Inbox Insider: Law firms find CRM best use of e-mail

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For law firms, e-mail marketing can be a tricky business. Aside from CAN-SPAM, law firms are required to follow special rules, depending on the states they practice in, that dictate how lawyers can market to potential clients. Still many firms want to get into digital marketing and are approaching channels like e-mail as a CRM tool, sending newsletters to clients to build relationships.

Anthony Green, president of digital agency Concep, says that more law firms are getting into e-mail for CRM purposes. The firms find that it helps build relationships and keep the brand center of mind for their clients. This is a new trend in business-to-business marketing in the legal vertical. 

“Because of the ethics involved and the rules with regard to lawyers' advertising, you have to be somewhat careful about how you go out to clients or potential clients,” adds John Buchanan, CMO at Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin. “We are not in the market of buying e-mail lists and blasting messages. You have to have a relationship with someone that you are contacting.”

Howard Rice works with Concep to send newsletters 40 to 60 times a year. The e-mails contain informative content on the types of issues that a client might face. For example, a real estate client might receive a weekly newsletter with updates on real estate laws. The idea is to serve the client to build the relationship.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, another law firm and Concep client, also uses e-mail for CRM. The e-mails, which it sends on average about once a week, are segmented by the topic that the client is interested in. For example, the firm sends notes on changes in Medicare law to their healthcare clients.

The law firm has shifted many of its direct mail communications into this e-mail newsletter. “We find e-mail more effective, and we find it is the way that people prefer to receive information,” says Claudia Freeman, CMO at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. “With e-mail, we can collect data, and it is more cost effective, more immediate and better for environment.”

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