Targeting the right direct mail list can be an arduous process. Begin to think about how your audience might share several key factors that tie them into being an ideal customer for you. Viewing these as well as other prospects that may not be ideal but are still worth targeting, you have already begun to take the necessary steps toward a successful direct mail campaign.
First, talk to your list broker or marketing agency rep about the current way you market in order to figure out what has been working and what hasn’t. The most important place to start in any direct mail campaign is to define your target audience as they determine your success or failure in generating response. Focus mailing list finance on several clients you love to work with and then list the criteria that make them a great candidate. For example, you may have a finance offer and can only approve people with one or more homes and are currently in your area. Guaranteeing the list can target by homeowners, geography, and other additional attributes is important.
Once you have narrowed down your target audience, take those specifications and slowly expand it. Start extremely narrow with tight criteria and selects, and then widen the criteria enough to be within your idea of a potential prospect but not going outside of what qualifies as a customer for your offer. This strategy will help you expand and think ahead for future mailings.
Once you have dialed in on your ideal customer and specific criteria that will fit your marketing campaign, you may realize there are several lists in the market that fit your needs. This is your opportunity to test different list sources and options. A reputable list broker like Black Book Data will help you identify which databases are unique and which are simply part of the same ‘mother list’ They will also give you an understandable breakdown of each mailing list that fits the target criteria. Be careful to overlook a list because of price or if it doesn’t fit perfectly. You will find that some lists work incredibly well and are very expensive and some not so pricey, so having a set of lists to test from is important.
Finally, build your list(s) with the idea in mind that if you take ‘the cream of the crop,’ i.e. the best records, you will not have new data on subsequent mailers. The goal should be to build a universe that does not exhaust itself and therefore you can profit from direct mail marketing indefinitely. A more important goal and one I learned young is that a good marketer can build campaigns with predictive long term results. In other words, unpredictability with marketing results creates operational problems for your entire company.
Now that you have defined your target market, expanded your criteria to fit all qualified and interested prospects, identified additional lists that fit your criteria and built out your universe for long term success, it’s time to purchase your direct mailing list.
At this point, you have the mailing list and are ready to start the campaign. Before mailing, confirm your pieces are properly coded by list and by segment if you have multiple segments within a list. It’s incredibly important to track, track, and TRACK the leads that are generated and assign them to which list or segment of a list the responses came from. Try combining different lists with different mail pieces. Mix, match, TRACK and then expand on the most successful combinations. Now we know what list and what mail piece to put in place to generate the most amount of response. Throughout each campaign don’t be nervous to try new lists or new mail pieces as you never know what small changes can make a significant difference. Testing will improve your cost per client acquisition and our goal is to lower that cost through prudent testing and careful expansion on successful test campaigns.