LIST MARKETING: Seven tips for boosting rentals

Getting the most revenue from renting your list depends largely on how well you promote it. But simply letting brokers know that your list is available is seldom enough to gain their recommendations.

Here, some pros offer tips that will increase your chances for success:

1) Diversify your promotional efforts. As Beth Ketzner, president of Baltimore-based list firm NameBank International, says, “You have to hit them any way you can.” NameBank uses any method available to find mailers: advertising in trade journals, attending trade shows, promoting lists online, calling, e-mailing, faxing, and sending direct mail. But Jim Hall, director of list brokerage at Oklahoma City, OK-based Chilcutt Direct Marketing, warns, “I don’t particularly like to get telephone promotions. I’m usually working on something else when they call, but if the promotion comes any other way, even snail mail, I can read it on my own time – and I do read it.”

2) Don’t overlook the value of face-to-face meetings. “I’ve found that for a new list, a fax and a follow-up call will work. But if you’re shopping an existing file, you need to talk face to face,” Ketzner says. “Our biggest challenge is overcoming preset ideas about a given list. You can’t change a broker’s mind over the phone – you have to find time to meet with him or her.”

3) Do your homework. “When somebody calls with a list that’s totally wrong for our clients – like pitching a business-to-business list for consumer mailers – that’s annoying,” Ketzner says.

4) Offer meaningful incentives. Some managers offer gifts or enter brokers into drawings whenever the brokers introduce a list to a new mailer. Cheryl Dagdan, director of brokerage services at Scarsdale, NY-based list firm Leon Henry, says these methods can be effective, “but what stimulates me more are the half-price tests and the buy-one-list-get-one-free offers. If it means I can get a mailer to test a file I have faith in, a file that I know will result in a continuation, then the incentive helps me do my job.”

5) Consider incentives for continuations. One list broker who requested anonymity advises, “Especially when a list needs to be massaged – run with different selects – to make it work harder for the mailer, be prepared to offer a discount or free selects to get a continuation.”

6) Supply as much information as possible. “When someone calls to say he has a list that’s working great for clients similar to ours – and we can confirm it – we’re interested. But we also want a sample of the mail piece. The offer can mean everything; consumers sometimes buy because of a premium or a sweepstakes, and not because of the product,” Ketzner notes.

7) Timing is everything. Take mailers’ seasonal offerings and needs into account. “If something is applicable at the time I need it, I’ll consider it. It’s the same as with any direct mail offer,” Hall says. At the same time, don’t assume the broker you contacted a year ago still has your information at the ready.

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