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Things to Think About When Purchasing a Direct Mailing List

August 25th, 2021

You can either start a direct marketing campaign to reach out to your current customer database or you can purchase a direct mailing list from a list broker or list manager to connect with new prospects. If you’re considering purchasing a direct mailing list, there are several factors you should think about.

Decide on Contact Method

The first step is to decide how you want to reach your prospects. Do you want to do a direct email campaign, do you want to reach out by telephone, or do you want to try an email campaign? Each contact method has its own considerations.

When deciding on a contact method it is extremely important to ensure you know the various rules and regulations governing each direct marketing method. If you are planning on purchasing a telemarketing list, take the time to research the Do Not Call regulations. If you decide an email blast is the way to go, make sure you know CAN-SPAM requirements.

Not educating yourself on the rules regulating the marketing method you use could cost you.

Know Your Target Market

The next thing you need to do is determine what group would be most interested in your products and services. This is called a target market and your direct mailing list should be tailored specifically to contact them. Are you promoting your products to consumers or business? If you don’t know who your target market is, try looking at your current customer base and use their features as the model for your target market.

How Often are You Going to Reach Out?

Is your direct marketing campaign going to be ongoing or is it going to be one and done? This factor will probably be determined by what the purpose of the campaign is. Are you reaching out to new prospects to try to create awareness or are you trying to promote a limited time offer? Repetition is important with any marketing campaign, the more you can get your message out the better.

Direct Mailing Lists do allow for one-time or multiple uses. One-time use mailing lists are typically cheaper that multi-use lists as you are only using the list once. With multi-use lists you pay full rate for the first use and a reduced rate for each subsequent use.

You just need to make sure that you are clear on what the usage guidelines are of the mailing list you are purchasing. If you use a mailing list multiple times when it’s a one-use only list, you are going to be charged a hefty fine.

How Many Contacts?

The size of the mailing list you purchase can be determined by a couple of factors. First is the marketing method that you decide to use.

Email lists have a greater success rate if they are sent out to a large quantity of contacts. The average open rate of an email campaign is 18 – 20%, with the average click through rate after the being opened is 3 – 4% (rates vary depending on the subject line and relevancy). This means out of 1,000 emails sent, roughly 200 will get opened and of those, 8 will respond to the call to action. A larger email list will ensure that your message will be opened and reacted to.

The size of the telemarketing list should be determined by the number of callers you have. If you plan on outsourcing to a call center with several callers, then the telemarketing list should be reflective of that. A telemarketer can make anywhere between 300 and 500 calls in an eight-hour shift. If you have 4 telemarketers calling, you can go through roughly 8,000 names in a week. Conversely, if you only have one person in-house making calls when they have the time, you could go through only 100-150 names in a week.

The number of contacts on a mailing list will be mostly dependent on budget. With direct mail campaigns, the list is usually the cheapest part, especially if it has a lot of contacts. Printing and postage can get quite pricey if the list you’re mailing to is large.

The other factors that might determine the size of your list are the number of contacts that match your target market and budget.

The more defined your target market is, the better the mailing list is going to work. The key is being able to correctly narrow down your target market. If your target market is too broad, the mailing list is going to be way too big. However, if you narrow the target market down too specifically you are going to end up with a mailing list that is to small to market to. You have to find the happy medium.

When do You Need the List?

It is also important to know that mailing lists have a shelf life. People move, get married, staff changes, new businesses start up, other go out of business, etc. Whether it’s a business list or a consumer list, there are countless influences that can affect the data in your purchased mailing list. If you aren’t planning on using the mailing list right away, don’t order it until you are ready to use it.

What is your budget

No one likes answering this question. In a perfect world, you’d purchase as many names as you can to get the optimal result of your direct marketing campaign. Unfortunately, we all have to budget. Paying for printing and postage or paying the call center or for the email design and deployment software or services all eat up a huge portion of the marketing budget, leaving little behind for the mailing list. Luckily, as mentioned before, the mailing list is usually the cheapest part of a direct marketing campaign.

With that being said, you don’t want to cheap out on your mailing list either. The more targeted you want your mailing list to be, the more effective it is going to be and as a result it is going to cost a little more than a generic, non-targeted mailing list. But it will be much more effective than a generic, non-targeted mailing list.

As the old saying goes, anything that can be bought for a very low price probably isn’t very good. You can probably purchase a cheap mailing list with tens of thousands of names, that isn’t accurate, isn’t compliant and isn’t targeted and probably won’t work. A properly sourced, compliant, targeted marketing list is not going to be cheap. You get what you pay for and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

The answers to the above six points are the foundation for your direct marketing campaign. Whether you are going to find your direct marketing lists directly or use a list broker, you are going to need to know the answers to these points. It’s always good to really think about the different aspects of a direct marketing campaign. If you’re unsure of what your answers might be, look for an experienced list broker. They can help guide you through the list buying process.