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Direct Mail

"From the time I began my business until today, I have expended energy and money on my mailing list. Bankers believe that our physical plant and our computer systems are our main assets but they are mistaken. It's our list."

       Lillian Vernon, CEO of Lillian Vernon Corp., in her book, An Eye for Winners

The most vital aspect of a direct mail marketing campaign isn't a creative letter or a dazzling offer. It's a good mailing list of prospects.

In fact, advertising professionals say that as much as 60 percent of your success in direct mail depends on getting the right names. But before you can find the perfect list, you need to define your ideal customer based on factors such as:

  • Geographic location
  • Age, gender and income level
  • Profession or educational level
  • Hobbies
  • Size of a company
  • If you're trying to sell luxury cars to affluent people, it's obviously a waste of money to mail an offer to folks earning $30,000 a year. But that's just what some companies do. This is truly one area where you can be "penny wise and pound foolish."

    You can try to search for mailing lists yourself but there are literally thousands to choose from. Some are compiled from the names of people who have responded to an advertisement or purchased a product. Others are simply lists of people in a certain profession, such as doctors or landscapers.

    It's generally best to find a broker who can identify the right lists for your company. Then, make sure the names are current. Even a list that's 12 months old already has many names and addresses on it that are no longer accurate because people move, close post office boxes, retire, and make other changes.

    Test the Waters: Once you find some lists that you believe will work, try a small mailing before you leap into a huge campaign. Ronald J. Cappuccio, J.D., LL.M.(Tax) 1800 Chapel Avenue West Suite 128 Cherry Hill, NJ 08002 Phone:(856) 665-2121      Fax: (856) 665-9005 Email:

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