Mailing List Tips and The SRDS!

Mailing lists are a subject that I get many questions about, so I thought I would cover one resource that has a gold mine waiting for you to discover, plus some other tips…

Why is a good list important? Because even the best sales letter and offer on the planet won’t work if you’re sending it to the wrong list.

But when it comes to buying a list, there is a whole new world you need to understand.

There Are Two Types Of Mailing Lists: Compiled And Response Lists.

Compiled lists are lists of people or businesses compiled from records from the DMV, telephone book, voter registration, association memberships, etc.

Response lists are lists of people who bought products or services through direct-response offers. They are called response lists because people on these lists responded to an ad, direct mail, TV, etc. You want response-driven lists (as many names as you can get in your area.) And for the financial services you want people who have bought products related to your products, i.e., videos, books, tapes, seminars, etc.

The only short falling in list selection in the financial services profession is that depending on where you live, the number of people who have bought a book on investing, for example, may be limited. So you may have to mix your list of response-generated names with compiled (and if there aren’t any response-driven lists in your area, just focus on compiled lists.)

Two Kinds Of Response Lists:

There are two types of response-generated mailing lists: Inquiries and Mail Order Buyers.

Inquiries are made up of people who responded to an offer but did not buy.

Mail Order Buyers are those people who have responded to an ad and have bought. This list is usually more expensive than a compiled list or an inquiry list. And for good reasons… it works better! Always try to get a list of individuals who have bought a product related to what you are selling.

Who To Buy Your List From:

Mailing lists are sold via list owners, managers, and brokers. A list owner is a person or firm that makes their house list available through the list rental market.

A list manager is an individual or a firm who markets a list owner’s list for a fee (list managers represent the owners of the list.) And a list broker is a third-party agent who rents mailing lists (list brokers represent you when you are searching for a list for your mailing.)

Lists are the same price regardless of whether you decide to hunt down a list or use a list broker.

If you decide to use a list broker, use several list brokers until you find one that you are comfortable with.

Before you begin your hunt for a list, make sure you know the profile of who you want on your list. For example, if you want to do a seminar on retirement planning and you want retirement-aged individuals with a decent amount of money to diversify, you may want to get individuals aged 45+, with income of at least $50,000, and who have recently bought tapes, videos, or books on investing and/or on estate planning. And you want to get these people maybe within 20-35 miles of where you live (depending on where you live.)

When You Search For A List, There Are Three Crucial Factors You Should Consider:

  • Recency. Recency refers to how recently these people bought a book or tape on investing or estate planning. The SRDS List Source will usually show how many people bought something within the last 24 months, 12 months, 6 months, and 3 months. The most recent names are called “hotline” names. These are the best names because testing has proven that the more recent the purchase, the more likely they are to respond to an offer similar in category.
  • Frequency. Frequency refers to the number of times people on a response list have bought through the mail. A list of “multi-buyers” will usually perform better than a list of one-time buyers. These may cost extra. These may cost extra.
  • Amount. Amount refers to how much money was spent by the people on the list for their mail order purchase. Try to get a list of people who have spent an amount similar in price to the price you are charging for your services. If you are free, then you may want to test different lists at different amounts. Because this way you will discover at what price range your prospects are most likely to become clients. For example, will someone who spent $400 be more likely to become a client than one who spent only $20? ANSWER: Don’t know… have to test.

Whether you are planning for free or you are a high-priced planner, you will want to look at the section titled, “High Ticket Mail Order Buyers Index.” This index represents lists of mail order buyers where the average unit of sales or average order is $50.00 or more. The average amount spent is shown next to each list title found in this index.

If you are going to sell life insurance, annuities, financial plans, estate plans, or whatever, the bottom line is:

You want to rent a list of proven mail order buyers who bought a product through the mail related to whatever you are selling!

Now that you understand the basics of renting a list, let’s look at the SRDS list source. The SRDS list source, published bimonthly, is a comprehensive catalog of mailing lists. Inside this book you’ll find detailed descriptions of over 12,000 mailing lists in over 220 market classifications. It’s a gold mine of good lists.

If you want to look for a list of individuals who have bought information on investments or related items, go to page 16 called “Classification Titles.” If you look under CONSUMER LISTS you’ll see a classification of “insurance buyers,” “investors,” and a few other categories that you may want to consider, like “land investors,” “senior citizens,” and “literature and book buyers.”

If you want to look for even more potential lists, look on page 19 under “Subject/Market Classification Index.”

Test for yourself the SRDS and you’ll discover a whole new world of marketing potential.

Once you have found a list you want to test out, contact the list managers or brokers and have them fax you a “data card” for the lists you are considering.

These data cards will give you more information about the particular lists you are interested in. Also, ask the manager or broker to send you a list of the mailers or “continuations” using the list. These are individuals or firms who have rented the lists you are considering more than one. And it will give you a better feel for the potential success of that list.

This way you see who is mailing successfully to this list. Call these people and see if you can get a copy of what they are sending. This way you’ll be able to see what kind of offers and copy they are responding to.

As you can see, there is a lot more research involved if you want to have success in marketing. Research is the least understood and yet it’s the most important part of your success in marketing.

A good letter and offer won’t be worth a nickel if you are mailing to a lousy list.

The SRDS is not the only source of lists. You should subscribe to DM News [(856) 786-4780/4781] because every issue has valuable information in the DM industry and they reveal the newest lists that are available. You can get good compiled lists from Info USA [(402) 331-1505, or]. You can also get lists of new homeowners and businesses from Info USA too! There might be an opportunity there.

Edith Roman is a good source for response-driven lists. You can reach them at, or Edith Roman Associates, Inc. Blue Hill Plaza, 16th Floor P.O. Box 1556, Pearl River, NY 10965 3104 (914) 620-9000, fax (914) 620-9035.

As a matter of fact, you can search right on their website free of charge over 30,000 lists! It’s a great resource, and it will save you time and money. That bit of advice is worth the small investment you made for this Postcard Marketing Manual.

Otherwise, look through your Yellow Pages under lists, list brokers, mailing lists, and shop for a good broker.

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