What are Prospect Lists and House Lists? How Do You Build Them?

By: Andrew Glover
October 14, 2019

Both your prospect list and your house list are an essential part of your direct mail project. You can’t design or create an appealing offer without knowing who you will mail the item to afterward. You risk losing valuable time and money if you send your mail to the wrong audience.

Marketers use prospect lists and in-house lists to send materials based on the organization’s goals. For example, you may have a project focused solely on obtaining new members. A prospect list would be your best option. But if you want to engage past or current members, then using your in-house list would be a better choice. Understanding the two lists is critical before proceeding too much further in your direct mail campaign.

What is a Prospect List?

A prospect list is a list of potential people who may benefit from your organization and its services or products. Creating a prospect list is essential for establishing a solid member base. Effective prospecting requires planning and organization to ensure each lead potentially turns into a committed member.

What is a House List?

A house list is a permission-based list compiled from opt-in subscribers, and it’s used to send direct promotional messages to subscribers. Your organization independently collects and maintains your house list for your use. The list includes prospective member database names and addresses. You use a house list for marketing or establishing member relationships over time.

The Difference Between a Prospect List and House List

Prospect and in-house lists have many differences. You gather data from records provided by phone books, census data, credit bureaus, government data, and other sources to create a prospect list. A prospect list is strictly a list of individuals who may potentially be interested in your organization and its message – generally they are individuals who have never had contact with your organization. But an in-house list is composed of your existing members, not prospective members. House list individuals have already engaged with your organization. They already trust your organization because you have a relationship with them.

How Do You Build a House List

You can build your house list based on many factors. For instance, you can make your list around people who signed up to receive your newsletters or create a list of former members. There are several ways to grow your house list, as well. You can entice members with special offers or encourage group efforts by offering someone a special offer if they get someone else to sign up for the newsletter. Another great growing technique is including a “forward to a friend” option. Allowing a member to forward a current or future newsletter encourages member growth among existing friends and family members.

Keep Your House List Updated

Your house list is a valuable and precise resource. These are your members. Whenever you see fit, include your existing members in your marketing efforts. You need to keep your house list clean, up to date, and add as much information as possible (besides distinct details such as name, address, and phone). Helpful additional information may include demographic data, purchase history, and behavioral history.

How To Convert Prospects

Not every prospect will become a member, but there are multiple ways to try to sway a prospect into joining your organization.

Add FAQ’s

The prospects may have questions that you don’t display on the general mailer. You can include FAQs in a mail insert that will help with common questions. You can also direct the individual online to a virtual FAQ page. The FAQ section can also be designed to allow prospects to ask questions and receive specific answers.

Use Icebreakers

Other organizations heavily market most prospects. Do something to stand out from the bland email promotions that are flooding their mailboxes. Mix in fun facts about your organization or include exciting details about your mission. Grabbing the attention of prospects can make them forget about the other options.

Prospect Lists and House Lists with Valtim

Valtim can help your organization with its prospective and in-house mailing lists. We are skilled in assisting our customers with creating highly focused and targeted prospect lists, which will help your conversion rates. Vanltim aids customers with their in-house lists. We want to ensure you can educate past, current, and future members of what your organization offers. Contact Valtim to see how we can help with your prospect list and house list needs.

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