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A Deeper Dive Into Direct Mail List Providers

Whether you market B2C or B2B, direct mail is one of the most powerful ways of getting your message in front of your intended audience. The trouble with direct mail is that in order for it to work correctly, you’ll need to have certain elements optimized—such as the design, content, and mailing list. A great mailing list can mean the difference between a flood of responses or just a trickle. While many Alexandria and Arlington businesses generate their own mailing lists through lead capture forms on their websites, others have to rely on getting their lists through purchasing or renting from a 3rd party. While this is the easiest and quickest way to obtain a mailing list—it’s also the most risky. Read on to learn more about what you’ll need to ask a list vendor to ensure the best chances of success. Where is the Source of Your List? This is the first question that you should ask your list provider. There are three different types of mailing lists—compiled, response, and subscriber.
  • Compiled—This type of list collects information from a wide range of sources, such as public records, surveys, and directories. The available quantities are large, making the list count strong for small geographical areas. Keep in mind that response rates tend to be a bit lower than normal for these types of lists.
  • Response—The people on this type of list have responded to an offer, and their behavior in the past indicates that they’re interested in services, causes, or products similar to yours. A response list often outperforms a compiled list.
  • Subscriber—Trade publications, newsletters, and magazines (print and digital) will often rent out their subscriber lists. Due to the fact that they have subscribed to receive this type of content, it means they’re engaged and interested in the subject. These types of lists are often only available for rent—and some may require they deploy the mailing for you.
Do You Guarantee Delivery—and if So—to What Percent? The average list provider should guarantee that at least 90% of the mail is deliverable. This metric can be lower or higher and is directly tied to how good of a job they’re doing in keeping the list sanitized and fresh. How Often Do You Update/Verify the Data? Every year, around 8 million people move to a new home. As such, mailing lists can quickly become outdated. Ask the list provider if they ran it through the National Change of Address (NCOA) directory prior to selling or renting it to you. Also, ask how often they verify the residents’ actual names. Who Else Has Rented This List in the Past? Look out for businesses similar to yours (including competitors) who have rented the list in the past. It will allow you to determine if the list is comprised of people who are likely to respond to your offer. There are some list providers who will refuse to provide names of the companies who’ve rented the list in the past. If you run across a situation like this, ask them to at least give the business categories and types. How Many Repeat Customers Have You Had Over the Past 12 Months? Repeat business=great news! It means that the lists are good and working very well for the customers. How Many Times Has This List Been Used Over the Past 6 Months? Repetitive usage is excellent. However, there’s a fine line when it becomes a negative. There is a definite wear-out factor that you’ll need to consider. This sage advice especially holds true for non-profit organizations. Imagine being the 15th non-profit asking for a donation over the past 30 days. How Recently Have the Names on the List Made a Purchase? Someone who’s recently made a purchase that’s attributed to a direct mailer is most likely to make another purchase soon thereafter. These are the people that you want to strike while the proverbial sales anvil is hot. Some list providers will have a “Hot Name” category wherein they have already identified people who are most likely to make another sale. Of course, these types of lists tend to cost more than a standard one but are often well worth it. List Creation in Alexandria and Arlington A little bit of creativity can really set your business apart from the rest of your competitors. If you need signage help, contact the expert sign makers at AlphaGraphics of Alexandria and Arlington. Over the years, we’ve helped countless Alexandria and Arlington businesses, individuals, and organizations create amazing and impactful monument signage. If you’d like to learn more about our sign services, give us a call at (703) 549-2432 or contact us on our website.

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