Where do you do you find Quality Direct Mail Lists?

by WFStarter 15 replies
If you sell via direct mail, where do you look in order to get your hands on quality direct mail lists? (SRDS, etc.)

Bad quality lists cause a lot of heartaches, as it did to mine. Any opinions from seasoned direct mailers where to look for hot lists?
#main internet marketing discussion forum #direct #find #lists #mail #quality
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Johns
    Hi there,

    Have you looked offline for list brokers? I have the names of a couple somewhere here in the UK, but I know there are loads in the USA. I'm sure if you googled List Broker you would find some.

    All the best

    Jason
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  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    goleads.com
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  • Profile picture of the author wrcato
    When I need a hot list I always look in my niche. Let's say that I am selling an info product for plumbers. I will go to the srds list book and look up plumbing magazines.
    I will then rent a current list from each of the plumbing magzines.

    List Broker: Barb Godwin, Stratamarklists@aol.com
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  • Profile picture of the author AndyBlackSEO
    I think the best lists are the ones you build yourself and gain trust with.
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  • Profile picture of the author mrmatt
    That is a hard question to answer because it really depends on the type of list you are looking for. I do a ton of direct mail using credit score driven criteria. Teh issue with that is those lists are expensive. $.25 a name. But it is well worth it because I can talk directly to those people and their situations.

    The more you know about your potential customers the better. You may be able to combine multiple list to come up with your perfect list.

    Also many list brokers/companies will give you several thousand names to test. But be careful with that as well. They could give you their best list and the rest of it is crap.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      I have been selling home business opportunity leads for nearly four years. It is a huge and rapidly growing market especially during this economy turndown. We generate over 30,000 leads daily from online and offline marketing and surveys. They include email and mailing addresses, and you may also order leads with telephone numbers. Leads are never sold more than twice. See my sig.
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  • Profile picture of the author moodyresources
    There's a big name IMer who has his picture on a mailing list company's website and he recommends it. I have been on that website and called them and talked to them and I can't for the life of me remember what it is!!!! I've been searching for it the past 2 weeks. Does anyone know who it might be?
    Melissa
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    • Profile picture of the author PatriciaJ
      I ran a direct mail business in the UK for a long time and learned from experience to be careful with lists. The absolute best list was my own customers of course.

      What I found was not to trust claims of large amounts of fresh lists and to test mail lists for response before using all of the names. The worst list I ever bought produced a 13% goneaway rate, which told me that no way was it a fresh list.

      For home business the best suppliers were home business magazines, though they didn't come in large amounts. I also bought larger amounts from companies who advertised in the nationals but before I bought I spoke to the owners and asked them where and what they advertised. Before buying I checked the adverts and didn't buy from those who advertised work from home, only those who advertised home businesses. That is because I found the response rate from work at home leads abysmal.

      I kept records of who I had mailed to avoid too much duplicate mailing and to learn which lists were best. Time consuming but worth it because my response rates were usually higher than average, so I made more money with less mail.

      Eventually I had about 8 regular trusted suppliers who were honest with me and didn't try to pad out lists with old names. I alternated between them and occasionally tried out new suppliers.

      Apart from mailing out myself I used print and mail companies and advertising to get fresh leads.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff_Gardner
    You need to find a list broker who specializes in lists for your niche. They'll probably also manage those lists - and can give you an idea of which ones are the most responsive. (However, take that info with a grain of salt and test and track everything.)

    For initial research, you can do a free search at:

    NextMark - Buy Mailing Lists, Sell Mailing Lists, Learn About Mailing Lists

    This will let you know what lists are available. If you already have a good broker you trust, they should be able to get you any list. If not, you can access the list through NextMark.

    Otherwise, you should do a search for list brokers and list management companies in your niche. You may even search for the name of a list you found in NextMark in Google - and see if that leads you back to the company that brokers/manages it. (Again, working with a broker who is knowledgeable about your niche can be very beneficial)

    There are a lot of mistakes you can make using direct mail lists, so do your due diligence before you jump in. We mail as many as 100,000 pieces a month - and a bad list can set you back pretty seriously. Research and working with a good list broker is key.

    Hope that helps.

    Best,
    Jeff

    P.S. SRDS (srds.com) has been the age-old resource for lists (I still use a physical version of their directory as a door stop. It's huge!) - but I find that a lot of the information they have can be found online with the right research. If you've got the money and want the info instantly, fork over the cash to SRDS.com and you'll be able to find tons of lists and the brokers immediately. If you want to do it on the cheap, try the idea above and see where it gets you.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeCaruana
    If you're doing direct mail, you want people who have spent money on similar offers. There is a world of a difference between inquiry leads generated by filling out a web form and lists of mail order buyers sold by real list brokers. There's also compiled lists, which I've seen referenced in this thread and they are not so great either (from my experience).

    Think about this:

    If you buy something with your Amex card in Fredericks of Hollywood why do you get flooded with Victoria Secret catalogs and offers?

    Because experienced mailers know that previous buyers of similiar offers are likely to buy again.

    Any reputable broker will ask for your sales copy and will match your offer to the right lists. In fact, the really good list owners will not even rent to you without approving your offer.

    You're also going to need to be willing to test at least 3-5 lists, 5,000 names minimum on each. It doesn't mean you need to mail them all at once, but that's probably what you're gonna have to buy to do business with a broker. That's also why you never see brokers advertising. The average person can afford to test a direct mail campaign this size.

    Finding a broker depends on your niche. If you're in home-based business, astrology, sweepstakes or health and nutrition, I can tell you from almost 20 years of doing this that macromark is second to none. Talk to Steven.

    DAJ direct and megamedia also have good files to test, but once you find a good broker, he/she can get everyone elses list for you.

    As others have mentioned, SRDS is a good source. Find your niche in there and see who manages the lists.
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  • Profile picture of the author gareth
    wow this is so exciting
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  • Profile picture of the author Vishal Mahadik
    From my experience, I can tell you one thing that Very Few Direct Mail Lists Service works online. I tried few of them in the past and got very miserable results...

    Try these services on your own risk... It is better as one of us said here that building your own list via article marketing, video sharing and document sharing is better. I agree it takes time to build list this way, but we can at least be sure about the quality and reliability of the leads we get...
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    • Profile picture of the author oneplusone
      I have been very successful with Direct Mail here in the UK.

      The first thing to realize, is that 99.99% of mailing lists are scams.

      The claims about the data is nearly always fraudulent/bogus.

      The key is to ALWAYS have a guilty until proven innocent mentality when it comes to dealing with lists, list brokers etc.

      Always have the mindset that a list is probably fraudulent until you have seen real proof/evidence showing otherwise.

      Even if you are using a big list broker, they pull scams just as often if not more - they will dilute lists with rubbish names etc and use all sorts of tricks - I've seen it all believe me.

      The good news is once you have found a decent/honest source of lists for your market, they can be a licence to print money if you have an offer which converts, your only limit is the amount of names available.

      One of the most important things with lists is to ask the source difficult questions, and to do your own due diligence.

      Let us say a list claims to have 20,000 online buyers of a marketing book for example, and the 20,000 addresses are available for rental.

      The first thing I would do is check the Alexa Rankings of the website, very often it becomes obvious it is a lie because the website doesn't get anywhere near enough traffic to have that many buyers.

      The second thing you can do is ASK FOR PROOF they actually made the sales.

      How long does it take for a genuine list owner to make a quick 2-3 minute video of them logging into their merchant account showing all the buyers they have from the sales dashboard?

      Someone with a genuine list won't hesitate to provide proof, because they will have nothing to hide.

      If they don't, there is a 99% chance it is a fraudulent list.

      If they do provide proof, you may be onto a winner.

      In other words the only way to get the best lists, is to be pretty ruthless about your questions, due diligence - you have to go over the top.

      When I've made serious money with lists it has ALWAYS been when I've demanded real proof that the list is genuine.

      Obviously the other way to do it, and better way is to do it the same way it is now done online - Joint Ventures.

      You promote their product to your list, and vice versa.

      Jay Abraham calls it endorsed mailings, it is very powerful.

      But if you don't have a list yourself, the only way to do it is the way I have mentioned otherwise you will be eaten alive in this business.
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      'If you hear a voice within you say "you cannot paint," then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.' Vincent Van Gogh.
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      • Profile picture of the author PatriciaJ
        Originally Posted by im2010 View Post

        From my experience, I can tell you one thing that Very Few Direct Mail Lists Service works online. I tried few of them in the past and got very miserable results...

        Try these services on your own risk... It is better as one of us said here that building your own list via article marketing, video sharing and document sharing is better. I agree it takes time to build list this way, but we can at least be sure about the quality and reliability of the leads we get...
        Direct mail is offline mailing, you are talking about emailing I think.

        Originally Posted by oneplusone View Post

        I have been very successful with Direct Mail here in the UK.

        The first thing to realize, is that 99.99% of mailing lists are scams.

        The claims about the data is nearly always fraudulent/bogus.

        The key is to ALWAYS have a guilty until proven innocent mentality when it comes to dealing with lists, list brokers etc.

        Always have the mindset that a list is probably fraudulent until you have seen real proof/evidence showing otherwise.

        Even if you are using a big list broker, they pull scams just as often if not more - they will dilute lists with rubbish names etc and use all sorts of tricks - I've seen it all believe me.

        The good news is once you have found a decent/honest source of lists for your market, they can be a licence to print money if you have an offer which converts, your only limit is the amount of names available.

        One of the most important things with lists is to ask the source difficult questions, and to do your own due diligence.

        Let us say a list claims to have 20,000 online buyers of a marketing book for example, and the 20,000 addresses are available for rental.

        The first thing I would do is check the Alexa Rankings of the website, very often it becomes obvious it is a lie because the website doesn't get anywhere near enough traffic to have that many buyers.

        The second thing you can do is ASK FOR PROOF they actually made the sales.

        How long does it take for a genuine list owner to make a quick 2-3 minute video of them logging into their merchant account showing all the buyers they have from the sales dashboard?

        Someone with a genuine list won't hesitate to provide proof, because they will have nothing to hide.

        If they don't, there is a 99% chance it is a fraudulent list.

        If they do provide proof, you may be onto a winner.

        In other words the only way to get the best lists, is to be pretty ruthless about your questions, due diligence - you have to go over the top.

        When I've made serious money with lists it has ALWAYS been when I've demanded real proof that the list is genuine.

        Obviously the other way to do it, and better way is to do it the same way it is now done online - Joint Ventures.

        You promote their product to your list, and vice versa.

        Jay Abraham calls it endorsed mailings, it is very powerful.

        But if you don't have a list yourself, the only way to do it is the way I have mentioned otherwise you will be eaten alive in this business.
        Can you back your 99.9% figure up? I agree that a lot of lists are out of date and some brokers will try to fob you off with lists that are not related to your offer, but there are good companies too. I think that it's unfair to label the majority as scammers and especially with a figure that you have pulled out of the air.

        Alexa rankings are not accurate. The figures come from those who have the Alexa toolbar in their browser and that is mainly internet marketers. Therefore an internet marketing site with an Alexa ranking of say 70,000 may get a lot less visitors than a non internet marketing site with an ranking of 700,000.

        I used to swap lists with a magazine editor so I guess we JVd in a way!

        I've had some experiences with old lists this week. I got a mailshot from a charity addressed to myself and my ex husband, I've also had 2 phone calls prospecting me in my ex married name. It al felt a bit strange because I reverted back to my maiden name over 20 years ago, so somebody is selling a very old list. Illegally I might add because I got listed with the telephone preference service.

        I also got a mailshot related to gambling. Back in the 1990s I bought a list from a company who sold a gambling product because they converted really well for home business opportunities. Ever since then I've had regular mailshots from their customers, I can tell that it's their lists because of the font on the mailing label and there is always an id number on it.

        I seem to recall that there is now a law in the UK where you can't collect names and addresses without a licence and that applies to email addresses. Also that list brokers should check the validity of their names on a regular basis and if they are listed with the mailing or telephone preference service they can get fined
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