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When Good Mailing Lists Go Bad

As much as we don’t like to admit it, good mailing lists — well-targeted, high-quality mailing lists — go bad. Understanding the causes behind increasing inaccuracies and decreasing responses can help you navigate common roadblocks and lead you toward campaign success.

Issue One: List Decay

Frankly, mailing lists begin to decline in quality the moment they are produced. You have to think of a list as a living, breathing thing: as the people represented on the list change, the accuracy of the list declines. This is referred to as list decay. Here are two solutions to try:

1. Mail quickly.

Your mailing list is in its best condition when you first receive it from your list provider. Order your list as close to your need-by date as possible and begin your campaign quickly thereafter. Leading list compilers estimate that consumer direct mail lists decay at a rate of 1 – 2% monthly, so the longer you wait, the more likely you are to lose some of the benefits of the list you have selected.

2. NCOA multi-use lists.

Prolific mailers find value in multi-use lists, but with an estimated 15% of the American population moving annually (that’s just over 40 million moves), maintaining a quality, mailable list for long term use requires a service like NCOA. The USPS® NCOALink® service provides you with intelligence on moves (including updated addresses) while being Move Update compliant.

Issue Two: List Fatigue

Yes, absolutely, mailing lists get tired! Though performance may at one time have been optimal, with continued contact, and as recipients become desensitized to your offer, responses and conversions will decline. This is referred to as list fatigue. Here are two solutions to try:

1. Incorporate SourcePlus.

SourcePlus is a sophisticated list selection technology that seeks unique records among the nation’s leading consumer files. With SourcePlus, instead of only mailing to the consumers on your preferred list, multiple data sources can be tapped to identify new, fresh records that could be more receptive to your messaging and offers. For more information on ending list fatigue with SourcePlus, click here.

2. Test new mailing lists.

Perhaps a change in your target market will do your campaign good. A SnapShot descriptive model will use the intelligence within your list of current customers to create a report that will help to identify prospects that look just like your best customers. This process will not only provide you with a highly-targeted group of prospects, but also will help you glean valuable insight into the demographic make-up of your current customers.

Examine your current marketing plan to see if list decay and/or fatigue could be diminishing your results.  Implementing the aforementioned solutions could be just the fix you need!

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