Direct Mail Lists: Powerful & Profitable in the Digital Age

Direct Mail Lists: Powerful & Profitable in the Digital Age

The key to any business leads success is getting your product or service in front of people who are actually interested in it and then convincing them to take action. A discount, special offer or new and exciting product thrown out to a general consumer base will have a hard time finding someone who is ready and eager to open their wallet. Marketing to a general population is a waste of time and money when you could be targeting your advertising efforts with the use of direct mail lists.

What Are Direct Mail Lists?

Whenever someone brings up either emailing or postal mailing a huge group of people, the first thing that may come to people’s mind is unwanted spam. When it comes to a direct marketing list from a reputable provider like the Bethesda List Center, that impression is far from the truth.

Looking to buy mailing lists by zip code, or buying direct mail lists?

Direct mail lists are carefully selected collections of contact information organized by demographic or other identifying characteristics that help companies focus on particular criteria in their targeted customer base. This means when a person or a company buys or rents one of these lists, they get only people who are involved with or already interested in the type of thing they offer.

The Postal Mail vs. Email Decision

In this digital age, email appears to have superseded postal mail as the preferred method of communication and marketing for most companies. The problem with this is that email inboxes are becoming more crowded and that’s more susceptible to the select all and delete buttons. More automated programs are weeding out advertisements, contact from unknown domains and things that may or may not be spam.

Email is simple. All you have to do is design the email itself, add in a few eye-catching graphics and quality information and construct an effective call to action. Sending it out to a purchased or rented email list can be as easy as clicking one button. Getting people to actually open the email to see what you have to offer can be more difficult. Across many industries, the open rate for marketing contacts hovers around 25%.

On the other hand, postal mail volume has actually decreased slightly for the past several years. However, the USPS reports that 98% of all postal customers access and check their mail every day. No one is letting their mail pile up in the box at the end of their driveway and then throwing out the lot when they get around to it. This provides the savvy marketer with an opportunity to get his message in front of a highly targeted direct marketing list with less of a chance of the postcard, pamphlet or envelope being thrown out without even a glance.

When a potential customer or client close to their physical mailbox, they must look at every piece to determine if they need to take action on it or if it goes straight to the recycling bin. “Deleting” a piece of postal mail is impossible. The very fact that it is a tangible item makes it more likely to be looked at and acted on over digital contact.

How to Choose the Most Effective List for You

Because Bethesda List Center offers such a wide variety of postal mailing lists, choosing the one that is right for your company, product or service can be a challenge. Besides identifying your target consumer base, exploring all possible demographics and characteristics of your ideal audience and weighing list size with cost to determine overall value, there are several questions you should ask before deciding which list is the most effective for your particular needs.

1 – Is the source of the list reputable?

Always choose your direct mail contacts from an experienced direct mail lists provider such as who is dedicated to collecting the most highly targeted and responsiveness possible. Seek out independent reviews of the service or place a smaller order and judge for yourself first before investing more of your marketing budget.

2 – How was the lists compiled?

Methods for compilation of postal contact information can be as widely varied as copying down addresses from a map or telephone book to identifying individuals and their addresses from organization membership lists, past sales data and statistical information records as well. While a place that sells or rents business leads will probably not reveal all their trade secrets, giving some indication about how they gathered the information can help you decide which list would be most appropriate for your needs.

3 – Are the lists kept up-to-date?

For maximum effectiveness and value, each direct marketing list you choose should be current. This means that all of the contact information for the people on the list can be used actually reach those people. The list should not include people who have passed away or who have had major changes in their industry, membership in organizations or income. Of course, it is impossible for a list broker or provider to guarantee every person on every list will meet your needs, but some effort must be made to keep things current.

4 – Can I use this list only one time or as many times as I would like?

Some postal direct mail lists can be rented for one-time use only while others can be purchased and used over and over again. Because repeat contact is very effective marketing tool, choosing a multi-use collection of contact information can be a much better value and results in more sales, leads or interests in general.

Always avoid the following direct marketing list mistakes:

  • Failure to understand who your intended audience is.
  • Ignoring a key characteristic of the most receptive audience.
  • Buying larger and cheaper lists that lack targeting and therefore value.
  • Choosing out of date lists that have old contact information or the deceased.
  • Getting “dirty” lists with unresponsive people and those who have requested removal from lists in the past.

How Direct Mailing Generates Targeted Business Leads

A direct mail item begins its life as a goal, a concept and a blank piece of paper. The company or individual wants to advertise something determines the goal for each individual piece of mail that will be sent out to targeted consumers. One of the most common goals of direct mail pieces is getting people to visit a website or sign up for a special offer. The people who find the postcard, pamphlet or letter interesting enough to take action become your targeted business leads.

1 – Determine the right people to target your marketing.

Every product or service will have a different ideal customer. Look at what you’re trying to sell or offer to people and figure out who will be most likely to use it. Some of these determinations are quite simple. If you sell dog toys, you need to target dog owners with your marketing efforts. If you sell luxury yachts, you want to target people who make $250,000 a year rather than those who only bring in $50,000. The best targeted audience for your advertising will consist of multiple characteristics. Also consider education level, industry may work in and the location of their home to better target your direct mail campaign.

2 – Design a direct mail piece that inspires people to act.

Do not skimp on direct mail design. Use someone experienced in both graphic design and advertising to create a postcard, pamphlet or letter and envelope that inspires people to take a closer look at what it is offering. Each piece should include a bold headline that attract attention, high quality graphics that support the headline, a list of benefits of taking action, the offer itself and contact information including website address and phone number.

3 – Use postal mail often to increase response and improve your ROI.

Once you are sure that you have picked the best possible direct mail design and have chosen the most effective direct mail lists to send it to, you should not limit yourself to only one mailing. Persistence, after all, is the bulk of success. Do not bombard your intended customers or clients with daily postal mail contact, but instead scheduled the pieces to arrive at appropriate intervals to keep interest high without causing annoyance. Many marketers believe that it takes three ads or mentions of a particular product or company to make a consumer buy or take some action. Do not give up on your direct mail campaign too soon if you want to improve your response rate and achieve a great return on your advertising budget investment.

How to Get a Mailing List

Gathering business leads is one of the most challenging aspects of succeeding with your company. Collecting contact information yourself can be a long and arduous process that may not result in more successful ad viewing and conversion anyway. Marketing to the masses wastes time and money. When searching the internet, offers like the items below are deceiving and can lead to unsuccessful efforts:

  • Free Business Leads List
  • Free Email Lists for Marketing

At, we have already done list building work for you across many industries and interests. Direct mail lists – whether you ultimately decide to go with email contacts or highly targeted postal mail, we offer precision selections in various demographics such as employment fields, organization involvement, incomes, interests and locations.

David James

President, Bethesda List Center, Inc + Bethesda Emedia Marketing.