Frequently Asked Questions

What is List Brokerage?

List brokerage is the process of locating and acquiring the mailing lists and databases you need for your direct marketing efforts. Your message may be clear, your mail piece may be spectacular, but if you deliver it to the wrong people, you are wasting time and money. Lists are added and removed from the market on a daily basis. Today, there are more than 60,000 lists on the market from over 1,400 vendors in the U.S. alone, reaching millions of businesses and consumers.

Why use a List Broker?

One of the most important parts of your Direct Mail marketing campaign will be the selection of the mailing list. A list broker will consult with you on your marketing campaign from start to finish. A list broker will provide list research and make list recommendations based on who you are trying to target for your specific campaign by using tools such as SRDS (Standard Rate and Data Service, www.srds.com) and NextMark (www.nextmark.com). Both of these sources provide up-to-date information regarding all lists (types of lists, quantities, pricing, selects, etc.).

A good list broker will provide you with Data Cards of their top list recommendations. A Data Card details the specifics of the list such as: how the list was compiled, the number of names available, select criteria available, and pricing. Keep in mind that list research and selection can be a very difficult and time-consuming task. This is a big reason to use a list broker. List brokers pay annual and hourly fees to be able to perform this type of research and provide you with Data Cards. A list broker can also submit count requests for you to see how many records may be available on a certain list before you place an order.

After the research is complete and you have made your list selection(s), it is time to place your order. A list broker will submit orders, negotiate the best price, and do all of the follow up work on your behalf. The industry standard order processing time from receipt of order by your broker is typically 3 to 5 business days. Some lists can be fulfilled sooner, others may take longer, depending on the fulfillment capability of the owner.

Another benefit about working with a list broker is that you only have to deal with one person. A list broker works as a middle man between you (the client) and all of the list owners/managers from whom you would like to rent their lists. For example, if you wanted to order from 5 different lists, your list broker would contact all 5 of the list owners/managers to submit your order, do all of the follow up, make sure your orders are delivered in a timely and accurate manner, and submit one final bill to you (instead of receiving 5 separate invoices). Again...saving you time!

How are lists compiled?

Compilation Sources Include:

  • Over 4,000 Telephone Directories
  • Court Filings
  • Tax Documents
  • Property Deeds
  • Credit & Mortgage Applications
  • Hospital Files
  • Warranty Cards
  • Survey Responses
  • DBA Filings & Annual Reports
  • Utility Records
  • Census Data
  • Purchase/Transactional Data
  • Magazine & Cable Subscriptions
  • Association Memberships
  • Trade Show Attendees
  • Donors

Where do the emails come from?

Email addresses are available from a variety of sources, such as magazine or newsletter subscribers who have given their email address or "opt-in permission-based" email, meaning lists of individuals that have given their permission to receive information from third party resources. This can come from sources such as website registrations, surveys, product registrations, social media sites, sweepstakes, public information and phone calls.

(Examples: Email list of subscribers to Entrepreneur Magazine; Email Addresses of Males, Age 30-55, with Income $75K+ who like to play golf; Email Addresses of Families with Children Age 4-17; Email addresses of Teachers in Grades K-12)

Will we actually receive the list of email addresses?

It depends. When renting an opt-in email CONSUMER or BUSINESS list, the email addresses are not typically released to you. The list owner sends your message on your behalf, which maintains the integrity of the list. Your message can be formatted in either HTML (Web-style, with your logo and graphics) or plain text. The list company will set up, test, deploy and provide tracking results so you know exactly how well your campaign is doing in real time.  

If you are wanting BUSINESS email addresses and would like to deploy your own campaigns, there are some list sources that will allow you to get a "1 year unlimited license". With these types of lists, every record includes a contact name, job title, email address, company name, postal address, phone number and other pertinent company information such as SIC Code/Industry, Employee Size, Sales Volume and website URL (where available).

What will it cost my organization to use a List Broker?

It's free. There is no charge to your organization for using our list brokerage services. Because of the volumes we represent and our strong industry relationships, we are able to negotiate the best possible price on behalf of our clients, passing the savings on to you. The actual cost of using our services are less than if your organization arranges list rentals in-house because we can do all of the busy work for you – allowing you to focus on your other core responsibilities. A list broker will not only save you time and money, but will also help you be successful.

What is the difference between a List Broker and a List Manager?

It's important for you to know the difference between a List Broker and a List Manager so you'll know what kind of service to expect.

List Broker: Works for you, the client, to find appropriate lists in which to promote/advertise, and coordinates the process of procuring the lists from list managers and getting the mail piece approved and sent out. A list broker operates like a middle man between you and the list managers/list owners. Since a list broker does not own or manage any of their own lists, they remain unbiased and have no proprietary interest in suggesting certain lists.

List Manager: Works for the list owner, employed to represent and manage the list. They only suggest mail lists represented by the List Manager's firm. They coordinate the process of procuring the lists from the list owners they represent and getting the mail piece approved and sent out.

Often people will go direct to the List Managers, thinking they are saving money. However, if you want someone to work for you and represent your best interests, then the best person to work with is the List Broker. Using a List Broker doesn't cost you any more than if you did it yourself and brings a lot of experience and negotiating clout to the table.

What are the basic prices, terms and conditions for renting lists?

The vast majority of marketing lists are supplied on a one-time rental basis. This means that the owner agrees to allow the renter to use the list once in return for a fee, typically expressed on a per thousand record basis. A list renting for $120/M is said to have a base rental rate of $120 per thousand records.

Some, usually small, lists are priced on a flat basis. A list renting for $500/F is said to have a base rental of $500 flat or for the entire quantity indicated.

List prices showing a + sign are additional charges, which are added to the base rental rate. If a rented list is used more than once without prior permission from the owner, he/she may ask for additional payment or may refuse to supply the user with any names in the future. Owners may impose other restrictions on the use of a list or may even refuse to supply it altogether, such as to competitive marketers.

Most list owners set a minimum order size or value, designed to insure that they make a profit on even the smallest order quantity. In practice, this minimum order size is often 3,000 to 5,000 records or the equivalent value in money.

Most owners of response-generated B2B lists require list users to submit a reasonably complete sample of the marketing piece for their review. This enables them to screen out competitive, questionable or otherwise inappropriate offers.

These are very general terms and conditions; all list owners reserve the right to set the price and terms under which they will rent their lists. Your List Broker will be happy to explain these and other terms and conditions with you when you are ready to place your order.

How much does an average list cost?  

The cost of a list varies depending on the list owner, the amount of selects, and the format/shipping method you choose. However, a good guideline to the average cost of the Base Price of a list (for 1-time use, on a Per Thousand Basis "M") is as follows:

  • Business List: Base Price $50/M - $150/M
  • Consumer List: Base Price: $25/M - $60/M
  • Email List-Consumer: Base Price: $75/M - $200/M
  • Email List-Business: Base Price: $200/M - $450/M
  • Telemarketing List: Base Price: $135/M - $175/M
  • Subscriber List: Base Price: $125/M - $225/M
  • Response List: Base Price: $65/M - $125/M
  • Association Membership Base Price: $100/M - $150/M
  • Trade Show Attendee List: Base Price: $90/M - $130/M
  • Compiled List: Base Price: $50/M - $150/M
  • House List: N/A

How much time should be allowed for list ordering and delivery?

Since list orders are produced according to your detailed specifications, time must be allowed for fulfillment. Most orders for business and consumer lists are emailed within 24 hours upon receipt. Specialty lists take longer, usually withing 3-5 business days upon receipt by the list owner or manager. Some lists can be fulfilled sooner, others may take longer, depending on the fulfillment capability of the list owner. Fulfillment of international list orders can take about 5-10 working days, sometimes as much as 10+ days.

Why do a direct marketing campaign?

There are three big reasons to do a direct marketing campaign: target, scale and measure.

1. Target - lists can be selected to send your message to only your best prospects for the best results.

2. Scale - direct marketing can be sized to your budget and increased with results.

3. Measure - the results from list marketing are easily measured right away.

What is a typical response rate for a B2B marketing effort?

Response rates for B2B marketing efforts run from fractions of one percent to as much as 5% or more depending on the nature of the offer. Predicting a response rate for an untested list or new offer is impossible.

There are so many factors that go into a direct marketing campaign, such as: what is being mailed, quality of the mail piece, the offer, the timing, and the audience. The question to ask is not, "What response rate will I get?" but rather, "What response rate do I need to get?"

For most marketers income from a mailing, relative to its costs, provides the answer. If the income generated by a list exceeds the costs to use it, plus the cost of fulfillment, then the list is probably worth re-using. If a list produces less income than its total costs, it is probably not worth re-using. Savvy marketers set financial goals for individual lists as useful benchmarks for response analysis.

The key is to find lists that work and keep mailing them until they stop working. And when you discover lists that don't work, quit mailing them.