Seven PURL Mistakes You Might Be Making

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March 1, 2011

Personalized URLs (PURLs) or personalized landing pages are definitely a game changer for direct and database marketing.  With PURLs, all that great data you’ve collected about your prospects or customers can be used to construct a truly personalized online marketing experience with customized data, imagery, offers and the all-important pre-populated form.

The key to success with a PURL campaign is creating a great user experience.  If there is a poor user experience, it really doesn’t matter if you have a personalized landing page or not.  So, here is a short list of things to avoid when creating a campaign with PURLs:

  1. Don’t use a long web address.  Generally people can only remember seven characters at a time.  When using a PURL in an offline piece, think about the number of times someone has to go from the offline communication to the keyboard to type in the URL.  14 characters equals 2 times.  35 characters equals 5 times.  That gets a little crazy for the recipient.
  2. Don’t use random numbers for the unique part of the web address.  They don’t mean anything to the recipient.
  3. Don’t creep prospects out with too much blatant personalization. Current customers will most likely understand why you have information about them, and will appreciate your using it to create a personalized experience. Prospects, on the other hand, may not understand why you’re using their information and react negatively.
  4. Don’t forget to pay close attention to the quality of your data. Missing or inaccurate data can seriously dampen your response rates; data cleansing and appending is the answer.
  5. When designing the web page layout, don’t put the form below the visual fold.  You want the pre-populated form to be visible as soon as the page is viewed.
  6. Don’t leave people in la-la land if they mistype the PURL.  Display a page that tells them what to do.
  7. Don’t assume that a PURL will improve response for all audiences and offers.  Test. Test. Test.

In conclusion, I’ll add that I am often approached by companies who want to do a PURL for the wrong reasons.  Meaning, they forgot to put themselves in the recipient’s shoes.  Answering these questions, from the target audiences’ point of view, usually gains the clarity needed:

  • Does it make sense that they are sending me a personalized URL?
  • Why are they using my personal information?
  • Did it improve my user experience?

If you can’t answer these questions, you should reconsider your PURL campaign until you can.



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