Mailing list rental is one of the largest expenses for any business that uses direct response marketing. Although this cost can be recuperated through the returns received from the mailing, you can make more profit from each project by using free sources of mass mailing addresses. One such service is available at many public libraries and large universities in the United States and Canada.

Things You Will Need
  • Library card

  • Computer with Internet connection

  • Spreadsheet software

Step 1.

Use the ReferenceUSA website to search for potential prospects for your business. With the "U.S. Lifestyles" module, you can define criteria for your prospects, such as hobbies, charitable donations, magazine subscriptions, purchase behavior — even pets.

Step 2.

Select multiple criteria to define your search as accurately as you can get toward your targeted demographic. The more broad your search, the less likely you will reach your target audience.

Step 3.

Borrow the mailing list of a national trade group. There are hundreds of trade associations, each with their own member rosters. If you are a member of one of these organizations, you can obtain the list for free, and mail to it as a member of the group.

Step 4.

Obtain business-to-business mailing addresses from local phone books. If you want to expand your scope from your local area, your library will have phone books from many major metropolitan areas.

Step 5.

Another option would be to perform an Internet search for the type of business you are looking for in a certain geographical area.

Step 6.

Create your custom list. Copy and paste the names generated from the database into your own spreadsheet. You will use this spreadsheet to generate your direct mail campaign.

Step 7.

Provide your mailing list to your direct mail distributor through email. They will take your list and mail your direct marketing campaign to each customer that you uncovered from your search, without having to lick a stamp or mail a single letter yourself.


Reference USA offers the same names that you would have to pay for, if rented from a standard broker. By using just a little more labor on your part, you create your own mailing list for free.

If your library does not offer this service, contact your local university.


You may not be able to access this service at all libraries. Some smaller libraries may not be able to afford Reference USA.

You cannot access this service from home, and you will not be able to download the generated list. You will have to copy and paste, creating your own database.