A Target Audience Is Key to Your Direct Mail Success

Jan 30 , 2019
How to pick an audience for a targeted direct mail campaign?
  1. Your house list is a great place to start
  2. Are you a B2C or a B2B?
  3. A response list is the next best thin to a house list
  4. The compiled list - Still a better approach than carpert-bombing your campaign
  5. Segentation works hand in hand with targeting
  6. Make the most of it

Carpet-bombing is not the best approach to take in a direct mail campaign. By carefully targeting your recipients instead, you’ll save both time and money while also eliminating a great deal of potential frustration. Why waste print costs and postage on sending your mail piece to people or businesses that are not likely to respond?

You’ll need more than just names and addresses to help you achieve the response you’re looking for. You’ll get better results by sending your mail piece to those potential customers who have demonstrated either a need for what you have to offer or whose previous buying behavior shows they would be interested in doing business with you. This type of behavioral information is valuable, but often hard to get. So, how do you build an effective mailing list? The first step is defining what characteristics would make someone either need or want to purchase your products or services.

Your house list is a great place to start

One characteristic that will define a person or business as likely to do business with you is the fact that they already have. If they’ve already made a purchase from you, or at least inquired about your products or services, they can be five to ten times more likely to respond favorably to your new campaign than other recipients. This collection of names is your house list. It’s also your number one mail-to list.

Your house list alone may not have enough names on it to bring in the sales you’re hoping for; you’re obviously going to want to expand upon what you already have. You may also be a new business without a house list. What’s the next step? Look for people or businesses with characteristics similar to those who have either previously bought from you or from businesses like yours.

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Are you a B2C or a B2B?

As you compile the names of potential customers, your approach will be based on whether you’re a business-to-consumer company or a business-to-business enterprise. The latter effort, B2B list compiling, can be a potential DIY endeavor because information on businesses is more readily available. It can be a bit of an effort, however, but you can obtain directories to work from or conduct online searches to build a list of businesses that are likely to purchase your products or services.

If you’re a B2C enterprise looking for private consumers who are likely to purchase from you, it can a much more difficult task. It may not be a simple matter to determine if your consumer mailing list candidates have either the characteristics or previous purchasing behaviour you’re hoping to find. You can be much better off procuring a pre-compiled list of consumers who have already bought products or services such as yours or who have previously responded to a campaign like yours.

Purchasing a pre-compiled mailing list can also be an attractive option for a company building a B2B list. There is a cost to the time and labor that can go in to any DIY approach and an outright purchase can often be the much more economical approach.

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A response list is the next best thin to a house list

Response lists consist of purchasers who have previously responded to another marketing campaign. These lists can be obtained from data base and mailing list services and then customized to better match your specific criteria. The criteria you specify for a name to be included in your specialized response list can reflect certain types of personal characteristics in addition to previous response history.

For B2C lists, your response list can include additional characteristics which may include some or all of the following:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Home-ownership or tenancy status
  • Income level
  • Occupation
  • Hobbies

If you are purchasing a B2B list, your inclusion requirements may include business customer criteria such as these:

  • Type of business or industry
  • Revenues
  • Business size
  • Number of employees
  • Number of business locations
  • Management style

Many of the above additional criteria could be considered optional; the primary specification, however, is that the names and addresses reflect people or businesses with a track record of having previously responded to a marketing campaign similar to yours. These potential customers can demonstrate a response rate three to five times that of the next type of list, the compiled list

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The compiled list - Still a better approach than carpet-bombing your campaign

Compiled lists are built from easily accessed and multiple sources such as public records, survey results or telephone directories. Basically, they contain general information that represents a much lesser investment than purchasing a more detailed and selective mailing list. A compiled list may, however, contain the names of many individuals who never purchased or considered purchasing your products or services, but who could be persuaded to do so in response to your campaign.

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SEGMENTATION works hand in hand with targeting

When your direct mail marketing is carefully tailored to match the needs, purchasing power and interests of varying segments of your mailing list, you’re more likely to convert potential customers into paying customers. This is in contrast to a one-size-fits-all approach and it can yield much better results.

You can, for example, create specialized messages for your mailings which are designed to persuade targeted segments to respond:

  • Demographic: Appealing to a specific age, gender or occupational groups
  • Geographic: Focusing on regional climate needs and climate-based activities
  • Psychographic: Presenting a message which reflects specific hobbies, social activities, values or opinions
  • Technographic: Focusing on the types of hardware or software products used
  • Behavioural: Targeted to reflect web-use patterns, such as search histories

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Make the most of it

Direct mail is highly effective and you’ll get the best possible results by targeting the right potential customers and working from mailing lists that reflect their individual characteristics and purchasing behaviors. To make the most out of the many opportunities and marketing segments, partner your efforts with a company that’s a seasoned pro. KKP Canada has been helping companies grow through effective marketing for almost 40 years. Let’s talk! We have what it takes to cover every phase of your next direct mail campaign and we’re ready to pitch in.