My business needs a steady supply of new customers. Yours does too, probably. Customers leave and go with competitors. Customers go out of business. Customers fall away without a word of explanation. So I need—you need—a regular supply of new customers to replace ones that disappear each year.
The challenge in business-to-business direct mail is knowing where to look for new business. You need a source of potential new clients that is reliable and affordable. A source that will give you contact information you need to send a direct mail package to prospective customers who need, want and can afford what you offer.
At a minimum, any source of names should supply following for each lead:
First name, last name Job title Company name Address (sometimes on two lines) City Province or state Postal code or zip code
Other details that are nice to know: SIC Code (Standard Industry Classification) Industry by name Size of company (in number of employees or sales volume) Telephone number Email address Business type (manufacturing, services, consulting) Job function (engineer, owner, purchasing, management) Purchasing authority Budget Geographic region (international region, country, state)
Where to find names of potential customers:
Associations There is an Association of Legal Administrators. There is an association for social workers who specialize in helping people with cancer (Association of Oncology Social Work). There is an association for manufacturers of fasteners in mid-west of United States (The Mid-West Fastener Association).
If your target audiences is a niche market, first place to look for potential customers is trade associations. These associations (local, regional, national, international) often rent lists of names of their members
Trade publications Most industries have a trade journal. You are familiar, of course, with Frozen Food Age, Industrial Hygiene News, Eyecare Business and Waste News. These trade publications and most others also rent names of their subscribers.
Trade directories You could look in phone book. Or you could look in Organic Export Directory, a compilation of contact names for companies that export organic food products. The more narrow field, more likely it is to have its own directory of companies in industry. Some of these directories are in print, and some are online as well.