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Action Lists > Building a Mailing List

Building a Mailing List

Getting Started

The most important element in a direct marketing program is the mailing list, and getting hold of a top-quality one is key. There are several routes you can use. If you have the resources, you can use internal sources to compile a valuable mailing list of both customers and prospects. Alternatively, you can rent or purchase existing lists from sources such as list brokers, Web sites, publishers, or other organizations offering lists of their customers, or you may wish to commission a specially tailored list that matches your requirements exactly. To improve coverage or make lists more precise, you need to refine them continuously. To reduce waste in your mailing campaigns, it is important to check lists regularly for accuracy. Three of the biggest problems in list management are duplication, incomplete addresses, and out-of-date information.


My company has a mailing list of customers and prospects. Can I offer that list to other organizations?

You can market the list to other organizations. However, you should be aware of the implications of applicable legislation and regulations. Customers may have a right to know how their data is being used. Always include a clause asking customers if they are willing to allow their data to be passed to other organizations. If they are not, their names should be removed from any lists offered.

Is it better to buy or rent an external mailing list?

It depends how frequently you plan to mail. Rented lists are for a single use only, charged on a cost-per-thousand basis, and the owners have security techniques to counter unauthorized repeat use. A single campaign may be enough, but experience indicates that multiple mailings generally achieve better results. You would need to compare the cost of buying with renting the list for, say, three mailings.


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