In many cases, the primary goal of your PURL campaign is to track who’s responding online from your direct mail campaign. In this post we’ll explore some possible “secondary” goals of your campaign, and how to structure your PURL landing pages, to accomplish those goals.
First, what a PURL landing page should NOT be…
First of all, if you’ve used PURLs in the past, it’s worth taking a moment to remove of any pre-conceived notions on what a PURL landing page should be. The “old” strategy was to send the PURL visitor to a welcome page where we “shock and awe” them by displaying their name, then link to a questionnaire where we bombard them with several questions, then to a “verify your contact info” page, and finally to a thank you page where they get a free $5 Starbucks card. Woo Hoo! This is ridiculous. This does not work. If you’re doing this, stop!
Ok, now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about what our PURL landing pages should look like. With the primary goal of simply tracking who’s responding, some possible secondary goals could be…
- Capture Email Address
- RSVP for an event
- Personal Portal
- Complete a Questionnaire
- Verify contact info
- None of the above (which is just fine and increasingly common)
Let’s take a look at each in more detail…
Capture Email Address
If you don’t have the email address of your visitor, chances are this should be your secondary goal. Email addresses are vital for continuing to engage your prospects online.
If your secondary goal is to capture the visitor’s email address, then the email should be the only input on your PURL landing page. No surveys, questionnaires, or “verify your information” forms. I know I know, it’s tempting. “Ahh… but what’s a few more form fields?” you ask. The more information you ask of your visitor, the lower conversion rate will be. Give the prospects a good reason for them to hand over their email, and ask nothing else of them.
RSVP for an Event
This is a great use of PURLs, and where I’ve seen the highest response rates. I’ve seen this a lot with Auto dealerships inviting prospective car buyers to an exclusive event. Generally, these lists are to people that already have some sort of relationship with the business, and thus, much more likely to respond.
In these landing pages, it’s good practice to only show two buttons “Yes” and “No”. You may also opt to ask the visitor a couple other questions to help validate the prospect.
The portal strategy is used to provide the PURL visitors with information that is specific to them. I’ve seen this used a lot in education recruiting. If you know a visitor is interesting the Biology and Football. Show them information about the campus around these topics. Another common practice with this strategy is to provide a checklist. The visitor check items off the checklist as they are completed. And re-visit the page to receive updates and continue the process.
I’ve also seen this used for financial planning, where retirees were given a checklist, with specific due dates depending on their age. Helping the visitor to plan for retirement. These visitors return back to their PURL often to check in on their status, and continue to receive updated, personalized information.
This was part of the old PURL strategy that we had to debunk at the beginning of this post. But by itself, a questionnaire is a very valid reason to use a PURL. There may be times when asking several questions about the visitor is warranted and part of a larger strategy. But if getting visitors to complete a questionnaire is your secondary goal, it should be the first and only thing that the visitor sees. Don’t show them a welcome page, and then continue on to a page to verify their contact information. That’s just annoying.
Verify Contact Info
I don’t see this one used very much at all. But it’s very similar to the questionnaire. Generally, the contact info fields would be pre-populated with the information you already know about the visitor, making it very easy for them to verify and/or update their information.
None of the above
Having none of the secondary goals is just fine, and is actually very common. The primary goal should be to simply track who’s visiting. In many cases, that’s all that required. If that is the case for you, it is absolutely acceptable to pass them along to an existing website or landing page. This is often what I suggest to those looking to give PURLs a try for the first time. Personalizing the landing page adds complexity to the project. And keeping things as simple as possible, especially when just getting started with PURL campaigns, is very important.
Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list of possible PURL landing page formats. If you have other formats that have worked well for you, please share them!