Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa.

This website is a compilation of Ray's 10 years on the Web.


Power Direct Marketing: The Book

Business at Your Fingertips: House Lists

Long-time business friend and excellent direct marketer, Doug Kercher (the Direct Marketing Group, Vancouver) and I have worked together for nearly two decades. From some of the programs we’ve shared come these thoughts about how you can improve your list selection from your house list.

House lists are made up from sales records, call reports, and general correspondence. Purchase orders carry valuable list-building information, such as full company names, address and postal code, those who have approved the purchase and to whom the material has been shipped.

If your sales reps make regular call reports it’s well to include space for mailing information on the report forms—names, addresses, types of material to be sent. A regular check of correspondence through key departments in your company will reveal additional names for your mailing list.

If you are a manufacturer, don’t overlook your distributors’ mailing lists. Getting them may be difficult, but it’s often possible to include access to the mailing list as part of a contract with a new distributor. Distributors are often more than willing to have you mail to their prospects since your promotion will benefit them. If nothing else works, you might even "pay them" for the use of their lists.

Advertising inquiries is another effective way to add to your house list. Responses to your advertising will provide good names. It’s well to build some type of qualification system into your advertising program. For instance, you can offer a specific piece of literature which will be of interest only to key companies or specific titles.

Call or write to a responsible company officer and say you are going to send literature. Ask for the name of the proper individual to receive it. You will be surprised at the excellent response you receive.

Trade show registrants can be a very effective way to build your house list. Trade shows can be used to develop names for your list—you qualify the prospects right on the spot. And ask for names of others to whom your material should be sent.

Among the usual methods of name collecting are prize drawings, visitor guest logs, and completing literature request forms.

Two of the more imaginative methods from trade shows which have been used effectively are:

The use of a tape recorder

The visitor picks up the microphone and gives their name, position, address, and what type of information is wanted.

A "literature supermarket"

The supermarket is composed of literature with a hook below each piece holding numbered tags. The visitor takes tags representing each piece of literature desired and attaches them to a business card or an address slip. Fulfillment is done following the show.

Now a few points on the care and feeding of your house mailing list:

  1. Plan your list—take time to look at future potential. Should you code by product, dollar value of purchases, date of purchase? By building in all considerations at the initial stage you will be prepared for any future selectivity that may be required.
  2. Make at least one first class mailing to the list each year. The post office will return all undeliverable mail, so you can clean the list.
  3. Keep a rough count of the additions, changes, and deletions made to the list in the course of a year. If these changes don’t amount to at least 20% of the total, your list is probably decaying.
  4. Add your name and home address (and that of several of your marketing team) to the list. It will give you an idea of the timing of receipt of mailings.
  5. Add a "dummy" or "seed" name to the list. It could be an incorrect spelling of your name. It will tell you quickly if your list is being used for some unauthorized purpose.

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