Read on for a special offer from The Ambit Works to get your next direct mail list data up to par and increase the ROI on your mailings!


When it comes to direct mail, there’s a rule that the most important key to success is the list–and it’s true. Mail to the wrong list, and even the best offer and most eye-catching creative goes to waste. (Those are the other two elements of success, by the way!) It’s very easy to buy a list, but what’s hard is buying the RIGHT list. Often when clients come to us with a mailing list, we discover that they have been paying for and using lists compiled from generic data sources–and their results have been falling flat.

This generic data is the info that organizations compile on all of us as consumers, based on where the post office thinks we live, how we apply for credit cards, when we get our driver’s license renewed, etc. It’s basic data that is often outdated to the tune of 15%-20% poor quality. This means you can expect 15%-20% returns when using these types of list–and that the list isn’t as targeted as you think it is.

What’s the answer? DON’T buy a direct mail marketing list without knowing what all your options are. Do one of these things instead.

Use Every Door Direct Mail to Target a Geographic Area

If you’re a business targeting a specific geographic area, the USPS Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) program is a fantastic option. Instead of trying to deliver to people, you’re delivering to addresses. You can use the USPS’s free route search to create a custom carrier route based on basic demographic information for the route, such as residential versus business, size of the family, income and age.

The advantage here is that you’re guaranteed each piece you send will be delivered. The post office also isn’t charging you to sort your mail, they’re just charging you reduced postage to simply put a stack of mailers into a carrier’s bag, so you’re instantly reducing the cost of conducting your mailing while still hitting the demographic qualities you want.

At Ambit, we often manage EDDM campaigns, from targeting to design and creative to conducting the mailing itself. Check out our tips for best practices when it comes to Every Door Direct Mail for more ideas, and read on for a special offer for a FREE EDDM Plan & Analysis for your next mailing.

Strategic List Compilation to Target a Specific Audience

Sometimes, the exact neighborhood is less important than a very specific audience. When your target audience goes beyond income, location and other basic demographic information collected by the USPS, buying a generic list will be an expensive endeavor because (1) it can be hard to hunt down specific characteristics in a purchased list, and (2) often, that list will be largely outdated.

So, when faced with this type of challenge, we have a strategic method for data compilation. The best way to illustrate this is with an example. We did a mailing for Joint Ventures, a Boston-based physical therapy company. The company wanted to target people with good health insurance coverage or reimbursement for physical therapy. Because insurance coverage quality isn’t a data point a mailing house would collect for list data, buying a list would have been impossible.

Instead, we thought about what other categories good health insurance coverage would fall under, and came to the conclusion that civil servants like military, police, fire and teachers, because their patient data showed that these groups had good health coverage that offered reimbursement.

Mailing to this group in the target geographic area proved too narrow, so we then further expanded it to include residents with active lifestyles (part of Joint Ventures’ target market) by targeting subscribers of magazines like Sports Illustrated, Men’s Health, Runner’s World, Road & Track Magazine and others.

These lists underwent a rigorous cleanse using all of the comparison databases available to us to reduce returns and undeliverables, which can often be up to 20% on purchased lists if they are not cleaned. But what was most important to the targeting of this mailer was the human component: our data experts at Ambit consulting with the client on who they wanted to target, and then developing a creative way into that target market using the data available.

We’re here to help. For a limited time, we’re offering a FREE Direct Mail Analysis! Click here to choose from an Every Door Direct Mail Plan & Analysis or a Free Data Review for Your Mailing List!

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