Its not Too Late to Grow Your Local Business-buy Mail Lists

by : Doug Sauerhaft

Here in the North East the weather has begun to warm. Snow is gone and plants are beginning to peak their heads up out of the soil.

If you are a House Painter, Landscaper, General Contractor, Pool Guy or any other Owner of an outdoor based seasonal business-you've probably got most of your year booked. But there are still some opportunities to fit odd jobs in to maximize your profitability this year.

Targeted direct mail to a pre-defined customer prospect list is an excellent way to grow your local business. Why not buy mail lists?

How Do I Do It?

Here is how I suggest you go about doing this. There are two different schools of thought you can entertain here as to how to select your prospects.

#1: The first is to look at your existing customers and come up with a few characteristics that you see as consistent amongst them. For example, is there an affluence level? If so, determine whether you want to target based on estimating Home Value, or Household Income. Is Age, Gender, or Ethnicity a factor? Once you've created this "existing customer profile" then you would order a mailing list that targets these elements.

#2: The second school of thought is to try to hit the "home-run" Who is your dream customer?-don't mean one that doesn't complain...ask for free add-ons or pays on time. Rather, what are the demographics of that huge painting job, someone who might need to re-landscape a few acres, need a new pool, want to build an addition, etc...

Of course, you can do both if your vendor can/will run your order as a two part order. One portion can be from school #1, and the balance can be from school #2.

How Do I Figure out Where I want to Mail To?

This really comes down to your own business model. How far are you willing/able to travel-even with travel expenses added on-to do a job? There is no perfect answer here it's all your preference.

Here are some ideas of how to decide.

Do you need to stay within the towns/cities that you currently do business in? If so, order buy town or zip codes.

Perhaps you have a central zip code that you do most of your work in and are looking to expand outward. Then I would suggest doing a radius (It's like drawing a circle around something) in terms of miles outside of a targeted zip code.

Le'ts say you are a Nursery, and there are other Nurseries in your area. You know that your customers typically only drive about 10 or 15 miles to get to your Nursery, otherwise they go to a competitor. Then I would suggest doing what is called a "Rooftop" radius. This is a bit more exact than a zip code radius. It takes the exact location of your business and draws that radius circle using your business location as the center point.

Ok, so you figured out what criteria you want for your list, and you know the geography you want to pull from. What's next?

What are you going to Mail?

What is it you are going to mail? A letter? A flyer? A brochure? How about a nice color postcard? As mentioned in prior postings, postcard marketing offers certain advantages in the mailbox over other media. Why? Because you can see what is on a postcard without having to do anything. It gives you the best chance to get noticed.

Have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at and I'll be happy to assist you any way I can.