Phone not ringing, or not as often as you think it should? There may be a solution. Here are four questions to ask yourself if you think your mailing list isn't working.

How long have you been using the list, and what are your expectations? It takes time to "prove" a list. A single mailing doesn't make a campaign -- and usually won't end with the desired results. It takes repeated mailings for results. A 1% response for a campaign that is well-planned, tested, and executed is a respectable result.

Have you maintained your list? Purge old, or bad, records; examine data elements for relevancy; add new records. Smart marketers always look for new sources. Some collect golf club directories; others, new mortgage data.

Is your message geared to your client profile? You can have a super list but be sending the wrong message. Sending a message about second-story additions to a replacement window market is a waste of time and money. What is your potential client looking for?

Are your methods and technology up to date? Using easily accessed information, you can predict from what segment of your market sales could materialize. Are stock market portfolios up? OK, aim messages to the affluent. Are interest rates low? Your message may win better results aimed at middle America. Is your target a 20-year-old middle-class neighborhood? Feature basic home improvements.— Stephen Wilson is a partner in Biz-comm Inc., a marketing/communications firm specializing in the needs of remodelers, [email protected].