The Anatomy of a Follow-Up Letter That Secures New Clients for Lawyers
Let’s step into the client’s shoes. You look for legal service and find two lawyers who both meet your needs and have the same pricing policies. You meet with these two lawyers and are left satisfied and interested in their legal help. How will you make a choice?
You’ll probably choose a lawyer who creates a more engaging and memorable presence after first consultations. And here comes in handy a follow-up email — a letter lawyers send after the first consultation with a potential client, acting as an important relationship strengthening step.
If you write a follow-up email based on providing value rather than repeating the same information or advertising your service, you’ll never look like a pest. You’ll build a true connection with a customer, which is one of three key things all clients look for in lawyers.
Take it from Amira Irfan, a business lawyer, seven-figure blogger, and coach:
“One of the best ways to avoid being too pushy is to include emails in your sequence that help them without asking for money. Perhaps you could share one of your most popular opt-ins with them, such as a resource guide, checklist, or even a short video lesson. As long as you have this type of email sequence, you can make them feel like they are part of your email family, and they will love you even more. Everyone values free legal tips.”
Business Lawyer & Entrepreneur
So let’s dig deeper into follow-up letter tips and how you can create connections with your prospective clients.
1) Writing an Outstanding Subject Line
Email inboxes often get overwhelmed and the average email open rate is 22.02%. A concise and clear subject line is something that makes your letter attention-grabbing and recognizable. And vice versa, without an outstanding subject line, your follow-up email can be added to a spam folder or ignored.
So how to make your letter’s subject line to the point?
- Make it concise. Research shows that 81% of email users prefer to open emails on their smartphones. That’s why around 41 characters are the optimal length for a subject line. But if it is possible, it’s recommended to go even shorter, staying around 35 characters.
- Communicate the importance clearly. Motivate a client to open an email stating the value and using the words like “important” or “to remember” that have higher open rates. You can also emphasize the urgency by using the word “now”. Clients want to envision how their life will improve by engaging with your email immediately.
- Use regular case text. Never use capital letters to attract attention. The effect might be negative since capital letters make a follow-up letter look annoying. This is especially relevant in the legal industry since clients seek comfort in communication with a prospective lawyer. Nobody likes being yelled at, especially clients who already have high levels of stress due to legal problems.
- Avoid first-name personalization. Although first name personalization works in many industries, the research shows that it has a negative impact on open rates for the legal industry.
So, stepping back into the client’s shoes, which letter you are more likely to open based on a subject line? Out of the question – the first one is a winner.
2) Crafting a Personalized Introduction
- Greeting with the client’s name. When it comes to the body of the email, always start with a greeting and the client’s name. It helps to build a contact and demonstrate both respect and your engagement.
- Personalized content. Make sure to start your letter with a personalized introduction to attract the client’s interest. Start with letting a client know from the first lines that you are here to provide help, not to sell something. A follow-up letter is being sent immediately after the first consultation, so no need to tell once again who you are and recall everything. It is enough to recall the date you met and a minimal description. Start immediately with personalized content where you provide value to a prospective client. Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, emphasizes why customization is what can become your winning tool:
“It’s essential to use customized emails instead of templates. Templates are far too generic and if you’re truly trying to create long-standing rapport with a potential client, your own personal writing style is best.”
Stewart J. Guss Founder and Personal Injury Lawyer
3) Writing a Value-Oriented Body Paragraph
- Providing a clear value in the body paragraph. Make sure to state concrete pieces of advice for prospective clients that can provide them a value even before you agreed on legal cooperation. Just like Mark Chatow, a business litigator, mentioned:
“When someone has a significant problem, they want a solution now. A quick follow-up shows that you take them and their matter seriously, and establishes an immediate connection.”
Attorney at Chatow Law
What can be included to add value:
- Provide new explanations to matters discussed during first consultation.
- Making an introduction to someone who could be beneficial to a client.
- Add attachments or links to certain sections of the law, for further reference.
- Include concrete steps about what clients can start doing right now to solve their legal problems.
4) Closing Lines That Call to Action
- Secure the after-contact with a call-to-action sentence. Let clients know that they can ask questions about anything they don’t understand or any other questions, not just in case they finally choose your legal service.
- Answer the question “So what’s next?” Include the steps that the client needs to take when he or she is ready to schedule a consultation. That way, the client can save the email as a guide and reference it later when he or she is ready to move forward.
- Emphasize your interest. Let clients know once again that you are interested in their case and look forward to working with them.
- Including the classic ending phrase. When writing the closing to your follow-up letter, stick with the classic ending phrases, such as “Regards” or “Best.” They are the most neutral when it comes to follow-up letters.
- Craft an outstanding footer (signature block). The signature should include more than just your name, in order to catch the client’s eye. It should be clear, informative, and look professional. You need to include the following elements: name and title, contact information, firm logo (in case you work for a firm), and a professional photo (an optional element that can contribute to trustworthiness).
Here is an example of a strong closing paragraph:
Common Mistakes to Avoid While Drafting Your Follow-Up Letter:
- Including too many details about your legal service. Remember that your prospect already took the time and effort to come in for a consultation. He or she already knows a lot about the services you provide. Plus, you’ve probably discussed all the details during a consultation. Since the relationships have been already established, no need to advertise yourself — you’re already dealing with what marketers call a “warm audience.”
- Using courtroom voice. Emails, especially the ones that are client-oriented with no official agreements, are a personal medium. Courtroom voice will never help you to build a strong personal connection with a client. Don’t make the life of your prospective clients even more complicated. Mark Chatow highlights the importance of showing empathy instead: “Even if you haven’t been in business, you can still take a minute to think how the client must feel being in the situation they’re in, and let them know that you feel for what they are going through.”
- Using all ways of communication to follow up. No need to engage in all ways of communication to engage with a client after a consultation. Emails are the most non-pushy way, and it’s more than enough. It doesn’t invade your client’s time or make him or her feel pressure to respond by returning a call.
- Generic follow-up email copy. Although it might seem to be the easiest route, this type of email is the most likely to be ignored.
- Minor grammar mistakes and typos. Since a follow-up letter is not an official document, most lawyers feel no need to check it thoroughly. However, Re-read the email once or twice before hitting send since nothing screams more unprofessional than a follow-up letter full of different mistakes. You can check your email using the proofreading tools, such as Grammarly, Hemingway, Grammar Checker, or Studious.
- Using legal jargon. Remember to use plain language only while explaining any matters. Legal jargon will not represent your professionalism in this case, so make sure to default to plain language instead to make sure that a prospective client can get the most value out of your letter, with no need to google every term. Clients are already stressed out while dealing with legal problems – they look for a lawyer to make their life simpler.
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The final step is as simple as just accepting that you may get rejected, especially in the modern competitive legal market. It most likely will feel uncomfortable. However, don’t view a follow-up email as a rejection risk. Focus on what you may get from it and which value you bring to your prospective clients. It makes the fear of rejection worth it!