Why PURLs Are a Strategic Piece of Modern Direct Marketing

How PURLs Can Help You Track Your Customer’s Journey

The use of personalized URLs (PURLs) took root about a decade ago. Despite evidence that they can increase campaign effectiveness, PURLs remain an underutilized tactic in direct marketing.

On the other hand, marketers who use PURLs successfully know they can be an important component of a comprehensive multichannel strategy. PURLs offer both front-end (recipient experience) and back-end (tracking and evaluation) benefits.

So What Exactly Are PURLs, and Why Use Them?

PURLs involve creating unique web addresses – most typically, incorporating a direct marketing target’s name into the URL. They are ideal for any sort of direct mailer, particularly new mover and box mailer campaigns, as well as email campaigns.

From a recipient experience standpoint, personalized URLs can capture attention and serve to build a better personal connection. Because they include the recipient’s name, they instantly stand out and are more memorable, which can lead to increased page visits.

But their value in terms of back-end tracking and as a lead-nurturing tool are what really make PURLs a valuable touch in outbound marketing campaigns.

The Power of PURLs, from Tracking to Lead Nurturing

Industry experts agree that you can’t depend on the use of PURLs alone to significantly lift response – that is, marketers should not expect that they can simply include a PURL on a direct mailer and then sit back and wait for sales to stream in.

See Who’s Responding … And Who Isn’t

Rather, using personal URLs can supercharge your ability to conduct highly personalized, one-to-one lead nurturing. Using PURLs gives marketers the power to precisely track responses to each unique URL. The added value is the ability to track hits at an individual level – thus, you gain abandonment metrics at the user level in cases where prospects do not complete the online form.

Achieve Conversion with Tailored Follow-Up

Previously, when PURL technology was in its infancy, lead tracking involved little more than generating an Excel document. Now, online capabilities (e.g., dashboards) give marketers instant views of who is visiting their landing page, and who is not, allowing for execution of strategic follow-up.

For example, prospects who have visited their personalized landing page but have not yet completed the call to action (CTA) can be nurtured with specific outreach (e.g., an email drip campaign; a phone call; even a follow-up direct mail piece) to bring them closer to conversion. Marketing automation can help at this stage – for example, by triggering an email alert when a prospect visits a PURL or completes a CTA.

The Advantages of Working with a Data and Technology-driven Marketing Firm

While incorporating personalized URLs into a campaign isn’t difficult, the process does involve some technical steps that may cause many marketers to hesitate. Working with a specialized direct marketing agency with the in-house technology and expertise to create a PURL campaign not only saves time, but also helps ensure correct execution of these steps so that PURLs will render correctly.

Going this route allows marketers to simply hand over a list, and rely on the agency to build landing pages, generate PURLs using specialized software, and handle tracking and analytics.

Next Steps

Strata Company, a Greater Philadelphia area marketing and technology firm, specializes in creative multichannel approaches, including PURLs, that drive lead generation and conversion. With a focus on relevance and personalization, our data-driven programs consistently return higher-than-average results.

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