Psychdelight recently brought up a good question on Reddit regarding PURLs. I posted a response to the Reddit thread, but the Reddit gods, or psychdelight decided not to approve the post for whatever reason. But I thought my response was good! So I’ll post it here 🙂
I’m one of those PURL companies that “hopped on the bandwagon” several years back (not one of the companies mentioned here). You will not hear me tell you that “PURLs are all the rage and super effective,” nor will I be clamoring of your business. PURLs are, however, what puts dinner on my family’s table.
I’ve seen hundreds of PURL campaigns and techniques over the years. I have seen the fad come in go, specifically in the print world. During this fad, printers were ineffectively using PURLs as a gimmicky way to increase response (which doesn’t work). This fad is what led a lot of people to look at PURLs as “trite, inelegant and inauthentic.” Using PURLs as a gimmicky way to increase response rates obviously does not work, hence the busted dreams of so many printers, and the decline of the fad.
But as that fad declined, another, more strategic use of PURLs started to emerge. As ifeelhome mentioned – using PURLs as a means to track and follow up with prospects could be a strategic and effective way to use PURLs. Sure, there are many site visitor attribution tools out there like (such as al_manchester’s Woopra), but these tools will not tell you the exact name of the visitor, unless you somehow tell the tool who it is. With direct mail, your only option to identify visitors is by using PURLs (for now anyways).
So psychdelight, you can let you boss know that by themselves, PURLs will not make you a ton of money. They are simply a tool that has the potential to enhance a campaign, where it makes strategic sense.