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Response-Based Lists Vs Compiled Lists

Response-Based Lists Vs Compiled Lists

The two most common types of direct mailing lists are compiled lists and response lists. One kind of list can look expensive at first glance – but can give excellent results. The other kind costs less – but is also less targeted. Each kind of list has its own advantages, disadvantages, and uses.

Response Lists

Response-based lists are drawn from people who have responded to offers similar or related to yours. Response lists are, as you might guess, based on past consumer response. This makes it a “hot” list – or at least hot when compared to a compiled list.

In fact, response lists are generally considered the highest-quality lists out there – especially among businesses that operate primarily via direct mail marketing.

List brokers rent response lists covering almost any demographic you can think of – individuals who have filed bankruptcy in the past year, households earning more than $45,000 who have purchased siding in the past five years, etc.

You can also ask for mailing data on anyone who has bought a product related to yours through the mail. For an extra fee, mailing data can focus only on those who have bought in the very recent past.

Response lists aren’t just limited to targeting consumers. There are plenty of B2B list compilations as well.

The big downside of response lists is that they tend to cost more than compiled lists. But once you find the right audience for a unique product and well-written sales copy, these lists are worth every single penny (and more).

These lists are usually priced per thousand names, with a minimum rental between 5,000-10,000 names. Names are rented for a one-time basis, meaning that you are only allowed to mail once per rental.

These lists include “seed” names and addresses that are used to discover if you’re using a rented list more than once. Mailing to a list multiple times without paying for the privilege can result in fines and even legal action. There are other reasons you shouldn’t “double mail,” but the most important thing you need to know is that you just shouldn’t do it.

Compiled Lists

Compiled lists are less-targeted (and often non-targeted) versions of their response list counterparts. In the past, compiled B2C lists were created primarily from DMV records. These days, compiled data can actually be of higher quality due to use of the internet, census demographic data, etc.

Compiled lists cost less than response lists but typically don’t give near the response rate. Their advantage is that they don’t cost very much, which makes them good on a tight budget. Their non-targeted nature, however, usually means that compiled mailing data is much better used in a branding/visibility campaign than a direct sales campaign.