A pre-populated Web form pops up with a frame directing John Grady, president of Woburn, Mass.-based Ninety Nine Restaurants, to submit his information to treat his "inner dessertivore" to "a sumptuous selection" of the Cheesecake Factory Bakery's "dynamic cheesecakes." Clicking on this PURL indeed yields dynamic results—in more ways than one, says Rio Longacre.
Marketers interested in optimally deploying dynamic content on landing pages in a Persistent URL (PURL, while many confuse PURLs with "personalized URLs," the actual acronym stands for "persistent URLs," meaning the underlying URL can change, but the PURL continues to direct to the same landing page) campaign can take a few cues from the Calabasas Hills, Calif.-based Cheesecake Factory's B-to-B effort, says Longacre, vice president of sales and marketing at Brooklyn, N.Y.-based marketing software provider Indros Group, which owns Easypurl.com. This year, the restaurant chain used his company's platform to deploy this campaign to 786 prospects by direct mail and email, yielding 55 landing page visitors. Longacre reports 40 prospects responded, resulting in a 72.73 percent site conversion rate, Longacre says.
Several factors contributed to the success of this campaign, Longacre says. A couple of his peers agree that marketers can do plenty to help themselves excel at PURL campaigns. Providing tips for this story are:
- Greg Carter, senior vice president and managing director of Mill Valley, Calif.-based marketing services company SolutionSet;
- Longacre; and
- Karin Stroh, vice president of marketing at New York-based cross-media dynamic publishing software provider XMPie, a Xerox company.
- Keep campaign resources in a centralized location.Stroh speaks from her company's point of view: "The business rules in a campaign that determine the variable elements in a design (i.e. which column in a database determines the different text and images on a dynamic postcard or website) are stored in a centralized place, accessible by all media, which allows you to make changes once and have them immediately and accurately represented in all media in a promotion. Therefore, [Persistent URLs] and [Response URLs] are always live and up-to-date … "
- Ensure the landing page is appropriate to the campaign material. For example, Stroh says, print materials with QR codes should lead visitors to pages optimized for mobile devices.
- Use PURLs to make site navigation easier for customers,Carter says. "For marketers whose websites feature many categories of products or services, first-time visitors often have high defection rates from the site," he says. "Using database appends, trade show or online response data, or salesforce-collected info, the PURL is an excellent tool to lead prospects into the appropriate department/region of a complex website. The site stickiness improves, and the prospect has a better first impression of the company."
- Everyone likes to see their names,Longacre says. For instance, in the Cheesecake Factory campaign, the landing page is actually a personalized URL: http://johngrady.dreammydessert.comleads to a page reading, "John, treat your inner dessertivore." Personalization increases affinity and engagement, thereby improving results, Longacre says.
- But don't be creepy."Just because you know something about a user doesn't mean you need to state it," Longacre says. "Keep in mind, people can sometimes react very strongly to what they perceive as their private information being displayed online. Let's say, for example, you know your customer has four kids. This doesn't mean you need to list out their names on the landing page. Instead, use this knowledge to drive content, images, copy or offer details that are friendly to those with a family."
- Segmentation can work for personalization.Longacre says to tailor relevant headlines based on customer segments, which are based on customer data, he says.
- The less typing required of form page visitors,the better the conversion rate, Longacre says. Pre-populating forms with information such as the prospect's name and address can increase conversion rates by up to 30 percent. And, he says, after customers submit more information, marketers can continue to tailor the images and content they see—while keeping Tip 5 in mind.