How to Develop a Direct Mail or Email List for Free

Developing direct mail and warm email prospecting lists can be easily done today. It’s free, but it does take time. Direct mail is still one of the best ways to reach potential customers.

Generally, obtaining direct mail lists can be expensive. If you are going to purchase a list, be careful of the source you get the list from because you want it as current and clean as possible.

I have found that using Reference USA has been a viable choice. You may have heard of InfoUSA. That is a paid list, but it’s the same list as Reference USA, only it may include email addresses and it saves you lots of time. Using Reference USA, I’ve only had a few mailings returned to me because of an incorrect address. The response rate for direct mail is not as high as one would like it but it does get your business exposed. And of course, with direct mail you should be offering your prospect something free and valuable to get them to respond to you.

Warm email prospecting will also require some of your time. The important piece to remember about warm emails is that you do not blast these emails out to your prospects. You don’t sell them anything. You are basically introducing yourself and your services. With email prospecting, you must do your homework. You should visit the prospects website and see what kind of services they have that may be a fit for your services. How can you help them? Always have the prospect in mind and how you and your service or product can be a benefit to them.

Create a direct mail list spreadsheet

A more difficult part of building a warm email list is that you need a good contact email address. So, you will have to do some hunting. It’s not impossible, just a little difficult.

If you have the time, or access to someone with some time, it would be worth the time and effort to create your own mailing list.

Once you have downloaded your list from Reference USA, you can save it as an excel spreadsheet and clean it up to have just the information you need. For my email lists, I usually add two more columns near the website address and label one “email address” and the other “comments”.

When I’m looking at the prospects website, I copy the email address and paste into the spreadsheet. I use the comments section for recording the date I sent the email and any response I received.

You will need to develop another spreadsheet for direct mail and copy the company name, address, city and state on that spreadsheet. This way the mail merge will work better.

Once you get some positive responses you can build another spreadsheet for following up on a consistent basis.


The video on this page walks you through the process of developing your direct mail or email list.

Let me know how you like the video and if you have any questions.

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