Cold calling as a marketing tool is not one of my favorite techniques. Not to be wishy-washy, let me put this way, I am dead set against it when it comes to personal services marketing, especially for lawyers. It also raises serious ethical issues with most bar associations that have the prohibition patterned after the ABA Model Rule 7.3 (Direct Contact With Prospective Clients). Direct mail is only slightly more effective in my mind, although it certainly has its proponents.

Then comes emails. As long time readers know, I hate emails because I get too many of them – unsolicitated ones and spam being the most egregious among them. But, I also love emails when then serve the purpose of quick, efficient and effective communications in getting things done. But, I discourage clients from using emails as a marketing tool, especially when directed toward people they do not know.

Then along comes Carolyn Elefant. The well-known (okay, actually a bona fide guru) author of MyShingle blog and Nolo’s Legal Marketing Blawg has a post on the latter site talking about “The Three Es of Cold E-mails” that is worth reading.  She is not totally against their use, if they aren’t “canned”, but customized and tie into a legitimate connection with the recipient.

Her 3 “E’s” include:

  • Ethics. To avoid “running afoul” of the rules, she suggests limiting such emails to other lawyers and service providers;
  • Effectiveness. Provide information about you, the reason for email, a connection to recipient, and your website/blog URL;
  • Etiguette. Try to avoid the extra annoyance caused by typos, and the appearance that you “haven’t taken twenty seconds to learn about the recipient.”

So, should cold e-mails be part of your business development arsenal? Carolyn apparently thinks they could have their place.