In our last post, we gave you some tips for effectively working with mailing lists. We hope you found that post helpful, and feel comfortable approaching mailing lists with a test and measure mentality. Now, to further your list marketing mojo, we’re going to give you some insight into locating reputable mailing lists. Here are some criteria to consider before making a move towards signing any sort of insertion order or contract:
- Ask Your Network – If you’ve been in marketing for any length of time, you probably have some contacts that work with reputable mailing lists. Don’t be shy about asking for recommendations. Or, if you’ve already built a list of potential vendors, vet it against your network. In either case, you should ask questions about price, data quality, make goods, campaign minimums, and targetability.
- Data Quality – Accurate data is a key determining factor in locating a reputable mailing list. A few factors that affect data quality include:
- Freshness – You want to work with a list provider that refreshes their list regularly. That means every 60 days at a minimum, but shoot for 30 days. List providers should also flag and remove opt-outs and hard bounces from their list immediately.
- Hygiene – Work with list providers that use a hygiene service. This service could be proprietary, or it could be sourced from a third party. Either way, the hygiene process needs to be there in order to ensure that all information is valid, correctly formatted, and that no spam traps are included in the list.
- Permissioning Process – You want to work with a list provider whose lists are permissioned through an opt-in or double opt-in process. Opt-in means that the members of the list knowingly requested to receive third party offers. Double opt-in means that after members of the list request to receive third party offers, the list owner sends a message confirming this request.
- Make Goods – Any reputable mailing list provider is going to include a make good clause in your contract – you just might have to ask for it first. A make good means that a list provider will send a new “refund” campaign on your behalf if the first campaign goes sour. Don’t sign a contract without one.
- Targetability and Campaign Minimums – You want to work with a list that’s going to reach your target audience. Otherwise, there’s no point in using the list. A reputable mailing list vendor is not going to mislead you in this regard. Oftentimes, they even take an extra step and provide you with a test sample of the list, so you can check its quality. Many list providers have mandatory minimums for any campaigns sent to their list. If this is the case, make sure the list owner with work with you and your budget.
- Work with Industry-Leading Vendors – You can use vendors like NextMark to search for a list provider or target audience and find a reputable mailing list that matches the audience. Alternatively, you can use Marketfish to identify lists and audiences, and then rent or license those lists directly from the platform. We work hard to provide our clients with the best possible mailing lists.
Use these tips to evaluate any potential list partners, and you’ll have a good foundation for identifying reputable mailing lists.
Have you worked with mailing lists in the past? What advice do you have for evaluating list providers?