If you’re doing a marketing campaign, you’ve certainly heard a variety of industry terms when it comes to a “marketing list”. Mailing lists, sales leads, response lists, specialty lists, email marketing…what’s the difference? What will work best for you?
First, let’s tackle the “list vs. leads” debacle. Leads are generally when people opt in to receive information – so these prospects are actively looking for your product or service. A list is a collection of names, addresses, phone numbers and a variety of other “selects” known about each individual or business that is used by companies or individuals to send marketing material to multiple recipients. Lists are less “hot” than leads, but with the targeting abilities of marketing list companies today, a list can be very effective and more cost effective.
Response data is similar to sales leads in that the prospect has recently made the effort to get in contact with the advertiser. In general, “response lists are the most effective if the prospects have made the request [for information] within the last three months. These prospects are ideal for highly targeted direct mail campaigns and are commonly referred to as ‘hotline buyers’.” (US Data Corporation)
A specialty list is more like a boutique marketing list. If you’re selling gardening gloves and want to target gardeners, you’ll need a specialty list of gardening enthusiasts. Whether these are subscribers to the Garden Gate Magazine or members of the National Gardening Association, your specialty list will consist of people interested in gardening. These people haven’t necessarily been actively searching for gardening gloves, but they are the most likely audience to be interested in them. Generally, specialty lists cost more than a general marketing list, but the response rates are much higher and the extra investment pays off in the end.
If you are looking to do an email broadcast, you have two choices. You can purchase the email list and do the broadcast on your own or you can purchase the broadcast from a marketing company and they will do the blast for you. With all of the CAN-SPAM laws in place and spam filters on computers, it is recommended that you have a marketing company do the blast for you. They will take care of the unsubscribes, they will make sure your mail piece is CAN-SPAM compliant, they will get your message past the spam filters and you avoid the risk of getting your domain blacklisted by your prospects’ servers. It may seem cheaper to just buy the email list, but when half of your emails bounce back because your domain isn’t white-listed on your prospects’ servers, or you get sued because you don’t have the correct information in your Subject Line, your campaign will get much more costly and less cost effective.