The New Direct Mail List Frontier: Online-Generated Leads
As the number of rented names sourced from direct mail has dwindled during the recession, one source of growing list volume is online-generated leads with postal mailing list addresses.
It might seem counterintuitive to use online-generated lists for direct mail, but the fact is the number of online lists — and their universes — is growing.
“Virtually every merchant, nonprofit, publisher and service organization has an online commerce presence,” says Fran Green, president of ALC SMART Data Solutions. “If their list is on the market, then there is a segment that is generated online. This is clearly the direction the population is taking, so the online buyer segments of most files will also continue to grow.”
Indeed, online-generated files are growing exponentially, according to Green. Along with that exponential growth of online-generated leads, Green reports more and more use of these names.
For an insurance client, ALC, in conjunction with Hennerberg Group Inc., began testing online-generated leads in 2006. At the time, it seemed counterintuitive to use online-generated lists since the target market for this insurance product was people in their 50s. Marketers sometimes think of tech-savvy people as those who are younger than 40. But any myths that online-generated lists are age-sensitive were dispelled during these tests.
While the target audience was people age 45+, there was a robust universe of online-generated names available. And when the results were read, many of the online-generated lists, even when mailed printed direct mail offers, were responsive and profitable.
Ultimately, several online-generated lists performed well enough to become continuations, others warranted retests and many simply didn’t perform at the level required—about what you would expect with any list testing.
Eventually, it became clear that several online-generated lists would become “go-to” lists with about 10 percent to 20 percent of volume mailed to continuation files coming from online-generated leads.
Reinventing Direct is for the direct marketer seeking guidance in the evolving world of online marketing. Gary Hennerberg is a mind code marketing strategist, based on the template from his new book, "Crack the Customer Mind Code." He is recognized as a leading direct marketing consultant and copywriter. He weaves in how to identify a unique selling proposition to position, or reposition, products and services using online and offline marketing approaches, and copywriting sales techniques. He is sought-after for his integration of direct mail, catalogs, email marketing, websites, content marketing, search marketing, retargeting and more. His identification of USPs and copywriting for clients has resulted in sales increases of 15 percent, 35 percent, and even as high as 60 percent. Today he integrates both online and offline media strategies, and proven copywriting techniques, to get clients results. Email him or follow Gary on LinkedIn. Co-authoring this blog is Perry Alexander of ACM Initiatives. Follow Perry on LinkedIn.