Mailing Lists – Keeping it Simple

The right direct mailing list targets people who want your product or service.
The direct mail mailing list is a key factor in a successful direct mail marketing campaign and a major point to consider in small business marketing strategies where marketing ROI (Return On Investment) is a key concern.

What really makes your direct mail marketing and advertising campaign successful?

The biggest single factor in the success of your direct mail marketing strategy is who you send your mailings to.

A. You need a list.

This can be:

1) a list of existing customers or prospects who have inquired as a result of any of your marketing efforts or

2) a list which you purchase or in some cases obtain for free.

B. The mailing list must contain the names of people who are likely to be interested in the benefits of your products or services.

Don’t try and sell beer to the Temperance Society or real estate to people who cannot afford it. You have to target your direct mail marketing efforts.

What kinds of lists are available?

C. The three basic kinds of lists that you can use are (you can use all three):
1. 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.

2. 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 some level of interest in the topic or purpose of the 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 of the list (such as a magazine or company) or a list broker.

3. 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 than response list characteristics, which are behavioral characteristics.

Case study: California based Sun Pacific Mortgage’s Forest Tardibuono found a great way to get the right direct mail mailing list for his company which has a very successful direct mail marketing strategy based on postcards and direct mail mailing lists.

“The title companies give us the mailing labels free. I’ll tell them we want all the homeowners in 95401 which is a zip we get most of our business from. So they’ll give us the mailing labels of anyone who is a homeowner from that lists. It saves money on labels and mailing lists.

They’ll even limit searches to specific categories such as all homeowners from that zip who got a loan from certain companies and they’ll do the search according to that so I can really target the public so that the mailing will be more effective.”

Mailing lists, correctly targeted, can make the difference in a mediocre promotional campaign to a wildly successful promotional campaign. It really just depends on what you are willing to have – success or mediocrity. So which is it?

About the author:

Joy Gendusa founded PostcardMania in 1998, her only assets a computer and a phone. By 2004 the company did close to $9 million in sales and employed over 60 people. She attributes her explosive growth to her ability to choose incredible staff and her innate marketing savvy. Now she’s sharing her marketing secrets with others. For more free marketing advice, visit her website at

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