Are you neglecting your mailing list and paying too much attention
to other, more "hi-tech" means of communications? Even
if you only use it once a year to send corporate Season's Greetings,
your mailing list can be the cornerstone of a good communications
Here are a few guidelines to review before your next mailing:
The first decision is whether to use an in-house mailing list or
to buy a list from a list broker. Each method has its advantages
Maintaining in-house mailing lists can be time-consuming. However
you may find it well worth the investment - even a small list can
be a valuable resource. If you already maintain lists for other
purposes and they are appropriate for your mailing don't hesitate
to use them. It is vital to ensure accuracy and to do so on an ongoing
basis. Every returned letter costs you twice as much postage.
Two major advantages of in-house lists are that they can be used
for repeated mailings and can be sold to other organizations. Consider
trading lists with other organizations. Trading lists can save a
great deal of money and diversify your database, benefitting both
Many organizations buy mailing lists from list brokers. Take the
time to ask other people in your field for recommendations and ask
the broker for samples. Also try to target your mailing as specifically
as possible. A list that is too broad can be a waste of time and
money. For list brokers in your area look in The Yellow Pages -
under "Mailing Lists & Services." As with everything,
it pays to shop around.
The main advantage of buying a list lies in customization. A list
broker can supply very specific addresses, have lists sorted to
your requirements and provide them in a variety of formats. Some
brokers will even research and produce lists specifically for your
needs. You can also rely on the accuracy of a good broker's list.
Most list brokers update their lists monthly and sometimes weekly.
The primary disadvantage of buying a list is the expense. In addition,
many brokers will only allow you to use the list once.
Of course, mailings should only be part of your public and media
relations strategy. With the right planning, they can be a powerful
tool. It's all about keeping your organization first and foremost
in the minds of the people you want to reach.
Sources provides media lists and government lists.
For more information see www.sources.com/maillist.htm.