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Mailing List Brokers Buyer's Guide - Selecting Business And Consumer Lists

Mailing List Brokers Buyer's Guide - Selecting Business And Consumer Lists

Published: 04/09/2011

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Selecting Business And Consumer Mailing Lists

Depending on which section of the market you are trying to reach, brokers can provide both business and consumer mailing lists. Business lists are compiled from data collected from public business directories, annual reports, government agencies, and postal information. Consumer lists are compiled from sources such as phone directories, auto registration, driver’s licenses, and government records such as birth certificates and marriage licenses.





Targeting your client base


Since a typical compiled list database has several million names, you’ll want to narrow your search to a more specific audience. Most mailing list brokers provide several ways to target detailed demographics and purchasing habits by allowing you to choose specific “selects.” To get an idea of the types of selects you can choose from, review offerings from different mailing list brokers.



Business‐to‐business lists can be narrowed by selects such as SIC code, annual revenue and employee size. Similarly, a consumer list may include selects for buying history, household income, location, and credit rating.



The more category filters you select, the more targeted your list will be. The significant benefit is that filtered mailing lists typically provide the best return on investment (ROI). However, such specific targeting comes at a premium: a targeted list will cost considerably more per name.





Mailing lists for the e-mail world


When working with an e‐mail list, avoid “junk lists” which consist of e‐mail addresses harvested from various web sites. These lists are often sold on CD‐ROM at the cut‐rate price of $99 for a million names and addresses. This could not only hurt your business’ reputation, but it also is illegal.



Legitimate e‐mail lists consist of true opt‐in records. They can be obtained through various means – marketing research companies, surveys, and interviews. They are not addresses obtained from list swapping or compiling without permission. This ensures that your e‐mail only goes to people that agreed to receive e‐mails from companies. Many e‐mail lists also have the ZIP codes available in order for you to target specific geographic areas.



Unlike a direct mail list where you will receive a hard copy of the names on a CD‐ROM or through an e‐mail message, you never actually receive the information on an e‐mail list. The list broker will e‐mail your marketing message on your behalf, track how many are being opened and then the “click‐through rate.” In accordance with the Can Spam Act, they also honor any requests by customers to “opt‐out” of the entire mailing list, or the lists of particular vendors.



Whatever type of list you decide on, keep in mind that mailing lists are the property of the list owners. When you get a list from a broker, you are not buying it – you’re renting it. Typically, you’ll rent a specific mailing list for a one‐time marketing campaign. However, you may choose to rent a list for unlimited use in a given time period.