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:
- 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.
- Don’t use random numbers for the unique part of the web address. They don’t mean anything to the recipient.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Don’t leave people in la-la land if they mistype the PURL. Display a page that tells them what to do.
- 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.