The Mailing List

The mailing list is the most important element to your direct mail campaign. Before you spend your money developing your direct mail package make sure you have a great mailing list.

By Lanee' Blunt

The right mailing list is a great way to build success because your letters are going to qualified leads. “Direct mail is the only mass medium that can be directed toward target groups or prospects,” according to B. Charles Ames, and James Hlavacek’s book, Managerial Marketing for Industrial Firms.  You can spend a lot of money on the right sales letter, brochure, and postage and your money will be wasted if the list is wrong. The mailing list is the most important factor in a successful direct mail campaign. Because the mailing list can make the direct mail advertising successful or will make it a failure. 

Use Your Small Business House List
It is very important for you to keep accurate records of customers, prospects, and referrals that you have received.  One of the best lists available to you will be your house list which is a list of customers and people that have already responded to your ads and have bought from you in the past. They may still be interested in your product or service.

Rent an Outside List
If you feel better with renting outside lists make sure that you let the mailing list supplier know your needs. The mailing list is so important that you should wait until you have the right list before you write and design your direct mail. If you are sending email letters use a reputable list broker which is a supplier that rents or sells opt-in email addresses for marketing.

Develop your Own Mailing List
There are directories that you can get from the library business directories, trade directories, and associations which you can use to develop your own list.  The books are very expensive, but you can make copies of them.  Always make sure that the directories are current and not outdated because you will receive a lot of returned mail if the list is outdated.

Update Your List
Always invest your time in keeping records on your direct mail.  Your mailing list has been selected and tested, as to which is the best list of people for your product or service. It is very important to keep this list up to date and accurate. The service of the post office can be helpful to you if the letter is returned.  Mail returned with a new address should always be revised with the new address added to your mailing list, and make references to why it could not be delivered.

Your mailing list can be successful to your direct mail or it can be a failure.  Select the best list for your company and don’t waste time and money on the wrong list.


B. Charles Ames, and James Hlavacek; Managerial Marketing for Industrial Firms; Random House


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