Today it is almost impossible to keep you name off of a list. And if your name is on a list you will get solicitations whether through the postal service or in your email.

Below is a list of some of the ways that lists are compiled, and it is not exhaustive. Most of the time you’ll know that you’re going to be put on a list. Sometimes you won’t, or it might not dawn on you at the time.

The fact of the matter is that if you live in the United States, or just about any other developed nation, you’ll end up on several lists. And you’ll receive solicitations to buy products and services and donate to charitable causes.

If you do any of the following you will find yourself on a list.
• Get a telephone number
• Buy or rent a home
• Apply for utilities (water, gas, electricity)
• Register to vote
• Donate to charity (unless, you give cash and don’t want a receipt)
• Sign up for a credit card
• Buy something online with your credit card
• Open a banking account
• Buy anything through the mail or the Internet
• Register for a discount card at your local supermarket or retailer
• Join a club
• Become a member of a church
• Register to attend a school
• Subscribe to a magazine
• Visit a website
• Sign up for a free offer online
• Ask for more information about something that interests you online.

Even when you die your name will go on a list. At that point you’re less likely to get an offer to buy something, but your next of kin probably will.

Keep this in mind: if you want to reach a group of people, all you have to do is think about how they are defined and chances are that they are on a list somewhere. Talk to a list broker and tell them the criteria you have in mind, and they can help you reach your target market.