Marketing And Mailing Lists - Making Money Through The Mail

by Barry Hall - Date: 2006-12-13 - Word Count: 910 Share This!

What is mailing list marketing and more importantly what do you need to know in order to properly market your business or venture via mailing lists? Let's start with a look at Barron's definition of both mailing list and direct mail marketing (which is another way of saying marketing via mailing lists).

Mailing list: Compilation of possible customers prepared as a list for use in direct-mail solicitation.

Direct mail: compilation of name and address records of individuals who share a common characteristic, prepared for use in direct mail solicitation. The commonality may be derived from a purchase transaction or donation; a demographic, geographic, or psychographic trait; or an affiliation. There are many different kinds of lists including consumer or business, internal or external, and compiled or direct response. An internal list might consist of customers, prospects, vendors, employees, or lapsed customers. An external list is one acquired from an outside source. Compiled lists are created from secondary sources such as trade show attendees or motor vehicle registrations. Direct-response lists are built from the names of responders to one or more direct-response solicitations. Internal customer lists can be expected to generate the best response to a list owner's offer because they have purchased before. Successful direct-mail marketing depends upon careful selection and testing of lists. The one time usage cost of a consumer list averages $90-105 per thousand names for mail order merchandise buyers or magazine subscribers and $70-75 per thousand names for fund-raising donors. Some lists cost as little as $50 per thousand. Business lists tend to cost more, averaging $120-220 per thousand. Lists are combined prior to mailing via a merge/purge process.

Based on these two definitions we can see that mailing list marketing begins with the establishment of a database of potential customers who you plan to market through a direct mail solicitation. There are two essential functions that we need to take note of here. One, you need to gather together together a direct mailing list and the second is the using that mailing list for mass marketing. Marketing via mail involves more than randomly sending out an ad or email to as many people as possible. Rather, successful mailing list marketing involves creating targeted lists of people who are likely to be interested in your products or services and using the power of mail to reach large numbers of these customers at one time.

Now, these lists can take different forms and can be gathered in different ways. For our purposes there are two general types of lists, an electronic mailing list (i.e,. email lists) and boring, old maillists. What is more interesting, is how one puts their mailing list together. Barron's mentions the following types of mailing lists:

Consumer mailing lists

Business mailing lists

Internal mailing lists - An internal list is a mailing list that a company or organization compiles themselves from existing customers, employees, prospects, vendors, etc..

External mailing lists - An external list is a mailing list that is compiled by an outside vendor.

Compiled mailing list - A compiled list is a mailing list which is created from "secondary sources such as trade show attendees or motor vehicle registrations".

Direct response mailing lists - A direct-response list is a mailing list built from the names of people who responded to some sort of request designed to get their mailing information (for instance, asking for someone's real address or email address so as to sign them up for a newsletter or so that they can receive announcements about the company or organization).

Now, in terms of the marketing value of each of these lists, not all mailing lists are created the same. An internal customer list is most likely to respond the best to a direct marketing mailing list campaign. Given that they have already purchased before they are likely to do so again.

What we have learned from the above is that a successful mailing list marketing campaign depends upon a number of crucial factors such as careful selection of a mailing list and proper testing of the marketing campaign. Marketing via the mail (whether through electronic mail or regular mail) is as much a science as any other form of marketing.

What does that mean for you then. Well, practically speaking it means that if you want to succeed at marketing through the mail that you have to either learn the tricks of the trade or higher someone who knows them. In other words, this is a real job, and if you want to make money doing it then you should treat it as such. Of course, the exact wisdom and/or expertise that you need depends on your particular situation. A large corporation will have a different marketing strategy than a start-up business. The common denominator, though, is that it needs to be done methodically and properly.

So, in order to answer our question above (what do you need to know in order to successfully market your business or venture using mailing lists), the answer is that a) you need to know what kind of mailing list marketing campaigns are appropriate for your industry, b) how to properly assemble together your mailing list and c) how to properly solicit the members of your list for the products and services that you are marketing. This may seem a bit general, but it is crucial information which can help set you in the right direction. Once you are aware of your three tasks you can then begin the important work of trying to apply those tasks to your real situation.

Related Tags: direct marketing, mailing list marketing, mailing list, direct mailing list marketing

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