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Direct Mail List Building: 3 Strategies to Try

August 7, 2018
Author
Abram Isola

Your direct mail list is the single most important piece of any direct mail campaign you run.

While direct mail offers some of the highest response rates across all channels (and a very competitive cost-per-acquisition), if you’re mailing the wrong audience you’re wasting time and money.

But if you’re new to direct mail, or you’re simply taking a look at it from a fresh angle, you may be unsure of how to get a direct mail list. Don’t worry. You’ve come to the right place.

How to Get a Direct Mail List: 3 Strategies

As with any marketing channel, there are a variety of ways to build and target an audience for direct mail.
Below are 3 ways to get a direct mail list or target an audience, as well as a few pros and cons of each strategy.

1. Send Area Mail with Inkit

Is location relevant to your business? If so, Inkit’s Area Mail feature is an easy and effective way to acquire new customers. You can target specific zip codes in or beyond your service area.

Think about using area mail to target an audience in specific locations such as:

  • Your current service area
  • A market you are about to move into (Pro tip: Use an area direct mail list to build an email list full of excited potential customers before you open in a new market.)
  • Zip codes that are demographically similar to areas where you’ve already found success

Pros: Saturation area mailings are effective for businesses that offer products or services that almost anyone can use. And, geographic segmentation is a great and easy way to build brand awareness within a particular zip code.

Cons: Location isn’t relevant to many businesses, particularly e-commerce brands that operate online and serve markets all over the map. Geographic segmentation may simply cast too wide of a net for your brand, resulting in an unnecessarily high cost-per-acquisition.

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2. Buy or Rent a Targeted Direct Mailing List

Marketers can buy or rent mailing lists from list brokers, list compilers, list managers and list owners. You will need to create a profile of your strongest leads, or those you want to target, and supply this information to a reputable broker in order to reach consumers in that category.

The filters you use to define your direct mail list may include:

  • Geography
  • Demographics, such as age, income and gender
  • Behaviors or lifestyle activities like basketball, gardening, dining out, etc.
  • Interests (often culled from online purchase habits)
  • Life-stage events, such as a new marriage, new home purchase, new child, etc.

Pros: It is relatively easy to buy or rent a direct mail list. A good list broker should be able to help you find the right mailing list for your campaign.

Cons: It can be difficult to find a good direct mail list broker. And, you may not have a strong customer profile to begin with, which can make buying a direct mail list a risky investment. Purchasing or renting a targeted list does not allow you to be as hyper-targeted in your approach as with modern direct mail automation, which uses event triggers and CRM data. (Although you may start with a purchased list and use tracking for further segmentation, customization and direct mail automation. See below).

3. Create Custom Direct Mail Lists Based on Behavioral Data and Events

Before you spend any more time researching how to buy a direct mail list, we highly recommend you consider the free mailing lists at your disposal. If you’re running digital campaigns or have a customer database, you are already well on your way to building a super targeted, highly effective (and free!) direct mail list.

Here are five highly targeted direct mail lists you may already own, tucked away in your CRM.

At Inkit, we specialize in direct mail automation. This means our software works best when paired with your CRM. You can plug direct mail triggers right into your multi-channel campaigns, allowing you to send personalized and dynamic direct mail just as easily as email. No new direct mail list required.

Pro tip: If you’ve already purchased a direct mail list or plan to do so, be sure to track respondents and push that data back into your CRM. Do this with trackable coupon codes, landing pages or personalized URLs. This way you can move those purchased addresses into more customized fields, further personalizing their customer journeys.

Pros: Creating, owning and managing customized direct mail lists allows you to be as targeted as possible in your marketing. This combines all of the data and targeting available in digital marketing with the tangible, powerful medium of a postcard.

Cons: You may not have the mailing addresses of all of your customers and leads. This could require additional digital campaigns or legwork to gather that information. And, your CRM may not yet integrate with Inkit. If that is the case, drop us a line asking us to work on an integration for you!

How Much do Direct Mail Lists Cost?

It will cost you nothing but a little bit of time to look in your customer database or CRM for built-in direct mail audiences. If you are considering purchasing or renting a direct mail list, prices vary from broker to broker and list to list. A single address can cost anything from pennies to over a dollar per address, depending on how it’s segmented. For example, a list segmented by geography and demographics is likely to cost much less than one focused on behaviors and interests, or a lookalike audience matching your specific customer profile.

You should never buy a list based on cost alone. Instead, get several quotes from reputable brokers. Even better, build your own direct mail list by getting started with direct mail automation with Inkit.

To learn more about how Inkit can help your brand build a direct mail list, send us an email now. We’re happy to help you get started with direct mail automation.

Ready to captivate your customers?
Send personalized direct mail automatically based on customer actions.
Start for free