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Buying a Direct Mail List? Try These 5 Built-in Audiences First

December 19, 2017
Abram Isola

Thinking of buying a direct mail list? First, take this pop quiz: what’s the marketing channel being analyzed in this enthusiastic report from last year?

“Customer response rates increased year-over-year by an impressive 43%, but prospect response rates more than doubled—reporting an astounding 190% increase!”

Well, okay—if you know anything about what we do at Inkit, you can probably guess that this quote (from the Data and Marketing Association) is talking about direct mail.
But still: those numbers are pretty impressive. If you haven’t tried adding direct mail to your marketing mix before, maybe these are the kind of statistics that startled you into action and got you to this blog post in the first place. Numbers like these might have even inspired you to start researching direct mail brokers to buy or rent a direct mail list for your next promotion.
Which isn’t a terrible idea, necessarily. You can definitely use purchased direct mail lists with Inkit, and find success. But before you go and spend time and money researching and buying a direct mail list, we’d suggest you consider all the direct mail recipients you can reach for free (or rather, for the price of a postcard).

5 Direct Mail Lists You Already Own

Here are five types of audiences you can use to build highly targeted (and free) direct mail lists for your highly targeted campaigns. Chances are, you’ve already got these address lists tucked away in your CRM. Direct mail success might be closer than you think.

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Send personalized direct mail automatically based on customer actions.
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Direct Mail List #1: New Customers

There’s a reason Onboarding Specialist is a job title at many B2B companies. Customers and clients who get lots of support and appreciation up front are much more likely to stick around and remain happy customers year after year.
Some companies may not have the need for a formal onboarding program. But you could probably still stand to increase the percentage of first-time customers who become repeat customers, right?
Direct mail can be a fantastic way to make new customers feel welcome—especially since they’re probably not expecting it. Create a direct mail list for new customers and send them a postcard with a special offer soon after the first sale. This will help build goodwill and plant the seeds of long-term loyalty. (Oh, and congratulations! You’ve found your first free direct mailing list!)

Direct Mail List #2: Loyal Customers

Of course, you don’t want to ignore longstanding customers, either. Why not send an occasional direct mail offer to people who have made a certain number of purchases, or who joined your customer list before a certain date?
Direct mail loyalty campaigns like these can spark passionate brand advocacy—or even fuel obsession, in the case of this direct mail offer covered on the J. Crew Aficionada blog:

If you automate your direct mail with one of Inkit’s marketing automation integrations, it’s super easy to trigger a postcard after someone has been a customer for a given time period. And if you’re already running email loyalty campaigns, it isn’t very difficult at all to add direct mail to the same workflows.

Are you using a marketing automation platform that we should add to our integrations list? Drop us a line to let us know.

Direct Mail List #3: Lapsed Customers

Has it been a while since someone made a purchase—or even opened one of your emails? It’s happening to the best e-commerce companies as more consumers face email overload. The good news: you can tackle re-engagement and retention in a new (albeit old-school) way.
Direct mail can help you get through to former customers when all your usual digital tactics have failed. In fact, it’s one of the most successful ways businesses use Inkit. Check out this post on direct mail winback campaigns for more tips and ideas for this mailing list.

Direct Mail List #4: Local Prospects

We’ve covered some ideas for targeting customers in the last three direct mailing lists, but what about contacting new prospects at the top of the funnel? Direct mail has always been a strong channel for acquisition.
If location is relevant to your business, options like Inkit’s Area Mail feature are a great way to scoop up new customers by targeting specific zip codes. Think about creating direct mail lists for locations like…

  • Your service area
  • A market you’ve just moved into (or are about to move into—how about using direct mail to build an email list full of excited potential customers before you even open?)
  • Zip codes immediately surrounding your business
  • More distant zip codes that lack a business like yours
  • Zip codes that are demographically similar to areas where you’ve already found success

Direct Mail List #5: Leads from Your Digital Campaigns

Whether someone’s entered their address to an opt-in form or you’ve discovered their location through a data enrichment service, you can often use direct mail lists to target leads who’ve discovered you through digital channels.
For example, if you integrate your CRM or marketing automation platform with Inkit, you could set up an automation sequence that sends leads into a special direct mail list workflow as soon as the address field is updated on their contact record. This way, you can be sure you’re using every channel available to close new leads, every single time.
Does your business have access to one of these 5 built-in direct mail lists? Then you’re incredibly close to launching a great direct mail campaign.

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