It’s common for companies to treat everyone who requests more information exactly alike. Some mail them as often as they do their buyers. Others send information once and never again. Usually the best profitable option requires further investigation.
First, consider the source of a lead. This includes not only the media (such as the specific publication or list) but also how the response was received: by phone, web, mail, card deck, magazine reader service, or some other means.
Often web-generated information or catalog requests don’t convert as well as those that come by phone or mail.
In addition, magazine reader service responses can be notoriously unqualified, especially for consumer products. We’ve had much better success with reader service responses from trade publications.
For card decks, you can improve the quality of leads by requiring people to use their own stamp or by charging a small fee for your catalog.
To find out what works best for you, segregate your leads by recency, media, and response vehicle (i.e., phone, web, mail, reader service). If you belong to a coop database, consider having them cherry pick the most responsive names on your list and only mailing those.
Code and track each group you mail separately, then analyze what happens. You’re likely to be surprised by what a wide range of conversions you get when you compare one group to another.