The Ultimate PURL Case Study Directory

Whether you’re launching your 1st or 47th campaign using Personalized URLs (PURLs), case studies can offer indispensable insight into what works and what doesn’t. That’s why we’ve compiled the most complete directory of PURL case studies to date.

Introducing the Ultimate PURL Case Study Directory, and it’s yours to Download for Free today.

Inside this campaign compendium, you’ll find more than 150 PURL case studies sorted by industry, with an easy to read overview of each campaign’s Goal, List, Offer, and Creative content.

What’s more, we’ve included each campaign’s Response and Conversion Rates to show how effectively each one performed.

Industries you’ll find included in the directory include:

– Auto
– B2B
– Construction
– Education
– Entertainment
– Financial Services/Banking
– Healthcare
– Hospitality
– Manufacturing
– Non-Profit
– Printing Services
– Publishing
– Restaurant
– Retail

With this birds-eye view of the best and worst of PURL campaigns, you can navigate the choppy marketing waters with a steadier hand than ever.

We hope you enjoy The Ultimate PURL Case Study Directory– and please let us know how it treats you!

Track PURLs with Kissmetrics

KISSmetrics is a very robust analytics tool that has the ability to track individual visitors. As their tagline says – Google analytics tells you what’s happening. Kissmetrics tells you who’s doing it.

Kissmetrics does this by assigning a random identifier to each visitor.  This way, you can see that visitor_XYZ123 visited the pricing page and watched the video. But, you won’t know who visitor_XYZ123 actually is.  However, by integrating Kissmetrics into your Personalized URL (PURL) landing pages, we can tell KISSmetrics exactly WHO the person is by name.  Doing this, KISSmetrics will tell you the activity of “Bob Jones” or “Sally Anderson.”  Way better!

Another good application for this is to track people after they visit their PURL.  Say, for example, that “Bob Jones” visits his Personalized URL – Purlem will be able to track that Bob visited his PURL.  But if Bob later returned to the home page, you would not know that it’s still Bob.  Unless you previously installed Kissmetrics and told them It’s Bob. If you did that, any time Bob visits the site, views a video, or downloads a whitepaper, you’ll know that it’s him. This is extremely valuable information that opens up a world of possibilities.

Here is the step-by-step for tracking PURLs with Kissmetrics:

1. Sign up for a Kissmetrics account

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 5.51.14 PM

2. Install Kissmetrics on your website

Kissmetrics has some great documentation on installing here. I’d recommend using the Javascript Library.

3. Match the Kissmetrics Identity code to the PURL visitor

You can do this by adding the following to your PURL landing page.

<!-- Kissmetrics Id -->
<?php if(isset($visitor->email) && $visitor->email != '') { ?>
 <script type="text/javascript"> _kmq.push(['identify', '<?= $visitor->email; ?>']);</script>
<?php } ?>

4. Assign a Kissmetrics event to the page visited

You may also want to let Kissmetrics know which PURL page the visitor is on.  You can do that with the code here:

<!-- Kissmetrics Event -->
<script type="text/javascript"> _kmq.push(['record', 'PURL Visit - <?= $visitor->landingpage_name; ?>', '',redirect]);</script>

5. View Results

With Kissmetrics now installed and integrated into your PURL landing page, your Kissmetrics results will now show identify each user by their email.  This is much more valuable than random identifier!

Kissmetrics PURL Results

Real-Time Personalization

I was recently asked by a client if I was going to integrate “Real-Time Personalization” to Purlem. I said – I have no idea what that is.

So I did a bit of research and found this Click Z article that does a nice job of introducing and defining real-time personalization:

Basic personalization (such as name and account personalization and dynamic interest or product content) no longer serves consumers’ demand for deeper levels of real-time personalized information.

[Real-time personalization] leverages the most appropriate communications to deliver a personalized customer experience, based on time, place, and the most recent understanding of individual customer intent.

Alright.  That make sense and sounds pretty cool. But what are the actual uses of real-time personalization? The definition above defines three areas that make up real-time personalization:

  1. Time
  2. Place
  3. Customer Intent

For my research, I initially wanted find specific examples for each major industry (Mortgage, Auto, Finance, Education, etc..), and of how each used real-time personalization. However, I quickly realized that there is not much documented on the topic, so had to scratch that ambitious goal.

You would think that companies that specialize in real-time personalization would have a thousand case studies and examples… but they don’t! I’m not sure if it is because the industry is so new, OR, if companies are yet to find the real value.  Either way, I was able to find a couple examples of real-time personalization.  One is based on customer intent, and the other on place. I did not find one example of a company that used time.

Customer Intent

The most obvious example of real-time personalization is Amazon’s recommendation engine, which shows products based off the visitor’s past browsing and purchase history. Here are my Kindle Store recommendations:

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 10.08.06 AM


Here is an example of how the Pennsylvania Tourism Office used geography to promote attractions that appeal to specific regions of Pennsylvania.

Geography Personalization


From all the research I did, I did not able to find one example time being used for personalization.  I do, however, have a couple thoughts about how time could be used.  Peapod, for example, may want to highlight breakfast related items in the morning. Or, Honda may want to highlight their car’s traction-control capabilities in the Winter, and the convertibles in the Summer.

If you have any examples of real-time personalization, please share!

2% USPS Postage Discount when you use PURLs.

The USPS is providing a 2% postage discount when you use PURLs with your direct mail piece.  Promotion is good for May 1 – June 30.  It’s a great time to give Personalized URLs (PURLs) a try!

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 11.16.52 AM

B2B is Dead

I just got back from TM360.  It was in beautiful Dana Point, CA – and a much needed escape from the unrelenting cold and snow in Chicago.

dana point, ca

I’ve only been to a few conferences like this. And to tell you the truth, I never seem to get to much out of the sessions.  But meeting new people and seeing how other businesses are trying to stake their claim in the wild west of personalized marketing is very inspiring.

But there was one overarching theme of the conference that I wanted to share.  It’s so deep, that it requires you to rethink everything you know, and have been taught about marketing.  It made a big impact on me, and how to position Purlem for the future.  It’s the fact that B2B is dead.

Brad Brooks‘ keynote set the tone for the rest of the conference, and was – in my opinion – the best session of the conference.  Brooks encouraged marketers to rethink their strategy as “B2ME” as opposed to B2B. It’s no longer about targeting a company, it’s about targeting individuals within that company. People – even in business – want a personalized experience.

So what does this all mean? Quite simply that new business is dependent on building relationships with individuals. You should start to target your marketing efforts towards individuals in businesses, or begin to loose out to your competition.

You can start to build your B2ME strategy through the following steps…

  1. Identifying your market personas.
  2. Create content specific for each persona.
  3. Filter inbound prospects into their proper persona.
  4. Show each prospect content specific to them.

For example.  With Purlem I have identified the following personas: Print Provider, Agency, Educator, Auto Dealer, etc…

With those personas identified, I can create content specific to each persona.  Then, when a new prospect enters the sales funnel, I can identify them with the proper persona, and show them content that is relevant to them in future correspondence (email, direct mail, purls, website…).

Now, there is no doubt out this that it takes work.  Lots of work.  Just creating the content can and should be a full time job. But keep in mind that this is replacing your “traditional” advertising.  You know, the type of advertising where you would throw thousands at the magazine or TV and crossed your fingers that somebody would pick.  The ‘ol spray-and-pray method is long gone. B2B is dead.

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.

Add to Calendar Link for PURLs

Want to give your PURL visitors a way to add an event to their calendar?

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 6.45.54 PMI recently had a client ask me if it would be possible to add a “Add to Calendar” link to their Personalized URL (PURL).  I was very intrigued by the question and some of the possibilities.  So I created a quick example campaign that allows the PURL visitor to add an event to their calendar based off the date they selected.

We’re able to accomplish this through using the iCalendar (ics) file format.  Essentially all were doing is customizing this ics file with the PURL visitor’s data, and allowing them to download it.

Below is a video of the example campaign I put together.  You can also see step-by-step directions on how to add a personalized “Add to Calendar” link on your PURL landing page.


Lyon College uses Personalized URLs to increase applications

Lyon College hoped to receive 655 new applications from their Personalized URL “PURL” campaign.  They wound up with a whopping 1,116 new applications!

Lyon College sent approx 42,000 PURL postcards to prospective students with the chance to win a new iPad. The postcards were followed-up with 800 personalized emails, that also contained a PURL.

When asked what the reason was for their success, they said the offer, creative, relevant messages/images, and the PURLs all combined to create the success.  I would have to imagine that their list was also very solid.

See the full case study here (PDF) 

Personalized URL Postcard from Lyon College

Personalized URL Postcard from Lyon College

Personalized URL Email from Lyon College

Personalized URL Email from Lyon College

Personalized URL Landing Page from Lyon College

Personalized URL Landing Page from Lyon College



Adding SMS Text Messaging to PURLs with Twilio

Did you know that you can easily integrate SMS text messaging into your Personalized URL (PURL) campaigns?  Thanks to Twilio, it only takes literally minutes to setup.  In this video, I start from complete scratch, and have Twilio integrated in less than 8 minutes.

SMS text messaging is something that several people have requested over the years to be integrated into Purlem.  Unfortunately, demand is not high enough to warrant a direct integration into Purlem’s dashboard. But this is a good option for those that still would like the feature.

Feedback, suggestions, or creative ways to use SMS integration with PURL campaigns is welcome!

Purlem’s Design & Development Services

Yesterday I launched Purlem’s Design & Development pricing page.  I found myself giving ballpark prices over the phone for custom PURL landing pages quite often.  Most projects seemed to fit into one of three categories that I’ve named Basic, Smart and Integrated. Hopefully this will help to give those that need a custom PURL landing page created an idea of the cost.

Purlem Landing Page Design & Development


The Basic PURL landing page is represented by the Cadillac dealership. Basic landing pages typically consist of a welcome page with a form, and thank you page.  Adding variable text, images, and basic conditional statements (ie: if car = Cadillac, then do this), is included in a Basic design. You can also enhance your Basic pages with videos for no additional charge. All Purlem features such as reporting, email alerts, auto-repsonse emails, password protection, etc, are available in all packages shown.


A Smart PURL landing page adds some animations and interactivity that reacts to the visitor’s profile.  The USA Today example that represents the Smart page, has animation as well as interactivity.  It also displays a variable offer based on several different criteria associated with the visitor (geography, purchase history, interests, etc..).  Unlike the USA Today example, most Smart pages also contain a form.  When visitors complete the form, they could either be taken directly to the Thank You page, or may be show a sequence of pages each with their own questions.


For the Integrated page we used a fictitious university that combines technology used from many different PURL campaigns.  We used this to showcase the full capabilities of PURLs. Integrated PURL landing pages tie into 3rd party databases and APIs to offer a seamless experience for both the visitor as well as the marketer.  In this example, we are tying in with the University’s own database to dynamically show events that would be of interests to the visitor based on their interests and area of study.  We also integrate with Google Map’s API to display directions from the visitor’s home to the University. The landing page is also communicating with the University’s CRM in real time with the visitor’s browsing activity and answers to questions.  This allows the University place the most interested prospective students directly into their sales funnel for future follow up. With integrated pages, really, anything is possible.