I like direct mail as a way to reach my target customers but the UK has a lot less data available than the USA.
America Has The SRDS Directory To Help You Find Mailing Lists
SRDE stands for the Standard Rate & Data List book which you can find in US libraries or buy.
While it doesn't give you the names, it shows you all the different types of list which are available and details about each mailing list.
Mailing Lists Information In The UK is Much More Restricted
The UK is much more restricted - not sure if the Data Protection Act is to blame.
You can get lists based on the electoral register and Companies House data which has name and address information but it doesn't tell you what the people are interested in, whether they respond to direct mail and what they buy.
So mailing on the basis of these lists can be hit and miss.
You need to be narrowing down very rigidly on demographics to stop you mailing to no-hopers to avoid wasting your money and the pointless chopping down of trees.
If You Want More
I have found one list broker which does a little more - Clear Blue - covering UK, Europe and the USA.
You can find a list of business opportunity seekers - I wonder if I appear - and you can find a list of Sage 50 users or personnel/HR managers.
I haven't used Clear Blue myself to provide direct mail lists but the website looks promising.
What About You?
Are you a happy or dissatisfied client of Clear Blue? If so please leave a comment.
Are you a list broker who can offer lists outside of the standard stuff that comes from Companies House and the electoral roll. If so, you are invited to leave a comment and details of any special offers for my readers.
What To Look For In A Mailing List?
Here are a few questions to ask.
- How old is the list?
- How is it refreshed and how often?
- What is done to check the accuracy of the data?
- What extra information do they hold? - For example for small companies, the accounts at Companies House don't need to include employee numbers or turnover so you can't tell the one man bands from the dormant companies which don't trade or the more substantial 10 to 50 employee businesses.
- Are there any guarantees on the data?
You also need to be clear on how often you can use the direct mailing list and how the data is delivered. You don't want to be re-typing.
That point brings me on to one of the criticisms of the mailing lists I have used in the past:
- very irritating data entry habits like all (or no) capitalisations
- poor address formatting where lines are combined.
Both are very irritating and increase the time considerably to use the list. Even worse, every customer has to do the same so the list owner is causing great inefficiency. It does make you wonder about the value of the list if so little care and attention is given to it.
How To Get The Best Results From Your Direct Mail
Buying a good quality list is an essential element in creating a profitable direct mail campaign.
You also need a tightly crafted marketing message.
Direct marketing training I recommend is available for you to test drive for 30 days for just $1.
That's a great deal - www.ProfitableGrowthStrategies.com - and gives you plenty of time to decide if you want to pay to stay a member.
You may want to read other direct mail articles