8 Key Takeaways for Personalized URLs
The most effective current demonstration of the offline-online marriage? Personalized URL (PURL) campaigns.
Why? First, because direct mail remains very visible, and it's a part of the daily life of most Americans. Unlike other marketing avenues, such as billboards, TV commercials, radio spots and emails — which are all competing for prospects' attention and loyalty — direct mail is the only channel that physically gets into people's hands in their homes.
Second, a personalized URL placed on a direct mail piece maximizes the power of the internet for that medium. Sure, the old (the general URL) and the new (QR Codes and social media tags like Twitter and Facebook) internet representatives on that envelope or self-mailer have value, sometimes quite a bit, but the personalized URL gives the marketer the best opportunity for response and overall ROI.
Personalized URLs are explored in the complete report, "PURLs for Profit: Your everything-you-need-to-know guide to personalized URLs, including: Best Practices on why they work, campaign strategy, multichannel creative, analytics, and 10 Case Studies."
Here are eight takeaways presented in the best practices portion of the report.
1. Makes Future Communication More Effective: Customers and prospects who log onto their own PURLs see content served specifically to them based on prior behavior, life stages, segmentation, demographics and any other data a company may have — this new intelligence can be used to make subsequent communication even more pertinent.
2. Higher Response Rates: Response rates for direct mail with PURLs are reportedly up to 5 percent, versus typical industry averages of 2 percent to 3 percent.
3. Easy to Measure for ROI: PURLs make measurement easy, so a marketer can determine the ROI with a high level of certainty.
4. Work for Nearly Any Kind of Campaign: PURL campaigns can be used for lead nurturing, enrollment, renewals, direct sales, contests, etc.
5. Think Long Term: To use PURLs to their full advantage, invest in the long term, as they're best utilized to trigger future communications based on the data they can collect.
6. Use "Relevant" Personalization: Use gender prefixes, geographical locations and relevant images, for example, but don't go overboard by listing, for example, the exact amount of mortgage debt a prospective customer has.
7. One Size Does Not Fit All: Some PURLs incentivize to encourage visits, while many do not. Some mini-sites have a four-page structure, and others have only one page. Both depend on the campaign and the amount of data available.
8. Tracking Is Key: Tracking your prospects and how they're responding, such as what part of the landing page they're using, is fundamental to PURL success. It's what sets up lead nurturing programs and up-sell opportunities.
To read more about personalized URL best practices, as well as 10 comprehensive PURL case studies for such industries as retail, fundraising, publishing, financial services, restaurant service, software and conferences, click here.
Ethan Boldt is the chief content officer of DirectMarketingIQ, the research division of the Target Marketing Group and publisher of special reports, how-to guides and books for the direct marketing industry. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org