Marketing & Communications Centre > Marketing Essentials > Help Sheets > What to do Before Going to a List Broker

What to do Before Going to a List Broker

Most smaller and medium-sized community groups will probably not need to buy access to a mailing list. By working at building their own database and servicing their local communities, they will create a strong database of supporters who are keen to learn more about their group.

However for various reasons, some groups want to expand – and in some cases expand quickly – and that can mean taking their message to a wide audience that may have little or no knowledge of their activities.

If your group or organisation has decided to buy access to a list, then there is some preparation that is needed before approaching a list broker. Good preparation can boost your chances of successfully getting a good list that is as relevant as possible to your group.

Preparing PRIOR TO having a chat to the broker can:
  • Save time for your group and the broker.
  • Provide a final opportunity for your group to focus on what it wants from a list before it commits to buying access to one, and.
  • Be a good way of achieving the best results possible from the list - given that the more detailed the brief you give the list broker, the more likely the list you receive from them will closely match your needs.

Some of the points your group may want to be clear on before going to a list broker are:
  • What is your organisation about?
    • What does it do?
    • What are its aims? and
    • What has it achieved?
  • What is your mail-out going to concentrate on?
    • Is it memberships, donations, awareness-raising?
    • How does this impact on the type of data you might need from a broker?
  • Who is your target audience for this mail-out?
    • Is it different from your existing audience or contacts? If so, how does this affect the data your group would need from a broker?
    • Is there a particular section of your existing audience or contacts you want this mail-out to focus on?
    • Is there a new audience your group does not have which it would like the mail-out to target?
  • What is your budget?
    • Some types of lists cost more than others, so have a figure in mind and work around it as a basis.
  • What level and type of response are you seeking?
    • Not only is it the level of response that is important – and different types of lists can produce different response levels - but the type of response (donations, joining as members, attending a function) could also impact on what sort of list your group is after.
    • Are you seeking donations, attendance at a function or new members joining, for example?
  • How long before you want your mail-out campaign to begin?
    • What sort of lead time do you and the list broker have?
One option for your group is to write out a one or two-page briefing document to take with you and use as a starting point for discussions with a list broker.

That document can cover many of the points listed above, as well as providing the list broker with a little more information about your group and what it does.

For more info on what you should ask before you actually purchase access to a list from the broker, refer to the help sheet Questions for List Broker Before you Buy Access to a List.



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