Improve Your Metrics by Understanding Your Undeliverables

For many marketers, it might seem like getting sign-off for firm blogs and e-alerts (if not getting them written at all) is the biggest challenge to the success of an e-mail marketing campaign, but there’s one thing that matters even more – your email data quality.  

From layout to content approval, firm marketers spend a lot of time on email campaigns before they can even think about sending them. But, what good is any email if it isn’t seen by its intended recipients?

Sending to undeliverable or “bad” email addresses can have a significant impact on you email performance metrics as well as your overall sender reputation. Let’s take a look at two of the reasons why:

  • Sending to bad email addresses can negatively impact your open rate. When you send to bad email addresses, your open rate declines. While there are many reasons a recipient might not open your email, one of the most obvious is that they aren’t receiving them.
  • Sending to bad email addresses can negatively impact your sender reputation. Consistently including bad email addresses may result in flagging your sender account as spam and send emails from your account directly to the junk folder even when an email address is valid.  

So, how do you improve your contact lists?  Here are a few ideas:

  1. Make sure you’re sending to contacts who want to hear from you (opt-in). Whether you have a process as part of your intake of new clients or a subscription form on your website, make sure your contacts want to hear from you and they know what they can expect to receive from you. It’s not just good manners, it’s good business and can also ensure your compliance with privacy regulations like CAN-SPAM, CASL and GDPR among others.
  2. Regularly review your engagement reports. If you have a high number of bounces or unsubscribes and a low open rate, there’s probably a reason why. Make sure you’re removing bounced email addresses from your lists and create a process to research and update with good ones. Keep track of when contacts unsubscribe and target your content accordingly. Think about a tool like ContactEase Change Tracker which can improve your deliverability by looking for changes to key fields like job title, email address and company name.  
  3. Segment your contact lists. Craft targeted content and build targeted lists to ensure that the information you share is relevant and meaningful to your readers.

Taking a proactive approach and reviewing your email engagement reports on a regular basis will improve your email metrics and ensure that your communications are getting to the right people at the right time. As former law firm marketing and IT professionals, the ContactEase team not only advises clients on e-mail and data quality best practices, but we’ve experienced many of these challenges ourselves. If you have questions about how to address data quality at your firm or want to know how firms are handling similar issues, contact us. We’re here to help!

Colorado Privacy Act: What Law Firm Marketers Need to Know Now

In a recent report from U.S. News, Colorado was ranked second in a list of Best States for economy. In that same study, the Rocky Mountain state was ranked 4th for business environment, 5th for growth, and 1st for employment. Colorado is also known for its highly educated workforce and is home to three of the top twenty performing cities in the United States. In addition to established businesses and industries, Colorado also has a thriving startup market. Over the past five years, capital invested in Colorado companies has grown nearly 90% in industries as diverse as artificial intelligence, software, biotech, fintech, media and telecommunications — all of which makes Coloradans lucrative to marketers in any industry.

To address privacy concerns and increased data collection, the Colorado Privacy Act (CPA) was recently passed by state legislators and will soon go before Governor Jared Polis for his signature. So, what does this mean for firms marketing their services in Colorado? Firms that acted under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) should be in good shape.

Wondering if the CPA applies to your firm? Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Does your firm collect and store data on more than 100,000 Colorado residents?
  • Does your firm earn revenue from the data of more than 25,000 Colorado consumers?
  • What kind of opt out process do you have in place?
  • What kind of data are you collecting and storing (in your CRM, for example)?

If you answered yes to either of the first two questions, the CPA applies no matter where your firm is located. Unlike CCPA and GDPR, the CPA includes a provision for a universal opt-out which would provide Coloradans with the ability to say no to the collection of their personal data across all websites (akin to the National Do Not Call Registry). With the universal opt out in play, it’s important to have a process for managing your opt outs.

Worried you’re not quite ready? Don’t fret! If signed by Governor Polis, the effective date for the bill is July 1, 2023 and the universal opt out must be must be honored starting in 2024 — you have some time. In the meantime, our team of former law firm marketing and IT professionals are here to help! Contact us with questions about the data your store in your CRM or to conduct a database audit.

Look for a post on best practices for managing your opt outs and unsubscribes coming soon. Having a process in place isn’t just a best practice, it’s good business. The integrity of your contact data and the quality of your mailing lists impact your deliverability and your sender reputation which ensures that those wanting to read your communications get the chance to do so.

Whittier to Speak on Future of CRM at LMA Northeast 2016 Conference

Jennifer Whittier, Chief Operating Officer for Cole Valley Software, will be among the panelists at next week’s LMA Northeast 2016 Conference in Boston.  Her session: “The Future of CRM – and the CRM of the Future” will provide attendees insight into features of CRM that can provide firms with real value, including:

  • Signature scraping
  • Relationship scoring
  • Opportunity pipelines
  • Activity and referral tracking
  • Business card scanning
  • Company data enhancements

Panelists will also discuss best practices to address common issues such as:

  • Adoption issues
  • Attorney buy-in
  • Effective communication
  • Data integrity
  • ROI

Jennifer has extensive customer relations experience and is responsible for the successful implementation of numerous ContactEase CRM installations.  A former ContactEase client for over five years, she joined Cole Valley Software in 2009. She is a frequent speaker on best practices of CRM implementation, including the integration of technology and marketing. Using her in-house experience as a former Director of Marketing and Client Relations, she understands the need for successful team work and collaboration. Jennifer enjoys visiting law firms across the country to share her knowledge of CRM best practices. Her clients rely on her for sound advice, extensive knowledge and most of all, her ability to bridge the gap between marketing and information technology.

For more information on “The Future of CRM – and the CRM of the Future,” or to register for the conference, please visit https://lmaneconference.com/.

Webinar – Practicing Effective CRM Data Management and Stewardship

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Join us for a webinar on Mar 09, 2016 at 2:00 PM EST.

Register now!
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2980439944696281345

Avoid the chaos, practice good data management to realize your CRM’s full potential.

Join us on Wednesday, March 9th at 2pmEDT to hear from subject matter experts why client relationship data is one of the most important tools in professional services marketing.

  • Jennifer Irvine, Director of Marketing and Business Development, Bowditch & Dewey LLP
  • Caroline Emery, Business Development and Marketing Senior Manager, Sherin and Lodgen
  • John Wood, Founder and Principal, Data Health Associates

The job of keeping your client relationship management data clean and up-to-date can be a daunting task if you don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to the process. Inconsistent, inaccurate, duplicate, and incomplete data can cause chaos even after a successful implementation. The more effective CRM implementations have made a focused effort on data integrity. Some firms use a partial marketing role, some use a data steward who assumes the primary responsibility for managing the accuracy and reliability of a firm’s data and others outsource the role for data grooming assistance on an as needed basis.

Why is clean data important? With good clean data the firm is able to capture and segment data for delivering relevant important communication to the right clients at the right time. Let’s face it, your competitors are doing it. If you can’t get the right information to the right clients, you run the risk of potentially losing clients. Ultimately CRM impacts everything you do in your role as a marketing or business development professional: Email marketing, Business Intelligence and Reporting, Business Development, Cross-Selling and Referral Programs. The entire value of your firm’s CRM system is predicated on having clean, duplicate-free, reliable data!

Topics covered will include:

    • Why is clean data important?
    • How have the more effective CRM implementations focused ongoing effort on data integrity?
    • Can success be accomplished using someone in a partial marketing role, a full-time data steward or an outsourced data steward?
    • What benefits can be maximized with good clean data?
    • What is the impact if you can’t get the right information to the right clients?

For more information about ContactEase CRM Made Easy for Professional Services Firms, please contact us: 1-800-447-1712 ext.2 or sales@colevalley.com.

CRM Implementation Best Practices Whitepaper

What 3 Leading Firms Did to Achieve Success – To discover what goes into a successful CRM implementation we convened a panel of marketing directors from two law firms and an accounting firm to share best practices learned in the process of identifying needs, getting buy-in, implementing a system and maximizing ROI. http://colevalley.com/Resources.aspx

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Reflecting on the 2014 ILTA Annual Conference

Last month our entire ContactEase team had the opportunity to attend the 2014 ILTA Annual Conference in Nashville, Tennessee themed Imagine. The four-day conference had over 200 peer-developed educational sessions, numerous networking opportunities, and provided our team with the insights and inspirations to better partner with our clients and prospects.

Having our entire team at the conference also allowed us to come together afterwards and discuss the sessions we attended. These sessions varied from creating marketing and business development ROI to implementation and deployment best practices. With so many sessions and an overwhelming amount of content, we have decided launch a new blog series “ILTA Reflections.” Once a week until the end of October we will be reflecting on one of the sessions a team member has attended. Next week the series will kick off with the blog post “ILTA Reflections: Using Big Data To Measure Marketing and Business Development ROI.”

If you also attended the conference and are interested in sharing your take on a session we would love to share it here. Just send an email to marketing@colevalley.com with your session recap and we will post it here with you as our guest author!

Hello to a New Year and a New You!

As everyone is settling back into the office after the holidays, this is a great time to take a fresh look at your plans and objectives for 2014. Reflect on your initiatives from 2013 and identify what was successful and where improvements could be made. When creating your plan for this year, consider the following:

Make Your Plan Sizeable and Scalable
It is important to make a plan that is achievable. There is always a multitude of projects that are urgent and at the top of the list. Evaluate each of them carefully and understand which ones are actually achievable. Someone once gave me great advice which is to always under promise and over deliver. If it is unrealistic due to approvals, budget, buy-in, etc. that a project will get accomplished add it to the wish list but don’t promise to deliver on it.

Add Process Documentation as a Part of the Plan
This is going to be another year of a lot of change as the market is starting to pick up again. As personnel change they take along their knowledge of the firm culture, systems, styles, etc. It is key to document and set expectations of processes in your department. For example event planning is an area where a specific process can be created and documented so that as new members join the team the process is not being re-created from scratch with every event. This frees up time to work on other initiatives and tackle some of those wish list items.

Measure, Report, and Share
Measuring and reporting are key to identify success and justify initiatives. When measuring success it is important to understand not only what should be reported but how it should be reported out. With so much content, it is hard even to break through internally. Make sure you are reporting on the things that matter the most. Opt to go with a quick synopsis that is easy to scan instead of that lengthy report, PowerPoint presentation or Excel spreadsheet. Many times reports are created and only shared with select recipients; plan a way to periodically share your teams’ successes firm wide.

Unfortunately and all too often, by the middle of the year the marketing plan that was created becomes more of a marketing wish list. That is why planning ahead and having specific goals for the year are key to your team and own personal success.

We would love to hear from you… what are your firms’ goals for the year, as well as your professional personal goals?

Which Hat Are You Wearing Today: Part 3

Continuing our series “Which Hat Are You Wearing Today” we literally took it to a new level at the New England Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Conference. Amber Elliott, our ContactEase Director of Implementations, and Chris Fritsch, President and Business Development Consultant, Clients First Consulting presented the session Which Hat Are You Wearing Today: Balancing Marketing, Business Development and Client Services.

During the presentation Amber and Chris took turns actually wearing different hats to represent the different functions marketing takes on from a day-to-day basis. Below are the different roles and associated tasks:
Fire Fighter & Builder Traffic Cop & Miner

Stop back as we will cover the technology that can help streamline the tasks and make success a possibility.

Which Hat Are You Wearing Today

We are excited to announce that Amber Elliott, our ContactEase Director of Implementations, will be speaking this week at the LMA-NE Annual Conference. Joining her will be Chris Fritsch, President and Business Development Consultant, Clients First Consulting to present the session Which Hat Are You Wearing Today: Balancing Marketing, Business Development and Client Services

HatsManaging the marketing for a firm is not what it used to be. The demand for proactive business development and better client services combined with ever-changing technology makes marketing a juggling act. With innovative relationship management you can move your firm forward. Join Amber and Chris to learn how to apply innovative ideas with the right mix of technology to gain profits, satisfy clients, and successfully market your firm. They will discuss trends, provide a high level overview of what firms are doing today to move their firm forward, and go through case studies to showcase how marketers are successfully wearing multiple hats.

The session is on Friday, November 22nd at 2:45PM. Learn more about the overall event by checking out the LMA NE Conference’s website and make sure to stop back on Friday for a recap and pictures from the session.

There are Only 33 More Days Until December 1st: Holiday Cards Part III

Did you know there are only 33 more days until the first of December? No it is not a trick (and probably not a treat) but with Halloween this week we thought it would be a great time to check-in on your holiday card progress.

If you have not already started it is not too late. To help you get an idea of where you should be at in the process, we have come up with a suggested timeline below.

September: Project Kick-Off

  • Identify your objective: is your card just to send warm wishes or is there another motive such as contributing to a charity, launch a marketing campaign, or to clean-up your contact information in your database
  • Decide what type of card you will do: physical or e-card or a combination of both
  • Determine timing: based on the type of card you do, you will need to think through the delivery date and create your project plan. This will also affect your messaging such as Happy Holidays v. Happy New Year
  • Discuss distribution: who receives the card and who the card should come from
  • Inform employees about the project: ask them to compile their list of recipients, let them know how you will be using the information, and inform them of deadlines. If doing a physical card, let them know how the cards will be distributed for them to sign
  • Select the vendor/designer: choose who will create the card and discuss concepts and copy
  • Prep other staff or departments: you will want to prep departments, such as IT if there is a need to host a video on a server or prep assistants who will help with list generation, and inform them of your timeline

October: Development

  • Determine additional needs: for example if you want recipients to select a charity from a list, you will need to create a survey. If you’re giving a contribution based on the number of new “likes” on Facebook someone will be responsible for tracking the metrics. You will also need to determine how your firm will handle bounce backs or returned mail, as well as how you will track success (open and click-through rates, interaction with the card)
  • Test the different components of the e-card: if there is built-in functionality like “replay” for video or links to other pages you will need to test the functionality to ensure it work properly
  • Merge and clean lists: your lists should be at about 80% completion
  • Approvals: approve your final card concept
  • Identify quantity: the amount of cards and envelopes needed for a physical mailing

November: Execution

  • Completion: your e-card should be completed and if you’re doing printed cards you should have them in-hand
  • Final version of mailing list(s): should be completed within the first week of November
  • Signing process kicked-off: this should happen around the second week of November and signed cards should be obtained by the last week of November (2 week window for signing)
  • Other marketing: at this point you should consider other ways you will promote and distribute your hard work. Some ideas would be to post the card on your website, tweet it, Facebook about it, and submit to holiday card contests
  • Additional needs: your process and expectations should be established

December: Completion

  • Physical cards mailed: first week of December
  • Complete e-mailing: preferably in early December
  • Last-minute requests for additional cards: take care of last-minute request or provide employees with the tools they need to execute themselves (such as the OFT version of the e-card they can customize and send on their own)
  • Execute other marketing initiatives: promote your card in other channels
  • Track the card: determine success by monitoring bounce backs, returned mail, and click-throughs

This is only a suggested timeline to help guide the thought about what needs to be executed on. Depending on the complexity of the firm it could take more or less time to complete. No matter the length of the process there is one last step that is often overlooked… celebrate!

Celebrate the project completion. It is a large undertaking and requires a lot of coordination. Enjoy the success with your team, thank those who helped with the execution such as the IT department and the assistants, and make sure to share the news with the entire firm. Send out an internal memo with the card and share tracking numbers or feedback that you have received.

Let us know what you think… what other steps does your firm build in and when do you start your holiday card process?