Printing Partners
Mailing List Purchasing  Mailing Services — List Management
Mailing List Management
One of the key factors in successful direct marketing is having a targeted & up-to-date mailing list.
These pages will assist you in achieving your marketing objectives through mailing list best practices. They will share tips on developing and managing a house mailing list to communicate with current clients, as well as outlining the steps of purchasing lists to communicate with prospective clients.

When recipients interact with direct mail, they typically do so from entities with which they are already familiar. That makes your mailing list the most important part of your Direct Mail campaign. Successful marketers have learned that targeting specific audiences with customized offers that are directly relevant to the recipient, dramatically increases response rates and a greater return on their investment.

List Purchasing
Mailing lists can be generated and purchased based on criteria determined by you. There are a wide variety of criteria categories to choose from; a few of the most common categories include: Age, Geographic Location, Income level, Marital Status and Family Size.

Find new prospects similar to your current clients
Your client list can go through list analysis to determine the average demographics of your current clients. Those demographics can then be used to find similar prospects who match your current clients.

Saturation Mailing
If you simply want everyone within a radius of a specific geographic location to receive your mailing piece, you can have a saturation mailing list purchased for you, or you can utilize USPS’s Every Door Direct Mail service.

Printing Partners Guide to Lists
All of this list information is available in our List Guide, which is available for download in PDF format here.

Database Development
There is no one set of guidelines that apply to all companies and the data they should collect, every situation is different. To help you know what data to collect; you should ask:

“What data will be needed in order to carry on a meaningful dialog with the audience?”

Write down a list of all of the things you will need to accomplish the tasks in question. Those things should be included in your database. Remember: it is better to remove data you don’t need, than to not have it and make assumptions.

Companies should consider collecting this information at minimum:

  • Name of individual
  • Company or organization
  • Email address
  • Social Media Handles (Twitter, Facebook,
    LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.)
  • Mailing address
  • Telephone number
  • Source of inquiry or order
  • Date and purchase details
  • Recency/frequency/monetary purchase history
  • Credit history and rating
  • Relevant demographics, such as:
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Marital status
    • Children
    • Lifestyle data
  • Relevant organizational information
    • Size of firm
    • Revenues
    • Number of employees
  • Household size

This can be a lot to put in a database, but remember: each situation is different. Choose what is relevant to your objectives.

In general, a client/customer database will deplete itself by 25% each year. This is due to relocation, changing jobs, attitudes, demographic changes, and satisfaction with your product/service.

It is good to throughly review a database at least once a year; twice a year is better.

Bi-Annual Database To Do List:

  • Update or remove any listings from mail that has been returned
  • Remove duplicate records
  • NCOA (National Change of Address) Processing (updated every 90 days by USPS)
  • Check the spelling of all names, businesses and street addresses
  • Ensure that listings are formatted as you intend. (ie. no listings are keyed in ALL CAPS, there are no hidden spaces before or after text in each cell)

House Lists

When messaging current or lapsed clients, a house list will need to be used. A house list is a list of current and lapsed clients with whom a company has done business.

Cleaning a House List
Your house mailing list should have “maintenance” done to it a few times a year depending on the people or companies listed on it. If your audience has a high turn-over rate or they change addresses frequently, you should adjust the number of times you clean-up your list each year.

Below are a few of the things to consider when performing that “maintenance”.

Remove any duplicate records.

CASS Certification
The CASS certification process is designed in cooperation with the mailing industry to improve the accuracy of postal codes, i.e., 5-digit ZIP®, ZIP + 4®, delivery point (DPCs), and carrier route codes that appear on mailpieces.

National Change of Address (NCOA)
A secure dataset of permanent change-of-address (COA) records consisting of the names and addresses of individuals, families and businesses that have filed a change-of-address with the USPS.

Consistent Column Data
Ensure that the information in each column is concise and consistent. (ie. First name column should include only first name, not “Mr.” or “Mrs.”)

Proof Reading
Spellcheck should never be trusted when it comes to mailing lists. The entire list should be proof read by a human being for spelling, typos, and other common errors.

All non-mail data should remain intact within a database throughout the cleaning process. Once a list has been cleaned, the additional data can be used to segment the list based on who is being targeted (ie. lapsed clients, high-profile clients, clients who use certain services or purchase certain products, etc.)

Compiled vs. Direct Response
Compiled lists have addresses and information that have been gathered from scanning multiple sources like directories, subscriptions, phone books, motor vehicle records and geographic location. This list type is very general and is typically used for saturation mailing.

Direct response lists are compiled from direct marketing or personal responses. These lists are populated by records that have shown interest in a particular area. They can be very targeted and can bring a higher return depending on what you are offering.

There is no way to look at a list and know whether it is compiled or direct response. The mail house must be asked specifically for each list.

Saturation vs. Targeted Lists
Saturation vs. targetedSaturation Lists
Saturation mail is defined as mailing to 90% of residential addresses within the route. The addresses must also be in walk sequence order.

Saturation mailing is known as the “spray and pray” method of direct mail. This is due to the lack of targeting and segmentation that can be done to a mailing list.

ecr vs eddmEnhanced carrier route (ECR) Saturation
Purchased from a mailing house, ECR Saturation mailing lists consist of addresses in a specific geographic area that are listed in walk sequence order. A mailing permit is required. Addresses may not be removed from a saturation mailing list.

Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)
USPS’ Every Door Direct Mail service is an easy, cost-effective way to reach potential customers near a specific location. Recipients of mailpieces are determined by chosen mail routes. Mailers do not need a permit when using EDDM when mailing up to 5,000 pieces per zip code.

Targeted Mailing Lists
Targeted mailing lists allow marketers to increase their return on investment by mailing only to consumers who are likely to be interested in their product and/or service.

While targeted mailing lists cost more per listing than saturation lists, the return is much higher because the recipients are more likely to be interested in the marketer’s product and/or service.

In short, MailBest™ allows businesses to have their current mailing list analyzed to generate a new list of potential prospects who are similar to the business’ current clients.
How it works:
An uploaded client list with at least 1,250 records is profiled to determine the demographics and behavioral information of those within the database. Sophisticated software is then used to check not only the statistical relevance of individual demographic and behavioral information, but also the occurrences of multiple conditions. This means that how the information acts with each other is more important in this analysis than how the categories stand up individually.

Specialty Lists
Specialty lists are available for the following categories:

Real property data
New borrowers
New homeowners monthly
New homeowners weekly
New movers monthly
New movers weekly
Dun & Bradstreet business lists
School district
Hospital database
Medical practice
Nursing and retirement homes

Generated Targeted Lists
Targeted lists can be generated based on specific criteria selected by the marketer.

Key List Terms

House List:
a list of current and lapsed clients with whom a company has done business.

Lapsed Clients:
people/businesses who were once clients, but have not made any business transactions with the company for at least one year.

a person or business regarded as likely to become a customer.

Prospecting List:
a list of potential prospects.

Audience Propensities:
categories designed to predict consumer behavior, as well as product and brand affinities. They provide insight into a consumer’s likelihood to respond, convert and remain loyal.

List Analysis
A supplied mailing list can be put through analysis to fine-tune the data to increase cost-efficiency and deliverability rates.

  • This can help to adhere to postal regulations and increase deliverability
    • Improper addresses are fixed
    • Ensure all required mailing information is available
  • Help to avoid wasted dollars to increase cost-efficiency
    • Records with improper addresses that could not be fixed are removed
    • Duplicate records are removed

Do you really want to know who your customers / members are? During analysis, the demographics of your list entries can be pulled and averaged to determine the demographics of your list as a whole. These demographics can then be used as criteria for list purchasing.