Can We Be Direct?

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!
2 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

How to improve your direct- IQ

When it comes to targeting a fickle consumer base constantly bombarded withjunk snail and e-mail, even the most savvy, research-oriented professionalcan fall short. But by following these mailing list targeting tactics, yournext mailer is destined to be a direct hit.

1. Who are your customers? When you're working with a mailing list,you're one step ahead of many entrepreneurs because you actually know whereyour customers live. You can also have a reputable company "geocode" yourmailing list. Geocoding adds geographic codes to each list and allows you toadd other demographic, income or data so you can better understandyour customers.

2. Why do they buy from you? Geocoding helps you answer the question of"why" by first revealing what and how customers buy. With specialized CACIsoftware, you can determine such things as whether your customers read TheWall Street Journal, watch soap operas or listen to talk radio. Forexample, you might find a majority of your customers are classified as IB,which stands for "Wealthy Seaboard Suburbs"--consumers known to travelextensively. If the majority of your customers are 3B, "Enterprising YoungSingles," you know they dine out frequently and like to spend money onfurniture. Of course, it's up to you to determine whether diners or travelersare better suited for your products or services.

3. How can you find more customers like them? Where do you find newcustomers without overprinting and wasting a lot of postage? This is a burning,direct-mail question but one that's easy enough to find an answer to if yougeocode lifestyle data to target similar lifestyles across the country. If youknow that certain segments--like diners or travelers--constitute the majorityof your current customer base, be sure to append lifestyle codes to your nextmailing list selection. Similarly, demographic data allows you to exclude menover age 65 on fixed incomes if you really just want to target females betweenages 25 and 35 with incomes exceeding $35,000.

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Create your business plan in half the time with twice the impact using Entrepreneur's BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan. Try risk free for 60 days.

Latest on Entrepreneur