One of the best ways to increase the return on investment of your direct mail is to cull certain types of addresses that are unlikely to be responsive from your list. While there are undoubtedly businesses that would find it profitable to mail to one or more of the following categories of addresses, most will not. These are the types of addresses we almost universally recommend excluding from a mailingnot mailing to certain addresses

  • Jails or Prisons: There are few organizations for whom prisoners are likely customers or donors.
  • Military: Because of the likelihood they may be stationed overseas or living on a ship for extended periods, military personnel with APO or FPO addresses are typically excluded from mailings.
  • Nursing Homes: Residents of nursing homes are often not in a position to decide on a purchase or to make a donation.
  • Trailer Parks: If your product is priced higher than a resident of a trailer park is likely to be able to afford, you may want to omit such addresses from your mailing list.
  • Vacant Lots: Mailing to an address where the house is unoccupied and there is no forwarding address rarely makes sense. If there is no house or other structure on the property and you’re not a builder, investor or real estate agent, it’s hard to imagine that mailing to such an address will pay out.
  • Disaster Areas: If an area has recently been hit by a natural disaster, you should strongly consider either postponing the mailing or excluding the area from your mailing. Not only are any remaining residents likely to be focused on basic survival issues, but mail delivery is often suspended for extended periods following major disasters.
  • Addresses That Contain Profanity or Buzz Words: Disgruntled people will sometimes add an offensive address to a list for the purpose of angering the recipient. MMI has been continually updating a special data file designed to screen out addresses containing inappropriate words and phrases for 15 years.
  • 5- or 6-line Addresses: Unusually long addresses are often chopped off on the envelope, causing the mail piece to become undeliverable. Even if your mailing can accommodate them, you may want to exclude such addresses if individuals in large companies are not part of your target market.
  • DMA Pander: People on the DMA Pander list have asked the Direct Marketing Association to remove their names from direct mail mailing lists. We strongly recommend that all such records be removed from an acquisition list.

Fortunately, data processing companies are able to identify each of these categories of addresses so that unprofitable addresses can be easily culled from your list prior to mailing.

There are other types of addresses that may or may not make sense for you to mail to depending upon your target audience and whether the mailing is to your house list or an acquisition list. We’ll cover these types of addresses (including deceased records and addresses with questionable delivery) in separate blog posts.

If you’d like to learn more about how MMI Direct can help you make your mailings more profitable, please call John Bell at (310) 372-9010 or let us know how to contact you.

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