What is a Personal URL?

Marty Thomas Purlem Founder

By Marty Thomas
Purlem Founder

So what are Personal URLs, and how can they help your business?

A personal URL (PURL) is a unique and personalized Landing Page created especially for each recipient of your direct mail or email marketing campaign.

For Example:

mysite.com/Sally.Anderson or mysite.com/Mike.Jones

 

Obviously mysite would be replace with your domain name

And when Sally goes to the Internet and types in her “Personal URL” she be taken to a Landing Page that is personalized to her. At the same time, Sally's activity is tracked in Purlem’s dashboard, and you are instantly notified of her visit and any information she submits through the website.

At the same time, Mikes activity is tracked in Purlem's dashboard, and you are instantly notified of his visit and any information he submits through the landing page form.

Typically, Personal URLsare used in conjunction with a direct mail campaign, or with email marketing.

By using Personal URLs in your next campaign, you'll be able to benefit from:

With Purlem you can get started for Free. Yes, absolutly free. For no risk, and only a few minutes of time, you can test out Personal URLs and see how they work for your business. You have nothing to loose and a ton of new business to gain.


Options for creating your Personal URL Campaign

A Personal URL Campaign typically consists of a Microsite (Landing Page), and an associated group of contacts. When it comes to actually creating your Personal URL Campaign you have a few different options:

  1. The enterprise solution: There are several services out there willing to sell you a "Personal URL Campaign" for thousands of dollars. All data and web pages are maintained and setup for your on their servers. This is a great option of you've got a large budget and wan't your hand held.
  2. The time & experience solution: There is also a couple of stand-alone Personal URL systems that allow you to download the entire code base and store it on your server. This could be a good solution for you if you have a programmer on staff to install and maintain it.
  3. The do-it-yourself solution: Purlem was built on the fact that Personal URL campaigns should not be complicated or expensive. With Purlem creating a Personal URL campaign is extremely simple and allows you to execute the entire campaign yourself. Purlem is the quick and affordable solution that gives you the power to generate massively successful Personal URL campaigns.

Choosing a Domain for your Personal URL

With Purlem you can also use your domain name for your campaign. The shorter the domain name, the higher the response rate you will have. Ok, well it's not a science, but its a good thing to try and stick by. Try to use a memorable name that they can remember. A name that is associated with the campaign, as opposed to associated with the company, is sometimes a good idea.

Do not use:
http://mywebsite.com/january2012mailing/mike.jones

 

Instead, use a shorter link such as:
http://mikejones.mycampaign.com


Designing the Personal URL Landing Page

You have about 5 seconds to give your Personal URL visitors a reason to stick around. The design of your Landing Page (Microsite) has a lot to do with how your visitors perceive your message. If you get the design wrong, visitor's won't even bother to read the page and discover what your offer is.

The Five Second Test
The visitor should know within 5 seconds of visiting your website what your offering. To test this use the five second test. Have somebody, preferably somebody in your industry, take a look at your landing page for 5 seconds then take it down. Ask them what the website was all about. If they can't tell you, your message is not clear enough. Try to portray your message in fewer than 7 words. Make those words big and bold - the first thing people see when they visit the site. You want to make it as obvious as possible what your site is all about, and the next steps your visitors should take.

There's also a great tool to assist with your 5 second test: http://fivesecondtest.com/


Personalizing the Landing Page

A split second is all you got -  That's all it takes for visitors to leave your landing page.  So what can you do right off the bat that will cause the visitor to take notice? Use their name! "Jim, were so glad you stopped by", "Sally, check out this information we gathered for you." You get the idea. A name increases affinity and engagement, and will therefore improve your campaign's results.

Once you make it past the split second, your next task is to keep their interest. For this you need to provide personalized and relevant content. This content is pulled from the work you did in gathering your list. The more your know about your prospects, the more you personalized and relevant your landing page can be.

Keep in mind that there is a fine line between being relevant, and being creepy! Just because you know something about your visitor doesn't mean you have to share it. Let's say, for example, that you know your visitor has two kids. This doesn't mean you need to tell the visitor that you know that. It's a fine line, but really just use common sense here.


Personalize the Offer

If your looking for breakthrough results your offers should also be personalized for each prospect. Segment or cluster prospects into like groups and align the offers you make to each segment/cluster of people so it's ever more compelling. When done properly, your visitor finds it almost irresistibly easy to click yes, place an order, or take the desired action.


Automated Email Responses

Automated Email Responses are used to sent automated emails to your site visitors. The Internet has caused all of us to expect responses quickly. Visitors who do not receive a prompt response to often get frustrated and leave in search for another solution.

By setting up automated email responses, your marketing/sales can work 24/7. These emails are a very powerful way to provide instant and relevant follow up information to your visitors.

With Purlem, your response emails can contain all of the variable content and images available to your landing page. The response email can be triggered by visiting any page in the microsite sequence. Typically, you'll want final "Thank You" page to have an email response associated with it.

If the response email is not of any value to your visitor, and can be perceived as spam, and hurt your reputation. It is a mistake to send a response email just because the feature is available. If it doesn't provide any value to your visitor, don't send it.

Some common uses of the email response:
- Notify that information has been received
- Provide relevant information based on microsite answers
- Send a coupon
- Provide a link to download file
- Tell a Friend


Follow Up

By using Personal URLs, your sales team can be notified in real time when a prospect has visited their microsite. Once a lead is generated through the Personal URL, an e-mail notification can be sent to the appropriate salesperson with relevant details for immediate follow-up.

I know I said I wasn't going to spout statistics, but this is a good one - A study conducted by InsideSales.com indicates that your 10 times more likely to get ahold of a prospect over the phone if you contact them within the first hour of receiving the lead. 10 times! Your sales team must follow up immediately with a lead when it’s hot. Personal URLs provide you with the technology to do so.


Tracking Results

The more you know about your visitors, the more you can deliver messaging that causes them to act. This is where the power of the "Feedback Loop" comes into play. By receiving immediate feedback on your campaign, you can use that information to change future campaigns, thus making subsequent campaigns even more effective.

With Personal URLs you have access to real-time results tracking who visited their Personal URL, when they responded, what they viewed, and what they have shown interests in.

A very practical application of the feedback loop is to use the results to partition your list. For example, if you send out 1,000 postcards (with Personal URLs), and 50 people visit the Personal URL, you know that these 50 are somewhat intrigued by your product or service. You may want to move these 50 contacts into a separate list, call it the A list. You may market to a little harder to the A list, and provide even more relevant content to them based on their past visit. All of this is possible with Personal URLs, and should be leveraged in your campaign.


The Mobile Factor

It's an entirely different experience when a mobile phone is used to visit a Personal URL. The visitor is likely on-the-go, and the time you have to grab their attention is even quicker. Mobile phone users are more likely to be looking to accomplish something specific and get out quickly. So it's your job, as the expert Personal URL marketer, to give them exactly what they want, quickly, in a format that is easily read by any mobile device. Sound complicated? Its really not. All you have to do is include less on the mobile version of your Personal URL microsite. Your mobile-friendly microsite should include, and ONLY include:

That's it. Don't include anything else! Seriously.. you'll regret it


Direct Mail - Using a Professional Printer

Most printers today have the capability to print Personal URLs. The process of printing a unique Personal URL on each piece is referred to as Variable Data Printing (VDP). All you need to send the printer is the spreadsheet that you export out of Purlem. The spreadsheet will contain a column for each contact's Personal URL. The printer will take this spreadsheet and use it to print the unique Personal URL onto the each piece.


Direct Mail - Printing Yourself

Make the Personal URL stand out.  Place it on the front and back of the postcard.  Don't hide it.  This should be the call-to-action.  Visit the website we created just for you "JimSmith.MySite.com" to claim you free prize.

Microsoft Word
With Microsoft Word's Data Merge feature you can easily add Personal URLs to your direct mail letters. The following directions might differ slightly depending on the version of Word that you are using.

1. Export the Personal URLs from your Purlem dashboard
2. Open Microsoft Word and create a new document
3. Open the “Data Merge Manager” tool box (Tools > Data Merge Manager)
4. In the “Main Document” drop down, select Create > Form Letters
5. In the “Data Source” drop down, select Get Data > Open Data Source. Select the spreadsheet you downloaded in Step 1.
6. Select the Entire Workbook, and click “OK”
7. The column titles in your mailing list are now visible in the “Merge Field” drop down.
8. Drag the Personal URL from the “Merge Field” drop down into your document.
9. To preview each letter, simply click on the “Preview” drop down, and click the arrows to navigate through each mailing list recipient.

Email Marketing - Adding Personal URLs to your Email Marketing campaign

It is extremely easy to add Personal URLs to your email marketing campaigns. All you have to do is include the Personal URL as a custom field in your favorite email marketing platform.

Most email marketing platforms allow you to upload a spreadsheet of contacts. In that spreadsheet you would include a column called "PURL." Then you can add the PURL column as a custom/new field. Now that your email platform knows each contact's Personal URLs, you can pull each contact's Personal URL into the landing page just as you would their first name.


Purlem Quick Start Guide

So you just want to get up and running quickly with a Personal URL Campaign? Okay. Give me 5 minutes, and I'll give you a fully functional Personal URL campaign. Let's get started…

  1. Create a Purlem account
    Visit http://purlem.com/packages and select the package that bests suits your needs.
  2. Create your campaign w/ instantPURL
    With InstantPURL your campaign will be hosted on our domain.
    Alternatively you can choose to use your domain. (Requires a domain name and Linux hosting)
  3. Select a Design Template
  4. Gather your mailing list
  5. Upload mailing list into Purlem
  6. Export PURLs
  7. Send Printer creative and database

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