Many of the law firms we talk to do a great job of maintaining contact information for former clients, but they aren’t sure how to capitalize on those connections. An email newsletter can be a great way to maintain those relationships and keep your brand fresh in people’s minds.

A good newsletter should remind former clients that you are knowledgeable, caring and always there to help.

But what should it have in it? Choosing the right content is the challenge many firms face in putting together an effective ─ and share-worthy ─ newsletter.

Guidelines for Writing Your Law Firm’s Newsletter Content

As lawyers, it can be easy to fill a newsletter with recent case results and industry updates, but is that what your former clients are interested in? Chances are, not really.

Instead, fill your newsletter with content that is:

Useful and relevant to their everyday lives – A survey by Nielsen Norman Groupon newsletter preferences indicated that two-thirds of respondents welcome email newsletters that are informative and keep them up-to-date.

You want people to feel like they’re getting something out of your law firm’s newsletter, information they can use now or keep in the back of their minds (or inbox) just in case. Even better, you want content that is so useful that a reader decides to forward the email to others.

Easy to read – Depending on whom you ask, content experts will tell you to write at a sixth- to eighth-grade reading level. This typically means shorter sentences and words with fewer syllables to ensure better reading comprehension.

Particularly in the field of law, it’s easy to slip into jargon-filled legalese. Remember, you’re writing for everyday people, not other attorneys.

If you want to check the reading level of your content, you can view the “readability statistics” in a Word document under the “Spelling & Grammar” check. Look for the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level rating. (FYI, this article is rated at a grade level of 8.3)

Concise and scannable – Readers spend an average of 51 seconds on a newsletter after opening it, according to another Nielsen Norman study on inbox congestion. This means your newsletter content and design need to be eye-catching and easy to skim.

Break up content with lists and bolded text. And keep in mind when designing that your email newsletter will likely be read on a mobile phone. Make it easy for the readers to quickly find the information they are interested in.

Not too sales-y – Although you definitely want to encourage readers to contact you if they have legal issues, you don’t want your content to come off as a hard sell. The goal is for your newsletter to be a resource and a reminder that your firm is there to help.

If you’re just starting a newsletter, consistency is key. You may want to set a goal of sending it out quarterly, versus jumping into a monthly commitment. Just be sure to stay consistent, and don’t bombard readers with too much of a good thing. The last thing you want is for readers to get annoyed and filter you out.

To stay consistent, it will help to map out a content plan so you have an idea of what you would like to include in each newsletter for the year.

Don’t Let That Email List Go to Waste!

Every email list in your database is an opportunity for marketing. You’ve built a good relationship with clients, so don’t let them wither away once the cases are closed. Nurture those connections and possibly make new ones by crafting a useful newsletter that reminds people that you are the go-to law firm in your area.

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About the Author

Tanner Jones serves as Vice President of Business Development for Consultwebs. Consultwebs is a law firm-focused Web marketing company that fosters professional, long-term relationships built on trust, integrity, high quality and results. He’s often one of the first contacts clients have with Consultwebs. He helps law firms develop their marketing strategies like: search marketing campaigns, paid advertising campaigns, responsive website design, and social media to help grow their caseload and business.

Tanner has spoken and presented at legal marketing seminars throughout the country including the our PILMMA summits, APITLA, M&L Legal Marketing conferences and co-hosted educational marketing webinars with AVVO, PILMMA and The Rainmaker Institute. He has been featured in Lawyers Weekly and Attorney at Law publications, as well as many other online legal publications throughout the country.