Rules. Guidelines. Parameters. No matter how you say it, the underlying meaning is the same -- do it THIS way only!
When it comes to your email marketing, the answer is ... maybe.
As attorneys, I'm sure the thought of breaking a rule is absolutely unacceptable. But I'm not suggesting that you break the law. No no no. What I'm saying is, as long as you aren't technically breaking any laws, the email marketing "rules" may not apply to your situation.
You see, email marketing is a lot of trial and error. It all depends on your audience and the message you are sending. Marketo actually put out a cheat sheet on "17 Email Rules You Absolutely Have To Break," challenging the status quo of email marketing. To be clear, they weren't necessary saying you should break all of these rules. As the cheat sheet says, "Don’t assume that all of these rules will work for you simply because they worked for someone else. Test. Tweak. Then, break the rules. Figure out the best approach for your community."
IMS has been sending email newsletters for estate planning and elder law attorneys for years, so we know which rules to follow and which ones can be up for debate.
Here are a few breakable rules for attorney email marketing:
- NEVER use words like “free” or “deal” or “discount” in an email subject line. Ok, this one is mostly a rule for our clients. However, if you have freebies to hand out, you can easily use the word "complimentary" instead. Example: "Join Us for a Complimentary Estate Planning Seminar".
- NEVER put the unsubscribe button or link at the top of an email (or make it obvious). We actually have a Subscription Information section on each email that is clearly marked. Look, we don't want to upset a subscriber who is no longer interested in reading the e-newsletter. You are better off to keep that transition easy, and maybe on down the road they will come back to your list. The subscribers that want to work with you will stay on board!
- ALWAYS send an email during the middle of the week, NEVER send an email at the end of the day. The question of when to send is a tough one, but a perfect example of trial and error. If you think you could reach your audience better at the beginning of the week or over the weekend, then try it! Same goes with the time of day. It all depends on your audience and their likelihood of opening an email.
- NEVER have fun. I'm sorry, what? We can't have fun? Nonsense! Of course you can have fun with your email marketing. And you can do so while still maintaining a professional image. Feel free to post about exciting things happening with your staff, community events and even personal stories. Your readers will connect with you through those fun messages, and that will make them want to read more about the information and services you offer.
So while not all email rules are meant to be broken, there may be some that you could overlook depending upon your situation. When in doubt, contact your IMS Team.