It’s the least expensive part of a direct mail campaign, yet more than 40% of the campaign’s success can be attributed to the mailing list. A well designed mail piece with a great offer is only effective if you are reaching the right audience. With tens of thousands of list options available where do you start and how do you ensure you are getting the right list?
The first step is to define your target audience. Your customer list is the ideal place to look for key characteristics you should focus on. Your best future customers will look most like your existing best customers. If you’re marketing to businesses what industries, revenues or employee sizes describe your customers? If you’re marketing to consumers are your customers comprised of families with kids, a certain age or income bracket and do they share certain lifestyle attributes?
If you don’t know the attributes of your best customers a qualified and experienced mailing list provider can assist you in doing an analysis of your current customer database. If you don’t have a house list of current customers a good list provider can recommend lists that will perform well with your offer.
After you have defined your target market and determined how many qualified prospects are available there are some factors to consider in determining the value of the list:
• How often is the list updated and when did the last update occur? A good quality list will update anywhere from monthly to every 90 days.
• How often is the list run through the National Change of Address (NCOA) database? This process is required by the U.S. Postal Service and ensures you receive the most up-to-date address information available.
• What percentage of delivery can I expect? Industry standard is 90% or better.
• Is it a one-time use or multiple use list? Mailing lists are for rental only so determine how many times you’d like to mail to your prospects and make sure you rent your list accordingly.
• How is the data sourced? Compiled lists are sourced through public records such as county records, tax information, phone directories, survey data, etc. Response or subscriber lists are sourced from buyers of a product or service, catalog buyers, subscribers to a particular publication, members of a specific association, catalog buyers, etc.
Once you have chosen your list ask your provider to perform a merge/purge. This will remove any duplicate records between your current customer list and your rented prospect list and prevent wasted printing and postage.
By targeting the right audience and selecting a good, clean, up-to-date mailing list you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful direct marketing campaign.
Post by Jaime Diorio