Not Your Grandmother’s PURLs

Okay, we aren’t really talking about pearls, as in those white shiny orbs that come out of oysters; we are talking PURLs as in personalized URLs. But all puns aside, you should familiarize yourself with PURLs, because they are incredibly effective marketing tools.

A PURL is a unique Web address generated especially for each recipient of your direct mail or e-mail marketing campaign. They make personalized—and more engaging—content a breeze to deliver. Here are the top four reasons why you should be using them:

1. Personalization—well, that’s obvious!

A few years ago when PURLs were first introduced, their jewel-like attraction was clearly the ability to implement a never-before-seen personalization of messaging for your audiences. The mailing and e-mail lists you have—whether it’s a Search buy list, inquiry list, accepted student list, or other—all have significant data points. In other words, you know something about the person you are communicating to because the data tells their story. It could be anything from where they live, what ethnicity they are, their academic achievement level, intended major, if they have visited your campus, and so much more! In harnessing that information, PURLs then allow you to drive your targets to landing pages that are completely unique to them with messaging specific to their interests. For example, you could tell high-achieving students the specific scholarship amount they may be eligible for. Or you could bring a STEM student to a landing page that speaks in detail about your science and engineering programs. The number of landing pages and permutations are endless, and the more specific and relevant you can be, the better your response.

2. Insight into level of engagement

Just like pearls from an oyster are all one-of-a-kind, no two PURLs are ever the same either. Since each URL is linked to a specific individual, you have an exceptional ability to track each person’s behavior. Because of the PURL, you can see exactly who is hitting the landing page, how many times they visit the page, and which links they may be clicking on. All of this shows a level of engagement. Wouldn’t you want to know exactly who is hitting the “Apply Now” link on your landing page? Through the PURLs you can capture that behavior, and if the prospect didn’t actually apply, this allows for an important follow-up.

3. PURLs make forms easy

The extra beauty of a PURL is that any type of form or registration can be pre-populated with the individual’s personal information, so they aren’t burdened with filling out information request forms. It also allows you to ask one or two defining questions, so you can learn more about your prospect.

4. Campaign measurement

You can assign a different PURL for each mailing and e-mail deployment in your campaign series. Doing this enables you to track the response and engagement for each marketing effort individually and distinguish between which e-mail or direct mail piece drove the best results.  

So when developing your next direct marketing campaign, consider the use of PURLs to not only increase your ability for campaign customization but also to achieve greater insight into responder engagement as well as tracking and measuring your campaign’s performance. If you would like to learn more about personalized URLs or creating an integrated direct marketing campaign, contact us!

You can follow me on Twitter @adpoulin or on Google Plus as Alexa Poulin.





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