The Wrong Mailing List Will Kill Your Direct Mail Success

I don’t know how many of you have a spouse or significant other like my wife but in our house, she is the “Master Keeper of Lists.”  She makes lists for all kinds of things, but the most important, and well-manicured, of them all is the Christmas card list.  Some of you are nodding along with me.  I appreciate that.

What she might not realize is the Christmas List is her version of a Direct Marketing list.  It doesn’t matter how far off Christmas is in any given year, she is always making sure her list is immaculate.  She pulled it out the other day to add a new recipient and, generally, just review it again.  That made me think about you all.

I love this line:  “A mailing list is more than a means of reaching your market.  The list IS your market.”

Right?!  Right.  And the right list can make all the difference in your own Direct Mail campaigns – at Christmas time or otherwise?

But exactly what kind of list should you use for your campaign?  It comes down to what you want to achieve, and the best place to find the right buyers.  Let’s look at a selection of the various types used today.  Which one is right for your product/service?

Paid Circulation – Ex., people who pay for a magazine or newsletter subscription. This applies to the vast majority of people who are paying for a subscription to their favorite periodical.

Controller Circulation – Ex., people who get a magazine or newsletter for free. You see this a lot with trade publications (Welders Monthly), or anything where a prospect has been asked to, and does, complete a “qualification card”.

Subscription Lists – Ex., just how it sounds…a list of people who’ve received a mailing asking them to subscribe to a magazine, and they pay to do so. (Hint: these people have proven that they are willing to purchase through direct-response methods!)

Attendee Lists – Ex., anybody who’s been to a trade show (Welders World 2019!) or conference and signed up to receive material at some later point in the month or year.

Donor Lists – Ex., folks who have donated to their favorite cause, their alma mater, or any organization that funds itself through the generous donations of others.

Membership Lists – Ex., groups of people who belong to specific organizations – like the Association of Welders you belong to that went to the Welders World 2019 trade show…where you were added to a company’s Attendee List. (see how this works?)

And there are so many more options: Databases, sweepstakes, credit card lists, Master B2B databases, hotline names, and so on and so on.  Should you use a Response List or a Compiled List?  And don’t get me started on whether or not you should buy or rent your list.  [I’ll do a whole post on that, don’t worry…that topic is fascinating in and of itself!]

Just as my wife manicures her Christmas card list, you’ll also want to take care to include the right targets in your own lists.  Understand that there is both promise and danger in using and managing the wrong list, or mailing to the wrong people.

Are you pooling together lists of consumers who have purchased from direct-response pieces in the past?  Are you focusing your outreach and list construction on an industry, geography, job title, income bracket, or company sales size?  Have you tested your entire list, or are you working through it in some methodical process, noting the kind of responses you’re receiving from your mailings?  Do you need to remove names from your list?

The list goes on and on.  I had to.  I apologize.

We’re not always so good with the jokes, but we’re pretty dang good at identifying and analyzing lists here at Opportunity Knocks.  Don’t wait until Christmas!  Give us a call today so we can help you begin to plan the kind of list you can use to maximize (and energize!) your next Direct Mail campaign.  Call us at 1 (866) 319-7109 and let’s get started!