All about mailing lists

OK. The title of this article can be a bit misleading. He probably should have titled it “a few things about mailing lists.” Actually, I’m not going to cover everything related to mailing lists.

There is too much to cover. Today I will cover the basics.

So if you are new to direct mail, you will appreciate the simplicity of this article.

So are you ready?

What is a mailing list?

Fair enough. In simpler terms, these are names that should represent your target market. In other words, it’s who you are sending your sales proposal or offer to.

Types: Believe it or not, there are different types of mailing lists that you can choose from. And you should be very demanding. In fact, one of the most trusted places to start looking for your list is the SRDS Direct Mailing List Source Book.

The pros in this business hate to admit it, but it’s better to have a good list with “OK” writing skills and a poor product than to be a top copywriter with a hot product sent to the wrong list.

So, as you can see, this is very important.

Let’s look at the most common types.

Compiled. These lists of names are generally compiled from various sources such as phone books, public records, directories, court records, surveys, etc. These lists are usually the least productive.

Subscriber. As the name suggests, these lists are exactly what they claim to be … subscribers to something like a magazine or newsletter. These lists can be great for submitting your offer, but not as powerful as actual “buyer” lists.

Buyer. These are made up of real people who bought from the company. For example, Gurney’s Seed & Nursey Catalog Buyers is a list of everyone who bought from your catalog. As you can see, these are some of the best names you could email. But there is another type that, if handled correctly, is the most profitable list that you can email and this list is called …

home. This is your buyer’s list. And it is without a doubt the most profitable asset you could have. If you don’t have a list of houses, you should start building one today!


Let me explain a jargon mailing list. This will help you find a mailing list to rent.

For starters, when you get a mailing list, you are renting the list, not buying it. It is usually rented for one-time use. Sometimes it resolves other terms like unlimited use.

A list broker It can be compared to a real estate agent. He represents the buyer. On the other hand, a list manager (think back to the realtor), except he represents the seller.

Most good mail order companies make their names available for rent. It’s a great source of additional income and they do nothing more than submit the new names each month to their list manager.

So now you come over and you want to rent the mailing lists and try to sell your stuff to your customers or subscribers.

Data cards they are the listing of a list. In other words, summarize the details about the mailing list. There are many details on a data card, but I will highlight a few things here. By the way, your listing broker should be able to provide you with all the information you need. Just ask.

Last update. This is the date the list added new names to the file. You’ll want to make sure the list is updated frequently and that you have the latest names available.

List cost. This is the rental charge listed. The cost is per thousand and can range from $ 100 per thousand to more than $ 200 per thousand. Keep in mind that the more specific the list, the higher the cost.

Sales unit It is the average amount that people spent on the mailing lists. Better to get a list with a comparable sales unit for your own stuff.

List source. This tells you where the names come from. For example, names can be generated from:


Selling direct mail or direct mail



Printed (space ads, magazines, newspapers, classifieds, etc.)

Compiled (from public records, warranty cards, etc.)

Attendees (of a conference or meeting)

Segments / Selections. This gives you options to select names based on region, gender, or other demographics.

List Description it is a summary of the people on the list.

Continuation / usage list. This provides very valuable details to help you decide whether to rent the list or not. This shows you what other mail senders have used the list. It is often divided into those who have tried the list and those who have continued the list.

So, if you see a sender who has tried and followed a list that you are considering, and their offer is like yours, then the list will most likely work for you.

I covered some aspects of the mailing lists, but only scratched the surface here. Call your listing broker and ask questions. Ask for data cards and study them. I am also available to help.

Until next time.

Yours for higher profits.

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