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Selecting the Best Mailing Lists – By Nancy Grohol,  Lyons Direct Communications
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Selecting the Best Mailing Lists – By Nancy Grohol, Lyons Direct Communications

How much thought do you put into the lists you use for your direct mail campaign? Lists account for 60% of your mailing’s success thus they are the most critical element of campaign—more important than your offer, the creative/copy, and timing. Some examples of lists and their effectiveness include:

House Lists: These are names you generate internally. Your donor list is your most valuable list— these folks are very familiar with the good work your organization does and have already given you a gift in the past. Even lapsed donors are more likely to give to your organization than a qualified name on a prospect list. Other house lists include prospects generated from your organization’s special events, inquiries, visitor books, or former clients—these folks have shown some interest in you and should be included in your campaign.

Compiled Lists: These are names are generated from a common source – such as a phone book or census data. While these lists are the least expensive, they tend to have lowest response rate. This low response rate is a direct result from the lack of experience these individuals have with responding to direct mail.

Mail Order Buyer Lists: These are names of people who have responded to direct mail in the past. You can custom order lists tailored to a specific interest. Since these folks have already demonstrated a tendency to respond to direct mail, these lists get better returns than compiled lists but usually cost more to get.

Publication Lists: These are names of people who subscribe to magazines. Again, you can purchase lists from special interest magazines related to your organization’s mission. Although response will be better for these lists than compiled lists, mail order buyer lists may be stronger because those names have taken some action in response to a solicitation.

Donor Lists: These are names of people that have supported organizations through direct mail with a similar mission to yours. These lists may have the best response rate of any the other lists, except for your house lists.

It is also important when purchasing lists to request lists that have been recently updated. This will provide you with more accurate addresses. In addition, make selections based on variables offered, ie: income, this will provide better targeting and better results.

Lists are so important to your campaign and your ROI—don’t leave it to chance. If you need help compiling, buying, or segmenting lists, give us a call at Lyons Direct.

**Lyons Direct Communications – 65 Wadsworth Road – Duxbury, MA 02332
Phone 781-934-9200 Fax 781-934-9206 Website:

DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice, or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.