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Residential Mailing Lists: The Ultimate Guide

by Nov 17, 2023Audience Targeting0 comments

Even amid the immense popularity of digital platforms, direct mail continues to be an important element of the marketing strategy of many businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations. Direct mail has an average return on investment of 43%, putting it on par with popular online marketing channels such as social media. 

What explains the enduring popularity of direct mail? For many consumers, direct mail is appealing because it’s tangible. Holding physical letters or postcards in their hands tends to ensure the messages stand out in consumers’ minds. 

As a marketing professional, you might be interested in expanding your organization’s direct mail strategies to reach a new audience more effectively. One of the best ways to quickly grow your mail audience is by using residential mailing lists

A residential mailing list allows businesses to send saturation mailings to every resident in a predetermined area. In this guide, we’ll cover the ins and outs of these lists with the following sections: 

Ready to learn more about how residential mailing lists can support your marketing strategy? Here’s the Resident Mailing List Ultimate Guide: 

Contact us today to expand your direct mail audience with residential mailing lists.

What is a Residential Mailing List?

Residential mailing lists, also known as resident/occupant or res/occ lists, are indexes of addresses within a certain ZIP code, neighborhood, or mail delivery route. 

Marketers use residential mailing lists to reach every mailable residential address within a given geographical area. They typically will use a Resident/Occupant list if the offer is general in nature and does not require extensive personalization or targeting. Resident/Occupant data, which is also referred to as Saturation Data, is updated monthly and is sourced directly from the United States Postal Service®. This type of data offers mailers an opportunity to receive substantial postal discounts based on the level of carrier route saturation that is achieved. 

Basically, residential mailing lists are a type of marketing list that allows you to target an audience based specifically on geographic location. With this type of mailing list, you can reach all of the households in a defined area and ensure the current resident sees your message. The materials you send to these individuals won’t be returned even if the previous tenant has moved. 

Residential mailing lists are indexes of addresses within a certain ZIP code, neighborhood, or mail delivery route.

This is the type of mail you receive that’s addressed “Dear Current Resident.” For example, you probably get coupons and flyers for pizza restaurants, lawn care services, and other local businesses sent to your home from time to time. Typically, that’s because your address is included in a resident/occupant mailing list. 

As a marketing professional, you can purchase these lists to reach a new or local audience with your outreach campaigns. You can choose the areas you want to target based on a specific mail carrier route, ZIP code, city, county, state boundary, congressional district, or a general radius. 

What is a Consumer Mailing List? 

Resident/Occupant lists serve a different purpose than consumer mailing lists. Consumer mailing lists are lists of individuals rather than just physical addresses. 

With consumer mailing lists, you can send messages to specific people that you’re hoping to reach. These lists can include consumers’ full names, home addresses, email addresses, and other personalized data.

Consumer mailing lists allow you to personalize direct mail content, but they run the risk of letters being returned if certain residents have changed addresses. 

Are Mailing Lists Legal?

Yes, purchasing a residential mailing list is legal. Most list providers will “rent” mailing lists based on a one-time or a multi-use list need. Because consumers move so frequently, a purchase is only good for a very short period of time. However, it’s important to note that there are a few regulations to be aware of before acquiring and using a list. 

There are guidelines and regulations designed to protect consumers from receiving spam and misleading advertisements, including the Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act (DMPEA). 

The DMPEA is intended to protect consumers from false or deceitful advertising. It also includes strict regulations for mail sweepstakes or contests. Review these guidelines before launching any direct mail contests or offering prizes to consumers. 

In addition, if you work with a direct mail partner to acquire res/occ lists, ensure they comply with all relevant regulations. This includes observing guidelines set by the Association of National Advertisers regarding the ethical use of data in marketing campaigns.  

Before buying a mailing list, ask your direct mail partner options about their compliance levels to ensure you’re only investing in ethically-sourced data. 

5 Benefits of Resident/Occupant Lists

How can a residential mailing list supercharge your direct mail marketing strategy? We’ve already highlighted a few benefits of these lists, but let’s review a few additional advantages. Res/occ lists allow you to: 

This image shows the benefits of resident/occupant mailing lists, as outlined in the text below.
  1. Reach all of the individuals in a certain radius. Using a res/occ list ensures that your direct mail messages will reach the current residents of the targeted areas you’re trying to reach. 
  2. Establish your new business in the community. Use your direct mail campaign to raise awareness and brand recognition among local audience members. 
  3. Reach a new market. If you’re trying to reach a new audience, such as individuals who live in certain neighborhoods or apartment communities, using res/occ lists ensures you can market directly to those individuals. 
  4. Cut through the digital clutter and speak directly to potential customers. Digital fatigue is real. Consumers see hundreds, if not thousands of ads daily while scrolling on social media and other digital apps. With a direct mail campaign, you can avoid the digital clutter and reach potential customers with a tangible message. 
  5. Drive more traffic to your business. By sending residents coupons or discounts, you can encourage them to check out and buy from your business. This can expand your business’s foot traffic and, subsequently, its revenue. 

Incorporating resident/occupant lists can be an effective way to complement your digital marketing and personalized mailing efforts. Research shows that campaigns that combine digital and direct mail marketing efforts result in a 118% increase in response rates

How to Find Reputable Residential Mailing Lists

By now, you might be ready to purchase a residential mailing list to expand your marketing audience. But before committing, ensure that your mailing list provider offers reputable, accurate, robust services. 

First, ensure your mailing list provider complies with all relevant regulations, including DMPEA and ANA guidelines.

The next step is to find a mailing list provider that offers up-to-date, comprehensive lists. Reputable mailing list providers offer a wide range of lists to choose from, including:

This image shows the types of mailing lists, as outlined in the text below.
  • Resident/Occupant: These lists are compiled using geomapping technology to maintain an accurate, current list of all residences within a target area. This type of list is most effective for real estate agents, local businesses, and large retailers looking to reach certain homes in a local area. 
  • Consumer: Reach specific consumers using demographically-targeted consumer mailing lists. These lists can be based on zip codes, radius targeting, and other geotargeting parameters and can be purchased based on the demographic, lifestyle, and psychographic attributes of your choosing. 
  • Enhanced Occupant: Enhanced occupant lists combine resident and consumer lists to ensure that your marketing campaigns don’t inadvertently skip households. These lists help your organization see a greater return on investment since you can be more certain that your direct mailers are reaching your target households. 
  • New Mover: New mover consumers are often looking for new restaurants and shops to visit in the area. These lists allow you to market your local business to capture their attention and welcome them into your community. 
  • New Homeowner: New homeowners have a variety of purchasing decisions to make within the first few months of living in their new home. This includes everything from buying a new dishwasher to acquiring paint to repaint the lime green bathroom a more neutral color. You can reach these individuals and serve ads to them with a new homeowner mailing list. 
  • New Construction: Reach the newest addresses in your community by using a new construction mailing list. You can connect with the residents of brand-new neighborhoods or apartment complexes to introduce them to the area and increase their awareness of your business. 
  • Business: If your company conducts business-to-business marketing, a business mailing list can be a valuable resource to connect with target businesses. You can use criteria filters such as ZIP code or industry category to find your exact target market for your product or service. 
  • Apartments: Since apartment communities include a higher volume of residents in a smaller geographic area, they’re an effective marketing environment for your direct mail campaigns. Apartment mailing lists allow real estate agents to identify potential first-time homebuyers or businesses to market to a local audience. 

Find a mailing list provider that uses sophisticated geomapping tools to compile its mailing lists. These tools help ensure list accuracy and precision. Plus, they allow you to identify targeted areas that are customized to your marketing needs.

For example, Deep Sync uses mapping technology called GEO-Direct to create its mailing lists. This technology features a custom polygon tool that allows you to map out your target area and gain access to accurate addresses, demographics, mail carrier routes, and other important information. 

Interested in learning more about what this technology can do for your business’s marketing strategies? Schedule a strategy session today

Final Thoughts

As a business owner or marketer, your local community comprises the heart of your customer base. When you can connect with local audiences effectively, you can start building genuine relationships with these individuals and serve your community more effectively. 

Using a residential mailing list to supplement your next direct mail campaign allows you to increase brand awareness in your local area and start establishing your business as a local staple. 

If you’re interested in purchasing a mailing list, contact us to find the right list for your business’s needs. For more information on effective direct mail campaigns and how mailing lists fit in, check out these additional resources:  

Contact us to get started with residential mailing lists.


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Resident Mailing Lists: An Ultimate Guide