Buying A Mailing List? 7 Critical Questions To Ask Before You Do

Buying A Mailing List? 7 Critical Questions To Ask Before You Do

If you want to buy mailing lists to keep your marketing outreach rolling, there's a few things you need to understand first and a few critical questions to ask before you buy your next mailing list.

First, mailing lists are without a doubt the heart of any professional’s direct mail marketing campaign. If they’re not part of yours, you’re likely missing out – big time. Here’s why. According to SmallBizGenius

  • Direct mail recipients purchase 28% more items and spend 28% more money than people who don’t get that same piece of direct mail.
  • Direct mail offers a 29% return on investment.
  • 73% of American consumers say they prefer being contacted by brands via direct mail because they can read it whenever they want.

A direct mail marketing campaign’s success depends on a number of factors: appropriate segmentation of mailing lists, marketing messaging, mail type (greeting card, postcard, yellow letter, etc.), your marketing mix, frequency of touches, and on and on it goes.

This is why worrying about whether your mailing list data is accurate, up-to-date, and reliable is the last thing you want.

Because when the data powering your mailing lists is bad, your marketing campaigns suffer, which means your business suffers.

Now you might be asking yourself, who the heck sends out mailers anymore? And does direct mail even work anymore?

The short answer is, professionals who are in the know still send out mailers, is who.  And absolutely – direct mail marketing works now, better than ever.

According to MarketingSherpa, when consumers want to make a purchase, 76% of them trust direct mail over digital channels.

But before you run off and buy a mailing list, you need to ask a few questions and understand what you’re buying first.

In this post we’re going to cover:

What Exactly Is A Mailing List?

The Best Mailing Lists are built with lots of clean, refined data to better target your ideal customerSimply put, a mailing list is a collection of people’s addresses with the intent of sending those people coupons, special offers, and similar deals in the hope of enticing them to your store to buy your product or service.

Direct mail was originally sent out en masse with little to no regard as to who received the mailer.

But as the ability to collect personal data improved, so did the ability to target specific audiences.

Intelligent business owners realized they could use the data to identify those who fit their ideal customer profile and send their mailers to only those people likely to be interested in what they’re offering – saving money in marketing expenses and boosting ROI.

In today’s digital age, data collection is more pervasive than ever. Buying mailing lists with dozens, even hundreds of data points is possible.

And while you might be thinking Yeah, that’s great but everyone uses email now. Snail mail is dead. Not so fast.

While email marketing is great and should be a part of every professional’s marketing mix, dismissing direct mail marketing as an old-fashioned, outdated form of advertising is a big mistake.

Why Direct Mail Marketing & Mailing Lists Work Better Than Ever

In a world where everyone and their mother has a business and is marketing themselves online because it’s the easy thing to do, physical direct mail marketing is that bright shining beacon of light cutting through the dense fog of digital, inbound marketing – people notice physical mail.

Consider that 80-90% of direct mail gets opened compared to only 20-30% of email (Source: Small Biz Trends)

Or that 75% of households usually read or scan at least some of the direct mail advertising materials they receive (Source: The Household Diary Study 2016)

And the attention direct mail gets makes sense when you consider the following eye-popping stat: The average household receives only TWO pieces of direct mail a day compared to 157 emails. (Source: USPS Marketer’s Guide)

If you’re curious about whether direct mail can work for you, it can. If you’re now motivated to figure out how to make direct mail work for you, you’re in the right place.

The Heart & Soul of Mailing Lists Is... Data

One of the most important learnings to take away from this post is this, the success of a direct mail marketing campaign largely depends on how accurate and up-to-date the data is of a mailing list.

And perhaps just as important as the quality of data is the number of data points used to create a list.

The more data points you have for a list, and the more accurate and up-to-date the data is, the better chance your direct mail marketing campaigns have of succeeding.

That’s why your decision about where to buy your mailing lists is one of the most important decisions you can make for your business.

When choosing your mailing list provider, you should ask some critical questions. We’ve distilled and condensed them for you below.

7 Questions to Ask When Buying Mailing Lists

When you buy a mailing list, what you’re really paying for is data. You want that data to have depth & breadth, be accurate & fresh, versatile & actionable. Here are 7 questions to ask to make sure the data and mailing lists you're buying meet those requirements and more.

  • How Often Is the Data Refreshed? – A minimum requirement for property data & owner information to be updated and refreshed is once every 30 days. Anything over 30 days, and frankly, you’ll be buying an outdated and unreliable prospect list.
  • How Clean Is the Data? – Most data is dirty. If the data for a marketing list is simply checked for duplicates and incomplete data, that’s just not enough to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
  • Where Does The Data Originate From? – Data should originate from multiple sources, including but not limited to County Assessor, County Recorder, County Geographic Information Services (GIS), Census, and more. Do NOT settle for list sellers and brokers who sell ‘wholesale’ data that can be 2, 4, or even over 8 months old and can’t verify the origination of the data themselves.
  • Do Fees Apply For Continued List Access - Many vendors charge additional fees if you want continued access to your purchased lists. And since you’ll need access for your ongoing direct mail campaigns, you should find out what those fees are so you’re not surprised by renewal costs.
  • How Detailed Can You Segment Lists? – More often than not, it can cost thousands when you want to add criteria to segment your lists. Find out if a name and address is all you get for a base list? How much does it cost to add criteria? Is it a flat rate or does it cost per criteria? How many data points can you add to deeply define your lists for what you need? It can get costly – especially at renewal time.
  • How Actionable Is Your List? – It’s important to find out how you receive your data. If you can’t easily export it to a CRM, direct mail service, or another useful marketing app to make it actionable, how much work will it take to make it useful? The more ready and actionable your list is, the better.
  • What Additional Insights Accompany Your Lists? – Aside from the data points you use to define the lists you buy, what additional insights come with your list? It’s always helpful to know what commonalities and differences the people on your list have. The more you understand these finer details, the better messaging you can create and the better chance you have of turning those cold leads into closed deals.

Don’t let bad data infect your mailing lists, derail your marketing campaigns, and ultimately drag down your ROI.

Of course, if you’re a motivated, data-driven professional in the real estate or home services industry and you’d rather just cut out the middleman and get the data directly yourself, then you’re in the right place.

Professionals have been building custom mailing lists to power their marketing campaigns from PropertyRadar since 2007 – driving billions in deals.

Give Your Mailing Lists Superpowers with PropertyRadar

When you buy a mailing list, would you rather get your data from a 3rd party vendor or go straight to the source of data yourself? Would you rather your data be limited and 2-dimensional or enhanced 10X over with deep, actionable insights? And would you rather you have to cross-check data points and accuracy or would you rather your lists do that for you while actively marketing to new leads that your lists create for you?

With accurate, up-to-date data points for millions of properties and property owners, an industry-leading 200+ filtering criteria, and the capability to mix-and-match hundreds of data points to create 100’s of the most popular mailing lists used across all industries, PropertyRadar has been the world’s best list builder since 2007.

But why stop there. PropertyRadar’s dynamic lists automatically update themselves, can trigger marketing campaigns, alert you about new leads, and more.

Yes, PropertyRadar’s mailing lists really do have superpowers.

Let’s see why data-driven professionals have trusted PropertyRadar’s data since 2007 to build their mailing lists and power their marketing campaigns.

Build Lists with Clean, Refined, Actionable Data - Refreshed Daily

A mailing list is only as good as the data it’s built with. You can’t be successful working with data that’s outdated and inaccurate. Unfortunately, most data out there is dirty.

Coming from County Assessor, County Recorder, County GIS, Listing, Demographic, Phone, Email, Social, Census, and more, much of the data available to you is crude and unrefined. This is why PropertyRadar goes through great lengths to refine it before it reaches you.

Tons of data from multiple sources pour into PropertyRadar where it is scrubbed and refined for you to build powerful mailing and marketing lists

By the time our data reaches you, it’s been scrubbed, double-checked, back-tested, manually inspected, and enhanced – fully refined and ready to use.

Using rules engines, machine learning, natural language processing, and more, our refinement of data has become so powerful, we actually create new data that help you better reach and understand your perfect audience.

In fact, our estimated loan positions and transfer types are two examples of data that don’t exist directly in public records. But this new, incredibly insightful data, along with much more, is now available to PropertyRadar users – and only PropertyRadar users.

Just as important, however, when you consider that hundreds of thousands of life events occur each day, it’s easy to see why if a list isn’t refreshed at minimum once per month, the data for that list can be old and outdated.

PropertyRadar’s dynamic lists are updated daily, which means you get alerts to new leads and opportunities and have the ability to automate marketing actions against those opportunities.

No one else in the industry offers anything close to what you get when leveraging PropertyRadar’s Dynamic Lists.

Customizable Mailing Lists

By now, you know you can rent and buy mailing lists. But what you may or may not know is that the lists you get have likely been bought and rented over and over again by your competitors. This means you’re likely mailing to people who’ve already been targeted time and time.

That’s why it makes sense to tap into PropertyRadar’s vast, comprehensive property data and owner information platform to build your own list. (source: mailshark) Leveraging PropertyRadar’s list-building capabilities, you’ll be using the world’s best list builder – period. And here’s why:

  • Build Unlimited Lists – Why limit yourself to one list; or pay a king’s ransom for multiple lists? When you can build as many lists as you want or need with PropertyRadar at no additional cost.
  • Segment Lists – Primary audience, secondary audience, and many audiences more, you can mix and match over 200 criteria to build out deeply segmented lists to match your perfect prospect profiles.
  • Stack Lists – Forget spreadsheets and crosschecking to pinpoint your targeted audience. With 200+ criteria you can easily pinpoint your perfect prospect profile and just as quickly make a list.
  • Combine Sub Lists – Hyper-localized sub-marketing lists can be combined for broader marketing efforts in case there’s crossover.
  • Filter Down Lists - Use criteria in any list to add additional criteria to further filter down a list – getting highly specific, highly targeted.
  • Exclude List – Much like a suppression list, you can exclude properties to prevent marketing to existing customers – saving marketing dollars you can use to market more to the leads that matter most.

Lists That Alert You To New Leads

If you’re motivated to find the next best deal or opportunity before anyone else, working with spreadsheets just won’t cut it. This is why you can set up Dynamic Lists to alert you every time a new lead or opportunity matches a set of criteria within a given list you create.

And it’s incredibly easy to do. Simply click the Automations icon for the list you want to set up Alerts for.

Mailing Lists with Marketing Automation Capabilities

A screen will open up where you can enable automations (more on that in a minute), activate triggers, set up Zapier integrations, and more. It looks like this:

Dynamic Mailing Lists can alert you to new leads via mobile notifications or emails, trigger marketing campaigns, and more.

You can get alerts by mobile push notifications or by email, both immediate email and/or daily summary email.

And PropertyRadar integrates with over 2,000 apps and services. So you can set up marketing automations as simple or as robust as you want. Creating a marketing automation stack that’s powered by dynamic lists is a surefire way to beat your competitors to the newest leads and opportunities.

Speaking of marketing automations...

Lists That Trigger Marketing Campaigns

Unlike typical lists you buy from traditional list builders or list brokers that start growing old the second you buy them, PropertyRadar’s Dynamic Lists automatically update themselves when new data, aka, a new lead, matches your list criteria. Your list is literally working for you.

By clicking Connect in your list, you pull up a number of options to help you conveniently set up Online Ads, Direct Mail, create Mail Labels, Mail Merge, and Export your list data to a File or Zapier.

Use dynamic mailing lists to trigger online ads, direct mail marketing, and other automations

By setting up triggers and automations, you can create a multi-touch, multi-channel marketing campaign that launches the second a new lead hits your list. Imagine for a second, a Pipedrive integration with PropertyRadar. You could set up a marketing automation that looks something like this:

Mailing List triggers a marketing campaign in a marketing automation workflow

Imagine launching an entire marketing campaign every time a new lead hits your list. That’s what you call set-it-and-forget-it marketing. You can literally market yourself to new leads while you're napping and it only takes a little upfront work.

Mailing Lists with Deep Insights

Connecting with prospects on your mailing list is where the rubber meets the road. In order to craft compelling messaging that grabs your prospect's attention, you need to understand their wants, needs, and desires.

That’s why with each list you create you get deep insights into the list profile. You’ll better understand the commonalities of a list for both the property and property owners. Simply click Insights on your list:

Mailing list card with option to get insights into your list profile

After you click Insights, you’ll see details and get not-so-obvious insights and knowledge about properties and property owners that you simply can’t get anywhere else.

Within Owner Insights, you get a snapshot overview of your list as well as a visual representation of the following owner details:

  • Snapshot (overview) of your list
  • Owner Type
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Education Level
  • Marital Status
  • Ethnicity
  • Interests
  • More
Get Property Owner Insights for all your mailing lists you make with PropertyRadar

Within Property Insights, you get a snapshot overview of your list as well as a visual representation of the following property details:

  • Property type
  • Owner-occupied
  • Transaction volume per month
  • Estimated equity
  • Assessed value
  • Estimated tax rate
  • More
Get Property Data Insights for all your mailing lists you make with PropertyRadar

Between the criteria you set to build your list and the deep insights you get for every list, you’ll have more information and data about your audience than any spreadsheet could ever provide.

With this new powerful data, you’ll be equipped to write tailored cold calling scripts, craft compelling marketing messaging, and design creative assets that will better connect and resonate with your audience.

Quick Lists - Ready-to-Go Prebuilt Mailing Lists

With multiple data points for millions of properties and millions of property owners to search and sort through, all your future customers are waiting for you inside PropertyRadar. But using PropertyRadar can be a little overwhelming at first. That’s why PropertyRadar created Quick Lists – to help the motivated, data-driven professional hit the ground running.

These super convenient pre-built mailing lists have specific filtering criteria already built-in for you, just add your location of interest and your list is complete and ready to go.

Examples of Quick Lists for 4 industry professionals.

  1. Real Estate Investors
  2. Real Estate Agents (Realtors®)
  3. Home Services Businesses
  4. Mortgage Professionals
Mailing Lists - Quick Lists for 4 Industry Professions


Quick Lists are a perfect place to begin when you want to quickly generate mailing lists to start your marketing outreach efforts – until you become a PropertyRadar pro, that is. And you can fast track your way to becoming a pro by scheduling a 1-on-1 session with a PropertyRadar pro here.

Conclusion - Buy Mailing Lists That Literally Work For You

When you reach out to cold prospects for the first time, you want them to feel like you know them; know their wants & needs; know that they need whatever you’re offering. That’s why you need as much data as possible about them, their property, and their neighborhood. It gives you leverage to connect with them and make them feel like you know them, know what they need, and have the solution to the problem they may or may not be aware of.

Traditional lists aren’t only limited in the data they provide, but the data they are built with is often outdated and inaccurate. Worse still, once you pay for a list, that’s it, you’re done. So you better know exactly what you want before you pay for it because there are no adjustments or tweaks to refine your list once you pay for it.

But with PropertyRadar you’re using the world’s best list building platform available – period.

  • 200+ property and owner criteria to segment & build lists with
  • Clean, ultra-refined, and enhanced data
  • Refreshed & updated data every day
  • Mailing lists that talk to you via mobile & email alerts
  • Mailing lists that trigger marketing automations
  • Mailing lists that tell you all you need to know about your audience

Are your mailing lists clean? Can your mailing lists literally work for you? If not, you’re likely missing out on deals, opportunities, and new customers.

If you’re ready to build mailing lists with superpowers, click here to start your free trial of PropertyRadar today.

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