The key to building a successful direct marketing campaign is in the list. Even if you have the most persuasive copy in the world, your direct marketing efforts are literally going in the trash unless you are mailing to addresses that have a high likelihood of being interested in your product.
Drawing from Your Own Customers
Begin creating a list by starting with your customers. When customers give you their personal information, inform them that their information may be used for marketing purposes and give them the option to opt out. Also, consider surveying those who purchased your product to find out specific details such as their age, race, gender and profession. By gathering data on your customers, you can then begin marketing other individuals who have the same characteristics and will be more likely to be receptive to your product.
Renting a List
Another option is to rent a list from a list broker. For a few hundred dollars, you will have access to thousands of names. The upside is that these customers have already responded to direct marketing efforts in the past, which is often how they ended up on the list in the first place, and are more likely to respond to your direct mail campaign.
One downside is that you can only use the list for a single campaign. Therefore, you will need to separate the names of customers you procured yourself from the customers that came from lists you rented. If you try to use a list for more than one campaign, you will be breaking the law and one of your letters will arrive at a "ringer." This is a fake address used to track the number of times you used the list. If you'd like to use the list again, you will need to pay to rent the list a second time. However, the upside is that you will have access to an instant list rather than building a list over time.
Building Your Own List
One advantage of cultivating your own list is that you will have access to information that is more specific to your company. For example, you can obtain information on which marketing campaigns your customer was the most receptive to, so you can determine if you should use the same technique in the future or try a different technique. However, your customer lists are not usually enough to run a lucrative direct mailing campaign and you will also need to spend money to collect data outside your usual marketing activities.
For more help with direct mail, contact a company like Printing Express.