Mark Hale ‐ November 12, 2013
Keep it Simple Method For Selecting an Effective Direct Mail List
What is the “right” direct mailing list? Is there a wrong way to select a direct mailing list? Roughly 50% of the potential response you get from a direct mail campaign comes from the mailing list you use. A good direct mailing list targets people who have a need, want and can afford your product or service. There are good lists and bad lists. A good list is targeted and fresh. A bad list can be old or simply full of unqualified prospects.
There are only three factors that can cause a direct mail campaign to fail and the mailing list is one of the factors. If you want to get the most return from your marketing investment, the first step is getting the correct mailing list.
What elements go into getting a “good” mailing list? The answer lies in the KISS method of selecting a direct mailing list.
The biggest single factor in the success of your direct mail marketing strategy is who you send your mailings to.
You need a targeted list. But what exactly is a targeted list for your business? This can be:
- A list of existing customers or prospects who have inquired as a result of any of your marketing efforts or a list which you purchase or in some cases obtain for free.
- The mailing list must contain the names of people who are likely to be interested in the benefits of your products or services. They also need to be qualified to buy what you sell. Some business models have a broader scope of who is qualified to buy, others are more narrowly defined.
What kinds of lists are available?
There are a few different (basic) types of lists that you can use:
- Your own list of prospects and customers. This is a list that you collected with your own personal marketing efforts. This is known as a “house” list. These people are most likely to respond to your offers, because they have responded in the past.
- A response list. A response list is a list of people that have actually done something. They have either purchased something from the people who put together the list or inquired in response to some offer or asked to be on the list. They have shown some sort of interest in what you sell.
- A prospect or suspect list. These people have not previously responded to you, but they have responded to someone in a related area (if you have purchased a correctly targeted list) so you know they are at least warm. This is a direct mail mailing list you can purchase from the owner (such as a magazine or company) or a list broker.
- A compiled list. A compiled list is a list of people who were selected to be on the list because they possess the characteristics that you asked the list broker to screen for.
Examples of characteristics used to target correctly may include age, sex, geographic location, income level, etc. These are more fixed characteristics rather than response-list characteristics, which are behavioral characteristics.
- An ‘opt-in’ list. An ‘opt-in’ list is a list of people that signed up to be on – they are asking to be mailed and emailed to; these lists are pretty pricey but can have incredible ROI. These can also be purchased from a list broker.
- A segmented list. A highly defined (segmented) list based on hi-tech systems analysis can give you the ability to micro-target your market for extreme results. Using technology, you can access information about your client base that goes way beyond the standard criteria of age, income and gender used in list purchasing.
The reality is that purchasing a targeted direct mail list is only limited by the data you have about who buys your products and services. The more defined your data is about who your best prospects are the more accurate the mailing list and the better your response.
Direct mail is the only advertising media available that 99.999% of the people get (everyone still has a mail box). The United States Post Office still delivers the mail regularly and reliably. If the direct mail list is targeted and good and the mailer is designed properly you will get results.
The final element to a successful direct mail program is tracking and ROI. We can help walk you through what you can expect on an ROI with a simple formula.
Wilson Printing can help you generate new customers with a targeted direct mail program. We can help ensure that your direct mail, postcard or brochure mailer generate the highest possible returns.
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