You wouldn’t spend $100 million on a new national advertising campaign without carefully set goals and objectives.
But when it comes to direct mail, marketers often spray out postcards or fliers without a great deal of thought. In direct mail marketing, careful planning is vital to your success. While the average direct mail response rate is around five percent, strategic targeting can drive that number to nine percent for house lists and as high as 16 percent for personalized mail.
To simplify your targeting, start with these questions:
- Who is the audience?
- Who is the prospective buyer?
- Who will receive, read, and hopefully respond to this mailing?
The beauty of direct mail is that you can use it to reach only those people who are potential buyers for your product or service.
This is called target marketing, and it means that during the development stage, you can use multiple criteria for selecting recipients.
Demographics may include age, income, gender, geography, home value, marital status, vehicle driven, occupation, hobbies, and more. Selections for B2B mailing lists can also vary, including the company’s industry, type of product, annual sales, number of employees, locations, etc.
Helpful Hints for Compiling a Mailing List
If targeted mail is so crucial, how do you find a list filled with these “perfect” customers?
If you haven’t compiled your own mailing list (of current customers, qualified leads, or streamlined prospects), there are two basic types of mailing lists: compiled lists and response lists.
Compiled lists are those assembled from a variety of sources (think association members, graduates of specialty programs, qualified purchasers, etc.). For example, a list might include dentists from Boston or Lutheran youth pastors. Compiled lists are more complete and can work well for driving people to a specific online landing page you’ve designed specifically for your direct mail campaign. You can usually get a compiled mailing list in one business day.
Purchasing a compiled list might work best when you:
–Have a limited marketing geography
–Want to reach all households or businesses in an area
–Want to reach all homes or businesses that fit specific demographic criteria
–Are on a limited budget
–Want to mail fewer than 5,000 pieces
–Want to make telemarketing follow-up calls before or after your mailing
Response lists consist of prospects who have inquired about or responded to other marketers’ offers, like purchasing a swimsuit through a catalog or by participating in a nonprofit fundraiser. Typical response list sources are magazines, membership clubs, catalogs, warranty cards, etc. Response lists are more expensive than compiled lists because they are more targeted, and you have more assurances about the buyers’ behaviors. You can usually get a response mailing list in 3-5 business days.
Response lists might be best if your product has a high price point or your target customer is very narrowly defined. The list cost will be higher, but your ROI will increase as well. Response lists are also not always current, so make sure you ask when the list was last updated before purchasing.
We’re Here to Help
Feel overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be.
For a simpler option, Every Day Direct Mail lists can be compiled using the EDDM Online Tool available through the United States Postal Service. Here you can target customers by demographics like age, household size, income, zip code, etc. Not sure where to start? We can help! Give us a call.
Most experts agree that selecting the right mailing list is the most important factor in your mailing’s success. The more information you can collect and refine, the better your response rate will be!