Direct Mail: Purchasing A Mailing List


Ron Kilger

Just about any type of mailing list can be obtained from one place or another… at a price.

According to the list you are wanting, the cost, style, and quantity will vary greatly. The more specialized
the list, the greater the cost.

EXAMPLE: A resident list for the entire zip in Costa Mesa (92626) is much easier and less expensive to acquire than a specialized list of only a five mile radius of a church in the 92626 zip.

RECOMMENDED LISTS: (Where to obtain…)


Abstract Record Services, 1401 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (213) 223-8138

2. NEW MOVE – IN (New resident)

Homeowners Marketing Services, 1901 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067 (213) 277-3606 Orange County Office: 2120 Howell, Suite #402, Anaheim, CA 92806 (714) 634-8411–Herb Barker


Regarding the two above listings… they are available on a weekly list… In deciding what areas to order for
these lists you will have to list the cities specifically that you are interested in working. The cities that are available to you are not necessarily handled on one list, and therefore you may be required to obtain two lists… However, the cost is small…

EXAMPLE: For Costa Mesa and South, two lists would be necessary (GROUP #1: C.M., Irvine, Newport, Balboa… GROUP #2: Orange, Tustin, Santa Ana)

*COSTS: One Area-$195/yr ($16.25/mo)
Payment schedule is 1/3 down $65 and
10 monthly payments of $13.

Two Areas: $174 ea/yr ($348/yr.) Payment Schedule is 1/3 down $116 and 10 monthly payments of $23.20.

*Costs taken from Homeowners Marketing Price Schedule – can be obtained by writing or calling for printed materials.


Direct Mail Systems… Lists available with names, or with “resident” as title. Lists with specified names or more costly than “resident”… your mailing kit will decide whether it needs to be motivational “name title” or informational “resident” labels.


Direct Mail Systems… we will either find the list for you or have access to companies that handle these lists.


1. List the areas you are wanting by zip codes only… All lists are compiled and maintained by zips. Be as specific as you can.

2. Clarify exactly what you want your list to include or exclude.

EXAMPLE: When obtaining a school list, you may want to specify a certain denomination, or only
those schools with enrollment over 50 students, or exclude pre-schools.

With resident listings you may want only those homeowners with income over $30,000 a year, or exclude new owners.

Be certain to get what you are paying for. Many times special instructions for a list are not any more in cost. ASK! “Ye have not because ye ask not”.

A special note in ordering your resident list… Inquire if it will or will not include apartment dwellers. If the list is referred to as “SINGLE DWELLING UNITS ONLY” it will have only homeowner. Explain in detail what you want.

3. Make proper instructions as to the title you wish on the label: “OCCUPANT”, “RESIDENT” or the “NAME” (Mr. J. Smith, Mr. & Mrs. J. Smith, Mrs. Smith) Again, your choice will depend on whether your mailing is “informational” or “motivational”.

Regarding business lists… A company name is indicated on the label… You can indicate at a small fee a certain title to be added as a fourth line: “OFFICE MANAGER”,

“SALES PROMOTION DEPT”, “ADVERTISING DEPT”, etc. (Up to 34 characters) On certain lists there is the owner or manager already on the label… make sure you indicate this.

5. Figure your quantity needed in thousands… Most companies have a 5,000 minimum order (2500 minimum order). If you want to do smaller mailings, plan ahead for a total year and order your lists together… you will save money, and time! Remember, the larger the order, usually the smaller the cost.

If your planning is accurate you may obtain a specified quantity from a specified area…

EXAMPLE: 5000 resident listing

1200 zip 93410

900 zip 93408

2900 zip 93420 — total of 5,000

But, again, certain lists cannot be broken up and must be “exhausted” (totally run out) of one zip before going to another zip.

A quality list at a low cost takes a lot of planning and mapping out. If you are not familiar with the zip codes, you may want to get some postal helps such as the Zip Code Directory from the Post Office or a Zip Code Atlas. More information on zip helps can be obtained from RAND MCNALLY & COMPANY, P 0 Box 7600, Chicago Il 60680.

REMEMBER, once a list is run… IT MUST BE PAID FOR. If the wrong list is ordered… money is wasted! You’re the boss… Make sure you will be totally satisfied!


1. 4 UP CHESHIRE LABELS (See “A” following page)

These are the most common, as well as the easiest and cheapest to obtain. They are prepared with 44 to a
page (4 columns of 11 each). They ARE NOT SELF ADHESIVE and must be transferred to your mailing piece by a mail service … be sure to ask if they have the proper equipment to do this, not all services do. This cost will depend on the quantity of your mailing (Usually $11-$15/1,000) They will also IF YOU ASK, sort, bag and prepare your mailing to drop!

2. PRESSURE SENSATIVE LABELS (See “B” following page)

They also come 44 to a page, ARE SELF ADHESIVE labels. They are usually $5-$8 more per 1,000 in ordering. They can be transferred by hand to the mailing piece or again taken to a mailing house for service.

* If you are going to hand transferred names and addresses off labels (that is type individual envelopes or handwrite them) remember, you can only use the list once legally (SEE SPECIAL NOTE)


The price you pay for a mailing list you acquire is referred to as “renting”… you can only use for a one time run. It is illegal to obtain a list and use it more than once without paying for it more than once. As a precaution, most lists sold have a code label to a “check point” or “traffic control” center. As you do your mailing from lists, it is not however illegal to build your own list from the responses obtained. Your own “In House List” should be maintained again by zips according to your special groups…

EXAMPLE: Teens, Jolly 60’s, New Resident, New Baby,  Adult, etc.

A good In House List is maintained neatly and accurately for easy use… There are many ways to maintain large listings.


These are 7 1/2″ x 3 1/4″ cards available for one address per card (typed in the blue outlined space at the top) They can then be transferred to mailing piece by a mailing service (again, be sure to ask if they have the proper machine to transfer with)

These cards are approximately $12/2M are easy to handle, file, delete, change, etc. Good for “informational mailings” of large quantity (1c each)


Can maintain a list with up to 127 different groupings or categories (EXAMPLE: Sunday School  breakdown, Ladies Groups, Men’s Fellowship, etc.) Excellent for “Motivational mailings” personalized with name (inside and outside letter)


Depending on the list, will depend upon the machine best suited for your needs. Automatic, Hand Operated, Code Selector, Auto Zip Code Stop, etc., etc. Addresses typed on 2 1/2″ x 4″ stencils and filed in trays. (Depending on the machine using what stencil approximate cost 6c-7c each)

Remember, any list maintained in zip code order makes a bulk mailing much easier to prepare–whether done by mailing house or personally it can save money and time!


The following is a good example that even the most authoritative departments need to “clean their lists”…

“There is yet another postscript to this story. It recently came to light in Sacramento that for the past two years the State of California has been mailing form letters to thousands of dead persons to inform them that their demise disqualifies them from receiving further Medical benefits.

After recovering from its embarrassment, the Administration put a stop to all future correspondence with
residence of the hereafter.”

TAKEN FROM: Los Angeles Times

Friday, February 13, 1976-PART II