I Need a Mailing List for My Business: Where Should I Start?

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Unless you’ve been on vacation and haven’t checked your mailbox lately, you’re probably aware that direct mail marketing is alive and well. Of course, the vast majority of communications are now sent digitally – but that’s one of the main reasons why direct mail has been able to stick around. In a world saturated with emails and texts, a physical message delivered to the mailbox is a surprisingly good way to “cut through the clutter.” That’s why so many businesses – from large international corporations to family-owned startups – are using direct mail to get their message across.

Successful direct mail campaigns produce real business leverage for the companies who organize them – new customers, repeat customers, and increased brand awareness. But let’s face it: Not all direct mail campaigns are successful. Many of them come and go without having much effect at all.

There are several factors that decide whether or not a direct mail campaign will be successful – but perhaps the single most important factor is the mailing list. You can do everything else exactly right – but if you don’t have a quality mailing list, your message won’t reach the people you want to reach.

The question is, how do you find a quality mailing list? Do you try to make one yourself somehow? Do you buy one from a third-party, and if so, how do you know if you’re buying a quality product?

There are innumerable web sites that promise to deliver a quality mailing list for a low price – but guess what? So many of these addresses (whether they are virtual or physical addresses) are defunct, outdated, or even non-existent. It happens all the time, and it’s part of the reason why so many campaigns that rely on mailing lists are unsuccessful.

What you want is a carefully curated mailing list that is relevant to your target market and your target demographic. As it turns out, the best place to go for this kind of list is a professional who specializes in direct mail campaigns. These are often multi-disciplinary businesses that offering printing, design and mailing services all under one roof. They know how to curate mailing lists that work, and they know that your repeat business and positive review hinges on their ability to deliver.

That’s not to say there is never a situation in which you’ll have your own mailing list. Often times, companies who are running direct mail campaigns will have a partial mailing list, which will then be augmented by a specialist. It’s important to keep in mind that professional direct mail campaigns are run in such a way that progress and success can be tracked and monitored. Nothing sets a direct mail campaign up for failure like rushing through the process and simply hoping for the best, without putting measures in place to set and track goals.

If you’re looking for a quality mailing list for your next direct mail project, try approaching a reputable direct mail specialist (or two, or three) and simply asking their advice. You might be surprised at how much you can learn from a short conversation!