Opening Doors Blog

Marketing: Enhancing Your Outreach List

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Your marketing results can only be as good as your outreach list.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, creative will only affect about 20% of your response rate. The other 80% will be a combination of your list quality and a compelling offer.

Who’s on your list?

There’s no question that the best list is a list you’ve grown organically. From past and current customers, to prospects that have requested more information – these are people who have shown an interest in your product or service. And as a general rule, you should always treat them well. Keep in touch, but don’t bother them. Keep their interest by letting them know they are important to you. Special offers and insider information, etc. can be very powerful depending on your business model.  

Of course, there’s always a need to build a list fast to get your message out. Maybe you’re a new company with no customers at all. Maybe you want to expand to a new part of town where you’ve never marketed before. Well, the good news is that you can rent a compiled list from a list broker. The bad news is they may not be expecting your message.

Compiled lists are typically taken from directories, phone books and motor vehicle records, etc. The most common is a geographic list (i.e. all the residents within a 5 mile radius of your business). But you can also select basic demographics (age, sex, income, etc.). For example, you could select homeowners within 10 miles of your office, ages 40 to 60 with a household income (HHI) of $80,000 a year or more.

Finding a good list is a complicated process, so it’s recommended you find a good list broker who has all of the information for finding the best list for your needs. Bring your list broker into the process early to help define your audience.  Provide the broker with your audience requirements, such as demographics, standard industrial classification (SIC) codes, HHI, etc. And be sure to budget enough time to receive your recommendations and to place the order. 

Keep in mind that list brokers are typically paid by the list owner – so there is no additional fee to you. And because you are renting the list – typically for a one-time use, although multiple-use is available for an additional fee – you’ll want to make sure you have set up ways to capture information. Give recipients many ways to give you their information so that you can begin to build an organic list for future messaging.

Most importantly, no matter where you get your list – make sure you speak directly to your target. If it’s a previous customer, let them know you appreciate their business. If it’s someone who happens to live in the right geographical area, let them know you’re in the neighborhood. By addressing the relationship (or lack thereof) in your messaging, you will be providing a good clue as to why they are receiving your message.

No matter what your business is or who your customers are, having a well-directed and well-planned outreach list is vital to successful marketing efforts.


Joe Contrino is CEO of The Contrino Group, a direct marketing agency located in Lafayette, CO.

Joe is an award winning direct marketer with over 32 of years of experience.   Prior to founding The Contrino Group, Joe was a Senior Partner at Suite 700 Direct, Integrated Marketing Solutions Manager at Henry Wurst, Inc., and CEO and owner of Contrino Direct Marketing, Boulder, CO.

Joe is a Direct Marketing Association Certified Direct Marketer Professional, Industry Co-Chair of the Denver Postal Customer Council Board of Directors, and speaks regionally and nationally on direct marketing topics and trends.

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