How do you build a law firm client database?

The modern take on a contact directory is a client database. A client database facilitates successful email marketing for your law firm and is a lucrative asset. Without a client database, who are you sending your marketing to, and how? If your law firm is manually sending marketing emails, an email marketing program and client database will cut down labour and costs. If you’re unsure where to start with building a client database, let us guide you.

What is a client database?

A client database, as the name suggests, is focused on client data. Client data is limited to name, email address, and mobile number. A database is not the place for expanded client information or notes; this information should be stored separately, such as your practice management software. The goal of a database is to be compatible with email marketing programs to help automate your law firm’s marketing communications to clients.

Why do law firms need a client database? 

Your law firm can use a client database to send out email marketing or text messages. A client database can automate sends on bulk emails, appointment reminders, and newsletters. A database linked to an email program enables you to track your marketing results, and improve time efficiency. Once you see what a client database can do for your marketing, you’ll wonder how you ever operated without one.

How to build your law firm’s database

To build a client database, start with:

1. Nominating a client database person

Allocate responsibility to a staff member in your law firm who is familiar with Microsoft Excel (where you will start your database), and can coordinate contact information from your law firm staff. By allocating a responsible person, you’re protecting the integrity of the data and use of your clients contact information.

2. Creating four key column items

Here are the four non-negotiable columns to have in your database spreadsheet, enabling you to contact clients and personalise your emails:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email Address
  • Mobile number

3. Keeping the data clean

The most important part of your database, aside from getting contact information, is to keep the data clean.  Clean data is important to prevent mistakes or glitches in your email sends. Every Microsoft Excel data column must follow a uniform style to prevent errors in your communication sends. Microsoft Excel is compatible with all email marketing programs, making it easy to upload to your chosen email marketing platform when the time comes.

Build your database with client consent

It’s important to get consent and ensure everyone in your client database has agreed to your communications. You can add a permission to communicate caveat when onboarding clients to your firm. To abide by the Spam Act, your email marketing program will place an unsubscribe option in every email send. Do not remove this option. Remember, it isn’t about the total number of people; your client database is only effective if everyone wants to hear from you and retain your services.

Need help with a client database?

We know client databases, and work with law firms on this regularly. We can help guide your law firm build your own database for a successful email marketing program. Contact us today for assistance.

About the author
 Peter Heazlewood

Peter Heazlewood

Peter Heazlewood is a management and marketing consultant, he specialises in helping law firms develop their practices using business planning marketing and performance reporting techniques refined in his own successful law firm. Peter lives in Sydney with his wife and is the father of five adult children.
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