Direct Mail, Simplified: Part 1 – Compiling Your List

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If you’re like me, direct mail marketing seems like a monstrous undertaking; very intimidating for a small business owner with limited time, resources, and/or funds to work with. But never fear! You can harness the power of direct mail with the right resources and knowledge. Today, I’ll cover some great resources to help you figure out the #1 requirement of direct mail marketing: Your List of Recipients (a.k.a. the people or businesses you’re targeting). Next week, I’ll cover Part 2: The Mail Piece, and how to appeal to those recipients.

Part One: The List

Variables to consider:
1) Are you mailing to a specific type of person or within a specific industry?
2) Does location matter? Do you want to target people in a specific geographic area, such as your local area or a specific state?
3) Finally, what aspect(s) of direct mail marketing are most daunting to you? Is it the time commitment required to compile a mailing list? The overwhelming task of finding valid mailing addresses for the people or businesses you want to target?

If you’re short on time, and want to mail to all the residents or businesses in a given zip code, use the US Postal Service’s Every Door Direct Mail program. This service will save you the time and trouble of compiling your own list of mailing addresses.

If you need to compile a customized mailing list, here’s how to do it:
1) First, use your own contacts list, Google searches, and LinkedIn to find the people or businesses you wish to target.
2) When you’ve compiled a list of names, then search for their mailing addresses via Google or LinkedIn.
3) If the addresses can’t be found in either of those places, try the following resources: Jigsaw (contact info for business professionals), PeekYou or SabaSearch (for individuals), and (individuals or busineses).
4) As a last resort, you can simply purchase a list from a service such as infoUSA. However, I don’t recommend it, since you have no way of knowing whether the data on the list is current or not, and a pre-purchased list will not be as highly targeted and customized as a list you compile yourself.

Stay tuned for Part 2: The Mail Piece, coming next week!

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About Barbara Austin

As the graphic designer & founder of Sweet Dreamz Design, Barbara loves working with women entrepreneurs to brand their businesses. She shares a variety of small business advice and anecdotes here on the blog. Check back every week for new tips, inspirations, and how-to articles, or subscribe to get regular updates in your inbox each week!

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