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Building Your Company’s First Prospect List

  • Acxiom

Created at December 8th, 2014

Building Your Company’s First Prospect List

Is it the flexible hours and long lunches?

The brand new smartphone?

The company dog who hangs out at your feet all day?


The strongest asset in any small business marketing toolbox is a finely-tuned prospect list. Your prospect list represents the pulse of your target audience, with the ability to segment customers by interest, lifestyle, buying habits, product/service affinity and other metrics. It’s your marketing lifeline. It’s a driving force behind your direct mail marketing, mobile campaigns and social advertising. But before you can use that prospect list to drive awareness to your best customers, you need to build it.

Where do you start?

Building Your Internal List

You start by building your internal list, one based on information you already have access to.

It’s common for your first prospect list to feature current and past customers. If your customers are purchasing from you online, you already have their address information. They submit it with their order. If they’re not, address collection is something you will want to work into your sales process, whether that be through a loyalty program where they receive special deals or promotions, a contest you run, in-store events they attend, classes or other similar methods of collecting essential information. However you decide to do it, creating this process will help you build your prospect list organically over time.

Once you begin aggregating your list, it’s not uncommon to find some of your information is incomplete. Maybe you’re missing certain things like a customer’s proper first name or the city in which he or she lives. That’s where data partners can help you fill in the blanks or recover missing information.

Whether your list is purely your own first party data or enhanced with third-party data, the goal is always to reach your audience with great relevance and personalization.

Purchasing or Renting Direct Marketing Lists

You may be interested in purchasing or renting direct marketing lists to help you reach new customers.

Some popular lists include:

Consumer Lists

Reach households and individuals based on demographics, lifestyle interests and purchase behavior.

Business Lists

Reach businesses based on business type, number of employees, titles and other selection options.

New Homeowner Lists

Whether you’re an insurance company or you specialize in custom furnishings, New Homeowner lists can help you connect with an audience excited to receive mail at their new address. Homeowner lists are updated weekly from multiple sources to help you reach confirmed new homeowners in any area.

Real Property Lists

Benefit from the largest database of properties and property owners available, ideal for marketers of home equity, home refinance, and other home-related offers.

Any one of the lists outlined above will help you to identify relevant new prospects and sales leads based on the filtering criteria you’ve selected.

Putting Your List to Work

Once you have your list, what do you do with it?

Direct Mail

You’re probably already very familiar with direct mail marketing. Direct mail provides a convenient way to reach out to customers or prospective customers with information regarding special promotions, new products or other brand-related information. Whether you choose to send a catalog, a poster, an invitation to an event, a flyer or another print piece, small business owners have used direct mail marketing for centuries to stay top-of-mind and reach prospective customers. Utilizing a finely-tuned, up-to-date prospect list is essential for keeping up with direct mail best practices.

This is often where many businesses begin with direct marketing. But did you know, you can use the same direct marketing list to power other efforts, as well.

Mobile Advertising

Q: What do you call a computer you carry 24/7 and look at, on average, 150x a day?

A: Your mobile phone.

Did you know the same direct marketing list you created for direct mail can be used to power your mobile advertising? Well, it can, allowing you to deliver your message to households and individuals based on demographics, lifestyle interests and purchasing behaviors, reaching them on the devices they carry and check all day long. Better yet, you can target customers on mobile for as low as two cents per ad view. How’s that for cost-effective?

Social Advertising

What are so many of your customers doing while on their mobile phones? They’re on social media — scrolling, liking and checking on their friends (and their favorite places). You want to reach them there, too. This is often an inexpensive way to reach customers or prospects with the same targeted marketing list you’ve used to build a direct mail list or mobile campaign. You’ve spent the time to create the list – why not get the most use from it you can? Social advertising lets you put your brand where your customers are already searching.

Email Advertising

With email being the go-to method of communication for many, this is another important channel for marketers. Email accounts are expected to grow 6% every year through 2017, so this is not an area to ignore!

A prospect list helps sustain your marketing and adhere to best practices. We understand how important it is to you. That’s why we believe it is important to use a single prospect list to launch multichannel campaigns. This allows you to reach the same audience you’re already targeting with direct mail multiple times for less money.

For help building or fine-tuning your current prospect list, download our free Comprehensive Guide to New Leads and Better Customers.

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