Best Practices for Creating a Mailing List

creating a mailing list

Mail marketing is a valuable way to reach customers at all stages of the buyer’s journey. Whether reaching out to customers for the first time or to loyal customers, both direct mail and email marketing make it possible to maintain brand awareness and excitement.

Particularly when integrated, direct mail and email are a great way to keep brands top of mind — without making customers feel overwhelmed by one type of messaging.

Creating a mailing list can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. And once you have a list to work with, you can start testing with it and continue to grow based on new information.

Tools to Use

Mailing Lists

Buying a mailing list isn’t a good idea for email marketing due to laws such as GDPR and CAN-SPAM, but it can be useful for direct mail marketing. It’s even possible to use direct mail to build an email mailing list this way. For direct mail marketing, buying mailing lists allows businesses to spread awareness of a brand to a large audience. Keep in mind, it’s important to thoroughly vet any company offering to sell an email list. Not every email list is made alike.

Since some direct mail automation services include vetted mailing lists in their offered features, it’s also possible to avoid the hassle of vetting a list by going automated.

Another way to build a mailing list via direct mail is Every Door Direct Mail. It allows for segmentation by age, income, or household size, and is made specifically for businesses interested in direct mail marketing.

Website Optimization

Using your website to organically grow a mailing list allows businesses to reach customers they already engage with. Optimizing a website to request this information can look like offers to send customers a discount code, blocking a white paper behind a landing page, or offering to send future discounts and offers if a customer provides their email address, and any other information a business may hope to ask their customers for.


Prioritizing messaging will not only engage customers now, it will also keep them interested in the future. Staying true to what customers already appreciate is key to engaging a continued loyal following and grow a larger customer base, and it may encourage customers who receive mail marketing to help businesses out by forwarding engaging emails along, or sharing a flyer. This helps customers feel cared about as people, not just as numbers, and they will be more likely to reward the businesses that make them feel that way.


There are plenty of services out there that offer different automation tools, and they can be useful when developing a mailing list to be used use in the future. Some of these automation tools offer tracking, testing, and segmenting, as well as list cleaning, CMS integration, and analytics. When looking for an automation service to use, knowing which of these features to prioritize and which are less important will make a final decision easier.

mailing list

How to Track

Whatever methods go into creating the mailing list, if they don’t come with ways to track customer response it’s impossible to know what works or what needs attention. So much of marketing is about testing; having data to work with makes all the difference.

Include offers in the marketing that are associated with URLs, QR codes, or phone numbers unique to this marketing campaign. That way when those links or phone numbers are used, it’ll be possible to tie that success directly to the appropriate campaign. It’ll then be possible to improve future campaigns.

Who to Send to

Segmenting your audience is always a vital component to any marketing strategy, but at first, it won’t be possible to know exactly whom to target. Try a variety of demographics and geographic areas with direct mail marketing to learn where your customers are and a little bit about them. This is one way to start figuring out exactly who is already interested in a brand, to provide clues on who might be interested in the future. Adding information about customer purchase history and time since last purchase as that becomes available will further help focus messaging toward specific groups.

The better targeted messaging is, the more likely engagement will increase, and the more engagement increases, the easier it’ll be to target the right segments going forward.

When to Send

Down the line, it’ll be more possible to know what the best timing looks like. For now, it’s best to aim to be consistent. Later on, the numbers will show when it’s ok to send more, with timely announcements and new offers, and when customers would appreciate some breathing room.

Starting a mailing list isn’t a tried and true path, but there are ways to make it easier. And once you’ve started, it won’t be hard to continue to create a mailing list — and a customer base to follow.

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