Part I, Refine Your Mail List! Five Tips to a Better Direct Mail List

Direct mail campaigns come in all shapes and sizes, but there’s one thing they have in common–a mailing list. Behind every successful direct mail campaign is a good mail list. You’ve heard it before; in addition to having a relevant message, your mail is only as good as the people you send it to. If you are venturing out into direct mail for the first time, you may wonder how to go about gathering a list of prospects to help get you started. Here are five simple tips that will make all the difference in the world to your direct mail campaign.

  1. Decide who your target audience will be: when you create your first direct mail list, you want to be sure you are sending your printed piece to the right person. After all it is that person who will determine the ultimate fate of your darling campaign. Your goal is to get it on the coffee table rather than in the trash can. The question is how do you target the right people? You must look at your current customer base. Who is buying your product, who’s bought it in the past, who has the greatest need for the product?
  2. Target your e-mail list: in this day and age, it’s quite rare that a company does not have an e-mail list. These are the people who have been on your website and signed up for your newsletter or to receive coupons. They are the ones who found you. The best part? You have an entire database of them at your disposal. Why not ask them if they’d be interested in receiving direct mail from you? Send out an email blast linked to a signup form and have them add themselves to your direct mail list. After all, the best person to send mail to is the person who wants it!
  3. Refer to your previous customer base: anyone who has purchased from your store, whether it was in-store or online, should go on your house file. These are the people who buy your products. Why not use the resources at your disposal to build upon your house-file? Determine who your most loyal customers are and always include them. It’s great to recruit new people, but just as important to recognize what you already have.
  4. Run a social media campaign: Running a social media campaign in conjunction with your direct mail campaign could increase your ROI. So why not put it out there for people to see? Let them know they can sign up to receive coupons or samples–or whatever cool ideas you can come up with–in the mail. As mentioned before, provide them with a link where they can sign up for a promotion. Also, as general practices, it is helpful to think of social media and email as being helpers to your direct mail rather than opponents to it.
  5. Purchase or rent a mailing list: you may have heard of cooperative databases and third party companies that will sell you lists of prospects to help you get started. This is a valuable tool to help you get started in the direct mail world for sure. Any one who makes a purchase as a result of these lists can be added to your house file for future mailings. Although, this method is not great for targeting current and loyal customers, it is a good way to recruit new customers that may not have been familiar with your brand previously. It is also a great way to cross reference your current customers and purchase a list of addresses if you do not have records of them.

When putting together a mail list, you must start from the bottom up. Look at what data you have available to you already. Study your current customer base for similar traits, create a house file, and rent lists based upon the demographics of your shoppers to pull in new customers. Creating a direct mail list can be a challenge but it’s not impossible and is worth it in the end. Remember, Documation is here to help you! So feel free to contact us with any questions you might have about your new direct mail campaign. Until then–Happy Printing!


Click here for Part II, How to Ensure Your Mail is Getting to the RIGHT People


Documation LLC is a 20-year old commercial printing company with clients all over the Unites States and Canada. We specialize in large volume printing for associations, publishers, and agencies in the direct mail and one-to-one communication market as well. Our staff includes creative designers and list management experts, and our capabilities include print on demand, mailing solutions, high-speed production inkjet printing, and variable data printing.


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