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Marketing: 5 sources of list information

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Amy KennelThis article is second in a series of three about lists. Part One focused on how to clearly define your target audience.

Once you’ve created your target audience profile, you can use this information to research and select lists. There are many kinds of list information; this article provides you with a basic overview of five different types:

1. Compiled lists
Compiled lists are records of loosely targeted groups. These records can provide you with general data such as names, residential addresses, and telephone numbers.

You can request compiled lists from sources such as local churches, associations, and/or clubs. You can also purchase or rent lists from compilers or brokers who frequently obtain information from a variety of places including telephone books, the yellow pages, public directories, and public records.

The cost for compiled lists can vary anywhere from about one cent to four cents per name (or more) for a one-time use of the list of names, mailing addresses, and/or phone numbers. With a compiled list, you may pay less per name in terms of quantity, but you’ll typically get fewer details about the people listed in the record.

The Direct Marketing Association provides an online list of 33 different compiled list brokers. Another example of a compiled list provider is InfoUSA. You can conduct a compiled list search by using their online tools.

Pros: Compiled lists can give you access to a large quantity of names, addresses, and phone numbers.

Cons: Sometimes you will not receive specific details about the people on a compiled list. This can make it difficult to create targeted campaigns that address the needs or interests of your potential clients.

2. Lifestyle lists
Lifestyle lists are records of people who have responded to surveys and/or consumer response cards. These lists provide data such as names, residential addresses, and telephone numbers. But, they can also provide more detailed information about lifestyle preferences, leisure pursuits, special interests, and living arrangements.

For example, Experian allows you to build and purchase lists through a program that it calls “Lifestyle Mosaic Consumer Mailing Lists.”

The cost for lifestyle lists varies by company. You can expect to spend more for lifestyle list than a compiled list because you’ll receive more detailed information about the people listed in the record. A ballpark figure is about five cents to ten cents per name.

Pros: Lifestyle lists can tell you more about the people you’re mailing and/or calling. By knowing more about their interests and preferences, you can create and send offers that may be a better fit for them.

Cons:The greater the level of segmentation, the more expensive the list will be. Make sure that your strategy fully utilizes the data to create a targeted marketing campaign.

3. Publication lists
Publication lists are records of people who’ve subscribed to a particular magazine, newsletter, newspaper, or Web site. These are highly targeted lists of people who share many of the same interests and attributes.

To find out about the availability of subscriber data, you can contact the publication’s advertising department for their usage rules, terms of use and costs.

Pros: Publishers know a lot about their subscribers. If an effective offer is delivered to a publication list, you’ll likely receive better-than-average response rates.

Cons: Publication lists are usually best for national campaigns versus regional ones. As an insurance agent, it’s likely you’ll not want to send a nationwide mailing.

4. E-mail lists
E-mail lists are records of consumer names and e-mail addresses. Reputable list providers will not sell an e-mail list to you. Because of rules and regulations surrounding e-mail communications, you will provide your message to the list company and they will deliver your e-mail campaign on your behalf. If someone offers to “sell” you an e-mail list for your unlimited use, walk away. These e-mail addresses were likely collected and managed in an unethical manner.

Using e-mail lists to deliver an electronic campaign can give you an opportunity to connect with new clients. According to the Per Internet & American Life Project, 43% of online users access their e-mail at least once a day. Why not meet them there?

Pros: E-mail lists can give you a low-cost option for producing and delivering e-mail messages to your target audience. Responses are often immediate and always track-able.

Cons: E-mail lists are difficult to find. Most list companies only have about 25-30% of e-mail addresses for their consumer records. Also, e-mail addresses change frequently. About one in three people change their e-mail address once per year due to changing ISPs, switching jobs, or fleeing from spammers. According to research conducted by the Direct Marketing Association, e-mail addresses are changing at a rate of about 31% each year.

5. Do-It-Yourself lists
Compiling your own list of names, addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses can be your most valuable source of list information. When you collect and maintain your own list information, you can better control the quality and accuracy of your list data.

Pros: When you create your own list, you know exactly where the information originated. You can also remove unwanted or outdated information.

Cons: It takes time to collect and manage your own data. In fact, it may take years to gather a high-quality, good quantity of consumer information for your ongoing use.

No matter what type of list you use, remember to respect the privacy of the individuals on your rented or purchased lists. It’s the right thing to do, and consumer privacy is protected by both federal and state government agencies. A great place to find information about privacy guidelines, rules, and regulations is the Direct Marketing Association’s “Corporate Responsibility Resource Center.”

In the next installment in this series, you’ll learn more about lists, including important questions you need to ask before selecting and purchasing a list from a list provider or list broker.

The author does not recommend or endorse any specific vendor referenced in this article. The purpose of this article provides a basic summary of list sources. Please consult your list provider, broker, or wholesaler for more specific list information.

More Sales and Marketing Tips from Amy Kennel.

Amy Kennel is a communications consultant who specializes in insurance, financial services, and retirement planning. She owns Insurance Marketing Concepts, LLC, based in Des Moines, Iowa. You can contact Amy Kennel by calling 515-289-6413 or by sending her an email at [email protected]


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