Marketing consultant Robert Bly estimates that your house file—customer names and addresses—will pull double the response of any external list. Yet many direct mailers penalize themselves by not assembling such a customer list. And some shoot themselves in the foot by failing to keep their house files up to date.
Recessionary times, when your phone may not be ringing off the hook with orders, is a great time to put your house file in order. Start by taking the job away from clerical help, who may not grasp its importance, and split it up among your sales staff, reminding them that they depend directly on a healthy house list for their incomes.
You may generate a sub-list of “orphan” names that nobody seems able to trace. Handle those yourself by telephone. That way, you won’t perpetuate useless list entries. Cleaning your house list produces these advantages for you:
You save money – you may be frittering away by mailing to incorrect addresses
The United States Postal Service is always raising postage rates. You are under no patriotic obligation to pay the USPS more than you must.
You cut down on non-deliverables
If your offers never reach your intended recipients, they cannot make purchases from you.
You speed up cash flow
If your invoices lag in reaching customers, their payments will be delayed.
You will improve your brand image
Customers don’t like it when you don’t know—or don’t care enough—to address them correctly.
You will save packaging and labor costs
They can double every time you need to ship goods again.
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