Direct response marketing is one of the fastest and most effective ways to reach out to any give target audience. Why? Well, billboards may be useful and so are TV ads, but nothing beats the kind of ROI you can achieve from a direct response campaign. Instead of appealing to a general audience, where a below-par strategy can result in losing as many customers as you gain, direct response marketing allows you to personally connect with a very specific audience.
Enough about that, though. If you intend to embark on a large-scale email or direct marketing campaign, one of the most important things you’ll need is a good mailing list. This list is where you’re going to draw the majority of your customers from so it’s a good idea to invest some time and effort into finding the right mailing list provider.
Gleaned from my experiences as a direct marketer, the following tips can help you find a dependable mailing list vendor whose data should set your campaign on fire!>
1. Try to find a list provider that has been in the business for several years.These vendors have been around the block a number of times; they’ve got a whole lot of experience garnered from analyzing decades of email and direct marketing campaigns.
Plus, they’ve seen the results of different product campaigns aimed at different target audience. If you’re newbie email marketer, chances are your list provider will prove to be an invaluable ally in helping you refine your marketing strategy.
2. Any reputable list provider has to unbiased concerning their lists. This is the only way you’ll know that they have your best interests at heart when it comes to finding the appropriate mailing list for you.
More importantly, when they lack bias towards their lists, they’re far more likely to listen carefully to your requirements and any additional information, before supplying you with a list that precisely addresses your needs.
3. A good mailing list vendor should be able to source high-response lists that deliver above average open rates, fresh information and at least 90% delivery rates.
The ideal list vendor should be able to tailor your marketing strategy (if necessary) towards a better performance.
Subject to the constraints of your campaign and product, this could mean sharing case studies, improving your subject lines, optimizing your website and testing the target audience for key response factors.
If they don’t offer, go ahead and ask.
4. Understand and acknowledge that quality doesn’t come cheap. The best list providers usually work with large enterprises that heavily engage in email and direct marketing. These providers maintain vast databases of information on every conceivable industry and consumer segment, and they usually have a minimum purchase order of a $1000 or more.
Be wary of vendors that offer to sell you 500,000 names for a $100 – those are scams. If you don’t want aged lists replete with bad data, be prepared to spend a little.
5. Shop around and you’ll find a bargain. Get different list vendors to compete for your business and you’ll be amazed at the savings you can make. Most companies source their lists in bulk which means they get huge discounts that they should (quite rightly) pass on to you.
I’ve seen companies cut as much as 30% off their list price, just to acquire new business.
6. Check if the competition used the same list. If you intend to purchase a non-exclusive list, find out from your mailing list provider if recent list users were direct competitors in your field.
Two companies advertising similar products to the same audiences are unlikely to record soaring open rates.
7. Call the list vendor to see if they’re human. There are far too many mailing list scams out there and you don’t want to waste your resources on bad or non-existent data.
8. Ensure that your list vendor only sells permission-based lists. If you mail subscribers that haven’t opted-in to a list, your emails are likely to go straight to the junk mail folder.
Even if you do make it to the inbox, users generally become irate about receiving unsolicited mail and will report you a spam. If you cross a certain threshold of spam complaints within a specific domain, the ISP will blacklist you, blocking out all future communications from your address.
9. Find out where your list has been sourced from. If they’ve been compiled from public records, I’d strongly advise against purchasing the list. This is because lists that have been built from public directories and sources are most often created using spam extraction programs, i.e., not opt-in.
10. Get a sample first. Ask your list vendor to send you a sample of the list you intend to purchase. Execute a trail run on this sample and monitor your open and response rates. These numbers will give you a fairly good idea of what you can expect from the whole list.
There a plethora of list vendors out there and you’ll have your work cut out for you trying to find a decent one. However, once you’ve found a vendor that delivers quality data, stick with them. They’ll be acquainted with your product and past strategies and therefore, will be a able to serve your list requirements much more admirably than their counterparts.
If this article helped isolate a good list vendor, please leave a comment and let me know. In the meantime, happy hunting!