Posts Tagged ‘ direct mail advertising ’

19 Steps to a Successful Direct Mail Campaign Timeline


BY Craig Simpson

There are many details that go into setting up a direct mail campaign. If you establish a set of procedures to follow for each mailing and use a checklist to guide you, scheduling your campaign can be much faster and easier than you think.
Include the following items on your direct mail campaign checklist:
1. Write sales copy and sales copy design. Make sure your piece is written and laid out before scheduling the rest of your mail campaign.
2. Give list broker the mail schedule. Plan ahead with your list broker, and make sure your broker is aware of your mailing schedule. You’ll want your broker to make several list recommendations, and the more time you allow for the process, the more research he or she will be able to do. Provide your broker with a copy of the sales piece you’re mailing and, if possible, a copy of the product you’re selling. By doing these things, you’ll help your broker recommend the best lists for you.
3. Request printing quote for sales piece. Get price quotes from several different printers. Select the printer who offers the best combination of price and service.
4. Place list orders with broker. After you’ve selected the lists you want to mail, place an order with your list broker. Tell your broker what the list due date is and where you want the lists to go. Also ask your list broker to send back an order confirmation.
5. Give mailing schedule to data processing company. The company that’s going to handle your merge purge and data hygiene will need to know when the list due date is–i.e., the date that all the rented lists should be in. It will also need to know what lists you ordered and their order numbers to help it identify which lists it’s received and whether any are missing. You’ll also want to give the data processor instructions concerning what type of data hygiene you want to use so it knows exactly what’s needed to clean up your lists.
6. Artwork due at printer. This is the date on which you need to have the file containing your sales piece at the print shop. Have the print shop tell you how much lead time it needs to get your job done on time, and make sure you send the file in a format the printer can read.
7. Approve bluelines and color proof from printer. After the print shop receives your file, it will output a blueline and color proof, or email a PDF. The blueline is taken directly from the film that will be used to create printing plates. On the blueline, you need to check the copy, line breaks, page breaks, borders, cropping–in other words, everything. This is your last chance to make changes. Check the colors to make sure they’re exactly what you want. Any errors found on the blueline will end up on your printed material unless you make corrections.
8. Send data processor suppression files and seed list. The suppression files are names you want to omit from the mailing. For example, if you’re mailing an offer to sell a limited edition watch, you’ll want to omit all prior buyers of that watch. The seed list is the group of names and addresses you use to track delivery of the mailing. The list would have the names of individuals in different regions of the country who’ll inform you when they receive the sales piece and let you know what condition it’s in when it arrives.
9. Mailing list due date. This is the date all the lists are due at the data processor. If a list isn’t in by this date, you’ll need to cancel it. You don’t want to hold up the merge purge and possibly risk changing the mail date over one list not arriving on time.
10. Issue merge purge instructions and approve merge purge. These are the instructions you give to the data processor indicating what criteria you want to use for running the merge. After the merge purge is completed, check the results to see if there are any red flags. For example, if after the merge purge one of your 10,000-name lists is reduced to 2,000 names, you should investigate why.
11. Issue key codes and splits. The key codes are used to track the effectiveness of different elements of your campaign, such as lists, copy variations, sales package, etc. These codes will help you know what the response rate is for each list and tell you how well your test pieces are doing.
12. Issue lettershop instructions. These instructions tell the lettershop–the company assembling your mail pieces and preparing the mailing for the post office–how to process your job.

Tell them:
• Where the address label should appear on your sales piece
• What type of font you want for the address information
• What class of mail you want to use–first class or standard/bulk
• If you’re mailing a letter package, specify the insertion order for each component and in what direction you want everything to face
Ask the lettershop to presort the mail file into mail groups by ZIP codes to save the Postal Service time. It will give you a discount for doing some of the work.
13. Approve key codes and splits. After you’ve given the data processor your key codes and splits, it should send back a confirmation and sample. The data processor needs to apply the instructions you gave it and then let you approve.
14. Mail file due at lettershop. This is the date the data processor needs the final mail file at the lettershop.
15. Printing due at lettershop. Your sales material is due at the lettershop on the same day the mail file is due. The lettershop will then have everything needed to start processing your job.
16. Postage request from lettershop. The lettershop will take your mail file and calculate the total postage for your mailing. Then it’ll send you a request for postage. The Postal Service will not accept your mailing unless the postage is paid in advance.
17. Approve address panel(s). When the mail file is ready, ask the mailing facility to fax or email you a sample of how the names and addresses will appear. Check to see that everything looks exactly the way you want it, and that it appears in the correct place on the material.
18. Reports due from data processor. After the merge purge is complete, the data processor will send you reports from the merge purge process. Review these reports, and then, if necessary, send portions of them to your list broker so you can get the deductions you deserve on your list rental.
19. Postage due date. It’s necessary to get the postage to the lettershop the day before the mailing. You don’t want to miss your mail date because you didn’t get your postage in on time.
After your mailing has been dropped off at the post office, get a verification form confirming the number of pieces it received from you, the class of mail and the total cost. You also want the form to have the Postal Service “date stamp” for the day your mail entered the mail stream. This verification tells you whether the lettershop mailed the correct number of pieces and on the correct day.

For All Your Direct Mail and Data Needs Contact

S. Tyler Stapley
Apex Direct Marketing – CEO / Owner
Skype – tyler.stapley1
E-mail –
Website | LinkedIn | Blog | Twitter

“The harder I work, the luckier I get.”
Samuel Goldwyn



Struggling With “One Size Fits All” Call Center Lead Generation?

We understand some of you are struggling up with “one size fits all” call center generated leads. Not having personalized and truly interested and qualified leads just results in more searching and testing of new vendor’s products and promises.

When we as consumers shop for lead generation services we all take the “What’s in it for me” stance. So fancy websites, length of business or boasts of how great someone is tend to fall on deaf ears. Without results you’re likely to see stagnate returns on your marketing investment, your sales suffer and the frustration sets in.

ApexDM’s Solution:

Personalized data sets, your own dedicated call center team and custom tailored qualifying of your leads.

How We Improve Your Quality of Life:

Your prospects will be qualified to fit your unique needs; products and services. With our Analytics and Reporting Services we communicate timely, accurate and useful reports that are essential to your measuring the success of your program. Using our Targeted Data option lets you drill deep into the needs and lifestyles of your target market maximizing your responses and ROI. In addition to the exclusivity of your leads, we also provide you with an experienced and trained dedicated call center team to create continuity in your direct marketing projects.

So What Sets ApexDM Apart?

There are three things that set any company apart. Price. Convenience. Service. This is where the value to you as a consumer is dictated.
Now, when it comes down to your leads and the growth of your business do you want to go with the cheapest and most convenient or the one with the best services to help you grow?

Let ApexDM be Your Turnkey Solution and let us worry about the leads so your sales team can focus on what they do best. Selling!!

ApexDM Has Your Solution to …

Live Transfers Leads
Targeted B2C & B2B Data
Call Center Services
Direct Mail Advertising

S. Tyler Stapley

CEO / Owner
Apex Direct Marketing

Office – 714-203-7577
E-mail –
Blog –
Website –

“The harder I work, the luckier I get.”
Samuel Goldwyn

The 7 Myths That Can “Undercook” Your Direct Mail

“Why do you cook with the oven door cracked open?”

It seemed like a logical thing to ask, but my wife gave me one of those “that’s a stupid question” looks, as if I was wondering why she breathes or shops. “Because, that’s the way I’ve always done it, that’s why.”

Not that it mattered, but I was curious. And hungry. It was Thanksgiving, she had been cooking all day, the oven was billowing heat like mad, and it was taking forever for that bird to cook! She patiently informed me that her mother cooked with the oven door ajar. That’s the way she learned.

“But why?” I persisted.

“Well,” she admitted, “I really don’t know. My mother was a good cook, and that’s the way she did it.”

When the relatives came over later, I asked about it and someone said, “Oh, that? Her mother had this tiny little oven. Her pans didn’t fit, and the door wouldn’t close. It took all day to cook a turkey.”

Even though my wife’s oven was big enough, the open door cooking technique was passed down mother to daughter, though the reason for it was forgotten.

Now don’t laugh.

You may be doing the same thing in your direct mail. Because we’re such a rule-happy industry, and we pass down our wisdom from one generation to the next, we’re especially prone to follow the leader without thinking things through ourselves. This often leads to ideas and traditions that are just as meaningless or counterproductive as cooking your turkey with the oven open.

Here are seven myths that could be causing you to “undercook” your direct mail:

Myth #1—Your goal is to sell to as many people as possible.
People talk about response rates as if the objective is to achieve the highest percentage possible. It’s not. Your goal is to maximize profits. The response numbers are tools for analysis and comparison. They are not a goal. It’s relatively easy to pump up a response rate if all you want is a higher number. Just give away something free. But, if your net profit drops, what’s the point?

If you try to sell to 100 percent of your list, you will actually reduce response, because your message will be diluted in its attempt to be all-inclusive. The most productive mailings talk boldly and directly to the ideal buyer. If that’s just 1 percent of your list, then forget about the other 99 percent. Sell to the people who want to buy what you’re selling. The rest are irrelevant.

As an exercise, try to reverse your thinking about selling to buyers. Consider what you should do to eliminate non-buyers—those who are not interested, don’t have the money, aren’t ready to make a decision, or will not make a good long-term customer.

Myth #2—You can force action with clever techniques.
Don’t get too enamored of your own communication prowess. You can’t make people do anything they don’t want to do. You can’t force a sale. All you can do is get the right offer, into the right hands, at the right time, and use the techniques in your creative tool box to make the transaction as attractive and easy as possible.

Trying to force a sale can lead you to dry, overused techniques. Instead, try to make a genuine effort to be helpful and relevant. For example, if you’re a bank wanting to increase deposits, don’t just send out a sales letter that barks, “Open your new account today!” Offer a free booklet that educates your customers about how to use your services, perhaps with a title such as “How to earn more interest with your money.”

And, remember to remove the barriers to buying. People want to buy things. However, if there’s a good reason not to part with their money, they won’t, no matter how persuasive you are.

The fastest way to succeed is to remove the physical, emotional, and financial reasons not to buy before you tinker with copy. Don’t just club them in the head with verbiage. Make it real and tangible. The introduction of the 800 number, for example, did more for selling success than any flowery 8-page letter, because it was a tangible way to make response free, easy, and fast.

Myth #3—You must turn all features into benefits.
Don’t be too hasty. There are some market segments that thrive on features. It’s part of the “enthusiast” mentality, where dwelling on the objects of affection is the whole point of the experience.

Dedicated wood workers bask in details about carbide-tipped saw blades and chisel sharpening angles. Serious mutual fund investors wallow in verbiage about modern portfolio theory and decile rankings. Avid car buffs revel in talk about horsepower and torque.

This doesn’t mean you forget about benefits. There’s an old saying: People don’t want drills; they want holes. Okay, but for the enthusiast, while you want to talk about the beautifully straight holes, you don’t want to forget about the drill. For many people, the features are a big part of the benefits.

Myth #4—General advertising techniques don’t work in direct marketing.
Don’t you believe it. Many of the most prominent direct marketers came up through the ranks selling books, magazines, and informational products to readers and a core audience of direct mail responsive buyers. There was no need for a carefully crafted image, or for more subtle psychological techniques.

But today, almost every industry is using direct mail at one time or another. Imagine an investment firm sending you a mailer with screaming headlines, big red stickers, and promises of retiring rich. I’m not going to invest with a company like that. Are you? I might be frivolous about subscribing to Trout Fishing Today, but not about buying stocks and bonds. That’s serious business, and I want to deal with a company that looks serious.

Or, let’s say you’re generating inquiries for an assisted living facility. Your copy goes on at length about your attention to detail and the happy, carefree atmosphere. But, the brochure looks cheap, and the photos are snapshots full of frowning old folks sitting in shadowy rooms. A schlocky look makes people think you’re a schlocky operation.

Image is important. To ignore it is arrogant and shortsighted. It’s true that image doesn’t sell. Only words can do that. But, people give a higher belief rating to what they see, than to what they read. So, the image must match or exceed expectations. Otherwise, the words will be ignored.

Myth #5—The best way to succeed is to imitate others.
A very dangerous myth indeed. It rests on the “Efficient Marketing” theory. That’s the idea that all mailers are smart, careful testers. And, if a mailing works, they’ll keep mailing it until it stops working. If it doesn’t work, they’ll stop mailing it.

Nice theory. But, it’s not reliable. I think direct marketers are probably a little smarter than the average business person, but many don’t run well-constructed, thorough tests. Some don’t test much at all. People often replace successful mailings for no other reason than they’re bored with them. And, many businesses that don’t rely on direct marketing for the bulk of their income routinely keep unsuccessful mailings in the mail stream, because it makes little difference to the bottom line.

The dictum “copy smart” is recited again and again. And, it’s certainly good to see what competitors are doing, and borrow whatever you think might be successful. But, don’t rely on that tactic 100 percent. Every product, service, business, list, and offer is different.

Myth #6—All direct marketing rules are tested and trustworthy.
This is a corollary to Myth #5. And, it’s utter hogwash. We often act as if our carefully crafted rules are handed down to us from on high, carved-in-stone tablets. But, many are nothing more than personal preference or ideas based on narrow experience.

One guru I know professes that “fear” is the only appeal you need. The simplicity is appealing. Since his background is in insurance and financial services, his preference for the fear appeal is understandable. It’s just not appropriate for every mailing.

Another guru preaches that all envelopes should be plain. However, his experience is limited to selling lists for business mailings. I don’t know that he’s ever created a single direct mail package, let alone one for consumers. People do get teaser-happy when creating envelopes, but sometimes a good teaser is exactly what you need.

Remember, people make the rules. And, you must carefully consider who those people are, and what their experience is. Plus, as I mentioned in Myth #5, people seldom test as carefully as you might think. So, you can’t regard any rule as more than a rule of thumb. Many “proven” test results are merely exaggerated or misinterpreted anecdotal evidence.

Myth #7—Great copy and design begin with a “concept.”
This is a carryover from the world of general advertising, where business has to be pitched, and exorbitant fees have to be justified. And, the tool of choice for all this pitching and justification? The creative concept.

Early in my practice, I worked with a major agency that locked me in a room with a designer at the start of every project so we could brainstorm concepts before worrying about details … such as why people want to buy the product. Without exception, every one of those mailings bit the dust, because of so much concern for abstract concepts, and too little concern for tangible benefits.

I have nothing against general advertising. I think the ongoing debate about whether direct or general advertising is better is just silly. Is a hammer “better” than a shovel? Well, it depends on whether you want to pound nails or dig holes, doesn’t it?

In the world of general or mass market advertising, your job is to create awareness and establish brand preferences for purchases later on. A memorable, well-thought-out concept can indeed help. But, direct marketing is about selling directly to customers, not later, but now. Perhaps you need a “big idea,” an overall sense of what you need to do to make a sale. But, you don’t need a “creative” concept.

There are plenty more myths, of course. The idea, though, is that you have to consider everything you read, hear, and see with at least a little skepticism. You have to question tradition.

In the end, there’s no substitute for thinking for yourself and looking hard at real-world results.

By the way, after a few heated arguments (no pun intended), my wife tried cooking with the oven door closed. She’s reduced her turkey time by several hours. And, the bird tastes better, too. Now, if I can just figure out why she cuts sandwiches diagonally and puts peanut butter in the refrigerator.

By Dean Rieck, direct mail copywriter

Summertime Marketing. Your Leads and Year End Goals for 2010


Summertime is traditionally when most of us kick back and relax in the sun. But marketing managers know it’s also the calm before the storm. With so much revenue potential on the line in Q3 and Q4, summer is when managers turn their attention to setting strategy for ramping up their sales teams toward fall success.
So, how is your money best spent? What really helps salespeople move business through the funnel? What messages are most likely to resonate with customers? The following 10 tips are based on years of experience living the challenges you face at yearend.
Tip No. 1: Know how your efforts fit into the big picture
Too often, marketers are overwhelmed by the “crisis du jour” and not afforded the opportunity to look at whether individual projects can make a measurable impact on marketing or company goals. As you approach Q4, remember: While you may be working toward short-term objectives, they can have long-term results.
The ultimate goal of your efforts, of course, is to support your sales team’s ability to generate revenues. We call it “marketing for sales enablement.” And, as you’d expect, the discipline of enabling sales is a process, not an event—just like the discipline of sales.
As a marketer, you’re likely very familiar with the customer “buying cycle” of awareness, consideration, preference, purchase, and repurchase. What you might be surprised to learn is that 70% of a company’s marketing budget is typically spent on the awareness phase of the buying cycle , and too little on the balance, where the real selling is happening.
Salespeople actually follow a similar cycle of embracing, and then successfully representing, your company’s product or service. If you consider that your salesperson is your first customer, the process makes sense. We refer to this as the “buy-in cycle,” and it includes awareness, knowledge, application, expansion:

Think about the projects you’ve completed throughout this year. Next, attempt to map each project into this table.
Is the table balanced across internal and external audiences? Have you populated each stage with meaningful tools? This chart is helpful when considering what tools to create and when they are appropriate.
Print and cut this out and tape it to your wall. Once you start using it, it’ll become second nature to consider at which point in the process everything you build belongs, and whether you’ve supported a complete sales cycle for both customers and salespeople.

Tip No. 2: Understand the end-of-year goals
Make sure you know what the goals and expectations are for sales in Q3 and Q4, and work toward developing the tools and resources to support those goals. Instead of full-blown sales kits, consider smaller, targeted tools that can help speed the selling process.
We’ve found that opportunity briefs (focused on specific industries or market segments) can help salespeople understand specific selling scenarios.
Tip No. 3: Increase efforts for the Consideration and Preference stages of the sales cycle
These are the stages where your prospects are deciding whether you have answers to their problems and whether you can solve them better than your competition. In an era of extremely knowledgeable customers, thought leadership is more important than ever.
The table above provides examples of some of the kinds of tools that support consideration and preference stages. But remember, it isn’t enough to just create them. Salespeople have the responsibility to move the customer through the buying cycle as quickly as possible, so they need to understand how to leverage case studies, white papers, ROI tools, and other thought-leadership pieces into the selling process.
Tip No. 4: Use demand-gen only in appropriate circumstances
The reality is that every company on the planet announces something in Q3/Q4, whether a product, a service, or a special promotion. So, your targets are going to get bombarded with demand-gen programs, and the possibility of getting any traction is difficult in the best of circumstances.
Your best chances for success are in these areas:
1. Campaigns designed to expand your presence in existing accounts—upgrades and cross-sales, for example
2. Campaigns where the resulting net-new customer lead can realistically close in fewer than 60 days (usually leaves out any hope of an enterprise sale—think SMB)
3. Campaigns where you’re trying to build some momentum for calendar 2007 business
In all cases, remember these demand-gen tips:
1. Make sure your campaign budget is aligned with the resulting sales opportunity. For example, it doesn’t make sense to spend $50k on an integrated demand-gen program for maintenance renewals valued at $399 each.
2. Always offer something meaningful—something of intellectual value, such as a white paper, executive brief, or event.
3. Try to instill a sense of urgency to motivate your customer to act quickly for competitive advantage.
4. Make sure that your sales force is aware of the campaign, and also understands its goals and what is expected of it.

Tip No. 5: Step up your field communications program
Regardless of the methods you use to communicate with your sales teams, kick it up a notch in Q3 and Q4. That doesn’t mean blasting them with useless information; it means making sure they understand you’re poised and ready to help them with every sale.
For example, a simple list (including links) to resources goes a long way for a busy salesperson. Work with sales management to monitor sales performance. Publish internal case studies in real time to help educate and motivate field salespeople regarding wins as they happen.
Tip No. 6: Touch all the people who touch your customers
Sales enablement isn’t only for field sales people. Remember pre-sales engineers, telemarketing, and any other organization that participates in the sales process. Make sure they are included in whatever sales tools and communications programs you develop.
It’s always important to be sure that you’re all using the same messaging and definitions when you talk to a customer, but it’s even more important that you’re all moving them in the same direction—toward closing the sale.

Tip No. 7: Support the close.Providing current, accurate proposal information can be a nightmare for some companies. If you’re one of them, spend time this summer updating your proposal library so salespeople have what they need when the heat is on. Better proposals make it through legal faster, and provide better transition from the messaging and communications you’ve been presenting throughout the sales cycle.
And for the deals that do close, consider creating special Q4 “welcome kits” that build loyalty faster and pave the way for add-on business sooner.

Tip No. 8: Get face-time with channel and alliance partners
Most sales managers would love to hear about a strategy to get “more feet on the street.” But, the reality is that channel and alliance partners already offer those feet—and they’re already targeted on the midmarket accounts that are more likely than their large enterprise cousins to close deals in the Q3/Q4 timeline.
Be sure to provide your channel and alliance partners with enablement materials to support specific opportunities or segments. For example, try diverting some internal telemarketing cycles to contact channel partners directly to be sure they have the marketing and enablement materials they need to support your Q3/Q4 product launch. You may find the partners understand the launch and appreciate its value, but still need a little more help educating their salespeople to support the campaign.
Tip No. 9: Don’t forget that 2011 is just around the corner
Q4 is the time to gear up your 2011 sales enablement programs. And now that you’re adept at mapping tools to sales cycle, you’re better prepared than ever to hit the ground running as your company launches new products, services, and programs.
You and your team will be able to show up at the January kickoff with a full suite of tools and resources for both internal and external audiences that are both on time and on target.

Disadvantages of Direct Mail & Why Your Direct Mail Campaign Bombed

Did you know what you were really getting into? Hopefully your mail house clued you in on the skinny regarding direct mail statistics and what to expect. Direct mail is often considered to be junk mail and seldom does a one-shot mailing have the desired result. You MUST have a long term, well thought out marketing plan because, your piece is competing with dozens of other pieces for attention. If you don’t know what you are doing, it is easy to waste a lot of time and money. There is a relatively high cost per contact and without due diligence it may be difficult to obtain updated, accurate mailing lists.

That being said.  Direct Mail Advertising Done Right Can’t Be Beat!

Pisst.  Pay Attention.  Here’s how you go about running a successful direct mail advertising campaign…..

Define Your Target Market

Determine who you want to reach before you develop your direct mail program. This allows you to specifically target your message to fit specific needs. It is the best advertising medium for customizing your appeal. With improved database resources and demographics, you can effectively precisely target the prospect you are aiming at.

The task of deciding your mailing package content, its design, and its message is up to you. However, remember to attract the reader’s interest, it must be clear, concise and easy to respond to. Coordinate your mailing with other advertising methods to significantly increase your return. Also, presenting one specific offer instead of a variety of options is usually more effective.

Diligently test and track your campaigns, and direct mail can become a profitable piece of your marketing mix.

Selling by mail can be an easy and relatively inexpensive method of selling your products or services, and it is used far more often than most people realize. However, your success depends on the method you use in presenting your offering to your prospects. In direct mail advertising you are sending your “salesmen” out to sell for you. If you present 1,000 offers, you have 1,000 salesmen helping to sell your product or service.

Every business has the potential to increase their profits through the intelligent use of direct mail advertising. Everyone should at least consider a direct mail component in their marketing plan. Don’t be intimidated because it might seem to be too complicated. You might hear other business owners say, “I’ve tried direct mail and it didn’t work.” Keep in mind what they really mean is, they tried using direct mail and what they used didn’t work.

By targeting a very specific group and taking your message directly to them, you have the ability to have complete control over who receives your advertising message, and who doesn’t. For example, if you are targeting opportunity seekers, a quality mailing list can let you focus on that specific group.

A well-planned direct mail campaign can result in the most consistent and predictable method of customer generation and it provides great flexibility in message presentation. ·

Direct mail makes couponing and sampling practical. It can help isolate advertising response to a single segment, and compare returns in one area with those of another.

Each letter campaign gives you the ability to precisely track your return on investment (ROI This way you know to the penny whether or not your marketing plan is working.

You can test a promotion on a small scale before committing a huge budget.

You can develop a distinctive personality for your business. It can be used to enhance your image, give your customers or client’s information, and persuade them to place an order.

Like the saying goes “..anything worth doing is worth doing right”  Data is King but without his Queen (the copy) he’s lost.

Good Luck!

Direct-Mail list can make or break your marketing campaign. Here’s how to find the best for your business

Do you know the most important element of a successful direct-mail campaign? It’s not the copy. It’s not the artwork. It’s not whether you send a newsletter, postcard or brochure. It’s the mailing list.
This is truer today than ever–with today’s technology, the availability of quality direct-mail lists has vastly improved. In the 1980s, trying to find a good direct-mail list outside of one’s own database was very difficult. Direct-mail lists had a bad reputation. Addresses were often inaccurate, and the data was suspect. There was no cost-effect way to compare names on multiple lists, so consumers were often pestered with duplicate mailings, which skewed tabulated results and wasted budgets.
Today, data can be sliced and diced at lightening speeds and updated just as quickly. Information is linked with other sources and finely sifted until you know as much, if not more, than the person’s best friend. As a consumer, that makes me uneasy, but as a marketer, I jump with joy.
Although the process is far from perfect, today’s specialized technology means consumers are more likely to receive advertising mail of interest to them. It also makes it possible for even the smallest business to create a market and compete successfully.
Having said this, I would like to emphasize that your best list is and will always be your internal database or “house” list of customers or prospects. According to American List Counsel, a mailing list manager and broker, your house list will typically bring double the response of an outside list. Yet, only 50 percent of business marketers surveyed use customer or prospect names for mailing purposes. Don’t make this same mistake. It’s where you should start before talking to anyone about buying a list.
Simply put, a homeowner in your area who recently subscribed to a home decorating magazine is a more likely target for custom framing than an apartment dweller who subscribes to an auto repair magazine. And a homeowner who has bought art in the past three to six months is even better. Response lists can be that specific.
Price Your Options
The vast majority of marketing lists are supplied on a one-time rental basis. This means that the owner allows the renter to use the list once in return for a fee, typically expressed on a per-thousand-record basis. You can also rent lists for multiple uses. For example, a list broker might double the base price but allow you to use the list three times.
Most list companies have minimums (usually 1,000 to 5,000 names), so ask up front. Also, the more filters you use, the more expensive the list. Additional costs are incurred as you add selections, such as income, age, length of residence, new movers, recent purchases, etc.
Compiled lists are generally less expensive than response lists, costing between $30 and $60 per thousand versus $80 to $100 per thousand for response lists.
Track Results
Every mailing is a learning opportunity. By keeping track of results, you will be much better informed to make future marketing decisions. You want to know who responded, which respondents purchased and the value of their purchase. Again, technology comes to the rescue.
A simple spreadsheet can help track results so you can accurately calculate your return on investment, which should be significant if you did your homework and found the right list.

Credit Bureau Data – Is This The Right Product For You??

Credit Bureau Leads. It seems like more and more companies are promoting Credit Bureau Leads. My advice? Tread carefully and complete your own due diligence.

Working with Credit Bureau Leads isn’t for everyone, nor should every company be selling them. Before you rush out and buy a list of Credit Bureau Leads it’s important to understand how to use them, what compliance requirements you are obligated to, and the qualifications of the List Broker you’re considering.

Buying Credit Leads is not a commodity. I understand that many List Brokers view Credit leads as a commodity, but there is an art as to how lists are pulled. Your guidelines, Lender or otherwise, have specific requirements. Sure, if a score of 620 is required, that should be one of the selects. But building a quality Credit Bureau Lead goes further than just choosing traditional selects. Your List Broker should completely understand your business model and work with you as your Credit Bureau Lead list evolves. If you rely solely on your List Broker to deliver a “traditional” say, FHA refinance lead list, you’ll be missing out on some selects that can make or break your marketing campaign.

How authentic are the Credit Bureau Leads you’re purchasing? There are easy ways to discern the authenticity of a Credit Bureau Lead. For whatever campaign your considering: Direct Mail or Telemarketing, the “printable output” is telling. On this excel spreadsheet there will be complete details for you to examine including score, masked social security number, debt amount, payment history, and more. Considering using a full service direct mail company? If you’re being sold Credit Bureau Leads as the underlying data demand that you get the complete printable output of all leads at the time the campaign is being mailed to. If you experience any push-back at this request, chances are the list that’s being mailed to is not Credit Bureau Leads.

With guidelines becoming tighter, savvy marketers are realizing that Credit Bureau Leads can help increase their chances that prospects are qualified for their services. The relationship you develop with your List Broker will ultimately have an effect on the outcome of your campaign. Is your List Broker working with you to develop your ideal Credit Bureau Lead?

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