Buying Lists What Every Direct Marketer Needs to Know
• Updates. Some data cards show actual dates of last and next update, so if you are about to order close to the time of the next update and you can wait, do it. But if the data card says "updated quarterly," find out exactly when the updates take place. If updates are daily, it usually means that updates and fulfillment are being handled directly by the list owner. Daily updates are terrific. But if you are renting an active buyers file, counts can fluctuate, so call for the most current numbers.
• Turnaround Time. Most list owners and managers can rush through orders in less time than they say they can, but it's important to confirm turnaround time. Sometimes you have to take your second best list choice simply because a particular list owner or manager has faster turnaround time.
Work the E-Mail Lists
When assessing e-mail lists, it is important to understand how so-called opt-in or permission-based lists have been generated. Go to the specific Web sites and review the online forms (or offline forms) used to gather the e-mail addresses to determine specifically how, or if, permission was obtained.
Should you abandon all lists that are not true opt-in? No. Permission-based lists can be effective if used responsibly for the right offer at the right time.
Also be aware that large quantities of e-mail addresses marketed in broad categories such as entertainment, travel and leisure, financial services, etc., are often made up of names from a variety of smaller sites and sources. Sometimes more targeted breakdowns are available. Ask to see the various sources/sites that have been included in a particular category. Those in the entertainment category may include everyone from Shakespeare to Shrek enthusiasts, but if you inquire further, you may be able to select the names that best match your demographics.