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.