The Coffey Blog

A smart shopper's guide to rented mailing lists

Posted on: Monday, December 4, 2017

Alanna Jacob, Director of Mailing & Fulfillment Services, HIPAA Compliance Officer

A rented address list can help you show your hospital publication to a wider audience. Choosing the right list is crucial if you want to maximize your reach without squandering your budget.

Here are three questions we find helpful in choosing the right list.

3 questions to ask before you rent a mailing list

1. Is your content designed for a very specific group, or is it made for a general audience?

Start by looking closely at the content that fills your hospital newsletter, and think about the readers who might be interested in that content. Is your publication made for:

  • A specific age group?
  • Just men? Or just women?
  • Households of a specific income level?

If you've answered no to these types of questions, it's likely that your newsletter contains information that will provide value to a wide variety of readers. Using a fairly broad targeting strategy, so you can reach many people in your community, can be a great choice.

If you discover that your publication is targeted, using demographics like income, age and gender can be really useful for narrowing your list selection without getting too specific.

2. Where do your ideal readers live?

Think about the service lines you're promoting within your hospital newsletter, and think about the people who might come to you for those services. Where do these people live? How far might people travel to tap into your services? Who might consider your facility incredibly convenient?

Answering these questions can help you come up with geographic selections—which can be used alone or in combination with demographic selections.

You can use mapping to identify a radius around your facility. You can also use mapping to identify postal delivery routes within your ZIP codes based on street boundaries, such as major freeways or roads. For example, you may know that patients are more likely to come from north of Interstate X due to traffic patterns and congestion, and you can map and select your distribution area based on that information.

3. Do you have lists of your own that would be valuable to include in the mailing?

Think about donors, employees, board members, class and health fair attendees, and people who have requested to receive your publication. This is priceless information that might be scattered in databases throughout your facility. Pulling it together and combining it with your rented lists can be a powerful tactic.

The key to successfully combining lists for a single mailing is to make sure your mailing services provider has a high-quality merge/purge process that will carefully identify and remove duplicate addresses before mailing. (We'll be writing a follow-up blog post about this topic in the coming months. Be sure to check back!)

Help when you need it

Reaching the right readers with the right messages at the right time is key to the success of any healthcare marketing campaign. But if you feel overwhelmed by all of the choices open to you and all of the decisions you have to make, there's no need to give up.

At Coffey, we've helped healthcare organizations with print solutions for over 30 years. We can help you create an exceptional hospital print publication, and we can help you spend your mailing budget wisely—so you get the biggest return on your investment. Just contact us. We'd love to tell you more.

Related reading

Which mailing list is right for your healthcare newsletter?
6 reasons to outsource healthcare marketing projects
3 must-haves for a great healthcare publication