How can you ensure that your mailing lists are still reaching your target audience?

As times get tougher, many businesses are undoubtedly returning to their lists of customers and prospects in the hope they that they can provide some much needed new business.

Direct marketing to lists, in the form of direct mail and telemarketing, can produce a favourable return on investment, but how can you tell if your list is still relevant and reaching your target audience? If your business is returning to direct marketing, there are two main ways of ensuring your campaign will reach the right audience as effectively as possible.

1) List Cleansing

The need to clean your mailing list is ever present. UK consumers and businesses are in a constant state of flux, and have more and more opportunities to decline receiving direct marketing messages through various suppression files.

For example over 60% of UK households and more than 55% of businesses have registered telephone numbers with the Telephone Preference Service, in order to block unwanted sales calls. Around 3 out 5 unchecked sales or marketing phone calls to consumers or businesses will now be to a TPS or CTPS registered number.

In addition, the consumer environment in particular is constantly on the move, as people move house and leave home. In the UK 3,200,000 people move house every year – up to 7,000 every day. Approximately 11% of addresses are mailed incorrectly each year. Plus the latest official figures show that there were 572,192 deaths registered in 2006 across the United Kingdom: it is both unethical and costly to continue mailing the deceased with your marketing messages.

Consumer or business or consumer addresses should be checked against the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) Quarterly in order to meet obligations, alongside a check against the relevant Telephone Preference Service (TPS) for consumers or Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS) for businesses.

2) Test Marketing

Once your list has been cleansed it is a good idea to trial your mailing list. Sending your mailings to a test group of 100, with a follow up telephone call shortly afterwards will ensure that you are sending your information to relevant prospects.

This may seem time consuming in the short term, but longer term it can save your business money and avoid wasting time and energy. By the time you’ve factored in the cost of postage, list rental, and printing, direct mail can be a costly business: if you get it wrong.

It is also worth using this opportunity to test your direct mail campaign message and how well it is conveyed in content, copy, design and format of your mailers. You can also test the effectiveness of different promotional offers, to see which one pushes the right buttons amongst your target audience.


Don’t forget that if you are using direct marketing to reach either existing or potential customers, the quality and accuracy of your data needs to be spot on to avoid wastage and get the best possible results, so make sure you invest in data cleansing and quality lists from only the most reputable of sources. Never be tempted to cut corners by using out of date lists or buying in low cost poorly targeted databases.

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