In the past couple of blogs I have discussed the importance of databases in direct mail marketing. So far, we have learned that a “customer database” is the most important database for your direct mail marketing campaign. But before you develop your customer database, you need to make sure that you’re taking the right steps to create your customer list.

In Chapter 2 of “Successful Direct Marketing Methods,” Bob Stone explains why creating a customer database with your own customer list is much more effective than using a list compiled by someone else. “An organization’s own customer list, especially when enhanced as a database, is most productive and responsive. This is because of the special relationship – or goodwill – that any organization enjoys with its own customers. It is not uncommon for a house list to be four or even ten times as responsive as an external list with which there is no customer relationship.”

Instead of buying a contact list for your next direct mail marketing campaign, mail to the customers you already interact with. If you’re already sending statement printing and invoice printing, why not include direct mail pieces with discounts and special offers? This way you can maintain a relationship with past customers and encourage them to make future purchases.