Your response rate, and therefore your direct mail success will depend on who you choose to send to; the mailing list you use will have a big impact on your success. Choosing a mailing list can be overwhelming – the market is flooded with options, both quality and not-so-great options abound. Knowing what you need and who your target customer is will help you refine your search, but choosing a supplier that can provide a quality list that pulls the results you want. A low-end outlet, one that simply adds names to a list or fails to regularly update and purge information, will have a direct impact on your success, while a professional marketing company with high quality data will help ensure success.
What could be on a list?
At its most basic, a list is a collection of names and addresses with as much identifying and extra data as possible. Lists come from a variety of industries and can be used for different purposes. The information you need or that you use will depend on the target buyer persona you’ve created; the more qualities the list shares with your target, the more successful your efforts will be. Some examples of lists and the type of information or options available include:
Charitable Organizations: Income and net worth, children, causes or organizations donated to in the past, memberships, fundraising commitments, board appointments or committees, geographic location
Retail: Income, age, gender, purchasing habits, preferred brands, preferred sites or online habits, geographic location, number of children, employment
Politics: Party affiliation, location, age, likelihood of voting, voter registration status, children, income, home ownership status
Entertainment: Hobbies, income, number of children, previous purchase history, location, marital status, gender, sports or team affiliations, memberships
Making the right offer to the right prospect (at the right time) enhances your chance of success. Fine tuning a list to include some or all the options above can help you tailor it to more closely match y our need. If you’ve already made buyer personas to guide your marketing, you can use this information to help you choose the right list. Looking at your existing customers can help as well; take note of who they are, what they buy and what they have to say about your business and you’ll gain additional insight that can help you properly target your efforts.
Where to Find Mailing Lists for Direct Mail
You’ll need to parse a lot of information to figure out who makes the cut for your next mailing; the group who provides your list will have a big impact on your eventual success. Where can you find a mailing list for direct mail? The answer is – it depends.
If you just want a list of names, sorted by location – and just about nothing else, you can go anywhere. For a targeted list with more specifics and higher quality prospects, you’ll need to choose from one of a few options.
Every Door Direct Mail
Created and run by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), this comprehensive program is designed to help businesses affordably mail pieces. EDDM prepares your mailing for a portion of the cost of traditional postage and has some tools that allow you to target your mailing or choose a population for your direct mail pieces.
EDDM has some advantages, particularly when it comes to price, but there are some potential drawbacks that could impact your response rate:
- Size restrictions: Your mailers need to be “flat” and fit into specific size requirements. This can limit the scope of the pieces you sent and impact the usability of your existing pieces if you have interactive elements or have chosen a size outside of the designated parameters.
- EDDM is not targeted: each piece is addressed to “Local Postal Customer”. The carrier does not have to match up a personalized piece with a specific address; instead these pieces are delivered to a set geographic area. The lack of targeting and the low-quality address (not personalized or customized in any way) boost the likelihood that your piece will be thrown away.
- A sharp learning curve: Not all post offices understand EDDM, even though they all offer it. It’s hit or miss—if you’re lucky, your post office will have a staff member who is familiar with the program and knows what they are doing. If you’re not lucky, you’ll have to wait as your local branch figures things out as they go.
- Low priority delivery: USPS workers are supposed to deliver everything, but EDDM is often seen as low quality mail – and may not be handled with the same level of care as first class mail or direct mail sent with traditional postage.
- DIY is not always best: It may help you save a bit, but the DIY approach required to use EDDM may end up costing you more in the long run.
- Every Door means “Every Door”: You’ll be covering far more than just your prospects with an EDDM campaign; since you can’t target your mailing, you’ll be sending quite a few pieces to people who have no interest in or connection to your brand or offering.
While EDDM can help, you save money, it may not be the best strategy for your business; the lack of targeting and restrictions may have too much of a negative impact on your response rate.
Quality over Quantity
Using a targeted list yields the best results; a properly targeted mailing list can help you reduce your costs and increase your response rate in a variety of ways, including:
Better ROI: You’ll get a better return on your investment when you use a targeted list. Instead of mailing your pet food offer to every family in a neighborhood and hoping that they own dogs, your targeted list would be full of dog owners. Which list do you think will yield a better response to your latest dog treats promo – the one with random homeowners who may or may not have pets at all, or the list full of new puppy owners, recent shelter adoptees and people who use doggy daycare services? Targeting when you buy a mailing list improves your response rate and ensures every dollar you spend on a mailing is going directly towards courting your ideal buyer.
Personalization: You’ll know a little more about each person on your list, and be able to provide them with a customized experience. Bulk mailings by USPS have vague addresses and can be seen as junk mail; a targeted list allows you to properly address each piece, upping your chances of getting a response.
Positive impact on branding: A direct mail piece sent to a targeted mailing list can boost your brand awareness and have a positive impact on the impression you make, even if the prospect doesn’t buy right away. A mass mailing that is not personalized can backfire on your brand and make it look like you’re not really tuned into your prospect or their interests.
A quality list can help you with targeting your prospects correctly and ensure that you get the best possible ROI for your efforts. While a cheap list or EDDM can save you money up front, there are not many benefits to using poor quality methods in the long run. A quality mailing list is an investment that will pay off in responses, boosted brand awareness and a better connection with your target market.
Know you need a high quality, targeted mailing list, but not sure what to do next? We can help! Learn more about our innovative approach to direct mail marketing and how to get the best possible results from your next campaign; contact us to learn how easy it is to get started with our mailing list service.