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The Secrets of Mailing Lists

The world of direct marketing is heavily reliant on data. There are over 55,000 available lists on the market. From compiled lists to response lists, there’s something for almost every targeted campaign. They all vary in quantity, quality and price. It’s sometimes difficult to understand a good list from a bad list. Today we will talk about targeting with data, getting the right list and what questions to ask before renting.

Renting the Right Marketing List

You read it, yes, you’re renting a list. Many people think you are buying list, but that is not the case. Once a prospect contacts you, at that point you own that person’s contact information.

Your direct marketing success is generally based on these percentages:

  • List 40%

  • Offer 40%

  • Creative / Messaging 20%

Since a marketing list can contribute a whopping 40% of your campaign’s success, you better make sure you get it right.

Mailing List

You need to find the best and appropriate list that meets your needs. As you identify a list source, you need to know what questions to ask and which list source to go to. Always remember, getting a better list will garner a higher response rate. Increasing a 1% response to 1.5% could equal thousands of dollars in revenue! Doing some leg work and possibly paying a small amount more for a better list is always a wise investment.

Compiled Lists

The first type of list is a compiled list. This is a type of mailing list created by collecting names and addresses from public records, directories, and other sources. Compiled data comes from more than 3,500 public and proprietary sources such as:

  • Credit record statistics

  • Census data

  • Public records

  • Product registrations

  • White pages

  • Property/realty records

  • Mail order transactions

  • Surveys

One of the list compilers we use has 2,500+ data elements available. We can use compiled data for the vast majority of the campaigns we help our clients with. Some of the top compilers include:

  • Experian

  • InfoGroup

  • Epsilon

  • KBM

  • Acxiom

An example of consumer data I could get from a compiled list would be:

  1. Homeowner

  2. Their house is a single family dwelling

  3. Age 35 to 55

  4. Has a daughter under 5

  5. Makes at least $75,000 a year

  6. They have lived in their home over 5 years

  7. Their house was built in 1972

An example of business data I could get from a compiled list would be:

  1. Engineering companies

  2. Been in business 5+ years

  3. Private company

  4. Has between 100 and 250 employees

  5. The revenue is between $2.5 and $5 million

Every compiled list has their pros and cons. As you get more experience, you will know which ones to use and when.

Response Lists

The second type of lists is a response list. These lists consist of names and addresses of individuals who have responded to an offer of some kind. This can range from people who subscribe to a specific magazine to people who have completed and returned their product warranty card. Some response lists examples include:

  • Pottery Barn

  • J Crew

  • Seminars

  • Magazine Subscriptions

An example of consumer data I could get from a response list would be:

  1. Made a purchase from Pottery Barn Kids

  2. The purchase was made within the last 3 months

  3. The purchase amount was between $50 and $100

An example of business data I could get from a response list would be:

  1. People that members of Entomological Society of America

  2. They have a specialty in Insect Pathology

There are literally tens of thousands of niche lists available in the marketplace. At B2E, we have even surprised ourselves at the type of data we are to find.

Marketing List Due Diligence

When looking for a marketing list, you must do your due diligence. Factors to consider when weighing the value of a rented list:

  • How often is the list updated and/or cleaned?

  • Where does the data come from? How was it collected?

  • How frequently do people on the list make purchases and how much do they spend?

  • Have earlier customers rented or purchased the list after initial test mailings?

  • How frequently has the list been rented by other companies?

  • What is the list company’s policy on returns?

These are important questions to ask every single list you are looking to rent. Lists vary in quality and price, and typically, the more expensive the list, the better the quality. The least expensive lists are referred to as unqualified lists which consist of a rundown of occupants in a specified geographic area (i.e. carrier route).

Lists generally go bad at a rate of 2% a month. By the end of the year, about a fourth of most lists are out of date. Did you know around 15-17% of the population moves every year? A list becomes less effective the more often it is used. The industry standard for deliverability is roughly 92%.

At B2E, we have researched and rented thousands of different marketing lists over the years (direct mail, email and telephone). If you have questions, please contact me and I will help you out.



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