Email continues to be one of the most effective ways for law firms to reach and engage with clients – and using the latest tools and following industry best practices can help maximize its impact.
That was the message from a recent Litera webinar, "How to improve your email delivery and engagement," led by Freddie Hustler, Director, International Product Sales at Litera. The webinar expanded on some of the findings of Litera's Email Marketing Benchmarks for Legal and Professional Services report. The report is an annual measurement of crucial email performance metrics derived from data about over 315 million emails sent through Concep, Litera's email and marketing automation software solution.
Hustler said the report shows that email remains a reliable, direct, and growing way to reach audiences, but there is definitely an opportunity for firms to improve their success rates with email communications. He identified three actionable learnings from the report, and from Litera's experience with Concep customers:
Learning 1: Open and bounce rates can be improved with email authentication technologies
The report found that delivery, open, and bounce rates have been improving, despite the overall increase in email volumes. What's behind that improvement? Hustler says the adoption of authentication technologies SPF, DKIM, and DMARC have gone a long way toward ensuring that email filters recognize marketing emails from firms as legitimate mail from trusted servers.
Concep encourages all its customers to apply DKIM and DMARC. Concep research has shown that delivery rates can be improved by an average of 4% by simply using these techniques, said Hustler. For a firm that sends 100,000 emails a year, that's 4,000 additional emails that will get through to their intended recipients.
Hustler reviewed how easy these packages are for an IT team to install and deploy these tools in conjunction with an email service provider.
Learning 2: Keep contact lists clean to improve performance rates and avoid damaging reputation
The Concep solution allows Litera customers to adjust various performance thresholds. One key measure that Hustler highlighted is "soft bounces." Those are emails that encounter email boxes that are full or not configured correctly or failing for various other reasons. He noted that typically across the industry, firms send out 25 such emails before acting on that email address. That can damage the overall performance rates and the IP reputation of the server sending the messages over time.
With an email solution like Concep, customers can lower that threshold to a certain number of soft bounces. Hustler recommends five as a reasonable number of soft bounces before taking action, though the exact threshold is always the customer's decision.
Similarly, Concep can help firms determine whether a given email contact is engaging at all with the content being sent. If customers are being sent similar content repeatedly and simply not engaging with it, do firms really want to continue with that contact? Hustler suggests paying close attention to these engagement metrics to enforce good data hygiene and ensure that open and engagement rates remain healthy.
Learning 3: Use dynamic content to increase the chances that clients can get the content they want
The first step in the use of dynamic content is the collection of contacts and preferences. One way for firms to maximize this collection is to use many short sign-up forms across their website, with each form collecting an opt-in to the specific type of content/topic/practice area that the form is located on. This enables users to quickly signal an interest in a topic without having to give away a lot of information on a long form that lists every possible preference, and so increases the chance you’ll capture their data and preference.
There are three broad groups of automations firms use to take advantage of dynamic content: Action-based, reactive, and proactive.
Action-based automations are those that are triggered by specific user actions or behaviors. Hustler provided an example of a website where people visiting a specific section more than five times receive a prompt to sign up for updates on that topic. In cases like this, user behavior drives the selection of preferences rather than a proactive decision to subscribe by the user.
Automation can also be leveraged to drive out the human effort required when several related content items – a report, a blog, and an email, for example – need to be created and distributed in an end-to-end process. This is “reactive automation,” where one action drives the delivery of additional content.
Hustler refers to the final type of content automation, where firms create a sequence of emails in advance, as “proactive automation.” All of the data firms have about a contact in their CRM, as well as the contact’s previous engagement with content can be used to personalize these.
Keep it simple
Hustler underscored that none of these three learnings or techniques entail burdensome, large-scale projects. Most involve simply breaking down processes into smaller steps and simplifying them. "The more we make automation more digestible, the better a firm's performance in email marketing has been over the years."
Litera's complete Email Marketing Benchmarks for Legal and Professional Services report is available for download, and the webinar can be viewed here.
Posted in Firm Intelligence