Posts tagged Direct Marketing

Personalized Marketing: What You Need to Know!

Personalized Marketing

162819605 250x166 Personalized Marketing: What You Need to Know!Nowadays, life is flying by us all so fast. So many companies, advertisements, and messages – it’s difficult to keep up. However, if companies and organizations knew how to reach the consumer on a personal level, people actually pay attention. You might have the exact product or service a customer desires, but if you do not appeal to their senses and emotions, they may never know it. If you learn to direct your marketing efforts in such a way that creates a spark, even if only briefly, you can create something that grabs a person’s attention enough to focus on your brand. Then, you will have a window of opportunity to take them further into your own brand and connect their emotions and senses to what you have to offer.

Personalized E-Mails

Did you know that “61% of consumers feel more positive about a brand if personalized marketing is used”? When a consumer receives an e-mail related to something they were recently researching they are more likely to engage in that email. For example, if a consumer visited a college website and signed up for courses, they may get an e-mail about purchasing textbook for a discount. They need textbooks and you’ve made it easier for the student to reach the ultimate goal of gaining an education.

SOURCE:Steve Olenski, What Jaws, Brand Managers and Consumers Have in Common.

Mass Marketing

Nearly half (44%) of all consumers are less responsive to non-personalized messages. Think for just a moment: if you receive a marketing piece from a brand you have had a personal experience with, and the piece references your experience, you are more likely to engage that brand than if you receive a mass marketing piece from a brand you have never engaged with.

SOURCE:Steve Olenski, What Jaws, Brand Managers and Consumers Have in Common.

Personalized Discounts

More than half (53%) of all consumers are very likely to purchase something from a company when a brand personalizes marketing through digital communications. If you’ve been shopping at a particular store and you give them your contact information, they will send you coupons to entice your return. You’ve already been there, so chances are, you’ll be back again.

SOURCE:Steve Olenski, What Jaws, Brand Managers and Consumers Have in Common.

Maybe a consumer will get a personalized marketing message that directs them to a website that includes their name in the web address. (Personalized URLs also known as PURLS.) People absolutely love to see their name in lights and companies are well aware of the power of this personalized marketing technique that’s becoming increasingly more popular. Is your company privy to the newest personalized marketing platforms?

From Mail Print’s perspective when we send highly personalized marketing pieces from our company our phones ring the week following the delivery of that mail piece at a rate 25% more than normal.

Brand Trust

If a consumer trusts you, they probably love your company, brand, and products or services and may not even know it. Gain their trust and you will likely gain their business. Are you aware that more than half (52%) of all consumers trust brands that enable them to share their marketing preferences more than brands that do not?

If you can put yourself and your company in your target market’s shoes, then you will know exactly what to create and what to avoid. You will save precious time and lots of money also. It’s a marketers dream. Consumers need to trust your brand, know your logo, and feel good about what you offer to them. If you can accomplish all of that, everything else is cake.

SOURCE:Steve Olenski, What Jaws, Brand Managers and Consumers Have in Common.

10 Tips for a Higher R.O.I Using VDP for B2B Marketing

125162794 250x170 10 Tips for a Higher R.O.I Using VDP for B2B MarketingCreative Variable Data Printing Services

If you are looking to increase response rates and cut costs, we have some creative ideas in which you can use Variable Data Printing. Before saying something like, “We already use data printing services”, ask yourself a few questions – How well is it working for you? Are you receiving great response rates, and are you getting an enormous return on your investment? If not, then you might be missing out on something.

Getting your message across and creating a lasting impression is important. Including an element of creativity, trust, and interest in your company is vital in order to make a connection through direct marketing in variable data printing.

Using Variable Data Printing in 10 Better Ways for a Greater R.O.I.
  1. Variety – Use different content, not just different words.
  2. Emotion – Find out everything about a prospect or client. Appeal to the emotions most important to the prospect or client. Make sure that your brand triggers an emotional response.
  3. Personalize – Make sure that you include their name, company name (when b2b marketing), address, and anything else that might be relevant to your message.
  4. Build an Alliance - Let your prospect know that your company wants to be MORE than just a place to make a purchase. Many companies are looking for good partners, they are trying to make connections for networking, and are focused on power building strategies.
  5. Graphics and Color – Use pictures that are true to your brand. You will be remembered as a company who understands delivering the total package. Every company must show themselves as worthy to be remembered, and relevant graphics can help.
  6. Check Your Content - It’s so easy to push a potential client away by glorifying our own company. Make your content easy to read. Ask the reader questions, and appeal to emotion. Focus on your reader.
  7. Usefulness – What does your reader need? When does he need it? If you show that you have paid attention to his needs in the correspondence that you send, he’d be very intrigued, but he might also be inclined to put more trust in you than before. Trust is a great marketing technique.
  8. Detail - Make the recipient feel as if he was your only customer. You can send out bulk mail and tailor-make each individual piece by using specific details. Research specific information about current and potential clients, and surprise them by including it in your direct marketing techniques.
  9. Focus on Brand - Every customer/company has different personality features.These features make up their specific brand. It goes much deeper than color, design, and logo. Research the motto, mission statement, and vision statement. Tailor your content to these specific variables.
  10. Experiment – Experimentation is vital for direct marketing. Keep trying until you find the right technique. Using different color schemes and designs may help reach different people who you never expected to reach. Just because you accidentally appeal to a market that is outside of your target range, doesn’t mean you can’t continue to do so.  This strategy may lead to a whole new market segment.
Practice Makes Excellence

Practice shouldn’t ‘make perfect’, it should create excellence. If marketing techniques were ‘perfect’, then we’d never learn how to be creative. Don’t aim for perfection, aim for excellence. Expand your mind beyond what others are doing, and surpass them. You will get it just right, and then realize that it needs to be changed once again. This is part of our fast paced society and there’s no avoiding it.

 

VDP, Changing the Design of Direct Marketing

153002732 250x250 VDP, Changing the Design of Direct MarketingThe evolution of variable data printing (VDP) has significantly changed the landscape for the designers of direct marketing pieces. No longer are they forced to craft pieces that will appeal to a broad range of potential clients and hope for the best. Instead, they can utilize data captured from emails, web pages, surveys, phone calls and in-person interviews to create individualized direct marketing pieces to more accurately target the needs of their clients.

The Market – At its core, variable data printing is still a direct marketing strategy. As such, it relies on having data on your clients and prospects. This data can be self-generated by your company or purchased from third-party vendors. Lists are available in a range of options and can be tailored to your exact needs. In short, VDP combined with the right data is an excellent marketing option for clients as diverse as charitable organizations and casinos to insurance agencies and college alumni departments.

Individualized Pieces – The secret to a variable data printed piece is in how the information and artwork is integrated. While the name and address are from one database, the customers stated preferences are also utilized so that the right copy and artwork is also included. This process allows the designer to incorporate pre-written copy and preselected pictures about the best choices of product for a customer.

For instance,  a casino might know that certain customers preferred “FREE Dinner” while others wanted their hotel room comped. With non-VDP, the designer is constrained into sending the same piece to both customers with an offer for a meal and/or a room. With VDP, the designer can send two or more meal offers to one customer and room offers to the other – complete with appropriate photos.

Increased Response – As you can imagine, this type of marketing better targets potential customers and produces a superior response rate. The most basic use of the process returns double the response rate while more sophisticated campaigns can yield a response 15-20 times greater than a static direct marketing campaign.

Lowered Costs – The vast majority of work in a variable data printing campaign is in the development of the text, graphics and images so that they align with the available data. In addition, the collection of data can be time consuming. However, once this effort has been made, a VDP campaign can be customized to fit any budget.

The campaign can affordably be run over and over again to a select group of clients or to new pools of prospects as they are generated. In addition, VDP allows a marketer to experiment on a small test group before committing resources to a larger campaign. Lastly, you can even build in “fail safes” to exclude customers who have never responded to a certain number of offers.

Customized Follow-Up Campaigns – Similarly, as more data is captured on responsive clients, further enhancements to the campaign can be made. More info can be sent on selected products or the piece can be modified to address what stage of the “buy-cycle” the customer is in.

The Bottom Line – As you can see, variable data printing can have a huge effect on the direct marketing campaign of a forward looking marketer. The technology is available and your company most likely already has all the data it needs. Now, you just need to a take that leap of faith and combine the two.

 

Stick to Direct Marketing Principles and Increase your R.O.I.

146899919 250x314 Stick to Direct Marketing Principles and Increase your R.O.I.Profitability Isn’t a Guessing Game

Its vital that you have a certainty in numbers through response rates and return on investment estimations when investing in a marketing strategy. You cannot calculate response rates by using the internet to send out SPAM, create advertisements, or create hash tags on Twitter. Sure, these methods of indirect marketing work, but there’s really no way to tell how well they actually drive revenue.

When you have the correct percentages on how well a particular form of direct marketing actually works through response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns, then you will know who to target, and who not to target. Why waste money and time sending out fliers and catalogs to those who will never purchase anything from you.

Time is Money

Time is money, and there may be some really cheap or even free forms of advertising available, but even that is wasting you money if it’s not reaching the right people. When you have lists of who to target, you’ll be more confident in sending out and receiving various forms of direct marketing.

You must communicate directly to the consumer and engage them emotionally. If you aren’t giving them a good reason to donate to your non-profit organization, or if they don’t ‘feel’ like they are getting something out of switching from another company to yours, then you have wasted your time as well as theirs.

Types of Direct Marketing

Let’s review those direct marketing principles that can be measured in order to receive an abundance of response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns:

  • Cell Phone Text Messaging – This type isn’t as ‘direct’, but you will be able to calculate your return on investment because of who uses the promotion or coupon when they tell you they are using the coupon from their cell phone.
  • E-Mail - Generating e-mail lists is simple with a great web site. When you know how many e-mail addresses you are targeting, then you will know who is buying and who isn’t.
  • Fliers – small fliers that have specific information listed on them that is personalized to each individual and sent to their homes is more powerful than general fliers that are sent out to everyone in a particular community or city.
  • Catalog Distribution – Once again, with catalogs, you are sending them out to those target customers, and if they order, you can calculate the percentage of people that are purchasing versus those who aren’t.
  • Personalized URL’s - Normally we wouldn’t admonish our clients to use personalized URL’s, but they are obtaining momentum and can be used as a direct marketing tool. Using a potential clients name as a response channel on a direct mail piece that takes them to a specific landing page will create curiosity and cause them to click on it because they see their names.

Everyone has a preference when it comes to purchasing materials and services. Colleges send out a variety of advertisements, but they can easily cut costs by using our tried and true methods of calculating response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns. Some students will never pay attention to mail they receive, but they just might be wiling to open it if it’s a simple flier or a promotional letter.

A direct advertising campaign that is executed correctly with a concise call to action can guarantee a positive return on investment. Why invest in indirect marketing whether it’s the time you spend on Facebook or Twitter, or the money you spend on hiring someone to do it for you? Only invest in those techniques that provide a serious return on your investment.

Complex Variable Data Printing Made Easy

165493131 250x166 Complex Variable Data Printing Made EasyThe evolution of digital printing has transformed the world of direct marketing. No longer must the same static messages be sent to every customer on your mailing list. Instead, the use of customer information databases and variable data printing (VDP) allows a business to completely tailor the content of their mailing to each individual customer.

Complex variable data printing may sound difficult to implement, but with the right partner and the requisite data, it can produce an effective and profitable direct mail campaign that delivers superior response rates.

The Process

The VDP process starts with information. In fact, customer information is the real key to creating highly personal messages and delivering significantly higher results than traditional direct mail campaigns. With the use of multiple databases, a VDP campaign allows a company to combine the name, address and particulars of a customer with an ad specifically targeted to their needs and interests. The result is an ad that provokes a far higher response rate than traditional non-variable marketing pieces.

The Content

In addition to using the actual name of the recipient, VDP should also reference their geographic area, the past purchases, their buying behavior, personal interests and other specific traits.  The key is to collect a lot of information on your customers or prospects and use that information to create a personal experience for the recipient.  In this particular application, content is certainly king as it can grab the attention of the recipient and ultimately lead them to respond.

The Images

While words are the ultimate closer in a marketing piece, images are the attention grabber. Imagine that at a basic level a car dealer can send pictures of sports cars to the 18-25 demographic and sedans to the 40-50 crowd, but let’s add another layer of insight.  The car dealer sends a piece that is designed around the age, past purchase history, family status (whether children are present in the household), and income.  So now instead of just sports cars vs. sedans, we can target the right level of sedan and even offer a loan package based on general credit information.  This differentiation can mean the difference between a direct mail piece being read or being discarded – in other words, the difference between success and failure.

The Follow Up

One of the more powerful benefits of VDP is that it can be constantly updated and customized to every potential client. Each time you send a mailing and get a response, the database is updated. In other words, you are constantly qualifying the desires and needs of your clients. With enough perseverance, you will build a true image of your client and be better positioned to convert them into a paying customer.

The Bottom Line

Variable data printing is a 21st century technology that no successful business can afford to be without. Utilizing the combined power of databases and the technological advances of digital printing allows companies to select, target and market to an incredible variety of customers on a very personal level.

Don’t be left behind when contemplating your next direct marketing campaign. Whether your business targets range from banking, insurance or casinos to non-profits and educational institutions, variable data printing can provide a very focused solution that generates excellent response rates, superior conversion and a whole new set of potential clients.

 

Direct Mail is on the Skids – Or is it?

1588029641 250x250 Direct Mail is on the Skids   Or is it? The Response Rates of Cross-Media Marketing Campaigns still support the need for “hybrid marketing”, better known as cross-media marketing techniques. Digital media and direct mail actually complement each other, and because of this fact, there will continue to exist a strong need for direct mail marketing in the indefinite future.

The integration of print and digital media is still generating leads at a superior ROI and, particularly in some specific types of organizations, this will continue to form a reliable part of marketing strategies. Not only that, but tying the two channels of direct and digital marketing together can form a powerful vehicle for improving a companies client base. At the moment, this combination is essential for laying the foundation for mobile and video communication-based campaigns in not a few industries.  Response Rates of Cross-Media Marketing Campaigns depend largely on how intelligently direct mail is integrated into existing strategies. Used insightfully, direct mail is a reliable tool for boosting response rates and setting the foundation for long-term client commitment.

Response Rates of Cross-Media Campaigns in cases where direct mail marketing is used, are influenced by  two major factors: which types of businesses use them (which is a very flexible determinant) and/or how they are used to complement existing inbound marketing strategies. Banks, universities and colleges, casinos, insurance companies are the organizations benefiting from and will continue to benefit from direct mail marketing because they are able to continue increasing their client base at a cheaper and more effective rate through personalized marketing techniques than static ones.

There are neurological reasons for this. Research conducted at Bangor University  shows that physical media effects human memory differently as it creates a more profound emotional response. This in turn, will hypothetically cause for more positive brand-associations – something of particular importance where the above-mentioned  industries are concerned. Since clients are often being asked to entrust large sums of money with them, trust is of a premium.

As to understanding the more pertinent question: whether or not cross-media is more useful for generating more leads,  the research that has been singularly helpful in understanding the various Response Rates of Cross-Media Marketing Campaigns are as follows:

  • Reports from the DMA (Direct marketing Association)
  • The PODi report (carried out by the Digital Printing Initiative.)
  • The CMO (Chief Marketing Officer’s council) report.
  • A collection of other reports stored in the MindFire Inc database.

What these reports have indicated is that personalized marketing techniques have a vital place for marketers, while static campaigns (those allowing for no flexible integration between direct marketing and digital platforms) are simply not as effective in terms of  ROI performance.

The conclusion then, should be clear: the shift towards increasing digital marketing has not changed the need for direct-mail marketing. In fact, direct mail marketing is still pivotal as a launching pad for digital marketing campaigns, and will continue to be so in future.

 

Catalogs 2.0: Meaner, Leaner and Incredibly Manipulative

Crazy mail Catalogs 2.0: Meaner, Leaner and Incredibly ManipulativeBefore the new millennium catalogs contained info products and pictures to spend the weekend looking through, dog-earing and talking about with your neighbors.

You could read ample descriptions about each item and then call an 800 number to chat with a never-rushed customer service rep to get all your questions answered before she gently walked you through the order taking process of collecting your item numbers, colors and quantities.

It was an expensive and time consuming process that worked great in the day.

Flash forward to today. Rather than becoming extinct, like some people wagered with the advent of the Internet and digital catalogs, print catalogs have proven the power of pictures and touch by remaining an unbeatable means to get consumers to place orders online.

Print catalogs influence twice as many consumers as both Pinterest and Twitter for both in-store and online purchases, according to Baynote’s 3rd Annual Holiday Online Shopping Survey.

Print catalogs influenced 81.9% more in-store purchases and 42.9% more online purchases than Facebook, according to Baynote’s survey.

Ecommerce Causes Catalogs to Change with the Times

The Internet, iPads, and smart phones changed everything for catalogs. They became skinnier, more targeted and with just as many coders as call center people on staff as they shift from clicking through a transaction replaced being talked through an order.

Catalogs today allow us to shop around the clock without ever speaking with a customer service representative. The Internet has empowered us to gather information and place a transaction with complete freedom and ease. And while this may appear to be to our advantage as a shopper, it’s actually all well planned (and manipulated) by the catalog’s marketing team. They’ve spent months, perhaps years, laying a digital trail they want you to follow and they know every spinoff route you may take and are waiting for you there, too, with more incentives and reasons to buy from them now.

This lean and mean sales trail they’ve sent you down reminds me of the sales model “traps” builders assemble. You know the ones where you pull up to a new subdivision to view model homes and after you sign in you are sent to see three model homes that are conveniently gated off forcing you to go through them in the order they want you to and you end up right back in the sales office for the Realtor’s pitch?

So even though you think you’re free to roam, each page you open or link you click has been finely orchestrated to help you come one step closely to typing in your credit card number and all these is done online without the need for physical sales people on salaries or more call center staff taking up physical space or cost.

How Catalogs Have Changed and Adapted

Like any business, catalogs have changed with the times to survive. Here are the biggest changes direct mail catalogs have made.

Less Pages. Can you imagine the cost of mailing the size of the former Montgomery Ward catalog to one million addresses? Nor could any cataloger thus the reason J.C. Penney went from an annual large catalog to a monthly Look Book and why IKEA first points new customers to its digital catalog before adding them on its print catalog mailer. Catalogers have learned how to shave cost by printing and mailing less or more targeted catalogs to customers who are prone to order the most.  They’ve fine-tuned the formula of mailing less bulk and generating more bucks.

Less Copy. Mail order catalog copy has shrunk because you can read a 50-word description and go online for a complete whitepaper or brochure or call a sales rep to get your questions answered. Plus you can see better images, often in 3D that eliminated the needs for wordy descriptions when you can see the product at every angle and in every color with the click of a button.

More interactive. There are more interactivity points — landing pages, ecommerce portals, macro, micro and review sites — all before calling the 800# (that is if you ever choose to speak with a person).

Augmented Reality. Moosejaw Mountaineering released an app, called X-Ray, for its customers to use with their smart phones upon the receipt of its catalog. The app used augmented reality that allowed customers to see a hidden layer of images in the pages of the catalog. Customers that scanned catalog pages saw the underwear the models were wearing underneath the Moosejaw outerwear.

Moosejaw’s app showed new technology and extended sales to the company’s underwear line.

SOURCE:“Catalogs Find a New Role as Ecommerce Traffic Drivers,” Multichannel Merchant, May 2013.

Triggered Mailings. Catalogers and ecommerce merchants now have the technology and customer data to mail when a potential sale looms such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, or when a new home is purchased. Even the five largest catalogers, Sears & Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, Spiegel, J.C. Penney and Alden’s, didn’t have personal data scrubbed, ready and cued up in CRM systems in the 70s to mail triggered mailings. Technology allows this today and triggered mailings can drive open rates into the double digits and response rates over 50%.

SOURCE:“Increase Open Rates & ROI with Deliverability Analysis, Frequency & Triggers,” Lyris HQ.

Is your company driving sales to its products through direct mail, catalogs, or multichannel campaigns? Are you using all the tools and technology to stay far ahead of the competition and forecasted changes coming in our digital world?

Triggered Orders. Catalogers can count on the phone ringing as soon as they drop their printed catalogs at the post office. According to a study, 58% of the 817 consumers surveyed said they look at catalogs as soon as they are received, with 92% indicating they have made a purchase from the catalogs.

SOURCE:“Catalogs Find a New Role as Ecommerce Traffic Drivers,” Multichannel Merchant, May 2013.

Two-thirds of the survey’s respondents also said that if catalogs were to become too expensive for the catalog companies to continue producing that they would still request them.

Don’t let the pain of changing keep you from your digital rewards. Offline messages delivered through mediums such as catalogs continue to drive online actions. In fact 67% of online actions are stimulated by offline messages.

SOURCE:iProspect Study

Revealing Facts Behind Catalog Shoppers

AA047752 250x254 Revealing Facts Behind Catalog ShoppersCatalogs have survived the ages by changing along side the needs of consumers. Today 20,000 catalogs mail annually, but you might be surprised to learn who reads them, buys from them, tosses them or references them on their trip to the retail store or bedroom to get online and make the long awaited purchase.

Here are some revealing stats and facts about catalogs that might spur a marketing campaign or catalog mailing for your business:

  • Women open up and look at a higher percentage of catalogs than men.
  • Men buy from catalogs more frequently than women (44% more than six times a year, compared with only 36% of female catalog shoppers).

SOURCE:Consumer Catalog Shopping Survey, Catalog Age

  • 20 billion catalogs are mailed annually
  • Catalogs mailings make up 10% of USPS volume
  • Percentage of sales for B2C averages 17% and 7% for B2B
  • Effect of the Internet has been positive as most catalogers have a substantial web presence and gather 20% to 50% of their orders from the Internet.
  • Baby boomers are vigorous catalog buyers, making up the largest demographic sector with 40,000 boomers buying regularly from catalogs.
  • However, more women than men shop catalogs during the holidays.
  • Catalogs are considered useful by 46% of those who receive them.
  • The most used and preferred method for purchases from a company whose catalog was received was to look at the catalog and then purchase through their website. This method is preferred twice as much as using the toll-free number.
  • If catalogs become too expensive to produce, more than 1 in 7 consumers would actually pay to receive catalogs.
  • On average consumers who receive catalogs spend $850 per year on catalog purchases.
  • Catalogs remain one of the four mediums that influence purchases most (see graph below).

SOURCE: American Catalog Mailers Association

 

catalogGraphic Baynote2013.jpeg Revealing Facts Behind Catalog Shoppers

Source: Baynote, Inc 2013

 

 

QR Code and Emerging Media Heighten Engagement and Can Lower Your Postage Costs

150857324 250x250 QR Code and Emerging Media Heighten Engagement and Can Lower Your Postage CostsDon’t complain about the rising costs of postage if your company didn’t register for last year’s USPS business discount by using QR Codes® (deadline was August 12, 2012).  This is the third year in a row the U.S. Postal Service is offering discounts to encourage businesses to use new technology such as QR Codes to improve their mailing results.

This year the USPS is upping the ante by including a scan-to-call component to its QR Code promo. This means when a prospect scans the QR Code with their smartphone that they will be connected by phone to the business that did the mailing. And that business will get a 2% postage discount, which could mean hundreds of dollars in savings per mailing.

For example, a business that normally would have paid $14,750 for mailing 25,000 bounce-back coupons with QR Codes that cost .59 each would only pay $14,250 for postage with the 2% postal service discount.

That 2% would equate to $500 in postage savings. This is more than enough to pay for a celebration dinner for a marketing department when the mailing brings in $652,000 in sales by generating 1,000 purchases (4% of mailing) of a $652 product.

Register for Emerging Technology Discount

September 30 is the deadline to register your business to receive a 2% discount on mailings you send using one of three emerging technologies shown below:

Augmented Reality Component: Augmented Reality (AR) is a live view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input, such as sound, video, graphics, or GPS data.

Authentication Component: Authentication describes the process of verifying a unique customer using a combination of authentication factors (at least two).

Near Field Communication (NFC): Near Field Communication creates a two-way communication link between two devices with Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) capabilities.

Here are the guidelines to receive the postal service emerging technology discount or you can email mobilebarcode@usps.gov.

 

Want a Deeper Understanding of Postal Changes and Discounts?

Pitney Bowes has produced a series of great webinars and slideshows that summarize the myriad of changes and rewards the postal service has to soften the pain of change.

I recommend starting by reading Pitney Bowes overview slideshow: Understanding the USPS: The Rewards for Change.

I hope by embracing the new technology and the discounts available to your business for doing so. If so you’ll be even more prosperous in 2013.

* QR Codes are a registered trademark of Denso Wave.

 

 

How to Lease a Mailing List that is Solid Gold

check 250x214 How to Lease a Mailing List that is Solid GoldThe direct mail list is the most important component of any direct mail campaign. Some studies indicate that it determines 60% of your mailing’s success rate. Before your nonprofit even starts on the creative aspects of the campaign, start with the nuts and bolts of securing the best list to bring you more donors.

If you’re supplementing your existing donor database by also buying an outside list, know that there are two types of lists (1) compiled lists and (2) response lists.

A compiled list is a database of names and records that have been compiled through public records such as vehicle owner registrations or mortgage loan applications. These lists can get dated quickly so it’s important to ask the list broker about collection dates and updates. Also be sure to always purchase a small test list. It’s the best way to be judicious with your organization’s dollars.

Response lists are compiled based on data from people who have responded to some other offer such as an advertisement, purchased from a catalog or entered their name and information in a drawing. If leasing a response list ask how recent these records were compiled. Frequency and the dollar spend are key factors in the solidness of the list you are negotiating to lease.

Test the List First

It’s wise to ask for a small list to start with – 1,000 to 20,000 names depending on the size of your mailings. Some list compilers have a minimum order of 5,000 records. You may want to shop around for a list partner with more flexibility or ask them to comp the test group of names in order to win your future business.

Make sure to build in enough time in your campaign to test the waters. Fine-tuning the list could save you thousands of dollars in postage and increase your donor acquisition twofold.

The Standard Fair of List Compilers

List compilers usually lease their list for a single use unless you negotiate otherwise. Prices range from $65 to several hundred dollars per thousand records and are available in a variety of formats. Depending on how many variables you add to your list request, the price goes up. Niche market lists can sell for upwards of $1000 per thousand records.

You should ask about spoilage or what part might come back undeliverable. A guaranteed delivery rate of 93% may sound good. In reality, 10% and sometimes up to 20% of your mailing may go to the wrong person and still never returned. Look for deliverability guarantees of 95%, 98% or even 99% because they are out there, according to direct marketing experts and blogger Jeffrey Dobkin of the Danielle Adams Publishing Company.

Other Sources of Mailing Lists

Trade and Membership Associations are excellent sources of mailing lists. There are nearly 8,000 trade associations listed in the National Trade and Professional Associations of the United States. Association lists are also available through the Encyclopedia of Associations by The Gale Group and online through Lexis-Nexis.

SOURCE:“Places to Buy Mailing Lists,” by Jeffrey Dobkins, The Danielle Adams Publishing Company,

Don’t neglect to inquire with your local Chamber of Commerce if you’re searching for good, local business names. You can select by business size, number of employees and government industry classification code (often referred to as the SIC).

You can find even more sources by searching the Internet. Just make sure to ask relevancy, accuracy, and integrity questions about how the list was compiled and insist on a small list to test first.

Remember the best list is a house list, your organization has compiled slowly and meticulously by gaining permission to add donors to your list, but it never hurts to augment your list from the sources mentioned above.