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One in Five Marketing Emails Sent by Law Firms is Opened

by Larry Bodine

According to a new study of 8 million marketing emails sent by 25 law firms over a two-year period, the average "open rate" for a marketing email is 20%. Two factors are pushing down the open rate: information overload and image blocking, according to The State of Law Firm Email Marketing published by eLawMarketing of New York.

eLawMarketing is a leading provider of online marketing services to the legal profession. Since 2002, the company has worked with more 100 law firms and individual attorneys to carry out online marketing strategies. eLawMarketing’s existing law firm clients distribute more than 4.8 million emails a year to clients, referral sources, and other business contacts.

"The open rate is driven by whether subscribers recognize the name of the individual or company in the “From” line, and find your subject line compelling and interesting," said Joshua E. Fruchter, Esq., author of the report. 

Other highlights:

  • The average conversion rate (the percentage of subscribers who click links in law firm emails to read more) is 15.6%. Recipients won’t click a link to “read more” (or to “register”) unless they are seriously interested in learning more about the topic discussed.
  • The average bounce rate (an undeliverable email) is 2.6%.
  • The average unsubscribe rate is 0.17%.

The conversion rate can be increased by providing a web version of the email, putting calls-to-action in text (instead of graphics), avoid using a large banner graphic that gets in the way of text and designing your email no wider than 650 pixels. Learn more about email design best practices at

"The bounce rate is typically a good proxy for list hygiene, that is, how “clean” your list is. If your bounce rates are significantly higher than the legal industry norms, then your lists may be stale. To avoid harming the reputation of your domain, reconsider how you are assembling your distribution lists to make sure you are using only recently updated lists of clients and other contacts," Fruchter said.

People unsubscribe from emails because they may already get emails on the same topic from a different source. "Or perhaps their inbox is overloaded and they are pruning the number of emails they receive. In a worst case scenario, a subscriber may unsubscribe because they don't recognize who you are, and are annoyed to have received email from you in the first place" he said.

2012 Larry Bodine

About The Author

Larry Bodine is a Business Development Advisor based in Glen Ellyn, IL. He has helped law firms generate millions in new revenue by devising strategies, conducting business development retreats and individually coaching attorneys. He can be reached at 630.942.0977.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.