9 Issues to consider before you buy a mailing list

If one of the marketing tools you are using to help generate additional new customers is mailings (either direct or emailing) then you should consider these related issues:
1- A few of the ways to contact new customers are via trade shows, running “contests”, conducting seminars, and holding webinars. But if your budget does not cover all of these, then mailings may be a more efficient way.
2- If one of your marketing campaigns is going to use direct mail or email, look at the total cost in doing either or both activities. While the direct mail list itself maybe less than buying an email list, recognize that the added costs of envelopes, stamps and overall printing will add to the total cost. If you select an email campaign, map out the activities such as developing the compelling offer, the landing page, and how many emails per the campaign will you need. In either case follow-up will probably be the biggest expense. Actions like telemarketing and potentially additional incentives are usually needed to help close the order.
3- Make sure you understand the content of the proposed mailing list (direct or email). Usually one list does not contain everything. Will the proposed list contain all the necessary information to help you target your campaign(s)? This leads to issue number 4.
4- Know your audience. Purchase a targeted list. Is it the CEO or VP of marketing your focused target; what geography do you want to concentrate on; what is the ideal size of the companies; which are the SIC/NAICS codes for your targeted industries, etc.? If more than one industry or different titles, you may need different mailings/emails because of different messages.
5- Price of the purchased list. If you see a list with millions of names and addresses for hundreds of dollars, then run away as fast as you can. This is the classic example of too good to be true. While the prices vary considerably, you will should see a range of >20 Cents to a dollar or more per name or prices per thousands.
6- Will you be doing the mailing or a third party? If a 3rd party is doing the mailing (especially emails) it is highly likely that party will have established guidelines, so understand their rules before you proceed too far.
7- Before you actually purchase a list, ask for a sample listing and do a spot verification of random entries. Also look and see if the items you requested are there and what percentage of entries have missing information. Ask the potential vendor what the percentage is of completes versus the total count. And ask for when it was last updated.
8- As I have stated many times it is not a question of which marketing activity to use but what the mix is. So be prepared to budget for time and people to handle the multiple activities relative to direct and email campaigns.
9- Thoroughly understand the CAN-SPAM Act guidelines (Federal Trade Commission) and Direct Mail Association guidelines http://www.dmaresponsibility.org/Guidelines/ before you do anything. There can be financial penalties for not following the guidelines, but probably more important are issues like being blacklisted or even having your web site shut down; which cuts off your communication ability.

Like any other marketing activity, plan the overall campaign and understand the pros and cons of each activity, is it appropriate for the targeted audience, and are they addressing your goals and objectives.

If you would like more information on selecting a mailing activity, just drop an email to me [email protected]

RHL 6/25/13

1 comment to 9 Issues to consider before you buy a mailing list

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