Direct mail and the web. Not that long ago, it wasn't the closest of relationships. Maybe a general URL next to a little computer icon? Maybe a similar campaign that emerged from an email silo?
But now it's different. They're integrated because direct marketers know that an integrated campaign using multiple channels is a more effective campaign. Simply put, in a stressed economic age that's full of prospects less willing to spend, donate and sign up, direct mail and the web need each other.
While closely coordinated direct mail and email campaigns are both popular and successful today, perhaps the most effective demonstration of the offline-online marriage are personalized URL (PURL) campaigns. PURLs are explored in great deal in the 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.
One section of the report talks to leading marketers about the steps necessary to harness the power of PURLs:
1. Focus on Analytics
Many services are springing up that offer marketers the ability to customize URLs for prospects and customers. Be sure the back-end analytics are also state of the art. For PURLs to work, there must be a feedback loop between driving transactions and improving data, and they must be leveraged intelligently with your goals and metrics in mind.
In other words, tracking is a big deal. "It's one of the main reasons you'd use a PURL," says Crystal Uppercue, marketing manager at direct marketing services provider EU Services. "It allows you to collect data in real time and respond with additional messages or push the data out to others in your company for follow up."
"The ability to track is far greater than just identifying a level of response. It allows you to break down customer behavior and trends," says Shawn Burst, founder of Dukky, a custom landing page and analytics software platform. "You can see and monitor who responds, shares, carries influence, redeems, etc."