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Let’s talk direct mailing. You’ve seen it around countless times, even if you aren’t the one checking the mail! There are catalogs, mailings, flyers, magazines, brochures, too many to list. Companies big and small around the globe still utilize direct mail in their various forms of marketing, that should be proof enough that it works. But just in case that doesn’t convince you that print media isn’t dead, here are some crazy direct mail statistics from Finances Online.

80% of consumers act on direct mail advertisements

77% consumers say print marketing is more easily remembered

82% of consumers trust print ads the most when making a purchasing decision

You may be thinking, ok great! Let’s start! But before you can even think about the ads and print formats you want to send out, you need a mailing list. Building a mailing list up from scratch may seem overwhelming, but there is plenty that you can do to get started. Here are 4 things you can do to start building your mailing list today so that you have a healthy and long mailing list in no time.

1. Evaluate Your Current Customer Database

Look at your current list of customers and what information you have from them. Chances are you have some sort of database already, even if you haven’t been collecting addresses and only have customers’ names and email.

If you don’t have their addresses on file you can start by emailing all your current customers. Let them know that you are expanding your database and want to get their mailing information for potential deals and promotion opportunities in the future via direct mail pieces. Even if they don’t want to add their address in at the time, it’s always a good idea to make sure that your customer information is up to date and reliable. The customers who do provide their address will also tell you which of your customers would most appreciate receiving direct mail from your business.

If you already collect your customers’ addresses, fantastic! You are off to a great start. Just make sure the address field can be broken up into separate excel columns (street address 1, street address 2, city, state, zip code) rather than the full address being combined into one excel column. This makes it easier for a data analyst to divide and segment the list based on geographic location. It will also make it possible to use any part of the address as a variable field. For example, a real estate company could send a mailer out to home owners letting them know what the going rates are for houses in their city.

2. Choose Your Target Audience

Before you start sending your mail pieces out you need to brainstorm and think who you want to send mail to. Think about what message you are putting on your mailer and all the different demographics you do or don’t want to target. Will you be reaching out to existing customers trying to get them back into the store? Or maybe you want to branch out to a potential customer segment who has never stepped foot in your store before. If you don’t have a store, direct mail can be used to build brand awareness for new and existing customers.

With mailing lists, you can look at demographics like age, sex, personal income, job or business type and location. You can even further segment your mailing list based on the last time the customer bought from your business, came in for an appointment or paid for services. This will allow you to identify your most loyal customers and identify lapsed customers who could use a reminder about your business.

If your current customer list does not meet all your criteria or if you want to reach new audiences, consider purchasing a mailing list through a certified provider. Some companies will even sell the consumers’ email address for an additional cost so you can market to them with your direct mail and email advertising. Here at Walker360, we can purchase mailing lists through Acxiom, a data collection company. Acxiom has been a leading data, analytics and software service company for over 40 years. It is the only company that Walker360 trusts to provide high quality and accurate data information on consumers for direct mail marketing.

3. Optimize Your Website

You don’t need to redo your entire website to get it ready to collect information for a mailing list. Chances are you already have multiple places on your website where a customer can enter in their information, whether it be in a contact form on the home page, an email subscription button on the footer, or when they create their customer account for purchases. Edit your forms to allow an address section and start putting call to actions on your website to encourage people to fill out the form with their information. You can even make the address field a requirement, so the user’s information can’t be submitted unless they fill out that information.

You could also try adding a subscription pop up on your home page asking the user for information. One study found that by adding this to their home page, they increased leads by over 2.5k in just two weeks. Their average time on page also increased by 54%. Add this to your website could give you the jump start you need to get a solid direct mailing list. But don’t just stop at your website. Think about how you can encourage customers to sign up for your mailing list during all aspects of their consumer experience.

If you have a store customers go into, there are plenty of opportunities to get their information while they are in the store. You could have sign-up sheets or greetings at the front of the door to offer deals and discounts if they sign up. You could have signs around the store encouraging them to sign up for the mailing list. Include a QR code that customers can scan to submit their information on a private form or webpage.

If you don’t have a store, receipts are a good way to encourage customers to sign up after receiving your services. Just like you should be encouraging people to leave a good review, you should be encouraging them to sign up for your mailing list so you can stay in touch with them and continue to provide excellent service and products. Social media can also be used to encourage sign-ups.

4. Check the National Change of Address

Once you have some addresses, you need to make sure that the addresses you have are correct. There is no point sending mail to someone if it won’t ever reach them, it is a waste of time and resources. But if someone moves, you don’t just want to lose your customer and their information. We all know how stressful it can be to move so its no surprise if your customer forgets to inform you of their new address.

With the NCOA (National Change of Address), you will be able to double check that your mailing list is accurate and that you have the most up-to-date customer information. Every time someone moves, the NCOA documents the move in their database. You can compare your mailing list data with the NCOA’s data to be certain your direct mail is going to the right place. If the consumer has moved, NCOA can also provide their new address. Checking your list with the NCOA will improve mail deliverability rates, customer retention, and your overall data quality.

You can trust the mailing list experts at Walker360.

Our direct mail and USPS certified experts can identify potential target markets to get the most out of your direct mail advertising. Whether you want to provide your own mailing list or pay to have a list pulled, we can help you to organize, segment and verify the list with the NCOA. Once your mailing list is assembled, our printing experts will walk you through the design process to complete your mailing order. If you need help building a mailing list, collecting leads or organizing your customer data, contact us today!