Email Marketing with Personalized URLs

UPDATE: This feature has been retired.

Before today, sending out an email marketing campaign with Personalized URLs (PURLs), has been a tangled mess.  You would first have to upload your list of contacts into Purlem, export the list back out, upload your Purlem list into your email marketing platform, and “mail merge” the PURLs into an email template.  That, is not fun.

To get started, select the “Email All Contacts” link from the Contacts page.


Then, compose your email.  You can personalized the email with the “Insert” dropdown, just as you would the landing page.

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 4.00.56 PM

From there, we will personally work with you to test, send and track the email. The cost? 1¢ per recipient.

Keys to Successful Email Marketing with PURLs

Below are the keys to a successful email marketing campaign with Personalized URLs (PURLs).

I’d like to point out that PURLs are not on the list!  Yes, I sell PURLs – I dream of PURLs in my sleep – but I’ll be the first one to tell you that they are not the key to an email campaign’s success. PURLs will, however, enhance a successful email campaign by increasing both response and conversion rates. But you first need to get the following right…

Example PURL Email from Mount St. Mary's UniversityQuality of the email list

I’ve said it before that having a highly targeted audience is crucial to Personalized URL (PURL) campaigns. The same applies for your email marketing campaigns.  Email campaigns are the most effective when the recipients know who you are.  This requires that you spend the time to create your own list, rather than purchasing one.

Call to action

The recipient should not have to think about what action you want them to take.  It should be immediately obvious, and the incentive should be strong enough to entice a click!  Need some help brainstorming?  see > PURL Offers – What Works? What Doesn’t?

Design of the email

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.  In fact, I’ve found that plain-text emails that speak personally to each recipients work the best. Key here is to test many formats and see what works best for your audience.


You can’t just send out one email and hope for the best.  Your email campaign should be ongoing and incorporate print (if applicable).

With that said, it’s important not to overuse email.  I’ve found that every month or two is appropriate for B2B.  A newsletter format can be great way to frequently send emails, and if done right, will provide great value to your recipients.


This one is obvious. People that you send emails to should have previously opted-in.

CASE STUDY: Announces Innovative New MailChimp Integration.

Inviting prospects and clients to view a personalized landing page has never been easier. As part of their latest update, now allows its users to automatically import their MailChimp contacts into the innovative Purlem platform. 

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – Study after study is proving that personalized URLs rocket both click-through rates and conversions. Now, as part of their latest update, is delighted to announce full integration with MailChimp.

The new partnership allows Purlem users to automatically import contacts stored within MailChimp, instantly creating personalized URLs for each contact. With the system then immediately sending the URLs back to MailChimp, users are able to continue their email marketing efforts with compelling new power.

“With the Mailchimp integration, email marketers no longer have an excuse to keep using generic links in their campaigns,” explains Martin Thomas, Founder of

He continues, “The process of transferring PURLs to and from an email marketing platform used to take marketers hours.  With the new MailChimp integration, it takes seconds.”

The ethos behind’s offering is simple; people would much rather click on a link that contains their name, over a generic link that looks just like ‘everything else’. What was once can now become – making an instant connection with the user and drastically increasing the likelihood that they will click through.

In order to quantify these results, many institutions have commissioned studies into the concept of personalized URLs. As expected, the results are staggering.

“It is not unusual for a PURL to increase click through rates by 50 – 100 percent. While it does vary from campaign to campaign, there is a rock-solid trend that indicates adding a PURL will not only engage a prospect, but lead them to trust you and build subconscious rapport. All of this vital when making a sale,” Thomas adds.

In terms of the company’s latest MailChimp integration announcement, Thomas makes it clear that this is just the beginning of a whole host of upcoming partnerships.

“This is just one more step towards our initiative of making ever marketers’ life easier by integrating Purlem with every major marketing tool on the web,” he concludes.

To find out more about how Purlem seamlessly integrates with MailChimp, please watch this informative YouTube video.

For more information on Purlem, their products and their services, visit:

Introducing Purlem’s MailChimp Integration

We just released the MailChimp Integration!  The MailChimp Integration allows you to import your MailChimp contacts into Purlem.  Once imported, Purlem will automatically create PURLs for each of your MailChimp contacts.  Purlem will also communicate back to MailChimp with each contact’s PURL for you to dynamically pull into your email marketing campaigns.

Here is how it works…

1. Add your MailChimp API Key into Purlem

To activate the MailChimp Integration with Purlem, enter your MailChimp API Key.

You can find the Integration page under the Clients tab > Manage > Integrations

Where can I find my MailChimp API Key?


If the integration is successful, the red dot will turn green (as seen in the example above)

2. Import Contacts from MailChimp

Select the Import from MailChimp link under the Contacts tab.


3. Select the MailChimp List you would like to Import


4. That’s It!

All contacts from the select list in MailChimp will be imported into Purlem.  You can check your list in MailChimp to see how the PURLs for each contact were automatically added as well.


PURL Email Makeover – Ent

I was sent an email yesterday by Ent credit union that I though would be perfect for a Personalized URL (PURL).  I’m sure that by simply adding a PURL to this campaign, Ent would realize a huge spike in their response rates.

It gave me the idea to do an “email makeover” series, showing emails I receive and how they could be made more effective with PURLs.  Here is original email I received from Ent.

Ent Email PURL Makeover

A couple of things jump out right away.  First, and most important, the call-to-action is a small “Online Banking” link hidden in the middle of a paragraph.  The call-to-action should be the one thing that they eye is immediatly drawn to.  When a person receives your email, it should be so incredibly obvious to them what you (as the sender) wants them to do next.  This makes a person actually read to figure out what they need to do.

Second, they address me by MARTY THOMAS in all caps.  How unpersonalized is that?  It screams, YOU ARE PART OF A HUGE MASS EMAIL AND WE DON’T REALLY CARE ABOUT YOU.

Finally, what is the purpose of having the “Message from Ent” banner.  It takes up valuable real estate at the top of the email and doesn’t tell me anything new. I know this is a message from Ent.

So with just a  few minor updates to the email, I came up with this:

PURL Email Ent

Here we have a very clear call to action with Personalized URL.   For the PURL, I used a unique and short domain name – I can easily create these PURLs for every contact in my email marketing campaign using Purlem.

I also removed the “Message from Ent” banner and made the greeting more friendly.

What do you think?  Would you be more apt to click on the revised email?

Personalized Email – 5 Tips to Increase Click Through Rates

Personalized Email MarketingWe all know that relevant and personalized email is more effective than a generic, un-targeted email. Here are 5 Tips you can use today to make your email marketing more personalized and increase your click-through rates.

1) Do not include the recipient’s name in the subject line
Studies have shown that including the recipient’s name in the subject line of significantly lower open rates. This tactic was over-used by spammers in the past, and recipients automatically associate their name in the subject line as spam. Don’t do this!

2) Use Plain-Text Emails
When you personalize an HTML formatted email it is very obvious to the recipient that the email was also sent out to a lot of other people. This can sometimes come off as fake, transparent and “spammy.”

3) Use Personalized URLs (PURLs)
If you are going to include a link in your personalized email, you mine as well make it a personalized link. This is known as a “Personalized URL” or PURL. A PURL includes your recipients name directly in the link itself. For example – By including a PURL in your email, you can double your click through rates.

4) It’s More than a Name
Personalization should be about more than just greeting the recipient by name. Take it a step further and personalize the message as well. If you selling baseball jerseys, and the recipient lives in Chicago, show them Sox and Cubs jerseys. You get the idea… A little extra work to segment your recipients into groups can go a long way.

5) Check it Twice
This is obvious, but I have to mention it. Sending out a personalized email with bad data will not only ruin the campaign, it could harm your credibility as well. Check your mailing list and personalized data twice, and make sure that the people you are sending the message to will be received the correct personalized information.

HTML vs. Text Emails – What do you respond to?

5 years ago everybody wanted their email marketing to use HTML. The obvious benefits of HTML emails are that they have additional text formatting capabilities, incorporate graphics,  and puts more creative options at the marketer’s disposal.

841Take this email from Pottery Barn for example.  This is a great example of a strong HTML email.  It is visually appealing, the message is clear and it contributes nicely to the brand’s image. But what I think makes this email work, is that I am familiar with the brand.

I think HTML emails make perfect sense for any large business that has a developed brand and strong customer loyalty (not to mention a huge design budget).

I’m just talking from personal experience here…  If I get an html email from Pottery Barn, or Best Buy (for example), I’m interested in their promotion and how I might be able to benefit from a special.  If the special intrigues me enough then sure, I’ll click to visit their website and learn more. But, on the other hand, if I get an email from some small business that I never hear of, my ‘JUNK’ radar immediatly sounds.

Take this html email a client of mine was thinking about sending out. (Thanks Steve for allowing me to use this as an example).


The goal of this email was to send people to their Personal URL landing page, and ultimately sign up for their wine of the month club.

By the way this is a great deal for all you wine lovers out there.  Go to for more info.

Now this email, like Pottery Barn, is also able to carry the brand for U.S. Wine Association with their colors, logo and font choices.  It looks nice and everybody is happy….  But how will prospective customers react to the email?  If they are anything like me  my ‘JUNK’ radar immediately goes off. What about you?

My argument is this. For small businesses who don’t have a strong brand and loyal customer following (or thousand dollar design budget for each email), it is better to use plain text emails. The biggest reason is that it looks like a PERSONAL message.  From experience, I would rather receive a personal message from a company that I am unfamiliar with, than something that looks like it went out the a million people.  What do you think?  Do you have the same reaction as I do?