If you want to avoid a last minute fire drill for holiday mailing, now is the time to update contact records and holiday mailing lists. Follow these tips to clean your data and validate emails.
A great holiday season starts with a clean mailing list. Whether your business sends greetings electronically or sends out traditional paper cards, so much effort goes into this annual ritual – decisions about format and design, whether or not to give a gift, or maybe be to donate to charity. And let’s not forget that the wording of the greeting itself must be politically correct. Something to make you dread the end of the year celebrations (or go in search of a strong eggnog!)
But we’re going to focus on a more mundane, but critical function: cleaning up the data, nuts and bolts to make sure your vacation mailing list is clean, correct, and up to date. And we will add another ambitious goal: that the list update does not turn into a fire drill in late November / early December!
Where to start?
Most businesses start by reviewing last year’s list and decide how best to add, update, or remove contacts. Ideally, the marketing team will want to accomplish as much as possible before asking lawyers or administrators to do anything.
For starters, we recommend automated email validation which can help you quickly and inexpensively report incorrect emails to your mailing list. Then, if your business doesn’t have a process for updating contacts with bad email addresses, now is a great time to set one up. You can then find and update the wrong addresses or remove the contacts from the list. Then, with this updated list as a basis, ask yourself these questions:
- What about address, title and company changes as well as email and other common changes? Statistically speaking, 30-35% of contacts in a company’s CRM see their status or information change in one way or another every year. For a database of 50,000 contacts, that means up to 15,000 probably need updating! This can be a big job if contact records are not kept as part of standard CRM data quality practices.
- Do the contacts currently on the list have the required contact details? Once it has been determined that the greeting cards will be sent by email or post, remove from the list any contacts that do not include a valid email or physical mailing address.
- Are there any contacts on the list who are no longer known to anyone in the firm and who have no recent activity, or who are deceased? Remove them too.
- What about contacts related to lawyers who are no longer part of the firm? It is likely that the lawyers made contact with them when they left, so these contacts can also be deleted. (An even better practice is to check those contact lists with lawyers who are still in the firm to re-establish those relationships, but we’ll save this topic for another day!)
- Do you have a procedure for removing contacts who have requested to unsubscribe? If you don’t, put one on now. Nothing is more annoying than receiving an email after requesting to be removed from a mailing list. (Additionally, you may be in violation of anti-spam rules and data privacy regulations.)