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The importance of having complete control over the platform you use to communicate with current and prospective clients has never been more apparent following the Facebook data debacle. The platform that is easiest for law firms to control is email marketing, which means that building a strong email list should be one of your top priorities.

But it’s not always easy to get people to give you their email addresses unless you give them good reasons to do so. Here are some tips for building your email marketing list:

Use social media.

Even with some spectacular stumbles, social media will continue to be relevant to your law firm marketing goals. Every one of your social media pages should include a link to your email subscription page so your followers can opt in. Use social media ads to promote a special offer — something you give away in exchange for email sign-ups.

Check in on inactive subscribers.

With most email service providers, you can generate a list of recipients who have not opened your emails. Since they did opt in at some point, check in with them and ask why they’re not opening them — is your subject matter off-target? Are the emails going to the junk folder? Even if they ask to be removed, that’s better than having a list populated with people no longer interested in you.

Craft content for sharing.

When you are creating content for your e-newsletter or other email, keep sharing in mind. You want to have people on your list share with others so you can expand your influence beyond your list.

Use your blog.

The content you send out to email subscribers doesn’t have to be original. Using blog posts that you know have already resonated with your target market makes it more likely your email will be shared.

Share lists with a strategic referral partner.

A strategic referral partner is someone who is in a different business than you are but has the same target market. While you don’t want to give your email marketing list to another business — this could violate the terms under which you got those email addresses — you can offer to send an email for your referral partner’s business to your list, and then they reciprocate. Encourage your subscribers to sign up for your referral partner’s emails in exchange for the same from the other business.

Rethink your business cards.

The typical business card lists your name, the firm’s name, address and phone, and your email. But don’t stop there. Use the other side of the card to list all your social media accounts as well as a landing page where they can subscribe to your email list.

Ask for email addresses.

Every encounter you have is an opportunity to ask for an email address. Ask their permission to add their email address to your list and let them know the benefits of subscribing.

The effort to build a good email marketing list never ends, but it’s worth it since your email list is something you own and totally control. Plus, research keeps telling us that email is still the most effective and least costly way to communicate with clients and prospects.