A mailing list is a collection of names and addresses utilized by an individual or a business to send material to multiple recipients. The expression is often extended to include the people subscribed to such a list, so the group of subscribers is referred to as "the mailing list", or simply "the list".
At least two quite different types can be defined: the first one is closer to the literal sense, where a "mailing list" of people is used as a recipient for newsletters, periodicals or advertising. Traditionally this was done through the postal system, but with the rise of e-mail, the electronic mailing list became popular.
When similar or identical material is sent out to all subscribers on a mailing-list, it is often referred to as a mailshot.
In mailing lists, the individual can subscribe or unsubscribe themselves.
They are often rented or sold. If rented the renter agrees to use these for only the agreed upon times. The owner typically enforces this by "salting" it with fake addresses and creates new salts for each time the list is rented. Unscrupulous renters may attempt to bypass salts by renting several lists and merging the lists to find the common, valid addresses. Mailing list brokers exist to help organizations rent their lists. For some organizations such as specialized niche publications or charitable groups, their client list may be one of their most valuable assets and mailing list brokers help them maximize the value of their lists.
It is a type of mailing list that is directed at a certain group of people based on some attribute they share, such as age, location or shopping patterns. It has a number of applications, particularly in marketing and politics. By targeting an advertisement, marketing is aimed at those most likely to be interested while saving money by avoiding those who are not.
It can be used in a number of ways. A grocery store might want to advertise a special sale to frequent shoppers within a few miles of the store. It can create a list of shoppers in the same ZIP code who spent more than $100 last week. In politics, a candidate might want to send a mailing to voters in a county who are frequent voters. He could create a list of people in the same political party who voted in the last three elections.
Advertisers can get addresses from several places. Some internal organizations have them, which can be sorted by particular desired attributes. A number of companies sell or rent their databases to advertisers. Other possible sources of information include store records of previous sales, membership in organizations, or donations made to charities. That information can be collected in a database, where it can be sorted in almost any way imaginable.
It can be more cost-effective than other ways of advertising. By contacting a specific group of people directly, an advertiser may avoid the cost of sending the ad to many people who will ignore it. It also helps marketers tailor their message to a specific group of people, making the ad more relevant and perhaps more likely to be read than a message simply sent to everyone. By advertising more effectively to smaller groups of people and by using services like bulk mail to lower costs, advertisers can achieve better results while saving money.
While they are often created for mailing printed items, the same concept can be used for spreading a message by phone or email. Using email is particularly easy, as marketers can sort and create a list, write a mailing, and deliver it to recipients all from the same computer.
From the advertiser's point of view, the key to a successful direct mail program. This contains the names and addresses of people who share certain common characteristics that suggest they will be likely to buy a particular product or service. Because advertisers are speaking directly to those who are most likely to buy their product or service, many advertisers consider direct mail the most effective of all advertising media for generating immediate results.
In addition to your company's existing customer and potential customer database, you can purchase consumer and business lists with targeted leads to help you grow your business. As with your in-house lists, list hygiene - checking for accuracy and up-to-date information - is essential to ensuring a high number of responses.
Some outsourcers offer a suite of services including supplying lists, personalizing your mail, data processing, list management, printing, and stuffing envelopes. Their economies-of-scale pricing options may be more cost-effective.