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Important Steps in Creating Targeted Mailing Lists From Existing Accounts

First timers of direct mail marketing often do not realize who their targeted marketing should be for their mailer. Deciding on who the right audience will be should be the first step in any mailing campaign. Once you have this information, you can then create your list, message and mail piece which is specifically tailored to this audience. Here are some important steps in creating mailing lists from your existing accounts.

  1. Collect past customers, current customers, and prospects. In analyzing any database, the more information you have available, i.e., the number of names, addresses, telephone numbers, demographics, purchasing habits, etc., the more accurate of a picture can be built that will lead to a better targeted group for any direct mail campaign. The names and addresses of all current customers, past customers, and even prospective customers, can provide useful information for obtaining mailing lists in the future.
  2. Organize information into a workable format to allow manipulations and sorting. The next step is organizing your collected information into a format that allows for manipulation of the different pieces of information you have available. Typically, MS Excel is the most commonly used program for this task. Excel allows you to put information in rows and mailing list finance columns that can be sorted or arranged by name, address, city, state, etc. Arranging your information into a workable spreadsheet will be important for the hygiene and append processes. Plus it allows you to get an idea of how large your database really is. You can also take the time to remove any duplicate customer records you may have input and also allows you to identify any information you may already have on some customers that you would like to have for all customers.
  3. Key code your database. Key coding current customers, inactive customers, and prospects allows for tracking the results for certain products, customer purchasing patterns you would like to keep identified after the hygiene process. It is also useful when uploading your completely cleaned and appended database into a client management program to keep current customers separate from prospects and inactive customers.
  4. Perform data hygiene on your database. Data hygiene is a process of cleaning your database of old outdated information, correcting and filling in any missing or incorrect information, and verifying current names and addresses. This will help keep the cost down by removing all bad records from your database.In order to have your database cleansed through data hygiene, it is best to find a data processing company or a marketing list broker that has the ability to perform this process.
  5. Append demographic information. Appending demographics information to a database is useful for the analysis process to establish links to future marketing concepts – age, income, gender, children ages, homeowners vs. renters, home value, LOR, auto information, etc. You need to evaluate your existing products and services as well as future plans for new products and services. Keep in mind that all companies evolve with time and technology. Your data provider should provide all of the demographic criteria that is available for your append process.
  6. Organize your database. After processing, organizing your database into groupings based on the newly appended information will be useful for computing averages, high and low points, and developing graphing tools for visuals.
  7. Create a Message that Fits. Development of an offer to market your product or service for existing products or services into an established geography, introduce new products or services, or penetrate a new geographic or demographic area can now be accomplished by analyzing the results of your database append. You can see what age groups are your best clients in which geographic areas for a particular product or service, are homeowners more prevalent over individuals that rent, does a large percentage of your customers have children in the household, etc.
  8. Contact a marketing list provider by internet search through Google, Yahoo, Bing, or other search engine. A marketing list provider can provide you with a mailing list based on your offer, the demographics based from your database, and the specific geography you want to market to. Be sure that the provider you choose is knowledgeable in the industry, has competitive pricing, is friendly, and provides quick and accurate service.
  9. Print and mail out your direct mail campaign. The mail piece design, quality, and offer should match the quality of the service or product you are marketing. If a local grocery store is advertising their fresh fruit, a postcard with bright, vibrant colors should be used. For example, an auto dealerships promoting their great financing for their luxury automobiles, an official looking, glossy mail piece with bold, rich colors may be the best choice.
  10. Track and analyze response rates and direct sales from campaign to computer ROI. Being able to track how your customers came to you or responded to your offer is the best way to calculate your ROI. You should have a way to track the responders to the different campaigns you do so to know exactly what is working and what is not working. That way you can adjust your marketing strategy accordingly by tweaking your mail piece, your offer, and maybe your mailing list.
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