In the digital world, how to build an email list is well documented with 1000’s of people weighing in on different tactics. On the physical side of things where real tangible mail and physical addresses are involved, it’s not so straightforward. Marketers who want to use mail today now have a wide range of tools at their disposal to make mail as a marketing channel more accessible than ever. In this post we’ll cover just a few ways you can build your own targeted direct mail mailing list.
Use your customer database/CRM
Industry data shows that the best mailing lists are in-house lists. In other words, your customer database. According to the 2015 DMA Response Rate report, an in-house list’s response rate is 3.7% compared to 1% of a cold prospect list. This is why doing marketing campaigns to your own customer database can be so effective. To create campaigns that have the highest return, you should finely segment your database and send them personalized mailers with a message that resonates with that segment. If you don’t have address data for your customers, consider reverse email append services like Tower Data who can often match a significant percentage of personal email addresses to valid physical addresses.
Buy/rent a mailing list
Buying or renting a mailing is still quite common, but understand that these lists are cold prospects who may or may not know your brand. You can buy both business and consumer lists, but these days finding business prospects and addresses can easily be found online (we cover it in next section). That still isn’t the case for consumers for obvious privacy reasons. There’s a lot that goes into buying a mailing list which we’ll cover in future posts, but the most important thing is that you get a list that’s as targeted as possible to match your ideal prospective customer. Mailing list providers will provide selects which let you narrow down lists based on everything from demographics to housing data. Think of it like creating a segment in your CRM or database. Unfortunately, buying mailing lists is often a sales heavy process that like much of the direct mail industry today, still feels antiquated. Data providers that we’ve worked with who make it easy include Info USA and Mailers Haven.
The internet has created a level playing field in terms of having access to data. For business data, it’s never been easier to find potential prospects and their addresses. Depending on the kinds of companies and people you’re targeting, there may be public databases online. Think about public records, services like Yelp or Foursquare, associations, data aggregators, and other places who have this kind of data. If you find a potential source but can’t export the data easily consider hiring someone on Upwork to scrape and clean up the data for you.
Good luck in your search to build the perfect mailing list.