How do I choose a mailing list provider?

mailing list provider graphic


How do I choose a trustworthy mailing list provider?

When you’re selecting a mailing list provider, there are quite a few key factors you want to consider so you can be sure you’re investing in a quality service and getting he best value for your money. Whether you choose PrimeNet or another list company, we want you to be as informed as possible. We’ve compiled a few key points to help you make the right decision for your list purchase.

1. Does the list company specialize in consumer mailing lists or business lists?

Consumer lists make the most sense if you’re trying to generate more local traffic or general interest in your company. Business lists bring together more precise data sets to target businesses in a specific industry. In both cases, a quality list provider, agent or list broker will be able to create a targeted list for your specified geographic and demographic data points.

2. How current is the list data?

The best list brokers know it’s necessary to update their databases regularly. Reputable vendors will run their postal list through the U.S. Postal Service’s National Change of Address database to make sure return mail is minimized. Most good list services check their lists every 30 days, and allow you to request that they run a check again before providing you with the final list. We at PrimeNet will run that check by default so you won’t even have to ask!

3. Available data: is it categorized as compiled or responsive?

Compiled data is mostly gathered by available open records such as government records, telephone listings and credit files. The household or business contacts on these lists can be drilled down even more by geographic locations, gender, income, ethnicity and age or age range. Responsive lists are based on contact information that was voluntarily provided through different sources. Responsive list data can come from magazine cards, requested catalogs and other types of direct marketing responses. List broker sites typically refer to these as “opt-in” lists, which can mean the consumers are likely to be more receptive to your message. Opt-in records are the cream-of-the-crop, which makes them more expensive and more time-consuming to obtain.

4. Are the mailing lists guaranteed in any way?

Contact information, especially with large lists, is constantly changing, so there will always be delivery errors and bounced mail. List professionals usually offer a ‘deliverability guarantee’ and will refund your costs for U.S. Postal Service returned items. But keep in mind: list broker refund guarantees only apply for returned mail – not if your campaign does not attract new customers, which is why it’s important to consider all parts of the campaign.

5. Are the lists sold or are they rented?

When you purchase a mailing list, it’s yours to keep and use. Brokerage companies will sometimes rent lists for temporary use. When a list is rented, you’re allowed a set number of times you can use the list. You enter into a contract agreement with the list broker stating that you will only use the list for the agreed-upon terms. A rented list contains ‘seed’ addresses that alert the broker whenever you use the list, so they can track the number of times it’s been used. Usage of a rented list beyond the number specified in the agreement can result in additional fees and potential penalties.

6. Does the list provider offer direct marketing services as well?

Some list providers or list brokers will design your mailers and send them for you as an all-in-one service. Their marketing experience can save you money and time. You always have the option to purchase a list independently of any agency, then use a direct mail service for fulfillment and mailing. Email-specific: If you are interested in renting an email list for one-time use, nearly ALL brokers will send emails on your behalf, which will ensure their list stays proprietary.

List broker services will help you find new customers and connect to a larger audience to increase visibility and sales for your business.


Make your next mail marketing campaign a success by calling for a consultation with one of our mailing list pros: 1-800-826-2869, or send us an email via our contact form.


See Also: Types of mailing lists.


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