How to Build a Better Mailing List

How to Build a Better Mailing List

How to Build a Better Mailing List

There are multiple ways to create a mailing list for direct marketing campaigns. Renting lists can be highly effective for reaching new customers or markets you’ve yet to fully penetrate, but as the name suggests, it’s a one-time solution. In addition to one-time lists, direct mail marketing providers also offer list subscriptions which allow you to continually add to and enhance your list to reach further into your existing customer base and/or further into unchartered territory. Another option would be to create your own list, perhaps of your most solid leads, and then integrate that with a more diverse list from a direct mail marketer.

If you’re a small business considering using mailing lists, you’ll want to start by building a list from your current and/or targeted customers, which can then be used as base for future more ambitious campaigns. Reviewing your mailing list can help you assess who your most responsive customers are, what approaches work best for reaching them, and/or what strategies might need to be reworked. 

Four Steps to Build Your Mailing List

Step 1: Internal Resources

Start with the addresses you already have on file: customer records, correspondences (don’t forget those complaints), warranties, service requests, and any contact whatsoever. 

Step 2: External Resources

Gather addresses from your customers’ websites, association directories (trade, etc.), the chamber of commerce, and any articles about potential clients. Keep your eyes out for contact information of prospective clients published anywhere.

Step 3: The Raffle

Companies do this for one reason and one reason only: to build mailing lists. And it works because people love winning things. Drawings are relatively inexpensive to put on and will provide you with 100s to 1000s of potential customers - and their contact info! It’s a worthwhile idea to hold one regularly, be it monthly or quarterly, with the caveat that you cannot have won within the past 6 – 12 months. Raffles are a simple way to continuously build a list of people already interested in your products and services. Include some statistical questions about the entrant, such as “which products do you currently use for ­_______”? Or “how often do you buy _______” These will help you gain critical insights into what new customers want and how to market to them.

Step 4: Keep it Fresh

To maximize the utility of your mailing list, update it continuously, making sure that you promptly remove those who ask to be and add new contact info as soon as you get it. This will give you a list customized to your business that your competition does not have, and you can mail your direct marketing pieces to the people most likely to buy from you (Source: Direct Mailing Lists From ProMarketing Leads).


Tracy Watson is the author of "How to Build a Better Mailing List" which she shows her readers the necessary steps to build their mailing list.

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