Whether you're a real estate agent embarking on your first campaign or an entrepreneur trying to find a simpler way to go about marketing your services, here's an easy step-by-step guide on how to make a mailing list for your next direct mail campaign.
Ready to embark on your new elevated marketing journey? Then look no further! At Magnets USA® and LifeLong Gifts™ we offer a full range of mailing services to make things simple and stress-free. Everything from address printing, sealing envelopes, dropping your mail at the post office, and purchasing a new mailing list, we've got you covered.
Why Direct Mail Matters
It may be surprising to hear, but direct mail continues to be one of the most effective ways to reach audiences and get a positive return on investment (ROI). In fact, according to a recent survey, "74% of marketers say it provides the best ROI out of all their efforts, and see considerably more recipients take action after getting a direct mailing."
You may also be surprised to hear that a lot of people even prefer mail marketing! Think about it: How many ads do you see online each day? And out of those, how many do you remember? Exactly. People like direct mail because it's personal. Somebody took the time to send them a letter, and regardless of what's in the envelope, that little act means something.
Another thing people like about mail is that it's tangible; no matter what it is, mail is something you touch and feel. Plus, it's exciting to open, even if you can tell it's spam. But since you're sending a gift, just imagine how excited your recipients will be.
Basically, if you're looking to make lasting impressions that lead to meaningful relationships with clients, direct mail is the way to go.
Getting Started with Your Mailing List
The first step in any direct mail campaign is to get a mailing list together. Here's everything you need to know to get started.
You're going to want to figure out what you'll be sending and how much. Keep in mind that at Magnets USA and LifeLong Gifts, the order minimum for mailing services is 200 pieces, and our products are sold in increments of 100.
So let's say that you want to mail Personalized Magnetic Calendars, one of the most popular, long-lasting, and affordable client appreciation gifts around. That means you need to purchase at least 200 items to send to at least 200 addresses.
Pro tip: It's never a bad idea to order more than you need. For example, if you have 250 addresses, you might feel like it's not worth it to buy 300 calendars. However, any calendars that are left over—50 in this case—will be sent to you. This way, you have extras on hand to pass out whenever you need a quick gift for a new connection or to send to someone you forgot about. So it never hurts to keep some around. You never know when you might need them!
Before you create your mailing list, you need to ask yourself a few questions.
Once you've answered those questions, it's time to gather names and addresses, and there are a few ways to do so.
Columns and Formatting
Before we get into purchasing lists, let's assume you're building a list from scratch or using information you already have on hand. To ensure a smooth process, your mailing list needs to be in one of two formats: Microsoft Excel (.xls) or Comma-Separated Values (.csv). In other words, the easiest way to make your list is with Excel.
Next, you're going to want to organize your list into three columns:
Consistency is key here, so be sure to format everything correctly and take your time to avoid errors. Lists that aren't formatted correctly may need adjustments, costing you time and money down the line. That said, mistakes happen. Don't worry if you can't get it perfect—we can provide list maintenance and cleanup as an additional service, and we can even merge lists if you need to combine multiple lists.
Once you're finished entering all the information into your list, make sure to save it and clearly name it something that's easy to store and identify. For example, if I were saving a list I made, I'd name it Wesley Laird - Mailing List - 8.24.23. Or something like that.
Now all that's left is to export your list to an .xls or .csv file. You can do this by looking for the "file" tab in Excel and scrolling down to "export". You'll then be shown a few different formatting options you can export your list as, but remember, the only two acceptable formats are .xls or .csv, so be sure to select accordingly.
Scrubbing and Verification
After you submit your mailing list, we'll run it through a verification process called the Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS). CASS goes through your list and standardizes all the information you provide so it meets USPS requirements. After that, we use Deliver Point Validation (DPV) to check for undeliverable addresses and update any addresses that are in the permanent change-of-address records.
The last stage of the scrubbing and verification process is to find and remove duplicate addresses. While I'm sure nobody would mind getting two gifts, we want to help you get the most out of your marketing dollars by making sure you're reaching as many different people as possible.
Purchasing a Mailing List
That's right! You can skip it all and just purchase a list. No formatting, no scrubbing, no hassle. Just send us the information on what kind of addresses you want to send your gifts to, and that's it! You can buy a list based on something as vague as a zip code, and you can get one based on something as specific as household size. No matter your goal, we can get you a list that will meet your needs. And the best part? After you purchase a list, you can reuse that list as much as you want.
Regardless of whether you purchased your list or assembled it by hand, you're going to have to pick a delivery option. They may seem scary, but they're actually pretty straightforward. Here's each option and what they mean:
After making your choice, the final step is to select a drop date. This will be the window you'd like your mail dropped off at the post office.
And that's it!
It's important to be realistic about delivery times when it comes to direct mail. They do call it snail mail after all. With that in mind, be sure to plan ahead and complete your mailing preparations as early as possible.
When your chosen drop date arrives, we'll take your mailing to the post office, where it will then be prepared for delivery, usually in the next couple of days. Standard Mail takes approximately 10–14 business days to deliver, and First-Class Mail typically takes around 5-7 business days. However, remember that USPS delivery times can vary based on the time of year and other factors.
Keep in mind that once your order is dropped off at the post office, it's fully in the hands of the USPS. In order to keep track of when your mailing has arrived, we recommend adding your own address to your list. This way, you'll receive one of your calendars around the same time that the rest of your mailing has been delivered.
Mailing Services at Magnets USA® and LifeLong Gifts™
In addition to our full bulk mailing services described in this blog, we also offer other similar services. We can print addresses on envelopes, stuff your gifts into envelopes and wet-seal them shut, stuff and seal without printing addresses, and more. So if you're the type who prefers to do things yourself but doesn't want to spend time licking envelopes, let us handle the little stuff so you can focus on the big stuff.
Setting up a direct mail campaign is pretty straightforward, and as we just learned, there's more than one way to get it done. So go out with your newfound knowledge and embark on a direct mail campaign that'll reach new clients, stay connected to ones from the past, and help you reach your business goals!
Remember, at Magnets USA® and LifeLong Gifts™, we're here to support you every step of the way. Our marketing experts are standing by, ready to develop a strategy tailored to your unique needs. If you have any questions or are ready to launch your new campaign, give us a call at 800.869.7562 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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