ListSource is going to be the most accurate in 9/10 cases. I scrape my data directly from the county GIS server though, and it's basically the same data, although I have to figure out who's an absentee myself by comparing addresses (and the conventions like St vs Street aren't always consistent so it's harder than it sounds).
You can probably just go to your local assessor's office and see if they can get you a spreadsheet.
@Sam B. Okay nice! thank you for your response. I truly appreciate it.
@Jamier Hughes it is very likely that your list is not the problem with not getting calls back. More likely are the following two things:
1. Unrealistic expectations. 1-2 calls per 100 pieces of mail would be a good response for someone fairly new to direct mail marketing. Expert direct mail marketers might reach as high as 4-5 - that would be an excellent response rate. No idea what you think a "good amount" is, but if on your first attempt you got anything more that 1 per 100 you did great.
2. Poor messaging. If you didn't actually get a good response based on realistic expectations, then your problem is far more likely what you said in your direct mail - the message - rather than your list. Too many new investors send the same "I buy houses" yellow letters, to exactly the same lists. How anyone expects any kind of response from that is beyond me. Crafting a good message, that actually results in a well qualified response is a lot of work. I just outlined the steps I take to do that here: https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/93/topics/601..., it's the second half of the post.
That's not to say list quality doesn't matter, but a provider like ListSource is going to be good enough.
One additional tip - you can make your lists a lot more powerful by "segmenting" them. So for example if you have 5000 non-owner occupied homes you want to target. Divide them up in various ways - by age of owner, length of ownership, presence of children, price range, equity, etc. Doing so allows you to write messages that are more specific and more applicable to the owner. By being more targeted with both your list and your message, your results will improve.
Hope that helps.
@Sean OToole Wow! this is really helpful! Thank you. I truly appreciate your response.
Sean's advice is great. There are multiple factors that determine the success of a direct mail campaign besides the quality of the list. If you want to try an advanced statistical technique to improve your chances of increasing your response rate, research Design of Experiments (DOE), which is a multivariate method of testing many factors simultaneously. Or just call Nobi Group, Oak Ridge, TN
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