“New year, new me.” We’ve all heard this before and may have even said it a few times when reflecting on ways to improve ourselves in the new year. But how about extending those improvements to include your client contact list? If you haven’t given it a little TLC in the last year, now’s a great time to start.

Having a messy contact list can really derail your marketing efforts and cost you money. Incomplete information limits your ability to send out relevant communications to clients. Incorrect information means they could get unwanted communication or no communication at all. (Yikes!)

It’s worth sitting down and giving your contact list a good scrubbing, as well as practicing good data intake habits so you don’t have to scrub so often.

We’ve got 5 easy ways to help you clean up your client contact list for the new year and keep it that way.

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1. Consolidate your contacts.

It’s not uncommon to have multiple entries for the same person in your contact list. This is especially true if you have more than one staff member. When clients change their information, they can sometimes end up in your customer relationship management (CRM) database twice.

This might seem relatively harmless, but if you’re trying to build comprehensive profiles of your clients, it’s kryptonite. Maintaining an accurate history of their relationship with you means it’s essential to keep your contact list free of duplicates.

Most CRMs allow you to easily export your client data to an Excel spreadsheet or CSV file. Once you’ve done that, filter and sort the data so you can identify duplicate contacts and flag them.

Pro Tip: Simply deleting duplicates could erase useful information such as conversation or payment histories, so use caution when doing this. Merge the duplicate contacts instead, so you consolidate the entries and don’t accidentally delete anything important.

Once you’ve consolidated your contacts, ask clients to verify their information with you at their next visit, so you can be sure everything is correct.

2. Review your unengaged client list.

If you’ve got clients you haven’t heard from in a while, take a look and see who you want to keep in your list and who you can scrub. Unengaged clients can cost you valuable time, especially if you’ve been regularly marketing to them.

You may have some inactive clients in your contact list — many businesses do. But too many of them bogs down the quality of your list. You already put a lot of work into building and sending out campaigns, and you need to accurately measure their performance.

A large number of unengaged clients skews your results, and you’ll end up thinking your campaigns need reworking. And guess what? That takes time, which is better spent running your business. Removing consistently inactive clients helps clean up your contact list and saves you time. Sounds good, right?

Pull reports to help you identify who’s engaging with your campaigns and who isn’t. As you go through them, make note of clients who haven’t opened any campaigns recently. Decide if you want to flag the ones who didn’t look at the last several campaigns, for example, or all campaigns during a 12-month period. How large a timeframe you want to look at is up to you.

Once you’ve isolated your unengaged clients, remove them from your database. This frees up your time for other clients who actually look forward to your communications.

Pro Tip: Try a re-engagement campaign to win back unresponsive clients. To increase the likelihood of a reply, sweeten it with an incentive to come back and see what they’ve been missing!

3. Group your contacts.

If you want to proactively clean up your client contact list, segmentation is your friend. 96% of digital marketers get better engagement and more conversions after implementing segmentation. Start by asking yourself what traits set some of your clients apart from others.

For example, say you own a women’s clothing and accessories store. If you have a group of customers who love handbags, add a tag to their profiles in your CRM. Then you can easily send them alerts when you’re running a sale and watch your handbags fly off the shelf!

Other ways to segment are by demographic, purchase history, or hobby. There are tons of possibilities, especially if you have a CRM like Thryv that lets you create custom tags. Keep custom tags consistent across your client list, so you don’t end up with multiple variations of one single tag.

Make segmentation a part of your strategy, and you’ll notice improved client engagement. Organizing your clients into groups makes it easier to identify their needs and interests. This takes the guesswork out of marketing to them and makes it more likely they’ll buy from you.

4. Make your client contact list mobile.

Have you ever needed to add a client to your contact list and weren’t able to because you weren’t in front of your computer? Maybe you were onsite with a client and they mentioned they had a referral for you. So where did you jot it down?

Luckily, there’s a better way than writing it on a slip of paper that could get lost or worse, your hand! 48% of CRM users access their CRM with mobile phones, so keeping your contact list within arm’s reach is important.

Look for a CRM that not only allows you to input client information on demand but also lets you filter and sort when you need to find something. Taking your contact list everywhere means less likelihood potential leads will get lost or be incomplete.

5. Practice good data entry habits.

The key to a robust but squeaky-clean contact list is undoubtedly the person who puts it together. And if you have multiple staff members who help you do this, train them to not make the kind of contact list mistakes that necessitate major cleanups later on.

Set the example by filling out as many fields as possible when adding new clients to your contact list. If your CRM allows for custom fields, add any you feel are relevant to your business. The more information you have about your clients, the better the experience you’ll provide them.

It’s also a good idea to go through and clean up your client contact list periodically — two to three times a year is a good benchmark to keep it organized and clutter-free.

CRM Cleanup Guide

CRM Cleanup Guide

Get your CRM data in tip-top shape — and keep it that way!