If you want to avoid a last-minute holiday mailing fire drill, now’s the time to update contact records and holiday mailing lists. Follow these tips to clean up your data and validate emails.
A happy holiday season starts with a clean mailing list. Whether your firm sends holiday greetings electronically or mails traditional paper cards, so much effort goes into this annual ritual – from decisions around format and design, whether to gift or not to gift, or maybe making a charitable donation. And let’s not forget that the wording of the greeting itself must be politically correct. It’s enough to make you dread the upcoming holiday season (or go looking for some strong eggnog!)
But we’re going to focus on a more mundane, yet critical function: data cleaning, the nuts and bolts of making sure your holiday mailing list is clean, correct and up-to-date. And we’ll add one more aspirational goal: not having the list update become a late November / early December fire-drill!
Where To Begin?
Most firms start with reviewing last year’s list and deciding how to best add, update or purge contacts. Ideally, the Marketing team will want to accomplish as much of the following as possible before asking the attorneys or admins to do anything.
To get started, we recommend an automated email validation that can help to quickly and cost-effectively flag any bad emails on your mailing list. Then, if your firm doesn’t have a process for updating contacts that have bad email addresses, now is the ideal time to put one in place. You can then either research and update the bad addresses or remove the contacts from the list. Next, with this updated list as a basis, ask yourself these questions:
- How about changes of address, title and company as well as email and other common changes? Statistically speaking, 30% to 35% of contacts in a firm’s CRM have some type of change to their status or information each year. For a database of 50,000 contacts, that means that up to 15,000 are likely in need of an update! This can be a big job if contact records are not being maintained as part of standard CRM data quality practices.
- Do the contacts currently on the list have the required contact information? Once it has been determined that holiday cards will be sent either via email or postal mail, remove any contacts from the list that do not include either a valid email or physical mailing address.
- Are there contacts on the list who are no longer known by anyone at the firm and who don’t have any recent activities, or who are deceased? Remove them too.
- What about contacts connected to attorneys who are no longer with the firm? It’s likely that the attorneys took the relationships with them when they left, so those contacts can probably be removed as well. (An even better practice is to vet those lists of contacts with attorneys who are still at the firm to reestablish those relationships, but we’ll save that topic for another day!)
- Do you have a process for removing contacts who have requested to be unsubscribed? If you don’t, put one in place now. Nothing is more annoying than getting an email after asking to be removed from a mailing list. (Plus, you may be violating anti-spam rules and data privacy regulations.)