The first step to using direct mail effectively is to understand the differences between the two main types of mailing lists: Response and Compiled

Definition of Response Mailing Lists: These are people who have proven their interest in direct mail offers by recently purchasing via direct mail

Examples of Response Mailing Lists:

  • Association members
  • Book buyers
  • Catalog product buyers
  • Seminar or conference attendees
  • Subscribers to publications such as magazines and newsletters

When to Use a Response Mailing List:

  • If you have a product or service which sells for more than $100
  • To focus on proven buyers of a product or service similar to yours
  • If you need to market nationally

Definition of Compiled Mailing Lists: Generic lists created from public records, phone directories, online information sources, and telemarketing surveys

Examples of Compiled Mailing Lists:

  • Business SIC code lists
  • Lists of state-licensed professionals
  • Residential household lists
  • People who recently moved
  • People who recently had a child

When to Use a Compiled Mailing List:

  • To focus on very specific selection elements such as geography, age, business type, or business size
  • If you want to mail to the same names multiple times per year
  • If you need to do telemarketing as part of your lead generation process

Which types of mailing lists are the best?

Our most successful mailing list clients select their lists using this hierarchy to choose available lists from top to bottom priority:

  1. Members of professional associations (see below to learn why these lists work so well)
  2. Book buyers or paid subscribers to newsletters and magazines
  3. Buyers from direct mail catalogs
  4. Qualified subscribers to free industry publications (sometimes called “controlled circulation”)
  5. Contacts from annual industry directories
  6. Compiled lists

Direct Mail Insiders Tip:
3 Reasons Why Association Members Mailing Lists Are So Responsive

  1. Associations keep their lists very clean. Associations are constantly sending newsletters, magazines, and promotional materials to their members. Many of these mailings are first-class, which result in quick change-of-address corrections.
  2. Members of an association are more interested than their non-member counterparts in learning how to improve their career. The more someone pays in membership dues, the more likely they are to be interested in products and services which will make them better at doing their job.
  3. Many association lists are difficult for list brokers and marketers to find, so they are not heavily mailed. Which leads to better results for those savvy mailers who are able to track down and mail to association members.

It’s crucial to understand the differences between the two main types of mailing lists – Response and Compiled – in order to effectively use direct mail. Check out our Best Lists by Market Segment to achieve your direct mail marketing goals.