As any mail-order business knows, your mailing list is one of the most important aspects of your company. If you don't target the right audience with your list, there is little chance for making sales. You need to make every piece of mail you send out count. Here are four techniques that will help you increase the effectiveness of your mailing list and home in on the right customers:

1. Use online market research to get to know your audience
According to Experian, understanding your target customers is vital to a business' success. You need to know what motivates your customers and what makes them want to purchase products. Online market research is a great way to find these answers. Read industry studies, competitor blogs and white papers or even put together a survey yourself to gather the information you need to know. The more research you conduct, the better you'll understand and be able target your core audience through a strong mailing list.

2. Past customers make great mailing recipients
Customers who previously made an electronic payment via the Internet are the perfect people to mail your latest catalog to for two reasons: You already know they're interested in the products you sell, and you already have their contact information. Remember, don't just include your previous customers that came to you through mail order. Make sure to compile all customer information from online sales, infomercials and any other channels you use to sell your goods.

3. Utilize marketing channels to add leads to your mailing list
Past customers aren't the only people you should send catalogs to. If you have a recent sales lead that provided their information but didn't make a purchase, sending them a catalog can seal the deal. These leads can come from Internet advertising, infomercials, traditional print advertising or any other form of marketing. As long as you have a new lead's address, you should consider adding their name to your mailing list.

Don't, however, add just any name. Many leads you'll receive aren't high quality. For that reason, you need to work with the sales team and determine which leads will produce the best results. Look at where the lead is in the sales funnel and what they did in the past. You don't want to waste a mail order catalog on a potential customer that will never convert.

4. Have a subscribe button on your website
While online shopping is extremely popular, some people just like to receive a physical magazine-style catalog in the mail to shop from. Finding these people can be difficult. For this reason it is smart to add a button on your website that allows potential customers to subscribe to the mail order catalog. When they do this you can also collect information for other forms of marketing such as email or social media. Remember, all of your marketing channels have to work together.

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