing personal touch due to automation, and discussing the power of personalization in emails. We explore how to inject your brand into all communications and maintain consistency across platforms. And finally, we touch upon the significance of a streamlined client intake process and how it can prevent leads from falling through the cracks.
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Welcome to Legal Marketing 101. I'm Toby Rosen. Welcome back to our Thursday Deep Dive series where we are again talking about email marketing and active campaign. So let's get to it. Today we are talking about automating your marketing campaigns and I've talked about this a bit before and I will definitely be talking about it again. So today we're going to be running relatively quickly through a few major strategies for automating email marketing and where I find that law firms can really save a lot of back office time and actually improve client experience at the same time. Now you can really get some level of automation involved in pretty much every step of your marketing, and the reality is that it's likely you already have some kind of automation in your system, even if it's just prefilled or auto filled documents and Clio or something. Figuring out where to start and what issues to tackle can be really overwhelming. So let's start with what most people sort of think of when we talk about automated email, and that's drip campaigns. Drip campaigns are a cornerstone of lead nurturing and you're probably already familiar with the most common format of drip campaigns you sign up to get a lead magnet or something and then you receive a quote, unquote drip of emails every day or every few days for a period of time, and these are great. I use them all the time and they're very, very powerful. But this interval based sending method is really just the tip of the iceberg. Automation can do more for us than just work as a $40 a month click for mass emailing. Automation allows us to deliver tailored content to our leads based on their specific interests and needs. We talked about tagging and segmenting leads into different categories, and now is the time to start sending them some content that's actually relevant to their situation, based on that segmentation. In practice, what this looks like is creating variations of campaigns or variations of nurturing automations that these can then deliver the content that's specific to a particular practice area or topic, and they'll use our tagging and segmentation to make sure that every lead is receiving information that actually matters to them. If a user enters our nurturing process, we can use whatever information we have to deliver relevant content right away. If they submit a contact form on a bankruptcy page, we can give them some bankruptcy content. If they submit from a divorce page, we send them divorce content. But as time goes by, if our emails are performing, we're gonna see some engagement. We're gonna see some opens and some click throughs on our emails, and, using the tactics that we talked about for tagging, we're going to start building this profile of what a user is interested in, and, again, we're ensuring that these leads are getting the content that will meet their needs and then hopefully lead to a conversion. Now let's change gears a little bit and talk a bit about personalization, which we covered in another episode of the series, and we're going to talk about how we can inject some content into emails that are generally considered a bit more transactional. Like I said, we talked about why personalization matters in another episode, but I want to hammer it home again, because the extent to which we can apply personalization to our benefit is really quite a bit greater than you might think. One of the biggest concerns with automation is the fear of losing that personal touch, and that is a serious thing to consider. Overdoing it can make things feel robotic to clients, and they'll feel like they're being kept at arm's reach, even if they really need more engagement from you. Before we get into intake, though, things are hard to make personal before that intake stage, we usually don't have that much data on the clients and we don't want to say anything that seems too creepy Like it's cool that you have an iPhone and that you're located in this place, but once we're into the intake stage, we can take every opportunity possible to add more to what we're sending to our clients. When it comes to our typical email marketing, through drip campaigns and newsletters and other updates and campaigns, it's pretty easy to start finding places to personalize things, but if you're using a scheduling platform that, say, sends confirmation emails and reminders, or a billing platform that sends out automated invoices, we can also inject personalization and our brand into all of this, and we'll keep our message and our voice consistent throughout everything we send to clients. If your XYZ platform doesn't integrate with your email platform, it is more difficult to maintain continuity, but it's still a worthy pursuit. The more we can make things feel personal by adding names or even just little signatures to things, the more are included that our clients are going to feel At every stage, this is going to be good for the bottom line. All of this, though, is really quite basic for a system like Active Campaign, which is, of course, a pretty big part of what this series is about. Active Campaign is an email marketing platform before it's a CRM or anything else. So, unsurprisingly, its basic functionality for newsletter or email blast type campaigns is very robust, and a time interval or event-based autoresponder campaign is basically the easiest thing you can do with their automation systems. Their more complex systems really start to shine, though, is with more complex processes. So we've talked a little bit about nurturing, which is really pretty simple, but we need to get into intake, which usually involves a bunch more moving parts. So, whether you're a solo or your firm has 20-plus attorneys, having a streamlined intake process is not only going to save you time and money in the long run, but it's going to make sure that no leads fall through the cracks. The amount of opportunity you're losing out on is probably 10 times more than you think it is, but you're not alone in that. The parable is kind of always true for all of us, but we can certainly try and help close the gap on that opportunity cost by working on intake. So let's start with the basics. Client intake is the really critical first step in establishing a successful relationship with your client. It's where potential clients express their needs and where your firm evaluates whether or not you can meet those needs. Traditionally, this process has been very manual, involving forms and paper and phone calls and hours and hours of admin work, but with tools for automation like Active Campaign, you can transform this process into a well-oiled machine. And, of course, like with most of the topics we talk about on this podcast, what your well-oiled machine looks like may be different from the next lawyer's machine, but there are a few common stages that you're going to need to consider when planning an intake automation. We're going to talk about these in the context of Active Campaign, but you'll find that most of the stages here will apply to most of the systems and to most intake flows generally. So step one in this intake process or flow is lead capture. This is where your prospects make their first contact with your firm. It could be through your website or social media or even through a referral. To harness the power of automation, we want to first integrate our website with Active Campaign, whether through the WordPress plugin or with the Zapier integration. As usual, it's going to just depend on a few factors and, for those referrals or leads who aren't coming from online sources, get religious about adding those users to your systems and collecting their email addresses. If they really don't want to share their email address, that's fine, but in 2023, it just doesn't really make any sense. Anyways, I digress. Once the leads start pouring into the system, if you have all the tracking pieces hooked up, active Campaign will automatically collect the data about these leads. We've talked about forms and the best practices there, but once you can get someone to interact with your form, they're in the system and we're tracking their every move. Then we're going to move on to qualification and follow up. Not all leads are created equal. An Active Campaign gives us the tools to not only keep crappy leads out of our system if they don't engage, but they give us some rules-based automation options that will help us set priority based on whether a user is coming from one place or whether they have some particular attributes about them that we're interested in. Whether you're using an automated follow-up system or you're using Active Campaign as a CRM, once a user has completed nurturing and is now on the way to case management in something like Clio, we can still benefit from the automation Active Campaign offers us. Active Campaign does shine in the area of sending automated, highly targeted and personalized email sequences to potential clients, but it is functionality that can provide alerts and notifications about taskings for sales or reception staff. These kinds of alerts are really great for building completely manual intake systems that still utilize the tracking and organizational power of systems like Active Campaign, but they're also really powerful for hybrid systems, which is really where I like to use them. But at this point we're hopefully already talking to the client, probably by email and phone, and we're off to the races. Active Campaign can support integration with scheduling apps to automate emails for appointment or consultation scheduling, and you can even stack billing software on top of that so clients pay for their IC while scheduling it. That's before I even mentioned the reminders and cancellation emails and invoicing and payment emails that Active Campaign can help us with. All of that. We'll get into all of those pieces another time and after all of those pieces, there's so many items there, there's onboarding and the automation just doesn't stop. Active Campaign can help send welcome emails, share reminders and important documents and share education and instructions for what a client is going through and for what the next steps look like. The nurturing we start way back when a client submits their initial contact to us. It might change shape and form, but that nurturing that should never end, even when the matter is closed and we use Active Campaign to help us request feedback or a referral from a client. There's always a little more we can do and a little more engagement we can elicit, so we should always be creating and tweaking and optimizing our automations for intake, and really we should be doing that for all of our email marketing. Okay now, before I start talking about analytics and boring you to death, let's sum things up for this episode. Automating intake and nurturing and all of these pieces of client interaction is a game changer for law firms. It streamlines processes, cuts cost and, at the same time, is actually generating more data for you and increasing the quality of your client experience. Of course, doing this well is the results of lots of testing and lots of failure, but the bottom line is that your clients are ultimately seeking convenience and responsiveness in everything. Automation is here to help us exceed expectations and free up time. That's it for Legal Marketing 101. Check out rosanadvertisingcom for more Thanks.