ListAbility's Direct Marketing Blog

How to Build an Absentee Homeowner List for Real Estate Investors.

Posted by Carol Arnold on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 @ 02:29 PM

Mail campaigns have been found to be a highly effective way for real estate investors to contact property owners who might be interested in selling.

One category of property owners that have been found receptive to investors’ offers is the Absentee Real Estate Owner. These are people owning a residential property that they don’t live in – they have a different primary address where their tax bill is sent. 

Crafting a targeted mailing list of absentee owners can help you make the most of your marketing dollars. There is no need to spend postage on people who don’t fit your profile.

There are quite a few options to consider in finding just the right absentee owners; the ones most likely to be ready and able to get out of their ownership.  Be sure to keep in mind your local knowledge and ability to evaluate the properties for investment.

Criteria that can be used in customizing a targeted mailing list for your campaign to find sellers:

Where do you want the property to be located? In all but the more densely populated areas, you will probably want to consider looking at one or more counties so you can further narrow down your search.

Where do you want the owner to live? If you are working with a large enough area, you may have enough properties to specify that you want the owner to live outside the county or even out of state.

Do you want to limit the Home Market Value? Most real estate investors, particularly those starting out, have limits on the amount that they can offer for a property. Depending on your market area and your marketing strategy, you might want to specify properties under $150,000 - or perhaps between $50,000 and $250,000. Other investors want only higher-end properties.

What type of home do you want to buy? You might want to mail to owners of just single family homes and/or multifamily homes. In some areas condominiums are desirable. Some investors also want to include apartment buildings with 5+ units.

Do you want owners who have had their property for a long time? …or are you in an area where there is enough turn-over that you don’t mind marketing to people who are newer owners? You can think of the purchase date range you want to target, such as 1/1/1960 – 12/31/2008 for people who have owned at least 5 years.

Are you planning to promote to people based on how much equity they have in the property? Do you want the owners to have high equity or low equity? Loan To Value (LTV) is a great tool to approximate equity. LTV is a calculation based on the total loans (the original amount on the day the loan was written) and the current home market value. For example, if a person refinanced with a loan of $100,000 and the current home value is $400,000, the LTV is 25%. This equates to a minimum of 75% equity. Don’t forget that they have also been paying down that loan, although this isn’t factored into the equation.

Demographic criteria such as the owner’s age can also be useful if you want to further narrow your list. Some investors feel that older owners may be more interested in selling their property.

ListAbility’s Master Absentee Owner Mailing List collects information from local reporting jurisdictions across the country.

Most often these are the Registry of Deeds and Assessors Offices of city and county governments. The list has more than 11.5 million absentee owners of real estate. Many of these have multiple properties.

As good as the data collection is, not all information is available from every reporting jurisdiction in the standardized format required for automation. New counties start providing information every month, but they may not fill in with historical information. Some areas might not include information on the loan.

What can you do if the property counts are too small?

The first is to try cutting out some of the criteria. LTV can be very limiting if the local jurisdiction doesn’t provide loan data. You can make up for that by using purchase date which is available more often.

The second way is to increase the geographic area that you want to target. Adding more cities and towns can help build the quantity available for you to market to.

ListAbility provides list brokerage services to support marketing programs - including the Absentee Homeowner File for Real Estate Brokers and Investors.

Our clients include real estate investors as well as other types of businesses. Our brokers have the expertise and quality data to guide you through the process of obtaining a highly targeted mailing list. A better list will pay dividends with the savings you garner in printing and postage – to say nothing of getting noticed by the right people!

Call now to learn more about the Master Absentee Homeowner Mailing List. 866-446-2055

Tags: direct marketing list strategies, consumer mailing lists, Absentee Homeowner List, marketing for real estate investors

5 Reasons Why Franchisees Make Good B2B Prospects

Posted by Carol Arnold on Mon, Oct 28, 2013 @ 10:13 AM

target your customersSMALL iStock 000019300053SmallOne of the first steps in developing a marketing plan is to decide the type of companies you want to focus on.

Franchise business owners are great prospects

They need goods and services just like the rest of us.  Here are 5 reasons you should consider directing your sales and marketing efforts toward franchise owners.

1. Most franchisees are small to medium sized businesses which make the decision-makers more accessible.

They are entrepreneurs and have demonstrated that they want to have the independence of owning and running their own business. It is easier to reach the decision-maker because they have fewer levels of gate keepers.

2. Have the support from the corporate which gives them a better chance of success

Successful businesses are more ready, willing and able to make purchases to support their business.                                                                                                                                     

3. Franchise business owners have the independence to make purchase decisions of most non-core goods and services

You won’t be selling sugar glaze to the Krispy Kreme franchisee, but you could have good luck selling them financial services, cleaning products, technology or office supplies.

4. Many franchisees own multiple locations

One contact can help you to supply for several stores. We all know how this can save time and money for your marketing efforts.

5. Franchisees can be a great source for referrals

We all love referrals. Franchisees have close links with other owners and an incentive for everyone to succeed. Once you have put in the effort to land one franchisee, you can get an “in” with additional owners with the same business model.

Direct marketing to franchises by phone and mail can be very effective.

Obtaining a quality list of franchise owners should be a priority to kick-start your marketing campaign.

Your franchise mailing and telemarketing list should be customized to target the best prospects for your business.

  • Focus on your market area – could be a region, state, county, radius around your office.

  • What types of businesses do you want? Retail, food service, automotive, tax services etc. Industries can be selected using SIC codes.

  • Are there particular franchises that you are interested in marketing to? For example, you can get a list of McDonalds, Dunkin’ Donuts, H&R Block, Midas, Applebee’s, Snap-on, Panera Bread, Supercuts or fits your business model.

  • Decide if you want owners that have a single location (store, office, restaurant, service location etc) or multiple locations. You can even specify how many they have. As an example:  5 or more. A good list broker will ask if you only want to get the primary HQ for the franchisee and skip the branch locations.

  • You can select the size of the business by sales volume or number of employees.  

ListAbility's Franchise Owners Mailing List allows you to pull contacts, addresses and phone numbers of the specific types of businesses you want to target.

ListAbility is a list broker with experience helping businesses obtain targeted mailing lists and telemarketing lists to enhance their direct marketing programs. In addition to listings of franchise owners, we have B2B marketing lists and consumer mailing lists. Our experienced list brokers are able to ask the questions and offer suggestions to pull the best prospects from our marketing databases.

Tags: Direct marketing strategy, direct mail campaigns, direct mail marketing, business mailing lists, B2B marketing, Marketing to franchises

Direct Mail is Highly Effective For Back-to-School Promotions

Posted by Carol Arnold on Tue, Jul 23, 2013 @ 10:27 AM

direct mail is highly effective to market for the back to school season.Tis the season for families to prepare for the new school year and that means shopping and spending money!

According to the National Retail Federation, back to school is the second biggest shopping season after the winter holidays.

Don't miss the opportunity to promote your business with targeted direct marketing

Retailers need to execute smart marketing strategies to capture their fair share of the nearly $690 spent by the average family on their children’s school gear. Direct mail, targeted to families with school aged children, is highly effective. Coupons, special offers and information about products and services can be delivered to right to their doorstep.

The new school year offers a fresh start – and families help by sending their students off with a wide range of new clothes, school supplies and electronics. In addition they spend on a wide range of sporting goods and services like haircuts. The college bound families shop to spiff up dorm rooms and student apartments.

Parents also plan ahead for other less traditional services for the coming school year. These can include tutoring, college prep, after school programs and private coaches.

When using targeted direct mail marketing, retailers and service providers can deliver postcards, flyers and brochures into the homes of their best potential clients. Targeted mailing lists can be pulled based on children’s age, household income and many more demographics.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the total population of kids and adults in school at 79 million - roughly one quarter of the total population. You have a lot of options when you pull a mail list – to either cast a broad net, or focus in on families with specific characteristics.

The shopping season doesn’t end in August and September on the first day of school! Many families are spreading out some of their purchase decisions.  You should plan to extend direct mail marketing into the fall, especially for clothing, technology and services.

ListAbility’s Family Masterfile Mailing List has selection criteria that you can use to truly focus your mailing – ensuring that you get your best return on your investment.

ListAbility is a mailing list broker with the expertise and quality data to guide you through the process of obtaining a highly targeted mailing list. A better list will pay dividends with the savings you garner in printing and postage – to say nothing of getting noticed by the right people!

Tags: direct marketing list strategies, direct mail campaigns, direct mail marketing, direct mail advertising, consumer mailing list, retail promotions

Market directly to adult children of your Assisted Living Prospects

Posted by Carol Arnold on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 @ 09:48 AM

Mother and daughter having long distance phone conversationContact people who influence their parents' decision to move to assisted living

Is it time for my parents to move out of their house into a safer living environment? How can I spend time with them and provide assistance when they live so far away? Should I relocate them so they are closer to where I live?

These are questions asked by many adults with aging parents. These same adult children have a major influence in the decision making process about when and where their senior parents move. Without question, these are the people that assisted living communities want to talk to.

Now you can market to just the adults in your marketing area who have living elderly parents with the financial resources to move into your assisted living facility.

A direct mail campaign with a targeted mailing list of people in your area who can influence their parents can be one of your most effective tools.

Mailings to these qualified prospects will understandably yield better results than simply peppering the middle aged market.

Imagine the effectiveness of sending your marketing material to adults in your area with elderly parents who are homeowners and have a net worth of $1MM or more.

These are probably the best assisted living prospecting leads that you can hope for.

You can even turn this around and send your brochure to seniors all across the country that have family close to your assisted living facility.

ListAbility’s Intergenerational Family Mailing List provides these unique opportunities for marketing to adult children of elderly parents – wherever they live in the US.

ListAbility has the expertise to guide you through the process of obtaining a highly targeted mailing, telemarketing or email list.

A better mail list will pay dividends with the savings you garner with reduced printing and postage – to say nothing of getting noticed by the right people!


Tags: Trends in marketing, direct mail campaigns, consumer mailing lists, marketing for assisted living

Direct Mail is Still a Powerhouse to Find New College Students

Posted by Carol Arnold on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 @ 02:58 PM

adult college student in classCollege marketing campaigns are becoming more important in the quest to attract new, non-traditional students in today’s competitive landscape.

Direct mail marketing is an excellent way for acquiring new students for higher education classrooms. This is particularly effective when reaching out into the community to market to adult learners, bringing in new people to your programs and filling classrooms.

Proactively reaching out to people enables you to catch their attention and refer them over to your web site or social media to learn more.

Your approach to choosing who should receive your information depends on the education programs you are promoting.

Recommended Direct Marketing Steps for Night School, Continuing Education, Community Enrichment and Other General Adult Educational Programs

The first step will be to determine WHERE you want to mail.

Some schools will pick out the areas where they currently have the highest concentration of students. Others will target areas where they want to grow visibility. Select zip codes or postal carrier routes which are smaller. Maybe a distance or drive-time radius would work for you.

The next step will be to choose WHO you want to mail to. Two different approaches are commonly used.

  1. Select a demographic target – such as age, income, gender or marital status
  2. Blanket the community – mail to all households in your target geography

Direct marketing gives you power to target people based on their unique demographics. These can include education level, occupation, age, marital status, interests and many other attributes. It is a proven marketing channel for attracting new students.

You can always decide to split your target audience to test which segments respond best, and what type of mail piece (brochure, catalog, post card) works best for your student marketing.

This is a good time to reach outside your existing student data base to inform people about the programs you offer.

ListAbility has the expertise to guide you through the process of obtaining a highly targeted mailing or email list. A better list will pay dividends when getting your school noticed by the right people. In addition, accurate lists will garner savings with reduced printing and postage costs.

Tags: mailing list brokers, direct mail marketing, direct mail advertising, marketing college programs

Use Direct Mail Marketing to promote your swimming pool business

Posted by Carol Arnold on Wed, May 09, 2012 @ 02:47 PM

Don't be left high and dry, this is the time to be marketing to swimming pool owners

marketing swimming pool maintenanceSpring is in full swing in many parts of the country and just around the corner for other areas. People are starting to think of summer fun. If you want the lucrative business of opening pools and maintaining them for the season, NOW is the time to start signing up homeowners with pools.

Most broadcast and print media are out of reach for the smaller pool companies. Even if your company has a large marketing budget, TV, newspapers and radio are reaching out to too broad an audience. Smart marketers want to direct their advertising dollars to homeowners with swimming pools who are going to need their services!

Direct mail marketing will put your message in the hands of the people most likely to want to buy from you.

The key is the mailing list. Take a look at ListAbility’s Swimming Pool Owners Mailing List as an example of how you can actually target your mailing to just the people you can expect to be your best prospects.

First you need to determine where you want to travel to service your customers and select a list within that area. It might be a group of towns, a couple counties, or even a radius distance from your business office or storefront.

Homeowners in single family homes are the most popular target market, but quite a few pool owners have a 2 or 3 family home. You might consider adding in those people as well.

Depending on your promotion and price point, consider specifying a minimum home market value or income so you don’t mail to people who probably can’t afford your services.

Pool owners with children could be your target market if you want to promote pool accessories such as slides or motion detectors. If you are offering environmentally friendly services, target people with an interest in Green Living.

While the list is important in getting your message to the right people, you want to be sure that your mail piece is pleasing to the eye, well written and relays the benefits of your service. You want to include a call to action that will give your prospect a reason to pick up the phone or get on their computer to get in touch with you.

ListAbility is a mailing list broker with the expertise and quality data to guide you through the process of obtaining a highly targeted mailing, telemarketing or email list. A better list will pay dividends with the savings you garner in printing and postage – to say nothing of getting noticed by the right people!


Tags: Direct marketing strategy, Marketing to swimming pool owners, mailing lists

Cost Effective Targeted Direct Mail versus Every Door Direct Mail

Posted by Carol Arnold on Mon, Apr 16, 2012 @ 01:42 PM

archer targetThe postal service is creating buzz and excitement with their Every Door Direct Mail ads on TV.

No list! Drop your mail off at the post office! What could be easier?

The reality isn’t quite that simple. The mail piece has to fit their specification of a flat; you calculate the quantities and bundle into packages of 100. If you are mailing to 5 towns, you will have to take your mail  to each of the 5 post offices, which could end up taking an entire day!

But the cost savings is there, right? Only 14½ cents per piece for postage! You can go onto the map at the postal website and pick out the carrier routes you think you want to deliver to, and it will go to every single address.

What if every single person isn’t a potential customer?

If you are an Ice Cream Stand, Pizza or take-out Chinese restaurant, by all means, get your menu and coupons out to everyone! What about more specialized businesses? Renters and Condominium owners may not be good targets for your landscaping business. A high end jewelry store might not want traffic from lower and middle income households.

Mailing to everyone, when only some are qualified can actually limit your reach. You will be spending money on postage and printing for people whom you are fairly sure will never buy your product. Even worse, they may waste your sales people’s valuable time.

Here is an example I came across the other day when an agency asked about a mailing for their client who is a pediatrician: The doctor had seen the ads on TV and asked about the Every Door Direct Mail program to help build his business.

We ran the numbers and found there were about 41,000 households in his service area of 5 towns on the south shore of Boston.

Using a targeted mailing list, we discovered that only 15,340 of the 41,000 households have children. To further target the mailing list, we took a look at some additional qualifiers. The practice would rather have younger children, and families with an income that would be more comfortable paying mdical bills.

5,212 families ended up on the qualified mailing list using the selections:  Children Age 0-12 and Household Income of $40K+

Additional qualifiers could include Length of Residence or Number of Children. You could also specify that the piece be addressed to the women (where present).

A better mailing list will pay dividends by helping you go get noticed by the right people!

ListAbility is a mailing list broker with the expertise and quality data to guide you through the process of obtaining a highly targeted mailing, telemarketing or email list. A better list will pay dividends with the savings you garner in printing and postage – to say nothing of getting noticed by the right people!


Tags: USPS Services, direct marketing list strategies, mailing list brokers, direct mail campaigns, consumer mailing lists, direct mail marketing, direct mail advertising, direct mail, Every Door Direct Mail

Direct Mail Advertising continues to be a powerful marketing channel

Posted by Chris Dyer on Fri, Mar 02, 2012 @ 10:54 AM

Many people would be surprised to read that the US Postal Service ended their fiscal year 2011 with a volume increase of 2 billion pieces of standard class mail. This 2.6% increase comes in spite of the barrage of negative media coverage. Standard mail is the primary mail service for Direct Mail Advertisers.

                  The Direct Marketing Association’s Statistical Fact Book states that
                     US marketers send over 90 billion pieces of direct mail per year!

What does this mean? The volume increase sends a clear message:

                                              Direct Mail Marketing still works

My advice to Marketers, especially younger marketers, is to incorporate a multi-channel strategy when developing their marketing programs. And that should include direct mail.

When planning a direct mail campaign, there are many options to consider. Some methods are enduring, and have been used for many years by the best direct marketers in the world.

Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • A strong offer or promotion is probably the most important element for all direct mail advertising campaigns.

  • Select an updated and accurate mailing list that has been targeted to recipients considered most likely to respond positively to your offer.

  • Consider making your promotion time sensitive to generate urgency.

  • Testimonials or a guarantee can be effective, depending on your product.

  • Copy and graphics focusing on the people you are sending to can increase results exponentially and easily justify the cost of using multiple versions. For example, use a different message for young adults than you do for seniors. Ask your printer about “variable print capabilities”.

  • The use of Digital Printing can bring increased capabilities for personalization. These can include PURLS (Personalized URLs) which set up individual web pages for your prospects to key in, and QR Codes (Quick Response) that can be read by a smart phone to link to a special marketing page on the web.

  • Postage is a large part of any direct mailing job.  Make sure your mail list is certified and processed to get the highest postal discounts for automation.

  • Consult your mail shop when you design the physical aspect of your mail piece. Something as simple as a flap folded in the wrong direction could cause problems with the automated machines, which could cause delays and cost money.

  • Coding records and setting up tracking metrics so response and conversion rates can be done accurately

  • Testing – Try a couple different offers and mail pieces to see what works best for you. This will help the success for your future direct marketing campaigns. 

ListAbility is a premier mailing list company. Our dedicated List Professionals can help guide you through the process of obtaining a highly targeted mailing lists, telemarketing list or email list. A better list will pay dividends with higher response rates, savings in printing and postage costs – to say nothing of getting noticed by the right people!  

Tags: Direct marketing strategy, direct marketing list strategies, mailing list brokers, direct mail campaigns, consumer mailing lists, direct mail marketing, direct mail advertising, business mailing lists, mailing lists, mailing list, mailing list broker, direct mail strategies, business mailing list, direct mail, consumer mailing list, mail list, mail lists

Small businesses increased their customer base in 2011

Posted by Carol Arnold on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 @ 03:12 PM

Business is growing with direct marketingSeventy nine percent of small businesses surveyed increased the number of customers that they worked with last year. Not surprisingly, 71% also reported increased revenues.

Are you working with more customers than you were a year ago?

Are you getting your fair share of new clients? These companies didn't get stuck only marketing to that same old company list. They are reaching out and converting new prospects using a media mix that includes targeted prospect lists and inbound marketing channels.

The Netherlands based company VistPrint N.V. conducts a quarterly survey for companies with 10 or fewer employees. More than 1900 responded with these findings that they are reporting.

How are they finding these new customers?

While tried and true “word of mouth” is still the favorite, a successful business knows that can’t rely solely on this good will method.

Many of the micro businesses surveyed stated that Direct Mail Marketing would continue to play an important role in their marketing plan for 2012, along with growing interest in internet and social media.

Direct Mail Marketing is a proven and very effective way to communicate with new prospects. It allows for tightly controlled budgets with accountability, which can be very important to companies without massive advertising and marketing budgets. Direct Mail Lists can be tightly targeted – so postage and printing are only spent for the best prospects, those who are likely to be interested in your products and services.

Whether you are selling to the business or consumer marketplaces, ListAbility is a mailing list provider that can help you reach out to more qualified prospects with your direct marketing programs. As a qualified list broker, they can research just the right business mailing list or consumer mailing list to target your direct marketing campaign.  

Tags: Trends in marketing, Direct marketing strategy, mailing list brokers, Marketing in the new economy, business mailing list

3 tips to suds up your car wash business with direct mail promotions

Posted by Carol Arnold on Fri, Jan 13, 2012 @ 11:34 AM

Grow your car wash businessYou have invested in a great business, one that has the potential to engage every driver that takes pride in the appearance of their vehicle.

But you still need to attract the drivers’ attention and give them a reason to stop in. Rather than doing an ad campaign that you hope is all things to all people, consider this: 

Direct mail presents the ideal marketing strategy to put your message right into the homes of the people you want to target.

Here are some suggestions to bring new customers into your business using direct mail campaigns.

1.  Present your message to people who will be most likely to respond. Today, more than ever, there are many choices when selecting a mailing list. Here are some examples :

  • Birthday – Run a promotion around a person’s birthday. This is a great way to target monthly mailings.
  • Auto model year – Do you see more clients that have newer cars? You can send your information out to more people with cars the same age.
  • Auto type – With today’s variable print, you can put a picture of the type of car people own right on you postcard or brochure.

2.  Decide which type of "special" you want to offer

  • Big Discount for your first visit
  • Buy one-Get One Free
  • Discounted coupon book or passport

3.  Use the advertising style that you think will best fit to your offer and target demographic

  • Whimsical: Joke about looking good or attracting attention with your shiny clean car
  • Respect: Maintain the respect of your business colleagues, neighbors, friends and family
  • Practical: Keeping dirt, dust and salt off your vehicle will help it last longer with a higher resale value.

ListAbility’s mailing lists can help many industries, including car washes, find new prospects to grow their business. In addition to the standard consumer demographic selects, such as age and income, ListAbility’s Automotive Masterfile Mailing List and Happy Birthday Promotions data bases are 2 more examples of our mail lists that will help you save money. Target your direct marketing campaign to people who are most likely to respond to your product or service!