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Alastair Murray

Director, The Bureau

Quotation Marks
"The role of online communications, whether it be a website, email, mobile SMS, app and social media is growing more popular each day"

Using email marketing the right way

Using email marketing the right way


Email marketing was the most used digital communication tool in 2022, explains Alastair Murray

Email marketing is becoming one of the most popular digital communication tools used today, with over 4 billion daily users. Law firms building relationships with clients and other target audiences and to foster trust and commitment.

Email campaigns have the ability to encourage greater audience loyalty, to cross-sell products and services, to broadcast news, strengthen audience participation, and to make community announcements that clients can empathise with.

Solicitors and other professional firms should be showering their clients with gifts in the form of new initiatives, special offers, even freebies, to help build loyalty. Running email campaigns is an excellent way to achieve this and break silence, to send news, comment and to advise clients throughout the year, to promote a long-term commitment to the firm.

Email campaigning works best when done regularly; one-off annual campaigns seldom work. Having a routine, weekly, monthly or quarterly work best, to offer some predictability for clients to expect and look-forward to their next e-news bulletin.


Compliance to data protection and privacy rules and regulations should be second nature to solicitors and professions in general. Being compliant with the latest GDPR data processing rules is a must, with many firms already having valid reasons to communicate with their clients, who may already have bought services from them and therefore already have their ‘consent’ to allow each to choose who to trust with their precious personal data.

Other reasons for lawful processing:

·       If the processing or their personal data is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is party.

·       Processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject.

·       Processing is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject.

·       Processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest.

·       Processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests.

A lot of firms today use their Privacy Notices to explain who has access to the personal data belonging to their clients, how it is used, how they decide; whether to approve or disapprove, in which countries the data is stored and how the firm manages it.

The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) combines many of these core requirements of the Data Protection Act and the UK GDPR to govern how email marketing campaigns should behave. They maintain rules on how marketing calls, emails, and text are to be managed, the security of the digital communications and the adherence to the rules on protection and data privacy.

Compliance with the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), that governs consent and lawful processing, is supervised by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) including the way email marketing is processed. The term ‘electronic mail’ is intentionally broad to include all digital media such as emails, texts, picture messages, video calls, voicemails, direct messages via social media or any other similar communications. 

What counts as consent is when someone takes a clear positive action to indicate they have no objection to their personal data being released, which can often be done with a ‘consent’ tick box. Consent must be voluntary and not mixed up with other marketing messages or hard to find. The Website’s navigation to the Privacy Notice must be clear and simple.

It is also important to have record of this, with dates, to prove you had their consent. Consent also implies that the firm will keep any personal data safely protected and out of reach of hackers, malware downloads and ransomware. This means firms must collect only the data they need, or in other words as little as possible and for no longer than is strictly necessary.

Publishing email marketing campaigns need email addresses, usually lots of them. Using existing client lists is one way and bought-in GDPR compliant lists is another. They also require an e-bulletin template and a campaign management service to send them from.

Effective email marketing 
E-bulletins should be designed to interact with click-through points; on animated buttons, videos, read more PDFs, email, and Website links to give the audience the means to respond, on the spot, through their email in-boxes. 

E-bulletins need to catch the audience’s attention by being engaging, succinct, relevant, and sufficiently colourful to stand out. Latest research shows that by getting this right, firms can gain a real advantage over rivals with higher open and click through rates as well as extra brownie points on Google and Bing.  Firms who have been promoting themselves in this way are now seeing improved hit rates to their Websites as well as their email in-boxes.

Having a strategy for your email marketing is an efficient way to drive more traffic to your website. It requires planning and a strong commitment to the strategy which will help to put procedures in place for when to send a ‘Welcome’ style email to clients or a ‘first anniversary’ to a new client, or ‘renewal’ emails, ‘cross-selling’ emails as well as ‘promotional’ ones.

Since covid-19, more firms are confidently sending more email campaigns to more clients than ever. Having a formal strategy helps organise these whether for a one-off client engagement, regular and routine mailings, or promotions and announcements campaigns.

The campaign management system from where you send emails will provide statistics to gauge the relative successes of your campaigns. These will confirm how many people opened the email, who clicked on the links, the bounce backs, the unsubscribes, along with the browsers used by the ‘openers’, whether on mobiles, tablets, lap or desktops. Repeat mailings and or new e-mailings will continue to add to tally of statistics to build a picture of who opens and clicks and who does not care one way or another. In the longer term these can be categorise into groups to determine who gets sent what and when.

By choosing to communicate digitally gives firms the chance to broadcast regular news, whether for announcing the opening of a new department, business workshops, new initiatives, product service launches, or the opening of your Notary Public office; all can be done using email marketing.

The pandemic had a profound effect on the way we communicate with our staff, clients and suppliers. Some of the old taboos are being challenged and the fear some had towards social media are finding ways to overcome their reticence and embrace this comparatively new media platform.

The role of online communications, whether it be a website, email, mobile SMS, app and social media is growing more popular each day. All the favourites are available to open for free; Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, and Twitter. Knowing how to use these platforms is the trick and firms are taking steps to hone their skills to develop their own social media programmes.

Most solicitors have clients who use social media, whether for private and or business use, so it makes sense to engage with these potentially large audiences. Social media has the ability to tell a continuous story about a firm throughout the year and is a vital element to client engagement, to help make your brand no longer what YOU say it is but what YOUR clients think it is.

Alastair Murray is director at The Bureau