Now that we’ve established the do’s and don’t’s of direct mail, it’s time to build your mailing list. This doesn’t have to be a time-consuming or difficult process. Odds are, you already have a little bit of list built from your current customer base, but here are a few ways to build it even further and make direct mail campaigns worth the time and money they require.
Build an ideal customer profile. What does your ideal customer look like? Look at your current customer base and make a list of the traits they possess. Find all the ones they have a common and build your ideal customer from that. Those are the people you want to target with your campaign. For example, if you’re in the business of helping people manage their finances, you’ll want to consider targeting people who are nearing retirement age, as well as people who are just starting out on their own. They each need a different type of financial planning and you can target your mailings to meet each of their needs.
Pick a mailing list type. You don’t have to be locked into that type for the duration of your business, but mailing to the entire city or zip code will most likely prove fruitless. There are three major types of mailing lists: Specialty, which allows you to define your target audience; this is where the customer profile you made earlier can come in handy. Custom mailing lists allow you to select specific criteria and use them to meet the needs of specific customers. Cloned lists allow you to find customers who most closely match your best customers. Take a look at the goals for your mailing and build your list around those goals.
Hold a drawing. You’ve seen the fishbowls in restaurants or small businesses where you toss your business card in to be entered in a monthly drawing for free lunch or product discounts. This is an easy and painless way to build a mailing list because most people have their address on their business cards. Plus, if they’re frequenting your business, they’ll appreciate the discount on a product or service they have to purchase anyway. Good customer service equals more business.
Be the customer. This goes back to creating your ideal customer. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. What would you want from a direct mail campaign if you were the customer at your business? What traits do you have that your customers might also posses?
Do you have any suggestions for building direct mail lists?