Million dollar practice builder Paula Gilmour’s top 5 newsletter discoveries

Legal services are a grudge purchase, which means it’s even more important to be ‘front of mind’ when the need arises for legal assistance.

As a consultant to law firms, I often promote the use of client newsletters as a fundamental marketing tool because:

  • it is a great way to show your expertise,
  • promote other areas of law within the firm,
  • update clients on new laws affecting them and to show them why they need your assistance,
  • position yourself as a trusted adviser; and
  • increase content to gain search engine optimisation for the firm’s website.

My role in various law firms has always been to assist a firm to analyse and track business development initiatives and/or marketing spend and to measure effectiveness.

However, one of the pitfalls that most firms do not realise when they create their own newsletters is that they have so many hidden soft costs and it requires a total firm commitment to make them work.

One firm I worked with didn’t realise that by the time one issue of their newsletter was created, they had spent over $15,000 in lost time, going back and forth with articles and having to constantly chase some fee earners for edits and/or contributions.

The top 5 discoveries I made in the seven years I had in executive marketing and business development roles at progressive firms that may assist you when you are thinking about implementing your newsletter marketing are set out below:

  1. A good solicitor does not mean he/she is a good article writer,
  2. Solicitors who are charged out at $300 an hour took up to 3-4 hours to research and write, proof and rewrite one article – that is $1,200 per article!
  3. Partners who are charged out at $450 an hour took up to 2 hours to assist solicitors to write, proof read and then rewrite an article – adding up to another $900 per article!
  4. Partners in charge of co-ordinating newsletters took up to 5-7 hours to co-ordinate each edition,
  5. Marketing staff took up to 30 hours to compile, chase and chase again just to get content in on time to produce one edition.

My tips to you, should your firm be looking to implement a client newsletter program (and it should) are:

  • Unless you are confident you can gather the troops into action on a regular basis, you need a champion to do it for you; and
  • You need to analyse what was read and what was not and follow up with a process firmly in place, and again if you can’t do that you need someone who can deliver this.

Smart firms realise there are programs like Mailchimp which enable sending the completed newsletter for free, however they also realise there is a significant time and commitment required to create the newsletter in the first place.

So firms that don’t have a marketing department or don’t want to overspend their own time that could otherwise be spent on client work, should use companies like Lift Legal to get their message out on a regular basis and focus their attention on lawyering and keeping clients happy.


About our guest author
Paula Gilmour

Paula Gilmour

Paula Gilmour is the founder of CPD for Me and Director at Sales Strategy and has assisted hundreds of firms since 2002. Paula extensive experience in developing & implementing effective, creative client focused solutions for sole practitioners, boutique and mid-tier law firms and also other professional service firms to grow their practice.

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