Two Steps to Discovering the Value of pURLsApril 22, 2011
Step 1. Focus on analytics.
Many services are springing up that offer marketers the ability to customize URLs for prospects and customers, but be sure the back-end analytics are also state of the art. For personalized URLs (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 Rockville, MD-based 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, but allows you to break down customer behavior and trends,” says Shawn Burst, founder of Dukky, a custom landing page and analytics software platform based in New Orleans. “You can see and monitor who responds, shares, carries influence, redeems, etc.”
This gives companies the ability to tier their customers based on their activity and interaction with the campaign and brand, then market to those consumers based on their level of interaction.
“This takes the expected end results of a campaign to a completely new level by being able to understand customers and use the interaction with them to market to the individual, group and masses appropriately,” continues Burst.
Burst says the main obstacle the company sees is when clients express a fear because of the viral nature of campaigns. “There is sometimes a hesitation because of the unknown element of the quantity of response/sharing activity/redemption. Although these concerns are valid, we always remind our clients the goal of marketing in any campaign is to engage with consumers.”
Step 2. Put this project on the front burner.
The way technology moves, we can assume that pURLs will become commonplace at some point. The benefit of initiating pURLs now is that when everybody else is doing it, you’ll be doing it better, having already established a feedback loop between yourself and your customers. They’ll already understand your business provides them with the best offers, personalized to their needs. That’s the beauty of pURLs.
Indeed, many marketers believe that you can’t wait too long. “One day everyone will be doing pURLs,” asserts Mike Robinson, vice president of Performance Direct Marketing in Fort Worth, TX. The days of prospects being freaked out by pre-populating forms on a Website are gone. Doing a big pURL campaign for a major newspaper, for example, he encountered very few complaints.
He mentions the recent Direct Marketing Association statistic: 42 percent of people who respond to a direct mail offer would rather respond online.
“That’s just online. Add a pURL, and you’re talking even higher,” he predicts.
Robinson suggests an illustration that could seal the deal with many wary clients. Send out 200 mail pieces with just a general URL. Fifty prospects go there and 10 complete something. So now you know them. But you don’t know the other 40. They’re gone and may never be “seen” again.
“With a pURL, you have 10 sales and know exactly where the other 40 dropped off. So now you can go after those people,” Robinson explains
For direct mail providers and printers, pURLs also represent a huge opportunity, he believes. “We’re a large print direct mailer. We have continuous form, etc. We can do two million pieces a day. So how are we different from all the others that do print and mail? One, I’m high-volume. Two, I’ve got pURLs.”
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