Let’s say you sell high-end golf equipment. There are a lot of other companies that also sell golf equipment. You’ve got a pretty specific audience, but you don’t know exactly where they are, and who is most likely to spend the extra money on above average equipment. So what do you do?

Let’s start by targeting all golfers in the U.S.  The cost per name / address record is ‘X’.  But, if you only want golfers in the state of Illinois where you currently have retail store locations, the cost per record is X+Y (Y being an additional cost for selecting the state of Illinois).  If you are interested in golfers over age 40 in the state of Illinois, the cost per record is X+Y+Z (Z being the additional cost for selecting based on age of the golfer).

As you can probably guess, there are many more variables you can choose from, but the over all answer is this – the cost of purchasing a mailing list is directly proportional to the level of targeting needed for a particular audience.  The more targeted, the higher the cost per record (name and contact information).

Golfing

To give a real example of the golfing example from above, for the entire US, you might pay $60 per 1000 records; for all of Illinois, you might pay $65 per 1000; and for those over 40 in Illinois, something more like $80 per 1000. If you wanted to sprinkle in behavioral or demographic data, such as hobbies or number of children in the home, your list cost is reflective of more sophisticated targeting.

You can rent the records for a one time use, two time use or unlimited use for up to a year.  Any individual that responds to your offer is yours to keep.  For additional cost, you can append email and social/mobile profiles to a mailing list. It is also worth noting that whenever you purchase a mailing list, it is good practice to work with a partner to continually bounce those addresses off the National Change of Address database and the Address Correction Service. That way, you are never wasting money on print and postage.

List costs can vary by sources that offer them (brokers, list processing service bureaus, compilers, etc.).  If you are new to list acquisition and fulfillment, shop around or get a referral.  List quantities can also vary and the list source that has the greatest quantity does not always mean that it is the best.  Ask about sources used to compile the list, frequency of updates, USPS certified and list usage rules and requirements. All of your marketing efforts will be enhanced by a good list, so make sure that having the best list is a priority in your marketing efforts.