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Top Tips for Effective eMarketing & List Management – Part 1

-By and

Being able to effectively communicate with clients and contacts over email has been a priority for many firms during the past year – and continues to be as in-person live meetings and events are essentially still on hold for the foreseeable future. As a result, it’s more important than ever to focus on processes and technology for effective eMarketing communication and list management.


Our contacts have been drowning in a deluge of marketing communications and are still being inundated with invitations to webinars and virtual meetings and events. If some haven’t already unsubscribed, it won’t take long for them to escape by hitting the ”unsubscribe all” button if they’re getting too much or the wrong type of communications. So, it’s essential for firms to effectively manage their lists to ensure that key contacts get the information they need but are not oversaturated with unnecessary or irrelevant content.

Over the past year, we’ve been working with our clients to help them navigate the challenges of marketing and business development in this new normal – and the added complexities of using new technologies to make it all work remotely.  Here are some top tips that  we have compiled while working together with firms around the country.

Define Your Goals

For first-time list creation, it is easy to get carried away with all the segments you could have rather than focusing on what you actually need. You don’t have to have granular data on every contact from the outset. Start by looking at the mailings you are sending out currently and clearly define your must-have segments versus those that would be just nice-to-have. By clarifying the problem, you are solving for in the present, as opposed to what you want in the future, establishing segments becomes an iterative process which, over time, can break the information-gathering into a series of smaller tasks that will reduce the burden on the professionals and their assistants. For example, you do not need to ask your professionals to complete a three-page questionnaire on each contact when your current mailings only fall under four or five categories. Keep it realistic, not aspirational.

Define Your eMarketing Lists

To start with, segmented lists can be created to coincide with top-level practice areas. Look at what the firm frequently publishes and how those pieces are organized on your website. While you may have a number of esoteric sub-practices, chances are that they may be included under broader, more recognizable top-level practices. Create your primary mailing lists around those practices.

Don’t Over-promise

It goes without saying (but we are saying it anyway for emphasis), having a mailing list implies that you actually have mailings. If only one or two practices regularly produce content and/or events, then those are the lists you need to focus on. It can actually be counterproductive to have people subscribe to publications, expecting to receive content that never comes. On the other hand, professionals can be a bit competitive by nature, and if some of the non-active practices see all the great content that others are producing – and the new clients they are developing – you may soon find them at the door of the Marketing department offering to write an article or alert.

Communication Is Key

Professionals sometimes assume, often incorrectly, that simply adding a contact to the Marketing database means that their contact will start to receive content. In most firms that isn’t the case, but if they believe it is, they may be hesitant to share their contacts for fear that they will get spammed with irrelevant firm communications.

If your firm doesn’t automatically add contacts to lists, be sure that this is communicated to reassure the professionals that it’s safe to share. But also make sure that the importance and benefits of adding contacts to lists is communicated and professionals are trained to include which segments or lists a new contact should be put on. It can also be helpful to engage the assistants to help the professionals with this task as they are often the ones who regularly enter or update contacts in the CRM.

If your firm does include new contacts in certain mailings, it’s important that the attorneys understand the reasons why and the methodology that is used. It’s also important to provide a process they can use to keep any sensitive contacts off the lists if necessary.


For more than 15 years, the team at CLIENTSFirst Consulting has been helping professional services firms and other organizations successfully select and implement CRM and eMarketing systems to maximize value, adoption and return on investment. If you need help achieving CRM Success, please contact us at 404-249-9914 or

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