A mailing list is vital to the success of your marketing campaign. If you don’t have anyone to target, how will you get your message out there?

If you’re keen to grow your business, growing your mailing list should be a top priority for you. So how do you do it? How do you find the best mailing list for your campaign?

You have two choices: you either buy or rent a pre-written list, or you create your own.

Buy or rent a pre-written mailing list

If you are going to go down this route there are again two ways you can do it: either use a direct marketing list source that you then hunt through using search parameters that you have predetermined or you use a list broker.

Demographic targeting

The standard way of searching for a new list of customers to target is to breakdown your list of current customers:

  1. Age
  2. Gender
  3. Location
  4. Household income
  5. Family makeup
  6. Interests
  7. hobbies

The sort of information that is simple to use and easy to understand. The only problem with trying to use a sweeping catch-all is that you are assuming everyone who fits into your parameters will be interested in what you are selling, but that is the chance you have to take.

Behavioural targeting

You can also create a mailing list based on people’s habits, rather than their demographic. This is a new way for targeting, grown alongside the rise of ecommerce.

This behavioural model takes into account customers specific shopping habits:

  1. How they like to shop, online, through a catalogue, in store.
  2. How much they typically spend.
  3. How often they purchase something.
  4. Which categories they buy from e.g. homeware, clothing, gardening.

This behavioural targeting model can be hugely effective, more so that demographic targeting, as it doesn’t have to assume anything about the customer, it is based on the customer’s own shopping habits.

However it doesn’t allow you to delve down further and categorically state that you know your customers intimately, it merely gives you much more of a steer as to whether you are barking up the right tree or not.

List broker

The list broker does the above for you and presents you with numerous options.

You simply tell the list broker what you’re selling and they go off and find lists of people pertinent to your business.

For example, if you sell hardware tools, the list broker will track down lists of people who have purchased hardware equipment in the past and present you their findings.

The advantage of using a list broker is that they know the industry, they can help you negotiate the best rates for buying or renting lists and they steer you away from the red herrings.

Bear in mind however, there are a few reasons why you shouldn’t buy a mailing list:

  1. Namely you’ll violate the rules of consent set out by GDPR.
  2. The people on the purchased or rented list don’t actually know who you are.
  3. You could come across as annoying and harm your valuable reputation.

Create your own mailing list

The most reliable way to find the best mailing list for your campaign is to create your own mailing list.

1. Give people a reason to give you their details.

If you want to build trust and a relationship, give them something they want: ebooks, webinars, a template, some type of long form content that feels like its value for money. The more content you produce to attract a wider audience, the more people you can target and the larger your mailing list will become.

2. Promote your free gifts through your marketing channels.

Market the crap out of your free gifts - shout about them on your social media platforms, use facebook ads, include them in your email newsletter to existing clients, encourage recipients to share your news widely. Run a PPC campaign. Hand them out at trade shows, conferences and events. Get people talking about you.

3. Run creative marketing campaigns and build your mailing lists organically.

Don’t assume once you have an address that is the end of line with that customer. People like to share with family and friends, so give them something worth sharing. Create content that is shareable, likeable and extremely useful and always include a call to action on all of your literature. Tell people what it is that you want them to do, they aren’t mind readers.

4. Include share buttons and your contact information in all of your content.

Always include share buttons on all of your digital content, you never know who will find it useful and want to help spread your message far and wide.

5. Categorise your existing mailing list by customer persona.

Create your customer profiles. Break them down into demographic and behavioural characteristics. Don’t assume one size of marketing will fit all. People are more likely to respond to your marketing campaigns if you specifically solve their particular problem.

However you choose to find the best mailing list for your campaign, don’t stick to one method alone, the point of your campaign is success so cast your net wide and encompass as many different approaches to build your mailing list as you can.

The most important thing to remember is that there is no one way to find and build your mailing list. Be imaginative.