If you’ve found direct mail working well for your company, you may be ready to expand your reach and attain more prospects through a rented mailing list. The two overall categories of rented lists are complied lists and response lists. For most businesses response-bases lists will be the way to go. So let’s focus our efforts on what you need to know about this type of list.

A rented list is complied of individuals who have responded, inquired, or purchased in the past from a company with similar products and services as yours. There are five overall subcategories for rented lists:

Inquiry – these people have responded to an offer maybe viewed on TV, from a display ad, radio announcement or publication ad. Inquiry lists are more responsive than complied lists because these people took some action to respond to a marketing campaign.

Controlled circulation – these individuals have requested to receive a free publication (newspaper, newsletter, enewsletter or magazine) and have completed a questionnaire to ensure they are interested in the specific category.

Paid circulation – these are people that have paid to receive a publication (newspaper, newsletter, enewsletter or magazine) so it qualifies them as an interested group of prospects.

Buyers – people who have responded to an offer and purchased a specific product or service.

Attendees – people who have attended a conference or trade show in a particular category.

Now you’re ready to get a list, but how do you do that? The most helpful source for attaining the best mailing list for your company is to use the services of a list broker or a full-service marketing team. There are four main sources to go through for rental mailing list purchases.

  1. List Brokers – find lists for you to rent based on your criteria
  2. List Compliers – they compile lists that they assemble from non-response sources
  3. List Managers – they manage and promote their own lists
  4. List Managers/Brokers – someone who both manages lists and finds lists

To select the best mailing lists you also need to know as much information about the list as possible. A data card should be provided by the list owner or manager, which summarizes the mailing list’s specific details. Here’s some criteria direct mail experts say you should carefully consider before purchasing a list:

Last Updated – this is the date when the list last added new names. If they add new names monthly, this should be indicated on the card along with the increase in count by month.

Date Verified – this was when the list was last reviewed and the updates were verified.

Counts – gives the number of records/names available for each segment.

List Cost – the cost per thousand names that’s charged for the mailing rental. The more targeted/specific category a list is, the more expensive it will be. Try not to change your list criteria once you’ve placed your order, otherwise you may experience run charges if they have to reprocess your list.

Unit of Sale – this is the average amount individuals on this list spend per product or service. If you’re selling something that costs $200 you don’t want a list with a $30 unit of sale amount.

Media Source – this lets you know how the list of names was generated – what source such as TV, print, internet, direct mail, etc. they came from.

Segmentation – provides a set of characteristics about the individuals that you can use to narrow down a list with to get a group of people most likely to respond to your offer.

Minimum Order – the smallest number of names you can order for a list. Many lists require at least a 5,000-name order.

Delivery & Key Codes – provides multiple options for the delivery of the list as well as identifying codes that you can add to each list to track the results of your direct mail campaign.

As you can see, there is a great deal of information to consider when renting a list for direct mail or email purposes. And that’s another thing to consider if you want names that have email addresses and phone numbers too, which give you the opportunity for multiple touches in addition to standard mail. It may seem like a lot, however, a great direct marketing campaign is worth the effort and it really does start with a great list.