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Why sending newsletters is so beneficial - plus 5 important tips (7th June 2012)

A Law firm newsletters is a key marketing tool among lawyers. Fundamentally the regular and constant communication from a law firm to its clients and referrers is on the must do marketing plan for small to medium law firms.  Why? Well from a client’s perspective it keeps you top of mind so when they/their neighbours/cousins/friends have a legal problem they will remember your firm or your name (and be referred).

This is one of our major services at SLM and there is more to it than this but you should consider these 5 tips for having an effective law firm newsletter:

1. Write in Plain English

While that article you wrote for the a Law Journal may have been praised by your professor and the three other people who read it, most people (this includes your clients) find the law review style of legal writing to be indecipherable, arrogant or at best unbearably boring.  A common complaint that clients have about their lawyers is that they don't understand what the lawyer is trying to tell them, even when speaking in person. When it is on paper, the problem often gets even worse.

2. Publish Consistently

One of the biggest problems lawyers encounter with their newsletters is that someone has to actually write it. Once the first one is done, planning needs to commence for the second.  Staying motivated and focused to get each newsletter out on time can be difficult.  Whether you have chosen to send out the newsletter monthly, or quarterly, make sure to send it out on a consistent basis. Treat newsletter deadlines as seriously as court dates and filing deadlines.  Lawyers who try to work on their newsletter "when they get a chance" don't have a newsletter for very long.  

3. Newsletter Design

We should embrace the three C’s. Consistency in design unifies the design elements, such as typestyles, layout, and graphics and this should be in line with your letterhead and logo. Conservation means not wasting space with too many boxes, photos, graphic elements, or excessive fonts. Contrast refers to creating visual interest in the newsletter "through size, alignment, colour, shape, and other opposites."

4. Say Something Relevant

Just as lawyers tend to write in legalese, they also tend to write about topics that are not interesting to anyone but lawyers. Most people don't really care about the nuances of the latest appellate court rulings in your area of practice.  
Instead, consider the first questions asked by your clients when they are sitting opposite you and want the “bottom line”. What would be relevant to your clients in those circumstances, and then answer it for them in the newsletter.

Minimize the Sales Hype

Successful law firm newsletters are the ones that provide information to the readers on practical issues affecting their lives. Most people are not interested in reading about you. That is not to say there should not be a story about something personal about the firm- say some charitable activity or a milestone anniversary.  It is good to ensure that the firms DNA and its values come through, but sales hype is not a good look and clients will turn off if it’s overdone.