The 80/20 Way To Find New Customers: Email and Snail Mail Lists (Guest Post)

Guest Post by my friend, Perry Marshall

In a marketing world dominated by Google AdWords and SEO, most people don’t realize the vast range of options you have when you rent and buy snail-mail lists, email lists and phone lists.

In my book 80/20 Sales and Marketing, I write about two separate lists that exist to help you find potential clients. The first is a compiled list. These lists include things you know about certain groups of people, generally based on publicly available information. They can be anything from, “All the dental offices in the United States,” to “All the households in the zip code 68505.” Compiled lists are much simpler than calling random names out of a phone book.

To narrow down your corner of the market within compiled lists, get a list of SIC codes. These “Standard Industry Classification” codes are four-digit numbers that the U.S. government uses to categorize businesses. If you sell stationery, you can get a list of all of the companies with SIC code 5943 for stationery stores. You’re job just got easier. You can even get more specific. For example: “I want vice presidents of automotive companies with more than $10 million in revenue.”

Compiled lists will cost you money (typically one cent to a dollar per name on the list), and the prices will increase as the lists get more specific.  The problem with compiled lists, though, is that it’s just a list. It’s better than nothing, but most of the names have potential to yield a low response.

Your other option is a response list. These lists have narrowed down a specific audience for you. They include people who have bought something, subscribed to something, etc. Response list titles could range from, “Everyone who has subscribed to Black Belt magazine in the past 90 days,” to “People who donated more than $100 to the Sierra Club in the past two years.”

Response lists are much more valuable, and therefore, much more expensive. The theory is that because they have recently spent money on something, they are more likely to respond to a similar offer. This means response lists can cost anywhere from 10 cents to several dollars per name.

Buying either of these lists will eliminate 90 to 99 percent of your time wasters, whether you’re buying web traffic, sending out emails or making dreaded cold calls. When you purchase this type of information, you’re buying a clearer picture of who exactly you’re talking to and what you should say. A few popular sources for mailing lists include the Standard Rate and Data Service, which is an online subscription service, Acxiom’s List Direct, NextMark.com and Hoovers.com. I buy lists from Ben Morris at Kristalytics, which accesses more than 150 million household records.

You also need to be mindful of the amount of money you’re spending on lists versus what you’re spending on postage. If you get a cheap list and spend a large sum of money mailing information to people who will never respond, you’re losing in the long run. It’s better to spend $2 per name and mail 500 letters to targeted prospects. Remember, the more junk you can eliminate before you spend money and effort, the more effective you will be.

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