Marketing Articles

Direct Marketing Articles (click here for more)


How to Make Your Dream List a Reality

By: Ilise Benun

Ilise Benun is the Director of the Hoboken NJ-based consulting firm, Creative Marketing & Management. Her emphasis is on the human element of marketing and she offers training seminars and workshops on strategic storytelling, self-marketing, sales follow-up and other sales & marketing topics. She is the publisher of the quarterly newsletter, The Art of Self Promotion, and the author of three marketing books, including Self-Promotion Online, due out Fall 2000 from North Light Books. Visit the Web site for her newsletter or send email to

How much would you be willing to pay for a list of people who need what you have -- and know it -- and who are so close to being ready to buy that they've already made the effort to contact you? Wouldn't that be worth a lot of money? Or maybe even invaluable?

You might call this your Dream List. Or you could call it your In-House List, that is if you really took the time to develop the best list for your business.

The best list for you is the list of people with whom you have already begun the process of building a relationship. Don't underestimate its value for a minute. These people already know you, and may even trust you (at least more than those on the mailing list you're thinking of renting), which means that the amount of time it will take to make the sale is shorter.

There are two parallel strategies for building your In-House list: in the first, you choose your prospects by compiling names from invoices, business cards and little bits of paper and records, attendee lists from networking meetings. The names you want to capture are those of everyone who's ever expressed interest in your work.

At the same time, choose marketing tools that motivate qualified leads to raise their hands and ask you to market to them -- tools like publicity and press coverage, offers of free samples, and the newest marketing tool: email newsletters.

Together, these two strategies produce your Dream List -- people who either already know you or whom you've selected to get to know you.

Sounds like a lot of work? It's actually not the complex task you may imagine it to be -- it just takes some work and some time. In fact, compiling your Dream List is an ongoing process that can be surprisingly economical and made to fit manageably your day-to-day routine. Just keep your eyes open and be organized.


My most effective list -- my Dream List -- is the one that keeps growing because every day, people call my toll-free number. They call because they've read about this newsletter in a magazine or it was recommended by a colleague. Maybe they've even purchased one of my handbooks, sight unseen.

I have no doubt that these people are my prospects; I know they're interested because they've qualified themselves. They've raised their hand and said "I need what you have. Please tell me more." Whether they know it or not, they've granted me permission to market to them.

Besides traditional publicity, (i.e. getting your name and phone number in the press) here are a few ways you can get your prospects to raise their hands....

1 Reader Information Cards.

This newsletter was recently listed on the Reader Information insert in Target Marketing. Readers circle the number corresponding to my blurb, then the magazine sends me their labels and I send them information they requested. In some publications, this is paid advertising, in others, it's part of their editorial content. Find out how your customers' trade magazines handle this.

2 Mail or Fax-Back Reply Cards.

Send out a simple, one-page letter to 100 prospects chosen from a trade group's directory of members, and include a form that your prospect can mail or fax back for more information. Those who do are hot leads -- almost as hot as they get. Be sure to follow up with a phone call to all who take the time to respond. 

3 Offer something free.

Run an ad or coupon in a local or industry paper that will motivate prospects to call. 

4 Simple mailing list form or guest book.

Keep a simple form handy for prospective customers to fill out when they come in, or for you to fill out when they call you.

© Copyright 2000, Ilise Benun

Other Articles by Ilise Benun

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


Match: Any word     All words
Note: Searches will not find words, such as 'marketing', that appear in more than half of the articles or words less than five letters long.


Would you like us to consider your own articles for publication? Please review our submission and editorial guidelines by clicking here.