At the risk of sounding like a bunch of Scrooges, we’re going to bring up the annual project that almost all law firm marketers have to deal with – and pretty much any of them dread: The Annual Holiday Mailing Project.
Whether your firm does them electronically or with paper cards (or if you are at one of the really lucky firms, both), so many things go into this annual effort that is ideally aimed at strengthening Client relationships: from decisions around the format to the design, to the artwork and/or animation, to gift or not to gift, or maybe a charitable donation. And let’s not forget the politically correct wording of the greeting itself. It’s enough to make you dread the upcoming holiday season – or at least want to go looking for some really strong eggnog a little early.
But we’re going to focus on a more mundane, yet critical function: the nuts and bolts of making sure the holiday mailing list is up-to-date, with accurate contact data and the right “sponsorship” information captured and credited. And we’ll add one more aspirational goal – not having the list review become a November (or worse, December) fire-drill!
Where to Begin?
Most firms start with last year’s list and deciding how to best update or purge contacts. Ideally, the Marketing team will want to accomplish as much of this as possible before the attorneys or admins do anything. To get started, ask yourself the following questions:
- Can we begin by eliminating those contacts who are no longer with us? Nothing sends a shiver down the spine like holiday cheer delivered to the deceased.
- How about those changes of address, title, company, email and other common moves? 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. Ouch! This can be a big job if contact records are not constantly maintained as part of standard CRM data quality practices. (If you need help, our Outsourced Data Quality Team can help!)
- 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 an email or a physical mailing address. (Yes, we know, postal addresses may seem passé. But we are now advising Clients that, just like some older fashions, they are coming back in style as CASL, GDPR and other privacy regulations – with stiff penalties for noncompliance – are making them fashionable again. Check out our Data Privacy Compliance solutions for more information.)
- Are there contacts on the mailing list who are not known by anyone and who don’t have any recent activities? 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 from the list 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!)
- How about bounced emails? If your firm doesn’t have a process for updating contacts whose emails have bounced, now is a good time to start. Either research and update the bounced email addresses for contacts to be included in the holiday mailing or remove them from the list.
- Do you have a process for removing contacts who have requested to be unsubscribed? If you don’t, put a process in place now. Nothing irritates a person more than getting an email after requesting removal from a marketing list. (Plus, you may be violating anti-spam rules and regulations.)
It may still be summer, but it’s never too early to get started on your holiday mailing plans before the season sneaks up on you… just like it did last year! There’s no reason you can’t even have some fun with this. One of our Clients launched a firmwide campaign called “Christmas in July” to get everyone to participate.
If you’d like some ideas for campaigns and contests to get your firm energized and involved or need some help getting it all accomplished, contact CLIENTSFirst! We are always happy to share information, ideas and best practices for CRM Success.
Happy (Early) Holidays,
The CLIENTSFirst Team
– For more than 10 years, the team at CLIENTSFirst Consulting has been helping professional services firms and other organizations successfully select and implement CRM, Data Quality, eMarketing and Client Intelligence to maximize value, adoption and return on investment. If you need help with CRM Success, please contact us at 404-249-9914 or Info@ClientsFirstConsulting.com.