Focus On: Lists: Prospecting Lists that Work
As a result, we don’t go outside the center too much. As I said, we look at our list strategy like a series of concentric circles with the lists closest to the center, or hub, being those lists that share two or three characteristics.
The first characteristic we look for is if there’s a health connection. Next, are there children in the household? Third, is there a response to a premium-based offer? Any two out of three can make that list worth testing.
Taking those characteristics into account, other children’s-based charities like cystic fibrosis are an example of our first-rung prospect lists. Parents of young kids who are also proven direct mail responsive, like Disney catalog buyers, would be my next logical target. If I had to mail more, these are the next lists I’d be going to.
FS: What are some keys to making non-core lists work for your prospecting efforts?
SMcK: In fundraising (and this sounds very simple, but it’s 100 percent true), we are seeking people who read the mail piece and then write and mail a check. [With] catalog lists, a “cash” select versus a “credit card” select will make a big difference. (A catalog has to have a meaningful universe of “cash buyers” though, or it’s not worthwhile as there would be insufficient universe to continue on).
Reading a catalog [and] then calling an 800 number with your credit card or reading a catalog and going online to order merchandise are different behaviors from the reading/writing-check mailing behavior we want to stimulate to repetition.
FS: What other factors are important when making selections from general consumer lists?
SMcK: The dollar select can be relevant [with regard to renting catalog lists]. Consider your appeal’s “ask” amount: Do you need a $100+ buyer (as a select) if you’re asking for a $10, $15 or $25 ask? Probably not. Further, if the average order on a catalog list is $50, ordering the $100+ segment will get you a better quality/more committed buyer. But you can make the mistake of paying for an unneeded select if you order $50+ buyers from a list whose average order is $100 or more. Point is to make sure whatever dollar select you go for, [it] is relevant to either selecting the high-enders or eliminating the low-enders from that file.