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How to Buy a Mailing List



While there are many providers of mailing lists available, you're likely going to have your mail pieces printed and mailed.  Very often, this same company doing the printing and mailing will be able to offer you a targeted mailing list.  At BB Direct, we get requests directly from the mailer because they want to piece their campaign together to control the costs and also get the best targeting for their marketing investment.                                               

So, what goes into ordering a list?  The process is broken down into steps. 

First, Define your Geography.  Your market territory can be defined by a variety of US Postal Service boundaries.  This may be a cluster of carrier routes, a polygon that’s mapped out within your County.  It could be a cluster of zip codes which surround your multiple stores.  All in all, your geographic “footprint” is important because once you define this, you’ll likely want to continue on using this same geographic area for all your future campaigns.                                  

Second, would be your Targeted Criteria.  This would be how you differentiate your customers from the rest of the population within your geographic footprint.  It may be only people who are older than a certain age, or only those who own a home.  This also includes suppressing the consumers who have already purchased from you before.  Creating a targeted list involves first understanding your existing customers.  You’ll likely have an idea of how these people look, so talk with your mailing list provider on how to effectively segment your target audience for best results.

Once your geography has been set, and your target criteria has been determined, your list provider will “run a count” of how may potential consumers exist within the Consumer Database.  Given the available records to mail to, you may want to edit the geography, or criteria, in order to increase or decrease the available records from which to mail to. 

Ideally, if you mail more than 5,000 records, you’ll be able to know with a degree of certainty, if the response will support future mailings.  5,000 record test is considered a statistically valid sample size for direct mail.  If you get a percentage response, you can expect that you’d get the same response when mailing to more people just like those you just mailed.

Placing an order is pretty straight forward.  Simply ask your list provider for the order.  Did you want to mail all records available, or less.  If less, which records are you wanting to test?  Often, we’ll provide a random Nth number of records across the entire lot of records.  Most campaigns list orders will be sent to you, within minutes, via email.                             

Consumer Mailing List orders typically come to you sorted, and in a common delimited format.  This is acceptable for most all users of the data.  It will usually come also with a restriction on how to use the data, either one-time or multi-use.