how to create an effective database list

If you were asked to assess the most influential factor in a direct marketing campaign, what would your guess be? Perhaps the bold copywriting that grabs the customer’s attention? Or maybe the creative design that brings the entire piece together? Chances are, you would not choose your database list as the most influential factor of your direct marketing campaign.

Yet according to a article discussing direct marketing best practices, “Creative will only affect about 20% of your response rate. The other 80% will be the list and offer.” The article also asserts that the best list can pull a response 10 times more than the worst list for identical pieces. Clearly, by overlooking your database list, you could be severely misallocating your time and dollars to the wrong area, and overlooking a major component in determining the success of your direct marketing campaign.

So how do you make your list go to work for you? In a nutshell, you’ll need to spend time crafting a list that will allow you to obtain the best ROI. Let’s look at how that can be done in a relatively simple manner.

  1. Assemble your list
    Choose your contacts from either your in-house customer database, a purchased sales leads list or a combination of the two. One of the benefits of utilizing your in-house list – and the reason why it works so well – is because you have already built the level of rapport necessary to lead to a sale.
  2. Segment your list
    Remember that just because you have a database full of contacts does not mean that marketing to everyone on the list is an effective method – segmenting your list is an absolute must. Lyris found that “39% of marketers who segmented their email lists experienced higher open rates, 28% experienced lower unsubscribe rates, and 24% experienced better deliverability and greater revenue.” Because your marketing message should be relevant and applicable to each customer, it is important to divide your list into customer categories where you can easily tailor a message to fit the entire group of recipients. There are many ways that you can slice and dice your list, but a few simple ways to group your customers are by their:

    • Demographic
    • Geographic location in proximity to your business
    • Line of business
    • Level of seniority in company and their role in decision making
  3. Manage your list
    Keep your list clean. Face it: things change, and so do people and addresses. You need to make sure that you are maintaining the most up-to-date and relevant list for your direct marketing campaign. If you are doing a direct mail campaign, then use the National Change of Address service prior to sending out any mail to weed out bad addresses and avoid wasting money on unnecessary printing and postage. Account for undeliverable mail and revise your list accordingly.

It can be overwhelming and timely to begin and maintain your list management process. To learn more about what Conduit can do for your customer database, and to receive a free demonstration, contact our full-service agency today.

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