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Have a Very Merry Holiday (List)

-By and

We may seem like those crazy neighbors at the end of the block who are already putting up the colored lights and inflatables for the holidays weeks before Halloween, but if you are tasked with your firm’s holiday card list, keep reading – you’ll be glad you did.  

Whether your firm sends holiday greetings electronically or mails traditional paper cards, a great deal of effort and preparation (and time) goes into the process: from choosing the format and design, ensuring people don’t get duplicates, deciding whether to include a gift or maybe a charitable donation and getting people to sign and/and or send it, the whole time-consuming process is enough to make you dread the approaching holiday season and/or look for some extra-strong eggnog. 

But after you’ve spent all that time and effort, doesn’t it make sense to make sure the right people receive it?

This is why list cleaning is so important. The list cleaning process involves regularly updating contact information, removing bounces, deduplicating data and purging outdated contacts. It also involves being responsive to recipient preferences. 

The result is a clean list that yields more effective interactions with contacts. Regular list cleanup will also increase your overall email marketing engagement rates. Plus, it’s important to spend the time to clean up your lists so you don’t wind up with damage to your sender reputation from bounces, unsubscribes and spam complaints.

Focusing on updating your holiday mailing list early on can make the holiday card process a lot smoother and, most important, less time-consuming, which can free you up to focus on more strategic priorities.

Where to Begin?

To start, the marketing professionals should review last year’s master holiday list and decide how to best add, update or purge contacts. There is a high probability that since last year’s send, there could now be quite a few invalid emails that will return as bounces this year, so you will want to research and update or remove those before involving any professionals or admins in the process.

Having an automated email validation is a quick and cost-effective way to flag and remove any bad emails on your mailing list. Otherwise, you will have to manually comb through the data to research the bad addresses.

Next, using the updated list as a foundation, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do the contacts on the list have the required contact information? Once it has been decided that you will be sending the cards either through email or postal mail, remove any contacts that do not include either a valid email or physical mailing address.
  • Are there any contacts on the list who are no longer known by anyone at the firm, who don’t have any recent activities or who are deceased? Remove them too.
  • What about contacts connected to professionals who are no longer with your firm? Try to vet those contacts with professionals who are still at the firm to re-establish some of those relationships or, if no one else knows those individuals, they can likely be removed as well.
  • Are there processes in place for removing contacts who have requested to be unsubscribed? If not, these contacts may mark your message as spam which can lead to your future emails being blacklisted, which can cause a big Scroogey headache for your team.

‘Tis the season – All Year Long!

Performing list hygiene now will help you improve not just your holidays mailings, but all of your future communications. And get in the spirit of regularly maintaining your lists, which will help you market more effectively all year.

A Holiday Gift For You

If you find yourself busy during the holiday season, the CLIENTSFirst Data Quality team can help. We are happy to lend a helping hand with automated email validation and/or list cleanup and contact information enhancement. As our holiday gift to you, we will also be happy to validate a sample list and share information, ideas and bests practices for eMarketing success. Reach out to us at 404-249-9914 or

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