Working with List Brokers

resources imageIf you're going to send a direct-mail postcard, brochure, flyer, catalog or other promotional piece, a list broker can help you find the perfect mailing list. Unfortunately, many small businesses skip this crucial step to direct-mail marketing success; despite the fact that the 40/40/20 rule of direct-mail marketing states that a full 40 percent of your success is contingent solely on the quality of your mailing list. Here's everything you need to know about working with list brokers:

Professional list brokers are knowledgeable

Professional list brokers with experience and a good reputation know the direct-mail marketing business inside and out. You tell your list broker who you're targeting, and they'll track down the perfect list for you. List brokers who have been in the business awhile tend to know which lists perform best for your industry; and some list brokers specifically handle mailing lists for one niche industry. Depending on your prime demographics, list brokers might use an online tool such as PsPrint's mailing list generator, or they might contact trusted industry sources with established lists. No matter how your list broker gets your mailing list, you can be sure that when you couple it with the right offer and other important factors, it will have a good chance of an excellent return on investment.

List brokers come cheap, but deliver big payoffs

Mailing list brokers are paid commissions by list sellers. Why go list hunting alone when you can have an expert do the work for you, give you a better chance to succeed, and charge you nothing for it at all? That's just smart business. Some list brokers do offer extra services such as consulting, printing and mailing, getting your mailing permit and other direct-mail services; and they will charge for these. These are things you will either have to do yourself or pay an employee to do, so some businesses prefer to have their list brokers handle everything.

Have your demographics in mind when you call

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Don't expect your list broker to magically understand your business (although they probably will anyway). Make sure you can describe your perfect customer in detail so your list broker can match you up with the best mailing lists tailored to your business, products and services. If you're not sure, think about your three best customers today: What demographic data and other traits do they share? Why do they do business with you? If you don't know, ask! If you're polite, many of your customers will be happy to share information with you.

Avoid scams

Professional list brokers are just that - professionals who are very good at what they do. Just like any industry, however, there are a few scam artists floating around out there. Before choosing a list broker, ask for references, find out how many years of experience they have and in what industries they've served, and whether or not they're a member of a direct marketing association. Make comparisons between several list brokers. You'll soon notice trends that differentiate professionals from the amateurs - and only make a decision after you speak with a handful of brokers. Another way to find reputable list brokers is to ask for referrals from non-competing businesses that use direct-mail marketing. The quality of your mailing list is so integral to the success of any direct-mail marketing campaign you launch, so you should consider having a list broker find your list for you. If you have some direct-mail marketing savvy yourself, you can always use the mailing list tools at PsPrint to instantly generate a mailing list based on demographics such as location, age, income, gender, business size, consumer and other important factors. Either way, know this: without a good mailing list, you're destined for failure; with a good mailing list, you're positioned for a powerful return on investment.