Direct Marketing Lists – Avoid Ho-Hum and Get Extraordinary Results

The marketing Silly Season is upon us.

You know, the one that runs from the end of October into the beginning of January.

The frenzy begins with Halloween (scary) and Election Day (scarier). After more anxious positioning, there’s Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Following a brief period of analyzing data, adjusting tactics, licking wounds or planning to celebrate, it’s time for the big kahunas: Christmas and New Years Day.

Every business needs to survive this period.

When the dust settles, how much money will you and your business really make? What is it that truly makes the difference between bleeding funds and experiencing success?

What about those businesses that succeed every year?

No matter what the economy is doing?

Consider the automobile industry. The auto industry? Isn’t this a doom and gloom situation? Exactly.

Too many dealerships are floundering. Yet, there are a few that advance and conquer – every year. What do these guys do that’s different than the rest?

Here’s one thing they know: you can buy a quick list of “tire-kickers” from anyone. Instead of this, you need a list filled with qualified sales leads who are actually ready to buy.

How do you get a list like this?

You need two things:

The first necessity is a solid, ethical data provider.

How can ethical data help your bottom line?

Consider this shocking statistic from the Data Warehousing Institute (DWI):

U.S. businesses waste $600 billion each year on bad data. Another study says 2% of contact records become obsolete each month.

Some data companies know their data is out of date – but they sell it anyway. They don’t take the time or make the effort to ensure their lists are recent.

It’s easy to see how you lose money this way.

You could send a pile of mailers to homes where people have moved out. The homes may sit empty for awhile. New owners don’t have the same interests or circumstances as the old residents. For the same reason, your emails don’t get delivered. This all means that far fewer people will be responding to your marketing.

Even worse, some data companies don’t comply with the law about how they get their data. In a world where there are more and more lawsuits every day, you don’t want to share consequences from the decisions of an unscrupulous list company!

Many people think that “ethical” means more restrictive lists with less people in them. This is simply not true. Some of the best data providers actually have more data. They simply went the extra mile to get more and better data.

The second thing you need to succeed with a marketing list is this:

An effective list selection strategy.

Why is this so important, and how do you do it right?

First of all, your method for selecting your list is the single most powerful leverage you have to succeed with your marketing.

Average salespeople think they just need enough prospects.

What they don’t think of is this: gaining prospects costs money. If you’re going to spend money, you need to get only the best prospects – not suspects. You want people ready to buy. If your list has a higher percentage of people ready to buy, it’s really a less expensive list.

Here’s what the top 1% of salespeople know:

The salespeople who walk away with all the money are extremely selective of which prospects they go after.

Let’s go back to the auto industry example.

Just buying a list of owners with a certain vehicle make or model is not enough. To get the most ROI, smart car dealers combine these criteria with additional selection strategy, such as demographic and lifestyle data.

Sometimes for a few pennies or even a fraction of a penny per record, you can target potential buyers by age, income, net worth, credit worthiness, marital status, gender, children, education, interests.

Not only should you target people who prefer a certain vehicle type.

Here’s a mind-expanding list of questions.

Smart auto industry marketers are always asking these questions about their prospects. (And you should be asking similar questions when targeting your customers.)

Do your customers prefer new or used?
What about households with N number of vehicles?
How many months do these owners have remaining on their auto loan?
What fuel type do they want?
What options or packages do they always get when they buy?
What about drive type? 4WD, 4×2, 4×4, AWD, FWD, RWD?
How much do their vehicles weigh? For example, truck owners with more than a 1-ton truck? Or small trucks?
What about RV owners?
What languages do they speak? Spanish, Vietnamese, etc.

Considering factors such as these will generate the maximum number of leads, buyers, and ultimately profit – all at the lowest cost per lead.

This is truly how you get extraordinary results from direct marketing lists.