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Mailing List Questions FAQs

Questions

Answers

What is a mailing list?

A mailing list is a collection of addresses (physical, email, or both) to which a marketer can send bulk marketing messages. They are largely used for direct mail and email marketing promotions. 

How to use a mailing list?

The purpose of a mailing list is to target a large number of prospects who share a trait that qualifies them for your marketing offer. The ability to target very specific groups is the most powerful aspect of mailing lists.

Depending on the type of mailing list, you can target by several demographics like age, gender, income level, zip code, neighborhood, and more. There are even mailing lists that target people by interests, such as readers of a particular magazine or people who have purchased from a specific store. 

What are the different kinds of mailing lists?

A consumer mailing list contains home addresses and/or email addresses of consumers; people who buy products either from brick and mortar retailers or online. These lists are in turn used to sell products and services directly to individuals and families.

These lists can break prospects down by age, income, gender, zip code, occupation, whether they rent or own their home, home value, new homeowners, and other variables. Some will include these options (they call them “selects”) in their price – others will add on a penny or two per record for this data.

Here are some popular consumer mailing lists:

  • New homeowner mailing lists
  • New resident mailing lists
  • New parent mailing lists
  • Veterans mailing lists

2. Subscriber Lists

Subscriber lists target individuals that have subscribed to a particular product of service. Magazine publishers normally rent out their subscriber list, oftentimes including a one-time usage clause in their contract (which is something you want to avoid).

3. Affiliate Lists

An affiliate mailing list is a list compiled by a company you are in partnership with. For example, if a local gym has a marketing partnership with a local smoothie shop, they may choose to share their mailing lists with one another, so they both increase the scope of their target market.

4. Business-to-Business (B2B)

B2B lists are most often complied by SIC code, which is the government’s way of identifying which industry the business operates in. The database is obviously enormous, but there is a way to narrow it down and find the right types of companies to promote to. To search for specific business mailing lists, go to www.census.gov/epcd/www/sic.html and find out their SIC (Standard Industrial Classification System) codes for those businesses.

5. Opt-In Lists

An “opt-in list” is a list that someone puts themselves on voluntarily. They may sign up for a newsletter within a certain industry and answered “yes” to wanting to receive offers or information from affiliates of that company. An affiliate would be any company they sold their list to. It was the business transaction that affiliated them. Like any list, an opt-in list can be a valuable source of information if used correctly. Just remember that opting in doesn’t mean the person is itching to hear from you, necessarily. Best to approach them as a cool to moderately warm prospect.

Is there a mailing list for my industry?

Whatever your industry is – yes. Because targeting can be so specific with mailing lists, virtually every industry and target audience is at your fingertips.  Here are some of the common industries that use mailing lists:

  • Automotive
  • Doctors (Medical)
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Real Estate Investors
  • Photographers
  • Schools
  • Dental
  • Landscaping
  • Pest Control
  • HVAC & Plumbing
  • Restaurants

What is a mailing list compiler?

A mailing list compiler is a person or company that puts the mailing list together. There are really only a few companies that handle mailing list compiling on a large scale. Even if you buy through a vendor (see below), you are probably getting data from one of these large compilers. Some of them are:

While you can purchase lists directly from them, most businesses get better pricing by going through a list broker like PostcardMania who has negotiated better pricing for small businesses due to combining the small orders and purchasing in bulk. Most large list compilers do not offer a comprehensive marketing consultation with advice on which list is best for each small business which is why many small businesses go through a list broker like PostcardMania.

What is a mailing list vendor?

A mailing list vendor (or broker) is a middleman between you and the big mailing list data compilers. They help you understand exactly what you need and obtain it for you. Since acquiring a mailing list is an often confusing process, there is real utility in having a go-between in the form of a mailing list vendor or broker.

PostcardMania is a mailing list vendor. Get a FREE mailing list count here!

 

How do I purchase a mailing list?

Looking for a mailing list for sale to use in a direct mail or email marketing campaign? The process is straightforward enough. Simply contact a mailing list vendor you trust to begin the process (PostcardMania representatives can be reached at 800-628-1804). The representative should walk you through the process of defining your target market, and then provide you with a potential record count for a list of that kind. You may need to widen or narrow your targeting criteria to arrive at a usable number of address records.

When the vendor acquires the list, they can provide the data to you in a number of ways:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel

Or they can potentially provide you with files that will open in standard email clients like:

  • Gmail
  • Yahoo
  • Zoho
  • Outlook

 

What if I can’t afford a mailing list?

The first thing to keep in mind is that a really good mailing list more than pays for itself in terms of Return on Investment (ROI). So it is worth the upfront cost if you have it. But if you don’t have any capital to work with, there are ways to build your own mailing list. It just takes time.

First, get a place to keep and organize your mailing list contacts. This could be as simple as an excel spreadsheet (Excel and Word have list templates that can help you with this) or the contact management solution built into your email client (Gmail, Yahoo, Zoho, etc.), though there are more specific Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions that scale better.

Next, create a sign up form on your website to capture mailing list leads. If you have a WordPress site, there are numerous WordPress widgets that can do this. There are also apps for Facebook that let you create contact forms on your page, as well as third party form builders like MailChimp that allow you to collect all your data in one place.

Once you’re all setup, offer customers something of value in exchange for their contact info. This could be a report or a special discount, etc. Additionally, put a sign up sheet in your actual store for those who browse in-person. Overtime, your mailing list will grow, and you will have an excellent list to promote to!

What is mailing list management software?

Mailing list management software is any program that helps you organize and analyze your mailing list contacts. This could be anything from a simple Excel spreadsheet to more robust solutions like Salesforce, Aweber, and ConstantContact.

What about cleaning a mailing list?

It is always good to go through your list periodically to remove stale addresses and records you know are dead-end leads. If your list is smaller, you may be able to do this as yourself, but we highly recommend running all mailing list through the National Change of Address (NCOA) database on a quarterly basis. This ensures all your records are up-to-date and saves you money on wasted postage!

For more information about mailing lists, call PostcardMania at 1-800-628-1804. We can guide you through the whole process!

How much does a mailing list cost?

That depends on the list. But for general reference, the basic pricing for consumer list sales is $0.04 per record for one-time use and $0.08 per record for one year of unlimited use. We highly recommend the latter, because one-off mailings are usually not good investments! Repetition is your friend!

How do I use a mailing list?

The purpose of advertising with a mailing list is to target a large number of prospects who share a trait that qualifies them for your marketing offer. The ability to target very specific groups is the most powerful aspect of mailing lists.

Depending on the type of mailing list, you can target by several demographics like age, gender, income level, zip code, neighborhood, and more. There are even mailing lists that target people by interests, such as readers of a particular magazine or people who have purchased from a specific store. How to best target prospects is one number one concern when it comes to choosing a mailing list.

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