Help and Assistance

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of our more frequently asked questions. Click the question to see the answer, or "Show All" to read them all.

How frequently are your lists updated?

This is a complex question. Our Consumer At-home Database is updated on a six-week update schedule. This update includes using the National Change of Address list update service, and running the list against Social Security's Deceased File. This is one of the most aggressive updating schedules in our industry, and is the primary reason we can offer a 95% deliverability guarantee.

Business lists are updated on a less regular basis, Most are updated annually to include verification of the business address, principal employees, size and similar information. Our business lists have a 93% deliverability guarantee.

Subscriber, Association, and Donor lists are continually updated. These are the cleanest lists on the market which also makes them the most expensive. We extend our 95% deliverability guarantee to these lists.

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What does your Deliverability Guarantee include?

We offer one of the strongest guarantees in the business. Simply stated, Market Mapping plus Inc. guarantees that this list is 95% deliverable to the name on the mailing address including data that is misclassified. This guarantee applies for the first mailing or the first 30 days you have possession of the list whichever comes first. Market Mapping plus Inc. will reimburse the above customer at the rate of 25¢ per returned piece for any returned mail that exceeds 5%. We do not reimburse for postage, printing, processing/letter shop, creative/design services.

This guarantee is printed on every List Rental Agreement and every Invoice. In 19 years of doing business we have had to compensate clients only 12 times using this guarantee. We are very proud of our record of quality and service.

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What is the process for choosing a mailing list?

The process begins with a discussion to narrow down whom you are trying to reach and what message you want them to respond to. Typical discussions involve going over the clients’ past mailings, and determining their experience with direct mail. From there, we identify their target market and run some rough counts to begin the process.

After we narrow the focus to your ideal target market, we can then create a name-count estimate, and give you an idea as to the cost. I will send you a List Rental Agreement stating the number of names, the demographic characteristics we used to develop the mailing list, and the cost and terms of payment. After the List Rental Agreement is signed, I will place the order and process your payment.

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What methods can I use for payment?

For new clients we prefer payment at the time of the order. We take all major credit cards, as well as checks. For established clients, Universities, and Colleges we can extend terms of 30 days net. Please note that any late payments incur a 1.5% interest charge each month.

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What response rate can I expect? How can I get the best response?

Market Mapping plus Inc. can assist you in creating the optimal list for best response, but the rate itself can vary, based upon the product, the offer, and the mailing itself.

A successful mailing is a function of three key elements:

  • The offer
  • The list
  • The design

Most people spend most of their effort on what the mail piece looks like. A winning direct mail strategy focuses on the fundamental task: Getting the perfect offer to the right market segments.

As you continue mailings, you may see increased response rates from past customers. This is why tracking your mailings is important. Past customers will always skew your response rate higher, but unless you track response, who’s acting on your offer, you won’t know response is from existing customers, or if the purchased list is causing new interest.

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Should I track my mailing list performance?

Yes! Without a doubt keycode and track your mailing. Who is responding, where are they coming from, why are the responding to the mailing are all key elements to learning to fine tune and create new campaigns.

For example, say you rent 5000 names from around your market area. 2500 of them from the 25 34 age group the other from the 35 44 age group. You drop the mailing and get a .7% response rate or 35 responses. If 28 of them come from the 35 44 age group, you may be better off mailing all 5000 pieces in the future to this age group. If you look at this by response rate, the 28 responses on 2500 pieces mailed is a .1.2% response rate. If you had mailed all 5000 pieces to this group you would have had 60, not 35 sales.

Tracking performance will always increase your knowledge and cost effectiveness.

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What works better? A Postcard or a Letter?

Yes, the eternal question of direct mail: What does work better?

Honestly it depends on the purpose and use of the mailing. If your products or services are highly detailed, comprehensive, and your potential customers need a lot of information from you, I would recommend a letter. If your intent is to quickly inform and excite them about a special, product, or service, I’d go with the postcard. In reality, testing is the only way to the true answer. Take your list, mail half a letter, and the other half a postcard. See which draws the best.

Clients routinely use testing to refine their mailings: testing letters against postcards, one color of paper against another (they found gray did not draw as well as egg shell blue), one set of copy against another, a single-offer mailing versus a multiple offers. Testing and personalization are an important part of using direct mail effectively.

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Is a single mailing enough?

Like all forms of advertising, a single article won’t be effective. Customers today are being bombarded by advertising messages everywhere they turn. Open your own mailbox and see who’s trying to reach you! The more mailings you send out, the better your overall response will be, due to the power of repetition and familiarity. It’s generally better to mail fewer pieces, to a more precise target, multiple times, than it is to mail more widely and less often.

Depending on what you’re selling, and your profit margin, it may take longer to break even. Once a customer responds to your mailing, they are ready for you to convert to a customer. After that, the cost to mail them is less, they are a known buyer in an ongoing relationship, and you're well-placed to profit from repeat sales!

As an example, I had a position in the past where our initial cold mailing averaged $.70 profit per mailing sent, but the mailings cost $1.00 to send. I lost $.30 for each piece I sent out! However, it paid off in the long-term by gaining loyal repeat customers: when I looked at the 5-year value of these new customers, repeat purchases, and the much lower cost to get these additional sales (using mailings directed to known existing customers), that initial dollar mailing averaged $96 in profits. It was the long-term value of a dedicated customer that made direct mail an effective method of new customer acquisition and increased sales.

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