5 Awesome PURL Best Practices For Marketers
Marketers often say to us “You guys are the Personalized URL marketing and automation experts – send me a list of your PURL Best Practices!” As more and more marketing teams are seeing how PURLs can help tie together their direct marketing and digital efforts, they want to know things like: “What’s the best way to set up a Personalized URL campaign? How do we optimize PURL tracking? What are the key points to remember when implementing a PURL Marketing campaign?”
To help you out, we polled a number of Boingnet users and consulted with our own in-house PURL Marketing experts to pull together this list of the Top 5 PURL best practices. Check them out below. And as always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact us.
Top 5 PURL Best Practices
1. Use Simple and Easy URLs
When crafting your Personalized URL structure, it’s always best to use your recipient’s name in the URL. But be sure to pay careful attention to how you use it. For example, some marketers will use the recipient’s name, and add some sort of code at the end. But on average, PURLs that simply feature the person’s name perform 64% better than name/code combo PURLs like as “Johnson6526”.
Vanity URLs can help simplify URL structures tremendously and align with your campaign & CTA. They’re also are easy to buy and setup, and help you avoid asking IT to modify existing domain records. Asking your recipient to enter http://fredjones.saveoncars.biz makes more sense than http://fredjones.vandahookchevroletchrysler.com. It also saves space on your direct mail piece – remember, make that PURL pop!
Also, it’s important to put the user’s name before your domain name. For example, instead of creating a PURL for Skip Johnson at www.boingnet.com/promotionalmailing/skip.johnson consider a shorter version that puts the recipient’s name first such as: http://skipjohnson.boingnet.com. Not only is in shorter and easier to remember, people also just like seeing their name first, and more often than not, will react favorably.
2. Create a Generic URL “Partner” To Get More Leads
Even with the most straightforward PURL in the world, you’re still going to have some people who input it incorrectly. They could spell a word wrong, forget to add a dot, or slip an extra hyphen in there somewhere. Some users will even intentionally strip their name out of the URL entirely just to see what’s going on at the domain. In fact, 15 % of all PURL recipients trim their name from the PURL before entering it into the browser[i]. To account for this, create a generic version of your Personalized URL that is open to anyone who enters the campaign domain, or anyone who spells their PURL wrong.
You may also want a generic version of your PURL in case you decide to turn your personalized landing page into a lead generation tool. You can use your generic landing page on your main website, in social media campaigns or for online ads. If you have a generic version of your PURL landing page available, it’s easy to turn the URL into a generic lead generation machine.
3. Message multiple channels
As you know, it’s always best to diversify your marketing efforts. After all, the most successful campaigns leverage multiple mediums and integrated messaging to accomplish the results they desire. But it doesn’t have to be all at once. In fact, many marketers often build their campaign message through multiple channels over time. This might include direct mail, personalized URLs, email, text messaging and social media in an integrated, branded effort.
Also, there will be some people who receive your direct mail piece who (for whatever reason) do not want to respond through a PURL. You don’t lose a prospect because your response options were too limited, so remember to include multiple methods of contact, such as phone numbers, social links, and/or QR codes (which for younger demographics makes huge sense) to provide your prospects with other ways of responding to your offer.
4. Test your Personalized URLs
Testing is one of the most important parts of your direct marketing campaign. First of all, you want to make sure your Personalized URL works on all browsers, particularly on mobile. But you also want to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. Is the design you’re using resonating with audiences. Is your form too long? Too short? What about your call to action? Is it generating the response that you’d hoped?
Too often, marketers create PURL campaign pages and just let them sit out there collecting dust, rarely testing different designs or messages. But just like in email marketing, testing your creative will let you know early on what’s working and what isn’t. You need to test, test, and then test again to make sure everything is optimized. Split your mailings, sending different creative to different users. Try out different mixes of variables, graphics and offers on your personalized landing pages. Experiment, research, and analyze your returns to figure out what works. The data gathered from testing these pages will give can ultimately be used to increase conversion rates – leading to more sales.
Perhaps the most important of the PURL best practices is follow-up. After all, one advantage of PURL marketing is that it creates a direct line of communication with your prospect at the very moment they are most interested in what you have to offer — while they’re visiting their personal website. So you’ve got to take advantage of that and follow-up with them when the timing is right.
Tracking capabilities in Personalized URL software will send out instant alerts when someone is browsing their PURL, which is a great time for you to follow-up with a personal phone call. This notification can include specific details about the customer, including their behavior and activity on their personalized landing page and any other data used in the direct mail/PURL campaign. This is a great time to start a chat, email, or phone call discussion to further nurture your lead with an even more personalized touch.
But wait, are there more PURL Best Practices?
We help marketing teams and agencies think through their campaign strategies and implement PURL best practices every day. Check out the simple checklist below, or Contact Us at any time to dig in deeper.
[i] Cross Media Marketing, 2013, The Truth about PURLs