Understanding a Direct Mail List

A direct mail list is a great opportunity for a business to get, retain and create new customer. However, there is not a lot of clarity in terms of which lists work best, or how to actually find good lists. Another element of mystery is how you can find out whether or not your mailing list investment has paid off.

Direct e-mail list

Unfortunately, entire books could be, and have been, written on these different subjects so it would be impossible to cover all that ground. For now, therefore, let’s just take a look at the main types of mailing lists. And, for information, you can buy mailing lists here.

Categories of Mailing Lists

In terms of mailing lists, there are three main categories or types of lists that are available. Each has different pros and cons and have used different methods of gathering information. They are:

1. Company owned lists

These are lists of addresses and/or emails that have been created by a company. Many times, an online business will have an opt-in (or opt-out) box on their website, through which customers can share their details. In return, they will receive promotions, news and information.

A business can also create what is known as a ‘house list’, which is created by checking leads through previous purchases. Under certain rules, although you do have to check the FTC rulings on this, you may be able to send direct mail to someone’s address. However, this is generally not permitted for email.

2. Response lists

These are rented and created by companies that build mailing lists, or list brokers. These lists are created using response behavior from past purchasers from things such as mailing lists, television buyers, magazine subscribers and so on.

A lot of companies are actually in the business of renting out the lists they have created. The reason why this works is because most people who purchase something once will purchase something again. Most of the time, you are able to have some customization options as well, albeit at an extra fee.

There are also some more general list brokers who have been able to get information for their mailing lists from a huge variety of different places. Sometimes, these are able to customize the data itself so that businesses only get the leads they are actually interested in. For instance, they may want data only relating to a certain industry.

3. Compiled lists

This is the final category and it refers to lists that have been created using public records. They used to be placed in organizations such as DMV records. Today, however, they are typed into computers using old telephone books, for instance. Others have been able to access census data, which often has a little bit more demographic information included as well.

Generally speaking, compiled lists are far less expensive. This is because the chance of a marketing element being sent to these people is not likely to succeed since there is no reason to believe they would be interested in what you have to offer.


1 Comments Understanding a Direct Mail List

  1. Jeanne Landau

    It’s true that your marketing campaign is only as good as the mailing list itself. Be sure that your list is as targeted as possible, especially if you’re using direct mail. You’re paying for what’s going into each and every mailbox, so it’s best to ensure that your money is well spent by having a targeted mailing list.


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