Building Better Business and Consumer Mailing Lists

Whether you market to other businesses or to consumers (or to both), the quality of your mail list directly affects its success. Not only can a good list lead to increased sales, the cleaner and more targeted it is, the greater your return on investment. While it takes extra time to build quality business and consumer lists, it’s not overly difficult. Here’s how to get started.

· Whether you market to other businesses or to consumers (or to both), the quality of it directly affects its success. Not only can a good lead increase your sales, the cleaner and more targeted it’s, the greater your return on investment. While it takes extra time to build quality business and consumer leads, it’s not overly difficult. Here’s how to get started.

· Start with a reputable vendor. While you can buy consumer and business lists from a number of different sources, not all vendors are created equally. Do your research to find a vendor that has earned a stellar reputation for the quality of its lists and its commitment to service. Questions to ask include: How accurate are they? Can it be targeted to best meet my business mailing needs? What type of data is included with each of the lists I purchase?

· Target your audience. After finding a reputable vendor with flexible mailing list services, target your lists. You’ll need to know exactly what you want to accomplish and who you want to reach. For example, if you’re a pediatric dentist who just opened a neighborhood practice, your list should target people who live within a few miles of your practice. However, that list should also be filtered to target families with young children. You may also want to refine your list to include families within a specific income range.

· Segment your mail list. Your business likely serves a relatively diverse clientele, making it important to segment your lists so that you can send the most relevant mailings possible. For example, an automobile dealership may have separate business lists for its fleet and corporate customers and separate consumer lists for its luxury buyers and used car buyers. Each segment of customer has different needs and buying behaviors.

· Purge and update your mail lists periodically. If you’ve selected a top-notch mailing list vendor, your list should arrive without duplicates. However, if you import the list into an existing database and as your list grows, you may find duplicates. In addition to removing duplicate entries, keep you list updated as changes occur. For example, with business mailing lists, contact information may change as employees leave the company or are promoted. Consumers and businesses alike move to new locations, requiring an update to your mailing list. Some mailers will be returned to you as undeliverable in which case you’ll want to confirm the address and contact information and update your mailing list accordingly.

By starting with a clean list from a reputable business and consumer mailing lists vendor and then performing regular housekeeping on your lists, more of your mailers will reach your target audience. In addition, a clean list means a greater return on investment and reduced mailing costs since you’re no longer sending duplicates or having mailers returned as undeliverable.

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Business Mailing Lists

A business mailing list is a collection of names and addresses used by a business organization or marketer to send promotional material to a targeted group of recipients. A targeted mailing list is a more cost-effective advertising strategy than the other tools of the trade. Directly contacting a specific group of people can help an advertiser skip the cost of sending the ad randomly to many people who might just ignore it.

The first step of any marketing campaign is to define the market or audience. The more precisely the target audience is defined, the more effective the mail campaign, and the better the response will be. A better response means more money for the business.

It is important to identify the appropriate group of recipients to make targeted business mailing lists work. This requires the advertisers to customize their message to this specific subscriber base, making the ad more relevant and more likely to be taken seriously. Better results and reduced costs are the pluses of this form of advertising, since the advertising is concentrated on smaller groups of people and makes effective use of services like bulk mailing.

Business mailing lists fall into two separate categories based upon the source of the data: compiled and response mailing lists. Compiled lists are collected from sources like government data or telephone directories. These data lists are then overlaid with census data for a clearer picture of the income, ethnicity, and ages of individuals in certain areas. Compiled lists are best suited for saturation mailing of a certain zip code or city. A compiled list does not guarantee the high response rates that a response list is likely to come up with.

Response mailing lists comprise individuals who have inquired about or purchased a particular product in the recent past. The efficiency of a response list depends upon how recently the individuals on the list made a purchase. Buyers who have made a purchase within the last three months are considered excellent prospects for a direct mail campaign and referred to as hotline buyers. That is, if the buyer is in the market for a particular product, he/she is more likely to respond to a similar offer within 3-6 months of the first purchase. Response mailing lists have a better strike rate since they are more targeted.

There are also subscriber lists which comprise details of active subscribers to niche publications like Sports Illustrated, Florida Trend, Muscle and Fitness, etc. These lists can also be useful in getting the direct marketing mail campaign started in the right direction.

Lists mean big business. All the leading direct marketing magazines like Catalog Age, Target Marketing, Direct, and DM News carry full-page ads for lists. Mailing lists are often rented out or sold. In the case of rent, the renter agrees to use the mailing list for only specific occasions. There are brokers and vendors who help companies rent their lists. These mailing list brokers help niche organizations like publications or charities maximize the value of their client lists.

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