Everything You Need to Know About Direct Marketing and Mailing List Brokers

Is direct mail dead? Take a look at these direct mail statistics before you answer:

  • Direct mail offers a 29% return on investment.
  • Direct mail open rates can reach up to 90%.
  • Direct mail response rates are 5 to 9 times higher than any other advertising channel.
  • 3 out of 5 U.S. respondents say they enjoy getting mail from brands about new products.

Considering these statistics alone, direct mail is alive and well.

In this blog, we discuss everything you need to know about direct marketing. Learn what a list broker is, the difference between list brokers for direct mail and email list brokers, and how to get in touch with the best direct mailing list service.

What Is Direct Marketing?

Direct marketing is a promotional method that removes the advertising middleman, pitching your company “directly” to a company’s target audience. Organizations that deploy direct marketing campaigns deliver their messages using email, mail, or phone/SMS.

These types of campaigns market products or services that may interest consumers who are likely to be buyers based on their demographics, geographics, buying history, etc. For example, subscribers of Women's Health Magazine™ may receive an email promotion offering special pricing on the newest weight loss supplement. Likewise, young professionals who live in Washington, D.C. might get a flyer in the mail announcing the grand opening of Orangetheory Fitness, while local retirees would not.

Direct Marketing Channels

Direct marketing can take many forms. These can include but are not limited to:

  • Letters
  • Brochures
  • Catalogs
  • Flyers
  • Newsletters
  • Postcards
  • Emails
  • Phone calls
  • Text messages

Direct marketing campaigns usually dispatch mass communications, but personalizing the message can increase engagement. Personalization can be as simple as inserting the recipient’s name, company name, city, or other pertinent contact information within the marketing message or more segmented based on previous engagements, buying history, or interests.

What Is a List Broker?

A list broker, mailing list broker, or mail broker all refer to a person or a company that sources contact lists based on specific criteria requested by their client. They act as a liaison between businesses and list owners.

To suggest the best list option, list brokers need to know the ins and outs of your company’s products/services and target audience, along with your direct marketing campaign’s details. Here are some of the questions you should have answers to before contacting a list broker:

  • What are you promoting?
  • Who do you want to reach?
  • How do you want to reach them?
  • What locations do you want to target?
  • What’s your budget?
  • What’s your timeframe?

List brokers and real estate agents have similar business models.

In the same way an agent searches the housing market for homes that meet your requirements, a list broker does the same when researching the best email or direct mail lists. Once you choose a home (i.e., list), your real estate agent (i.e., list broker) manages the negotiation process with the list owner and receives a commission if the sale goes through.

Brokers are well-connected with companies that sell mailing lists and, depending on their industry specialties, likely have access to the contact information of your desired audience. A list broker’s job is to find the best marketing list companies with reputable contact lists that fit your requests and then handle the list acquisition process.

The right contact list can influence response rates by 1,000%, so partnering with a list broker that knows the best marketing list companies to work with is pivotal.

What Are List Brokers for Direct Mail?

Direct mail list brokers source list owners that have the contact information of your target audience, including their home or office addresses. You’ll want to engage list brokers for direct mail if you intend to launch a direct mail marketing campaign.

What Are Email List Brokers?

An email list broker functions the same as list brokers for direct mail, with one exception. Instead of sourcing list owners that have access to contacts’ physical mailing addresses, they find list owners that can provide relevant email addresses.

Best Direct Mailing List Services

Marketing General Incorporated’s (MGI) direct marketing initiatives build strong one-to-one relationships between associations and their members. We accomplish this by using a multi-channel approach. For example, one study demonstrates a 49% increase in sales and a 125% increase in inquiries from customers who received emails and catalogs. With that in mind, we supplement direct mailings with email marketing for the best results.

Direct mail’s proven ability to attract attention and convey personalized messages means it frequently plays a central role in all stages of membership marketing. Email marketing, when paired with direct mail, reinforces the primary message with ease and timeliness.

MGI has been helping membership organizations grow for over four decades as the largest association-focused direct marketing agency in North America. Learn more about our list management and direct marketing services by requesting a consultation today.

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