Who’s afraid of that big bad list?

Unless you want your marketing to have a supernaturally high budget, stop marketing to ghosts! Every small business is working with a list, either one they’ve built-up organically, purchased, or borrowed, and they’re always in a state of disrepair, full of non-existent people.

Like an old house that doesn’t get maintained, these lists are expiring from the moment they’re created because consumers move, marry, and change their names, and businesses do the same through relocations, mergers, and acquisitions. If you’re not maintaining proper hygiene for your direct mail list, you’re sending postcards to people who aren’t there, and what’s more wasteful than that?

Quite simply, your marketing budget can’t take it. Hence, the need for proper list hygiene.

There are several ways to go about maintaining your list hygiene: do it yourself or call in a partner. Even if you’ve already chosen to have a partner handle it for you (a great choice, we must say), it’s still highly instructive to appreciate what goes into doing it yourself.

Here’s the process of maintaining a clean list for postcard marketing:

Use a program: Microsoft Excel will do just fine, but 6 out of 10 small businesses out there are still using something else, from notepads to sticky-notes and whiteboards. It’s time to get organized and get it in one place, and Excel works best because it’s free and commonplace, unless of course you have some software like a CRM.

Basic data hygiene: When’s the last time you went through your list? This is the “sweeping the porch” portion of hygiene, which involves manually scrolling through to clean up misspells, properly labeling your columns, and de-duplicating people who show up more than once.

Export only the fields necessary: Your list needs to be speaking the same language as the system you’re uploading it to, and the most common is a .CSV file (taken from Excel). Here’s the proper list format that we use here at ProspectsPLUS!.

Manage the un-delivered rate: It’s important to know which postcards arrived and which didn’t so that you can update your list. If you’re sending these on your own through the USPS, the price of tracking each can run you a hefty bill. Some companies provide this tracking through their portal!

Monitor the do-not-mail list: The FCC cares about unwanted direct mail just the same as they do phone calls and email, and they manage it through the Direct Marketing Association. As a business, you’re responsible for not sending to people on this list and while violation fines vary by state, they can run up to $16,000 per incident! (If you use direct mail marketing partner like ProspectsPLUS!, they’ll take on this responsibility)

If you get stuck, call for help! The last thing you want to do in list hygiene is go it alone, and you can always give our experts a call at 1-877-222-6010 to make sure you’re handling it correctly!

And speaking of getting help…

Remember earlier when we hinted that there was 1 secret tool that will do it all for you?

That secret tool is a digitally-powered postcard marketing partner like ProspectsPLUS!

With our cutting-edge integrated data partners like Nielsen PRIZM we keep a fully up-to-date list of all of the consumers and businesses that you consider prospects. Our software is fully CASS Certified (Coding Accuracy Support System) to ensure that addresses are printed correctly, and uses NCOA (National Change of Address) technology to make sure that your recipient still lives or works where you’re mailing them.

What does all of this mean? That instead of doing any of the list hygiene above, you can simply trust us to ensure near complete data accuracy and that as a result, we can guarantee 92% delivery success on your mailings. You’d have to make list hygiene your full time job to come even close to that on your own, and we provide 100% mail tracking on all of the deliveries to boot!

Are you curious what that a guaranteed hygienic list looks like?

Jump into our web-to-print postcard marketing platform and see for yourself!

Just follow our guide to designing the perfect postcard and then select from uploading your own, selecting your ideal customer type, or drawing a mail-to zone on a Google map!

It’s that simple, and take it from there.

Any questions? Call our experts today at 1-877-222-6010 to start bringing in more living, breathing, customers!