The Money Is In The Mailing List

Posted By admin On 29/12/21

Fortunately, federal law gives you the right to opt-out of credit card prescreening.   You can visit or call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) to remove your name from prescreened lists for five years or indefinitely. How much money is my mailing list worth? Lists generally rent anywhere from $50 to $100 per thousand names, depending on the quality and specificity of the list. Royalty payments can run anywhere from $500 to $5,000 per month depending on the quantity, quality, and source of the mailing list.

  1. The Money Is In The Mailing Lists
  2. The Money Is In The Mailing Listing
  3. The Money Is In The Mailing Listed

Get Free Direct Mailing List Price Quotes

The cost to buy a mailing list is typically based upon the cost per thousand impressions (CPM), although you can also evaluate it on a cost per name basis. For a consumer mailing list, expect a CPM cost of around $50 to $200 ($.05 to $.20 per name). For business mailing lists, the CPM is around $150 to $350 ($.15 to $.35 per name).

Mailing List Broker Prices

A direct mail marketing campaign is an excellent way to promote your business. But, if you either don't possess a quality contact list or you want to grab the attention of new customers, it makes sense to buy a mailing list. Due to significant variations between direct mail lists and mailing list services, however, it's vital that you understand how to find the one that's right for your campaign. This buying guide explains how to do just that and also offers general pricing information for buying mailing lists.

An Overview of Mailing Lists

The Money Is In The Mailing Lists

Before you purchase mailing lists, you should have a basic idea of what type of list you need. The following criteria can help you develop a starting point.

  • Buying vs. Renting: Buying a mailing list means that you own the list, can use it as many times as you want, and are responsible for keeping it up to date.
    More common, however, is mailing list rental, in which you pay for one-time access to a list or unlimited access within a specified time period. It's cheaper, on average, to rent a mailing list, and some companies only allow you to rent mailing lists.
  • Compiled list vs. Response list: Compiled mailing lists, also known as 'cold lists,' are culled from databases with consumer and business information obtained from numerous sources. The contacts on a compiled list did not necessarily respond to previous direct mail requests, and response rates for these lists are generally lower.
    Response lists, on the other hand, are comprised of people who have previously responded to direct mail requests or given permission for companies to contact them. As a result, you can expect a greater response rate from mail sent to these customers.
  • Business list vs. Consumer list: For a more targeted (and successful) direct marketing campaign, you'll probably want to narrow down your list to include either businesses or consumers (though most brokers can provide both).
    Business to business mailing lists are put together from data sources such as business directories and government agencies. You can further narrow down a business mailing list by using selects that include number of employees and annual revenue.
    Compiled from phone directories, birth certificates, and other sources, consumer mailing lists can be narrowed down by using selects like credit rating and household income.

Other things to keep in mind when buying mailing lists include:

  • List quality: The success of your campaign is highly dependent upon having a good list. With mailing lists for marketing, like most things, you get what you pay for. Extremely inexpensive lists are likely to be out of date or poor quality. Lists filtered by multiple, specific criteria, while pricier, should provide a better return on investment (ROI).
  • List brokers are just middlemen: Although you purchase a mailing list from a broker, it most likely came from a list owner that holds information on millions of contacts. Because they are essentially 'go-between' entities that match list owners with those who want to buy mailing lists, most list providers don't deal with the actual mailing of materials. A few brokers are full service companies that handle everything from design to mailing to data management.

Mailing List Average Costs

The cost to buy a mailing list is typically based upon the cost per thousand impressions (CPM), although you can also evaluate it on a cost per name basis.

  • For a consumer mailing list, expect a CPM cost of around $50 to $200 ($.05 to $.20 per name).
  • For business mailing lists, the CPM is around $150 to $350 ($.15 to $.35 per name).
  • The total cost for an order with around 5,000 names (including obtaining a list, designing marketing materials, postage/mailing, and fulfillment) is approximately $2,500 to $5,000.

Mailing List Sample Costs

To better understand the cost of purchase a mailing list, take a look at actual prices paid by customers nationwide:

  • A Georgia consultant paid approximately $.12 per name for a business mailing list.
  • A Texas real estate company paid around $5,000 for business lists in different states.
  • A Rhone Island advertiser paid roughly $.18 per name for a business list.
  • A New Jersey media company paid around $.06 per name for a consumer mailing list.
  • A Florida plumber paid approximately 10 cents per name for a consumer list.

Use Our Free Service and Find Mailing List Brokers Near You

To many organizations, fundraising through the mail seems like the end-all, be-all tactic. It’s a way to raise money without having to ask in person (or over the phone), it seems cheap (how much is a stamp these days?), and it’s a rinse and repeat formula, that can be utilized week after week, or month after month.

The reality is that real, effective fundraising through direct mail is hard (but rewarding) work. Direct mail is one of my favorite fundraising methods, and it should be a part of your arsenal. But know this: much of direct mail fundraising is a science. Development professionals have been raising money through the mail for the past half century, and they know what works, and what doesn’t… so be sure to read up and learn the science of fundraising mail. Remember, direct mail is actually pretty expensive (all of those envelopes and stamps add up), so make sure that you are investing wisely.

Housefile vs. Prospecting Mail

One important concept that you need to learn before you start writing letters is the difference between housefile and prospecting mail. Housefile mail is mail sent to your own organization’s list of past donors. These donors have already contributed to your group, so they are likely to give again. Remember, the first rule in direct mail fundraising is this: Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Meaning…. If someone gives to your organization, they are likely to give again. If they don’t give, they are unlikely to do so in the future.

Prospecting mail is mail sent to a list of people and companies who have not previously given to your school, church, or charity. This list of “prospects” might be one that you borrowed from a fellow non-profit, that you purchased from a list broker, or that you compiled on your own.

The Money is in the List

While housefile mailings will often be very profitable, and will see returns in the 5-15% range (meaning that with a good housefile list and a well-written letter, you can often expect to see 5-15% of the people who receive the letter sending back in donations), with prospecting letters, your goal is simply to break even (meaning that you make back in donations as much money as you spent in sending out the mailing). Response rates for well-written prospecting letters, even to good lists, often hover in the .5-1.5% range.

Why then, would anyone want to do prospecting mail, if the goal is only to break even? It’s because they know the second rule of direct mail fundraising: the money is in the list. Organizations send out prospecting mail because it gives them a list of people who want to give to their charity. The people who give to the initial prospecting letter become donors who are added to the housefile list. They will get mail from the organization (housefile letters) again and again… and will generally continue to give. The money is in the follow-up. The money is in the list.

Writing Great Fundraising Letters

What is the secret of writing great fundraising letters that have good response rates? Really, there are two:

The first is – be compelling and emotional. Remember – your organization, and your mission, matters! Why does your organization matter? Figure it out, then tell people… tell people stories that tug on the heart strings, that make them cry. In fundraising letters, people don’t want to hear a list of boring statistics and facts. Sure, one or two surprising or super-compelling facts might make all the difference. But a lost of twelve percentages with footnotes supporting them? Not compelling.


Instead, tell stories, use charts, make people cry. Think: if I had 30 seconds to tell someone about my non-profit, and the success of our group depended on that one person writing a check on the spot… what would I say? Then write that pitch as your first draft.

The second secret is: write in such a way that your compelling content gets read. People are busy. Even if they aren’t really busy, most people think they are. Very few people think they have the time to read through your fundraising letter. Most people will skim your letter to see if it is worth reading. Where do they look to make their decisions? The first sentence, the pictures and charts (with their captions), the headlines and bolded or underlined words, and the P.S. That’s it… just 20-30 second of skimming.

How do you capitalize on this tendency? First, give them lots to skim. Use section headlines, a great opening sentence and P.S., pictures and pull-quotes, and bolded/underlined words. Then, make sure that all of this “skim-able” content works together to tell the entire story of your letter. Ask yourself: if someone only skimmed my letter, using the items listed above, would they know what I am saying? Would they “get” the whole story?

Staying in Touch

The Money Is In The Mailing Listing

O.K., so you’ve sent out (“dropped,” in direct mail parlance) some great prospecting letters, and have started to build a good housefile list. Now what?

The Money Is In The Mailing Listed

The key to keeping a housefile list fresh is to stay in touch with your donors. You can send out housefile fundraising letters, to be sure… but don’t overdo it. 3-4 housefile letters a year is probably all that your list can support (or accept). Keep them interested, and in the loop, by sending out occasional “non-fundraising” pieces… newsletters, postcards, e-updates, and of course, thank you notes each time they give. Stay in touch, and make your supporters truly feel like part of your team.

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