Besides your own house list, a number of commercially traded lists are available. While there are list catalogs from which you can order a list on your own, working with a good mailing list broker is recommended. A competent broker can recommend lists that you might not find on your own, save you time and help you avoid pitfalls.
There’s no sure-fire way to find the list broker that’s right for you. Some specialize in one sort of list, some in another. A good starting place? Ask for a referral from a direct marketer whom you respect.
Explain your marketing goals to your direct list broker
The best way to help a list broker help you is to share as much information as possible about your product, the problem it solves and the kind of person you believe is most likely to benefit from having your product.
Your broker may have experience with related products and be able to recommend lists that might not otherwise have crossed your mind. A broker also may be able to tell you what kinds of companies have had good success with certain lists.
Get the best rate on quality direct marketing lists
While some lists are available for purchase, most are available for rent. That’s a good sign — it usually means the list is updated on a regular basis. But renting a list means that you don’t own it. Ask your broker for a “multiple-use” rate if you plan to mail to it more than once, as unauthorized re-use of a list is illegal.
If your broker requires a sample of your mailing before renting you a list, that’s a good sign, too. It means you’re dealing with a company that screens would-be users of its lists for integrity.
3 things to ask your direct mail list broker
Here are three things to ask a list broker to increase your odds of obtaining a reliable list:
- What is the source of the list? For instance, it may be a list of people who have responded to mail offers from other companies. It might be a list of people who subscribe to publications by title or interest area. Or it might be a list that has been compiled from other sources, such as directories.
- How is the list verified? If you learn that the manager of a list you’re considering regularly mails to and/or telephone updates the list, that’s a good sign.
- How often is the list updated? Addresses change faster than you might think, so the more often a list is updated, the better.