Mailing Lists for Income Opportunity, Business Opportunity, Gifting, MLM

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

How to Build a Customer Database

If you operate a business using mailing lists, consumer mailing lists, opportunity seeker mailing lists or MLM mailing lists to target Opportunity Seekers, Business Opportunity Seekers, MLM Opportunity Seekers and Home Based Business Opportunity Seekers, you can benefit from reading this article.  

BUILDING A DIRECT MAIL DATABASE

 

As postage, printing and list costs continue to rise, you need steadily better results from your direct mail campaigns in order to more than cover your costs. In addition to purchased lists, your success will certainly depend on creating your own lists of customers and highly qualified prospects. Try these tips for Building A Direct Mail Database.  

One way to conduct mass mailings is to rent a list in the form of labels, and stick those labels onto the front of a prepared mailing package. However, individually printed envelopes and personalized letters deliver far more impact -- and sales -- as does repetition of mailings to the same names. That's why, if direct mail is an important part of your selling cycle, you need to build your own database.

The purpose of this database is to enable you to efficiently mail personalized pieces to hundreds or even thousands of prospective customers. You invest a bit of time initially to build the database, so you can run off the mailings later with minimal effort. 

Before you begin building your database, ask yourself four questions:

(1) What are all the ways I will use this data? It is much easier to add a data field in the beginning than later.
(2) How will I print out the information? Most important is to consider mailing labels, which usually are the most restrictive form in which you will use names and addresses. Most mailing labels are spaced at 1" intervals vertically. Allowing for the standard 6 lines of type per inch, they can hold up to 6 lines of information. However, from a practical point of view, limiting your addresses to 5 lines will make your life much simpler; you can center your printing so that a small error in sheet feeding won't result in printing off the top or bottom edge of the labels.
Continue reading if you operate a business using mailing lists, consumer mailing lists, opportunity seeker mailing lists or MLM mailing lists to target Opportunity Seekers, Business Opportunity Seekers, MLM Opportunity Seekers and Home Based Business Opportunity Seekers and want to make more money than you are currently making.
Similarly, consider the width of your labels. Some companies have incredibly long names that you will have to truncate to fit your label size.
(3) Will I import data electronically into this database? The database you are importing from may use more or fewer data fields than your new one or may organize data differently, so you have to make sure that all information ends up in the right place. 
(4) Will I export some or all names from my list to another program, such as a contact manager or word processor? If so, be sure to specify your data fields so the information can translate readily into that format. Once you know the answers to these questions, you are ready to go to work on your database.

Name

The name consists of the salutation, first name and last name.

Salutation

Use Mr. or Ms. (not Miss or Mrs.), or Dr. If you don't know the gender, and the first name could be either (Pat or Fran), use M.

First Name

This is usually the first name as shown in the database. Leave out middle initials. They are not necessary, and they limit your ability to use the person's name within a letter or teaser on the envelope.

Last Name

This is usually just the last name directly from your list source. It is becoming more common for people to have 2 last names or a hyphenated last name. If they are always used together, enter both of them. What About Suffixes?If the person's name is Alan Trout Jr., the question is what to do with the "Jr." Our suggestion is not to use it, because it makes your whole database more complicated. If you want to use a suffix such as "Jr." or "III," you must: Place it in a separate data field from the last name, so you don't end up with "Dear Mr. Trout Jr."

Remember to add a code for the suffix field where appropriate, such as in address labels or the inside address of letters.

The Full NameIf the three parts of the name are entered in separate fields as:

Mr.

John

Smith

You can use these parts as:

Mr. John Smith:

Dear Mr. Smith:

Dear John:
Astronomy World is offering John Smith an exclusive opportunity to spend a week as Mr. Astronomy.

Examples

Below are examples of suggested ways to enter names into three separate data fields:

Leslie H. Johnson

            M.            Leslie            Johnson John Woodcock III

Mr.

John

Woodcock

Title

On most mailing lists you buy, any titles shown are as likely to be wrong as right; people are promoted, they change departments. Even worse, many databases have fixed title categories, such as Vice President, General Manager, or Director . When the person's actual title is Director of Engineering or Chief Operating Officer, these list providers code the title as the nearest one on their list. It is always better to leave off a person's title than to get it wrong, so don't print out titles in your correspondence. Besides, a title usually needs its own line, and you don't have room for another line on your labels. However, if your list source provides information on titles, you probably want to type them in so you know what kind of person you are speaking with when they respond to your mailing. 

Company Name

Most databases allow for one company name, but we recommend you use two. 

Company 1

The is the full company name as it is used on labels, envelopes and the inside address of letters. 

Company 2

This version is the familiar form, as you might use it within the body of a letter. For example, if you were sending a letter to someone at the Digital Equipment Corporation, you would use "Digital" or "DEC" within a letter. Example: "Mr. Schwartz, when we meet I will show you three ways that my company can help you and the rest of the DEC maintenance team increase performance and reduce maintenance expenses." 

Address

Allow two lines for the address, in addition to the City, State, Zip. 

Address 1

This is usually the street address, plus any suite or building number. For some companies, you will need this line for the name of a company division or major department. 

Address 2

This line can be used to complete an address; specify an internal mail code, building or suite number; or a PO box number. If the Address 1 line is used as part of the company or division name, then the whole street address has to fit here. Most mailing programs, including mail merge facilities in word processors, will allow you to specify that this line be deleted if no data is entered. If so, make sure they can do so and still retain the correct spacing of labels. Post Office Boxes You normally want to enter the company's actual address, not just a post office box, so you can refer to your database for the street address when you want to go there.If you want to use just the street address, without the PO box, there is another thing you need to consider. Sometimes the address will be listed in your source database this way:

1234 Maple Street, Bldg. 52
PO Box 55555
Anywhere, NY 12345

When an address includes both a street address and a PO box number, the zip code is for the PO box. In many cities, the street address is in a different zip code from the PO box, so you can't use the address alone without the box number. Note: When an address includes both a street address and a PO box, the post office will deliver to the location that is listed last. If you use a PO box, always enter it on the line after any street address. 

City

When entering cities, be consistent in the way you write the names. Example: Ft. Worth or Fort Worth, but not both in the same database. This will make your life easier when you want to search your database for names in that city, or you want to do a mailing to only companies in that city. 

State

For U.S. addresses, use the two-letter abbreviation in caps. For Canada and other countries, leave appropriate space for the province, state or other mailing district. 

Postal Code

Most U.S. mailing lists give you just the 5-digit zip code, and (despite the Postal Service's encouragement), that's all you need for first class mailings. However, if you plan to conduct large mailings, consider using the full zip-plus-4 code which entitles you to a discount on pre-sorted first class or bulk mail rates. 

Country

You need this only for addresses outside your home country. 

Complete Addresses

Below are examples of complete name and address labels using the fields we have discussed so far:

Mr. William Harrison

Matthew Smith Industries, Inc.

Military Machine Division

123 Fifth Avenue, Suite 4

Boston, MA 02123

 

Ms. Janice Smith

MAXI Corporation

PO Box 98765

Wherever, PA 20654-8572

 

Communications

Phone, Fax, E-mail

At a minimum, you want a telephone number field to help you follow up on your mailings. Add the other numbers if you are likely to follow up electronically. 

Additional Data Fields

The preceding data gives you everything you need to conduct mass mailings to your entire list, and to follow up by phone, fax or e-mail. If that's all the data you have, or you don't have the time to tailor your list further, you're done. But if you want to be able to conduct more specialized mailings, you need more. 

Special Data

The more you tailor your mailings to fit the unique characteristics of the recipients, the greater your results. One way to achieve this is by using one or two data fields to capture special information. Example Employees: fewer than 500 Possible use "Our experience has shown that companies having fewer than 500 employees have special needs that cannot be met by contractors whose services were designed for larger employers. As specialists in payroll services for small-to-mid sized companies... " Example Business: rent a truck
Service: transportation Possible use "When a prospective customer dials your 800 number, they want to do more than just rent a truck. They want your staff to help them address a specific transportation need." 

Date Created

Most databases keep track of when you first entered this name. If not, enter this manually. 

Date Updated

Databases go stale quickly. This field will help you determine when it is time to re-research names and addresses and make sure they remain accurate. This is particularly important if you are using bulk mail, since the Postal Service only provides address correction on first class. 

Sort Codes

Before you start building your database, determine whether you will always mail to all names on the list or not. If you want to run separate mailings based on fields you already have such as state or zip code, you're all set. But if you want to sort by industry, dollars or revenue or some other parameter, you need to create a special field for that data.For most purposes, we suggest a simple, two-character sort code for each segment of you list. Examples:

AC - Accounting firms

LA - Law Firms

RE - Real Estate Agencies

RT  - Retail Stores

Use a separate field for numeric qualifiers, such as number of employees or revenues. 

Comments

When you get all done, you often have some important information that won't fit into any of your pre-defined fields. Example: "Largest privately-owned car dealership in state." You probably won't include this information in your mailings, but you definitely want to keep track of it. Create a free-form Notes or Comments area for this variable information; but since this is a direct mail database, not a contact manager, you don't want to invest too much time or space typing detailed information.  

Consider implementing these tips if you operate a business using mailing lists, consumer mailing lists, opportunity seeker mailing lists or MLM mailing lists to target Opportunity Seekers, Business Opportunity Seekers, MLM Opportunity Seekers and Home Based Business Opportunity Seekers and want to make more money than you are currently making.

 
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