Martha Retallick

Article Summary:

Guidelines for creating and growing your own direct mail list.

How to Create and Grow your Mailing List

Before you create any direct mail piece, whether it's a postcard or a letter, do a little planning. Ask yourself:

  1. Why are you doing this mailing? Do you want to get new clients? Or do you want to stay in touch with existing clients?

  2. To whom are you going to be mailing? Which begs another question: who's on your mailing list?

Now, you may be saying, "Martha, how can you ask such a thing? I don't even have a mailing list! And, furthermore, I can't afford to rent one!"

To which I'd reply, "No problem!"

Fact is, I've never rented a mailing list. Reason? When I first started doing postcard mailings back in 1996, I could barely afford to pay my house rent. So, renting a mailing list was out of the question.

One of the advantages of operating on a low budget is that you can't spend your way out of problems, you have to think your way out. In the case of my mailing list, the thinking centered around the question of Who Do I Know?

A spin through my desktop Rolodex yielded a treasure trove of names. Then there were those helpful family members and friends who referred names to the list. (Most of the time, I didn't even have to ask these people for names. But it never hurts to ask!) And thumbing through the directories of organizations I belonged to was also useful.

So, there you have it, four readily available sources of names:

  1. Your Rolodex (or some other business card file)

  2. Family and friends

  3. People referred by your family and friends (ask them!)

  4. Membership directories from organizations you belong to.

Next, get their names, addresses and other pertinent info into a database program like Act!, Capstralia Contact Expert, FileMaker Pro, Microsoft Excel, Goldmine, Maximizer, or Microsoft Outlook. There. Now you have yourself a mailing list.

And, furthermore, you have the best kind of mailing list there is, because it's made up of people you know. They're going to be much more interested in what you have to offer than a list that's made up of a bunch of strangers.

Your list of people who know you may well do a lot of business with you. Or your list folks may send you business. Mine sure do!

Martha Retallick, "The Passionate Postcarder," hails from Tucson, Arizona, USA. She is the author of Postcard Marketing Secrets, a downloadable PDF manual that will show you how to put postcards to work for your business profitably. Learn more about it at: PostcardMarketing

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