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10 Golden Rules of List Promotion

Although list owners and managers know that promoting list files is an important part of bringing in list revenue, many do not understand how they can use the resources of industry trade publications to aid their promotional efforts.

However, just faxing data cards to a publication is not enough. There are several guidelines that any list professional can follow to increase his chances of getting the pertinent information to the proper person and hopefully into the pages of the appropriate trade publications.

· Identify trade publications that you know your prospects are reading. In other words, make sure you understand the demographics and target market for the trade publications. Before you commit your advertising dollars to a particular trade publication, you should have a clear knowledge of the response each trade publication can generate for you. This can be accomplished by having your file announced in the proper sections (New List, Enhanced, Updated Counts or New Manager).

· Know which editors at the trade magazines handle your type of lists. Stay in close contact so that when you have a “hot” list you need announced immediately, you do not waste time trying to find out who is the responsible editor. Publications have staff changes, too.

· Accommodate the editors. Editors are busy people — they redefine the word deadline. If they prefer your data card via e-mail — do it. This can be a determining factor of whether you get coverage. Each publication and editor has his preference. The most popular form is e-mail. Fax is second and lastly mail. Never expect to phone in an announcement.

· Get to know the editors. If you are in close contact with the editors they can offer you a wealth of information about any upcoming special feature or round-table issues. These editors also will know whom to call when they need a last-minute interview or information on a topic that pertains to what you offer.

· Help editors by identifying the selling points of your file. Is your file new? Under new management? If so, clearly state this. Another tip, use artwork. This helps your file (data card) stand out from the rest. It shows that extra effort has been applied into the creation of the data card.

· Make sure all the pertinent information is on your data card. Make sure pricing, counts, contact information and description are all clearly readable. Just like searching through a stack of resumes — it is the easy-to-read ones that get considered. The truth is many lists never get announced because there is just not enough room in these publications. These publications know that the readers like to read list announcements but they also know that they need advertising revenue.

· Have a pulse on the industry. Your list can be one of the first to be seen when a new publication/newsletter is launched. Make sure you have developed your own media outreach program so that you are kept informed of new and upcoming direct marketing publications.

· Create and maintain a media report to organize and manage all of the announcement dates. This media report can be cross-referenced to your sales to identify which publication generates the most list sales.

· Follow up, follow up and follow up. It seems like everyone is in information overload. Editors have information coming to them from the phone, fax, e-mail and mail. You are responsible for your list announcements, they are not. Subscribe to the print publications as well as the online newsletters.

· Take list promotion seriously. List promotion affects your bottom line. If brokers and the rest of the direct marketing community do not know about your file, your sales will be greatly affected. The person in charge of list promotion cannot just fax data cards to the trade publications. He needs to be proactive and constantly look for new opportunities as well as manage when and where each list announcement will hit.

The person in charge of list promotion also should be responsible for coverage in the major list directories so brokers can access information on your file. Your file should also be cross-referenced so that it is searchable under the various markets it overlaps.

Overall, the key to successful mailing list promotion is diligent follow-up. Without accurate information your media report will be worthless.

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