Sales Prospecting Tips

Buying Consumer Mailing Lists

Mailing lists offer a great resource for identifying a base of prospects that can be targeted through direct mail and other marketing resources. The key is buying consumer mailing lists that give you the right combination of accuracy and flexibility.

If your business plan includes direct mail and marketing initiatives to consumers, you can't avoid buying mailing lists.

A quality mailing list serves up the names and addresses of customers that are vital for your company's prospecting efforts. A poor quality or untargeted list, on the other hand, can quickly drain your marketing budget and deliver little return for the effort.

What does a quality mailing list look like? That depends on what you're trying to accomplish, but generally speaking, the best mailing lists are ones that can be compiled using a range of criteria that go way beyond streets and house numbers. The more details the provider can use to compile your lists, the more effective your lists will be in generating prospects that convert to satisfied customers.

Don't be fooled by providers that promise big results and an inexpensive price tag. Shop around for list providers with an established presence and a reputation for delivering results in your industry. Along the way, here are some of the other things you'll want to consider about buying consumer mailing lists.

  • Multi-source compilation. The best lists are compiled from multiple data sources. Reliable providers use phone book white pages, public records, census data, door-to-door surveys, mortgage information and other sources to verify list accuracy.
  • Narrow selection criteria. Most providers are capable of generating consumer mailing lists based on a fairly narrow set of selection criteria. Look for providers with lists that have been pre-screened for criteria that includes age of head-of-household, children in residence, estimated income, gender, type of dwelling, owner vs. renter and other critical demographic data.
  • Contact updating. Mailing lists tend to get stale quickly, especially in areas that are populated by a large percentage of renters. Reputable mailing list providers combat the aging process by frequently updating their lists and leveraging resources like the National Change of Address File.
  • Sorting features. Top-tier consumer mailing lists give users sorting abilities after purchase. Before you perform a direct mail or lead generation campaign, you should be able to select a subgroup of addresses based on region, state, county, zip code and even USPS carrier route.

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