Why Targeting Audiences is Crucial – The Direct Mail List
By Pam Wellnitz, List Services
What is the most common use of a direct marketing/direct mail database?
Possibly the most common use of a direct marketing database is to generate a target list for a business’s direct mail campaigns. Direct mail provides companies with the ability to target and define markets with customized offers for a demographic.
Direct mail has a number of advantages, including:
• Target recipients can be identified very precisely.
• Because of targeting, only a desired audience will respond, enabling your business to provide service which will be of the most mutual benefit. On the contrary, let’s say you decided to run a great advertisement without any targeting. Though this may bring a lot of response, your business might not yet be prepared for a huge surge of customers at once. For a smaller company or franchise, a flood of response to an ad can potentially be more disastrous than zero response. Why? Because an unprepared, overwhelmed reaction to a prospect’s response will likely damage the business relationship before it’s even had a chance. With direct mail, a business can begin with a modest to fair quantity of targeted mail pieces and study the response, allowing for adjustments to handle growth.
• Direct mail costs can be very affordable. Campaigns can be created to accommodate any budget.
• Direct mail campaigns can happen quickly from list acquisition to mailing, often within a few weeks or less, which is much faster than awaiting publication and reader response times.
• With direct mail, your business can test different approaches and offers to reveal the most powerful and response-worthy strategy. By creating a different offer for different sections of your mailing list, your business can determine which offer brings in the most business and tailor campaigns to suit.
• Lists can be recycled with very worthwhile results.
When opting for direct mail, your dedicated mailing list manager or consultant will research and suggest possible target markets and campaigns worth trying so that you can focus on your business.
How do I build a direct mail list?
One of the top aspects of direct mail is the mailing list, and the starting point with the best logic is your existing customers. After all, why reinvent the wheel?
Where do your customers live? Do one or two ZIP codes tend to purchase more than the rest? What are those ZIP codes’ demographics? The Census Bureau is a good starting point for demographic data by ZIP code. You can use this data to get a more thorough understanding of the type of people who are your existing customers. Chances are good that you’re selling much more in a few ZIP codes than in others, and it may have little or nothing to do with your physical location.
As you learn more about your customers, you can safely predict that if these people purchase your product or service, then people like them will be highly likely to purchase your product or service.
Now that you have a customer profile laid out, it’s a good time to contact the pros in the database and mailing list business and see what lists will match your current demographics.
Where do I get a mailing list?
Start right here. With access to several thousands of lists, and a thorough understanding of the list details, we can help give you insights into the best list for your business’s use. The more information you have about your current customers, the better you will be able to choose the right lists for your mailings. Once people respond to your mailings, you’re free to add them to your database of customers and your own list grows.
Research suggests that 40% of the impact of a direct mail piece comes from sending it to the right list, another 40% comes from the value of the offer, and 20% comes from the design and content of the piece. So, begin with a thoroughly researched list, grow your campaign, and booming business will follow.