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Direct Marketing List

Direct Marketing Campaign

Buying a direct marketing list

Before you can start your direct marketing campaign you'll need a direct marketing list. This may be a list of customers and prospects garnered from your website but if you're attempting to increase sales or circulation you may want to consider buying a list. Opinion is out on whether it's a worthwhile business exercise as there are many risks involved and no guarantee of a return on your investment.

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At first glance buying a list of hundreds, or even thousands of consumers to whom you can market your product seems like an easy exercise in direct marketing. Slap a mailing in the post or fire off an email and you're out there. The problem is that you've no idea if the addresses, whether postal or email, are valid. In particular, email lists are a risky investment as many companies cobble together addresses for spammers and sell you the same worthless product.

It's very difficult to judge the quality of the addresses you are getting and buying a direct marketing list is only really worthwhile if you have a trusted source. As there is no governing body for list companies a personal recommendation is the best you can hope for.

Even if all the addresses on your list are valid there is no guarantee that any of the recipients of your mailing will be interested in your product or service, and the conversion rate for sales is particularly low. People receive so many direct marketing materials and unsolicited emails these days that they throw away or delete them without reading them - why should yours be any different?

What you really need is a targeted list, where recipients have already expressed an interest in a similar product and a willingness to receive direct mailings. These types of genuine opt-in lists can rarely be bought; addresses of this nature are gathered by a company selling a product, not a broker amassing names for a list service. You're much better off compiling your own list from company records, website registrations and in-store promotions. You'll get a far better response from existing customers than a list of thousands of random addresses on a dubious direct marketing list.

You'll find information and tips on direct mail marketing and direct email marketing in our sections on those topics.