Custom Mailing List or General Mailing List: Which do you need?

by Jeff Rutowski on April 19, 2013

If you are planning a postal mail or email marketing program to grow your business, you are faced with a number of questions. Do you mail to your existing customers? Where will you get new prospects to mail to?

Certainly, you should be mailing to your existing customers on a regular basis. How frequent really depends on you, your customers, and your products and services. At a minimum, if you are not reaching out to your customers at least once a month, you may be missing out on sales.

But what about expanding your mailing to new prospects? You should already be collecting contact information at your point-of-sale locations. If you have a website, and you should, then you should also have a form located above the fold where you can capture prospect contact information. The best and most qualified leads come from these two sources.

But what if your prospect list is not growing as fast as you’d like? Then you may want to consider purchasing marketing leads. Once you make the decision to obtain a list of marketing leads, you are also confronted with a number of other questions to answer:

Who am I marketing to? The better that you are able to define your market niche, the better you will be able to define the group that you will be marketing to. From a marketing leads perspective, you can obtain either a list of leads that are broad and general or one that is highly targeted and custom.

Most marketing experts will tell you that qualified leads generated from your own organic list building efforts are the best. They will also tell you that highly targeted, custom marketing leads are far better than broad or general leads. The experts are right, however, there are trade-offs.

Growing your list through organic or internal marketing efforts can take time and the growth of your sales is tied to how quickly you can grow your list.

Obtaining a highly targeted, custom list is more expensive than a general list. In fact, major list providers will not sell you their highly targeted, custom list. You will rent their email list and they will send the email for you. These lists can be a great way to get your marketing message out to a very specific group of prospects. These custom lists can be narrowed down to professional specialties within a particular zip code. For example, you could rent an email list to market to all marine repair businesses east of the Mississippi. Or, you could rent an email list to market to all bankruptcy attorneys in Detroit.

When should you invest in renting an email list? When you know your exact marketing niche. When you have a proven marketing copy.

But what if you’re just getting started? What if you haven’t sent very many marketing pieces out? What if you’re not really sure who or where your market is? If this is your situation, then you may be in the market for a more general list. You can use a general list to test your marketing copy, your subject lines, and your general marketing flow.

What’s your marketing flow? Your marketing flow begins with the process that you use to draw prospect to your business. This starts with your message delivery method which can be anything from email to postal mail, to your website, to telemarketing, etc. Next in line for your marketing flow would be your subject line for email, website banner, post card headline. We’ll cover marketing flow in another article soon. In the meantime, follow the link to the Custom versus General Quiz to see if you’re ready for a general list or a custom list.

Take the quiz now: Custom-General Quiz

With any marketing program, consistency and frequency can make the difference between success and failure. Frequency builds familiarity. Familiarity develops trust. Trust generates sales.

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