Jun 06, 2011
Introducing the New Visual Mapping Mailing List Tool
In our April article, More Isn't Always Better: A Guide to Targeted Mailing Lists, we talked about the benefits of having a targeted mailing list. Chief among them: lower cost and better results. Because the fact is that the whole world is not a prospective customer - and by mailing to people who are not good prospects, you're lowering the return you see on your investment.
There are a number of ways that you can target your mailing list. One is to target a demographic similar to your current customers. Say you own a resale boutique for children's clothes and your customers are typically working women aged 35-49 with household incomes above $75,000. So you might rent a list that has been targeted by gender, age, and household income.
Say you own a dry cleaner and your current customers are men and women aged 25-70 (and you have no idea their household incomes). But they all live nearby. In this case, your target audience doesn't fall into a neatly-defined demography. So instead of targeting by gender, age, or income, you might target by geographic location.
Creating a geo-targeted mailing list
Click2Mail Mailing List Services has always offered the geo-targeted list option. But until now, when you wanted to create a geo-targeted list, you did so by defining a certain mileage radius around your business address, or a certain ZIP code, or a certain mail carrier route.
Now, you can geo-target your list in all those ways (and then some) and you can visualize what you're doing as you're doing it. So you can see the 3 mile radius around your pizza shop's address as you order a list that has all of the residences within that circle. You can draw a custom geo-boundary and order a list of addresses within that polygon. You can specify a driving time radius from a given address and see the amoeba-like shape appear on a map before you order a list of everyone within a ten-minute drive of your dry cleaning establishment.
The new mapping tool - how it works
Step 1: Place your "home base" location marker. Your location marker is your "home base" - in all likelihood the address of your business. You can define this location in one of three ways: by entering the address (just the state, county, or ZIP code, or the complete address) and zooming to the location; by clicking on the map to place your location marker; or by defining a location that encompasses a certain geographic area.
Step 2: Select or omit. The new mapping tool allows you to either include or exclude the geographic location you'll define in Step 3. Say, for example, that you want a mailing list including all homes in nearby ZIP codes except for the homes north of Z Street (because your competitor has that market covered). Then you'll choose to omit rather than select homes in that north-of-Z Street area.
Step 3: Define a geographic area around your location marker. Step 3 is where you're actually defining the area to which you'll mail. You have a number of options for defining this area (all of which the new tool allows you to visualize). You can geo-target by:
• Distance radius (a circle with a radius of a certain number of miles, centered around your location marker)
• Drive time radius (an area within a certain number of driving minutes from your location marker)
• Mail carrier route (the geographic area defined by the USPS as a single mail route)
• Custom polygon (hand-draw a custom area around your location marker)
You can create as many geographic areas as you like (so, for example, you can create an area that encompasses everyone within a three-mile radius as well as everyone in a certain ZIP code). To get a sense of where certain ZIP codes or carrier routes are, you can turn on overlays to see those before you select them.