The Truth About Buying Direct Mail Lists

Image thanks to:  fdecomite

Sometimes, the old and unexpected can be new and fresh. Paper direct mail (aka snail mail) may seem out of date and old-fashioned, but being able to hold something (and look at it any time) can be very powerful.

In fact, Smashing Magazine had a feature the other day about creating snail mail campaigns.

But, if you’re going to do a mailing, you’re going to need a list of people to send it to. The obvious first place to start is with the people you already know: your clients, your prospects, and your contacts. You’ll get a better response from people who already know and like you.

If you don’t have clients yet, or your list isn’t big enough, you’ll need to get more names.  What are your options?

Buying a list

Purchasing a list is a bad idea. Purchased lists are generally compiled – meaning that they were put together without any action or purchase from the people on the list. They haven’t asked for anything, or expressed any interest in what you’re selling. Worse, the information is usually out-of-date.

Renting a list

You’re better off renting a list. This means paying for a single use of a list owned by someone else. It might be a list of conference attendees, subscribers to a trade publication, or members of an association in your target market.

Borrowing a list

By borrow I mean bartering (or trading) with someone who already has a list of people you want to reach. Share resources with them. You could provide the design in return for a mention, or do a co-op mailing (where several companies share costs – think ValPak coupons – but more creative).

Have you tried snail mail?  What happened?  Were you pleased with the results?  Need help?  Ask me.