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DietrichDirect - Gold Standard, Value Priced Lists.

Ever wondered about the world of mailing lists? Well, if you read on, we're gonna tell you all about it. Why? Because the mailing list is arguably the single most important factor in your direct mail effort. Mediocre creative and copy anchored by a great list will always outperform the obverse.

Mailing lists can be categorized into two basic types:

  • Compiled Lists
  • Response Lists
Compiled Lists

Compiled lists are derived from sources of information such as public records or other sources that may or may not be public, like vehicle registrations, phone books,public directories, trade directories etc..you get the picture.

List managers who do the compiling attempt to glean as much information as possible from their sources. Their efforts to build a robust a record allow us to select names of individuals or businesses that have certain characteristics, such as all the Pediatric Orthodontists in Atlanta, GA, and who are therefore likely to respond to our offer for Pediatric Orthodontic supplies. We infer that they are likely respondents because of who they are. Other examples include everyone individual living in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, or any business in Portland, Maine with fewer than 20 employees.

How reliable are compiled lists? Well...like an economist would answer...it depends.

Think about it ...if you were to compile a list of everyone within, say, a 1 square mile of your house, how long to you think it would take for that list to become unreliable? Not long...

Compiled lists have the shelf life of vegetables...

This means that they need to be constantly updated...and like everything in life, you've got the good, bad and the ugly when it comes to managing the update process.

Generally speaking the more sources that go into the updating process, the greater the ability to cross-reference for accuracy and integrity when analyzing any given piece of information...

At this point, we'll gratuitously pitch our own Consumer Databank, Business Databank, Resident Databank, Mortgage Databank and New Mover Databank list products as being multi-sourced, frequently updated and therefore, highly accurate!

Response Lists

Response lists, on the other hand, are derived from gathering information about people who have responded to an ad, or who have purchased from a catalog, direct mail offer, TV, radio, email offer etc.

Their propensity to respond to your offer is therefore derived from an assessment of their past purchase / response behavior. It is important to note that individuals and businesses may be potential candidates for your offer because of past behavior toward complementary goods and services and/or substitute goods and services.

Other lists such as Magazine Subscribers, Catalog Lists, Trade Association Lists, Trade Show Lists are arguably hybrids of both basic categories, sharing the characteristics of both.

Ski, Old House Interiors, The Herb Quarterly.

There are over 10,000 magazines in print and online and for most products or interests, you can probably find a Magazine Subscriber List that goes straight to the most perfectly suited audience. If you're selling hydroponic equipment for the home gardening crowd, then the subscriber list for the Herb Quarterly Magazine might be worth testing.

Coach Leather, L.L. Bean, Land's End, Pottery Barn.

Catalogers also derived revenue from the sale of their mailing list...and provided that your product or service doesn't compete too directly with their products, you might be able to rent their list. But if your company sells high end leather handbags and accessories, the kind folks at Coach Leather might think twice about letting you use their list...

You'll see this quite often for many mailing lists..."Sample piece required prior to mailing."

National Association of Manufacturers, Pet Sitters International.

Trade Associations and Trade Show Lists are also good sources for individuals or businesses interested in your product or service. These folks share a common belonging...that being a profession, a hobby or other interest.

The Other Critical Factor? Geography...Being Able to Precisely Define the Geography You Need as Precisely as Possible is Essential.

Whatever type of mailing lists you decide you need, invariably you also must consider this: What is my trade area? Your trade area may be national or more likely, regional or local. In many cases it's highly localized...sometimes down to a specific neighborhood, or a particular apartment complex, a radius around your location address, or even something that you have defined yourself.

When you work with DietrichDirect to develop your list, you are working with the company that has taken geographically targeted marketing to whole different level. We hear it so often... "The other company gave me records way outside of where I really wanted to focus." or "I just wanted the Pine Tree Meadow apartments and I ended up with all kinds of other records that I did not want and wasted money on postage sending my postcards to folks that were not my target audience."

In fact, when other list companies are limited by their pre-canned geography queries across their list databases, they'll just ask us to supply them the list instead. Why? Because we have the ability to derive a list based on virtually any conceivable geography that you can imagine. And we're not just talking that standard stuff: zipcodes, counties, cities etc...we're talking about geographies that many list companies just won't deal with... such as user defined boundaries; uncommon census geographies like individual blocks; specific streets; specific neighborhoods; apartment buildings, commercial buildings, even something unusual like "all address points following along and 1 block out from a marathon route." Other companies often pass on these requests because they either lack the programming skills or they're simply unable to do it efficiently or accurately. The result is usually a high priced list that contains records you did not want or need.

The reason you should consider us first is simple...because we can do it much more efficiently and accurately. The benefit to you? An absolutely precisely targeted list for a fair and reasonable price. Below is a list of how we can target your audience geographically - many of these beyond the first few in the list are often very difficult for other list companies to provide.

Here's Just Some of the Geography We Can Target.

  1. States
  2. Counties
  3. Cities/Towns/Townships
  4. Zipcodes & USPS SCFs (3 digit zipcode prefixes) / Zip4s
  5. Area Codes (Phone area codes)
  6. Radius based lists by distance (we can easily do radius lists as close as 100ft from a location address) from a given location
  7. Radius based lists by quantity (e.g. going out from location until X records are reached - and you define X)
  8. Concentric Radii - pull lists in stages out from a location. For example, pull to the first mile out and then a separate list from mile 2 to mile 4 and so on.
  9. Specific Streets by Name
  10. Your Own Boundaries (e.g. send us a map or standard GIS data file depicting the area you need... or describe area as north of / south of / east of / west of)
  11. Corridor Based Lists (e.g. all addresses in a one block corridor along a set of given streets)
  12. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) / Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSA)
  13. Census Tracts
  14. Census Block Groups
  15. Census Blocks
  16. Subdivisions and Neighborhoods by Name
  17. Gated Communities by Name
  18. Country Clubs by Name
  19. Retirement Communities by Name
  20. Apartment Complexes by Name
  21. Mobile Home Parks by Name
  22. Commercial Buildings by Name or Address
  23. Waterfront Properties Lists
  24. Flood Plain Lists

Customer Profile Analysis, Customer Segmentation Analysis.

Whatever type of mailing lists you end up with, you always start by asking yourself what groups, characteristics and/or, behaviors make up your perfect audience. Then you either find the lists yourself, or you employ the expertise of a list broker (well, okay...like DietrichDirect) to help you find the right list.

Often, you may need analytical help in figuring out just who your customers are. That typically involves an analysis of your current customer database whereby your customer records are compared against a large universe of consumers or business in attempt to find record level matches. You may know that John Smith on Main St is one of your customers...but you may not know anything else about him. A demographic analysis attempts to find out as much information about John Smith as possible...and similarly, the process repeats itself for all your customers. Then, the information is examined for commonalities, trends, patterns, as well as dissimilarities...the goal being that you will be identify with you your best, worst and typical customers.

The Best List of All...And We Don't Have It?

Of course, the best list of all is YOUR own customer list of current and past customers. They're the folks that bought something from you...and the very same folks who are likely to repeat their purchase behavior with you...but you have to let them know about your products! Identify and segment your customers for cross / next / up sell opportunities...these are by far your cheapest acquisition...you've already got them...they're free!

Important Considerations and List Myths...

Here are several important considerations regarding your quest for the perfect list:

  1. How was the list compiled?
  2. What about Recency? - Because recency is perhaps the single most important factor in determining future purchase behavior, ask how recent the individual or business made the purchase if considering a response list. Also, it's important to understand whether they were actually purchases or inquiries.
  3. Along these same lines, ask about the frequency of the purchase behavior...some lists will have a multi-buyer select, indicating that this person has used the product or service on an ongoing basis. And ask about the monetary aspect...what was the average sale, or ticket...doesn't this all sound familiar? Recency, Frequency, Monetary Value? Remember RFM from your textbooks? Well, it applies to lists as well.
  4. How often is the list updated? and run through standard data hygiene process such as Delivery Point Validation and/or the National Change of Address update? For example, our Chapter 7 Bankruptcy list is NCOA'd on the day we place the order, giving us the best shot at timely delivery to the individual listed.
  5. How is the data verified for accuracy? Anecdote...there are a bunch of companies marketing products to the senior citizen crowd that think my mother lives in our home...and they've been thinking that for years because I get a lot of mail from them. Wasted money...and in some cases, these companies put pretty expensive packages in front of me. I'm not my mother...or so the saying goes.
  6. Who has used the list? Does it appear that the list is used a lot?...and perhaps you could be buying a list suffering from fatigue?
  7. What data selects are available? (Geography, gender, income, etc.)
  8. What is the rate of deliverability? Usually, most list compilers are in the 95-99% range, which is acceptable...anything lower you could end up with a pile of mail back in your mailroom.
  9. Ask about net name arrangements. Net name arrangements mean that you only pay for names you use for your mailing after comparing the file you buy from the list broker with a file your keep internally...that could be a master suppression list comprised of current customers, do not mails, recently mailed prospects etc.
  10. Expect list failure to be a part of your experience. What?...you're kidding right?...No, we're serious. There's a precious 4 letter word in direct mail marketing and it's called TEST. In order to be successful over the long term with direct mail marketing, you've got to constantly TEST. Test different lists...test different creative, offer and content...test, test, test. The very nature of this "testing" activity implies that you will fail to achieve desired results from time to time. This is what makes you a better marketer, and thus increases your future chances of success - learning from your mistakes. If you're not prepared to fail on occasion, then direct marketing is not for you. On the other hand, if you understand the risks and understand the commitment needed for long term success, then we can help you. Our goal is maximize your Return on Marketing Investment...that also means making list recommendations that minimize failure.

Believe us...this stuff matters!

But that's why were here...to answer all these tough questions...and to make sure your getting the most targeted, most up-to-date list for the lowest price possible.

Finally...A Few Myths to Consider About Lists

  1. A list with the most records doesn't necessarily constitute a quality list.
  2. An expensive list doesn't mean quality or higher response either...remember, the most important goal in direct marketing is to maximize your response!
  3. Unlimited usage deals aren't always a bargin...particularly if everyone else is doing the same thing as you are...using the list a bunch of times...we call that churn...and your response will most likely be marginal.

This article presents some of the fundamentals for buying and selecting lists. Of course, nothing beats the experience and knowledge of knowing who your customers are, and then knowing where to find the right list. And if you've gotten to this point in our article, we think you're in a good position to get started.

How may we help you?

Buy Mailing Lists - 800.798.4572



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