The Best Ways to Choose Mailing Lists
Selecting the right mailing lists for your offering is as much art as it is science. Last week, I discussed hedging your bets by choosing the right list broker (the science). Today I’ll delve into what to do with the list broker recommendation you receive — how to separate the wheat from the chaff (the art).
First of all, I like to put list brokers to the test and have them put themselves in my shoes. This way they recommend the lists they’d use if it were their decision. A good broker from a top firm will have much information on your market category and what your competition is doing, and that’s not the information you’d have. So if you chose the right broker for your needs, a good deal of the work has been done for you in the list recommendation.
So let’s assume that your broker has recommended 30 lists; some an exact fit and some that “could” work. In other words, some of these lists contain great prospects because they match your customer profile closely, while a few lists you “suspect” will be interested on your offering.
Now your circulation plan only calls for you to test, say 10 new lists, and you need to make a decision beyond what your broker recommended are your best bets. Here’s what I recommend:
1. I usually review the catalog or direct mail piece that was sent along with the datacard for a particular list. You can tell a lot from what other mailers are mailing. For instance, what special offers do they use to “reduce the risk” and make it easier for the prospect to order? Are they very promotion oriented while you are not? This could be a factor that could hold your response rates back if their customers expect discounts, freebies and other promos.