Many businesses can increase sales and improve their bottom line by using direct mail. Sending out periodic direct response mailings will create inquiries that salespeople can convert to new sales and new customers. Doing so requires the use of quality mailing lists.
A small startup may be able to do it from their kitchen table, but most businesses – whether small, medium or large – will require a mailing list service to supply the names and addresses, print the mailing pieces, prepare the mailing labels or print the names on the mailing pieces, prepare the postal barcodes and sort, bundle and deliver the mailing pieces to the Post Office. These are a lot of steps but are only the ones needed to get the direct mail pieces into the mail.
There are also some follow up and maintenance steps to do if you want to get more mileage out of the address list. Someone needs to clean the list (remove the duds and make address corrections to the good names), make selections for future mailings and merge your in-house names (your own customers and prospects) with the purchased mailing list to remove duplicates.
More Than a List Broker
A full service mailing list company is more than a list broker. Although finding the right list broker is vital to the success of your mailing list venture, as you can see there is a lot more to managing a successful, ongoing direct mail list campaign. Just consider these facts:
- How are the names going to be affixed to the mailing piece? Are you going to use mailing labels or will they be printed on the piece?
- Who is going to design the piece? Does the designer understand the necessary postal regulations? The dimensions have to be right. The location of the mailing labels, indicia and other markings have to be right. On a folded piece is the fold supposed to be on the left or the right in order to be run through the postal equipment? If they mess this up you may have to pay surcharges because the piece doesn’t conform. Worse yet, the piece might not qualify at all. Then your whole printing job is down the drain.
- If the mailing piece consists of separate parts – an offer letter, coupon, return envelope, brochure, etc. does the designer know how to assemble all the pieces in the right order? Are the pieces laid out properly to be assembled by machine? If this isn’t done right you might be stuck with a lot of manual assembly or a poor response rate. Design errors can cost you big time.
- Do you have a mailing permit or are you going to use the mailing house’s permit?
- How are you going to handle address corrections? Are you going to clean the list in-house or use a mailing service or are you simply going to skip it altogether?
- How are you going to make the selections from your in-house customer list? How often do you mail to them? What if you are doing a monthly mailing? Do you send the mailing to all the customers every mailing or do you prioritize the names? For example, do you mail more often to customers who have purchased something recently? Do you mail less often to customers who have not purchased in awhile? What are the rules? How do you make the selects?
- Who is going to do a merge-purge of your in-house names with the mailing list? Are you going to attempt to do this yourself? How can you find and remove duplicates?
- Who is going to print the piece?
- Who is going to sort, bundle and deliver the mailing to the Post Office?
Mailing Lists Direct is a full service direct mail list company where you can find consumer lists, business lists and specialty lists at competitive prices. Mailing Lists Direct provides first rate customer support. No matter what your business needs in the way of an address list or managing your mailing list campaigns, Mailing Lists Direct will be able to satisfy all your needs. Call toll free at 800-741-0116.
Mike Doughty is a small business owner and entrepreneur with a background in direct mail marketing, manufacturing and distributon. During his career, he produced a mail order catalog and worked on many successful direct mail campaigns.