Purlem’s New Unbounce Integration

I’m excited to announce today our Unbounce Integration. We all love Unbounce and the beautiful landing pages and results they provide. Now, you can combine Unbounce and Purlem to personalize your Unbounce landing page to each and every visitor!

Here is how it works…

Purlem will create a Personalized URL (PURL) for every person in your marketing database.

For example:

Then, you’ll send the PURL out to your potential visitors via email or direct mail.

Finally, when a person visits their PURL, they will be imediatly redirecting to their Personalized Unbounce landing page!

Pretty cool huh?

Learn more about how to Personalize your Unbouce Landing Page.

Or see how to Personalize Unbounce for your next Email Marketing Campaign.

Personalized Unbounce Landign Page

Pricing Variable Data Printing

The technology that allows you to print a Personalized URL (PURL) on each direct mail piece is called Variable Data printing.

A couple years back I survey over 100 printers on how much they would charge for printing 1,000 variable data postcards with a PURL .  The printers surveyed in this study can be seen at printvdp.com – and is a nice resource if your looking for a variable data printer.

Here are the project specs that were used for the quote:

1000 Postcards4x6
Full Bleed
3 Elements of variable data (no variable images):
1) Persons first name (on the front side)
2) Personal URL address (on the front side)
3) Mailing address (back)
Data Source: Excel file containing all Variable Data
Art: Art provided in requested format

What I found from the research is that many printers have no idea on how to properly price variable data. For the exact same project, I received quotes ranging from $100 to $995!  For the same exact project!

The average quote was $330. 

So this is all to say – make sure to get a couple, if not a few different quotes for your next variable data project.


QR Codes Still Rising

personalized qr code

Many are still skeptical of the future of QR Codes.  I’m actually one of the skeptics.  When I ask friends or family if they have heard of QR Codes I generally get a blank stare.  Even if I try to clarify by saying “you know, those square bar codes,” I get an “ohh yaaaa…?” as if there suppose to know but still have no idea.

But whether were believers in QR Codes or not, there’s no doubt there alive and growing.  Pitney Bows 2012 QR Codes Report had some very significant findings…

  • QR Codes are fast becoming an essential addition to today’s marketing toolbox
  • On average – across US, UK, France and Germany – 15% of people have used a QR code – a ‘significant minority’
  • Of the countries surveyed, QR code usage is most prevalent  in the US (19%), followed by UK (15%), Germany (14%) and France (12%)
  • On average, across the countries surveyed, QR codes have  been used by 27% of 18-34 year-olds
  • QR codes placed in magazines attract most usage across the countries surveyed (15%)

One of the best implementation of QR Codes is to integrate them with a Personalized Landing Page.  Purlem makes this extremely easy.  See this tutorial on adding Personalized QR Codes to your direct mail pieces with Photoshop.

Importance of House Lists for PURL Campaigns

Newletter_December-Proof-3The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) recently released their annual Response Rate Report.  It it, they compare response rates from House Lists vs Prospect Lists – House Lists are double that of the Prospect Lists.

A little background – house lists are lists that you create through your own collection efforts.  Prospect lists is something that you purchase.

I’ve written before about the importance of the lists – The 60/30/10 Rule for Successful PURL Campaigns.

From my experience, the Lists is the single most important criteria for a successful campaign. The importance is magnified for PURL campaigns.  PURL campaigns, targeted towards a house list, can pull upwards of 30% response rates – See some examples of successful PURL campaigns.

Whenever somebody comes to me disappointed that the PURL campaign did not do as well as they had hopped, it is usually always because they used a prospect list.

There are many ways to create your House List:

  1. Collect the contact information of customers at the time of purchase.
  2. Create a contest that entices customers to enter their information for a chance to win.
  3. Request feedback from customers and invite them to leave their contact information.
  4. Give your online visitors something of value in exchange for their contact information.
  5. Collect contact information from trade show attendees.
  6. User Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to encourage visitors to opt-in to receiving mailings.
  7. Attend industry related meet-ups and network the old-fashioned way.

I have also written about a little secret to increase response rates from purchased lists in the PURL marketing eBook.

Bottom line – the study proves that nothing has changed.  House Lists are still a critical part to the success of your PURL Marketing Campaign.


From Shouting to Personalization

In Technori’s The Top Digital Trends of 2013 post today, George Deeb predicts the era of “omni-channel” marketing – where brands stop shouting at their customers, and start engaging with more personalized messages.  Here is what he says…

Consumers taking control from brands/Brand shouting evolves to consumer listening via personalized omni-channel techniques.  Brands no longer have control of a one-directional conversation with their customers, where they shoutout mass-marketing messages and force feed consumers “one-size-fits-all” products they may or may not want.  Enter the era of omni-channel marketing, that puts the customer at the center of all business decisions leading to highly personalized products and user experiences based on brands listening to the desires of their consumers.  This evolution will material benefit both the consumer, through personalization, and the brand, through a direct communication line into their customers.  This shift will ultimately hurt and disintermediate retailers, who have historically controlled all communications with customers as the intermediary for the brands.  Look for brands to evolve social media marketing efforts from buying display ads and pushing products, to buying social listening research to help discover what consumers want.

PURLs Power ScottishPower Retention Campaign

ScottishPower is a major utility company in the UK.  Like most utility companies in the UK, they experience a large attrition rate (those that cancel after signing up). ScottishPower needed a campaign that would help establish rapport with their existing customers and bring down that attrition.

So ScottishPower turned to PURLs to help establish this rapport.  They sent new customers a personalized email and welcome pack, both conting a Personalized URL (PURL).

The PURL Landing Page provided the visitor with relevant account information. It also had a quick two question survey with an incentive “prize” if they completed a longer survey.

The campaign shows that PURLs can do much more than provide a little lift in response rate.  They can also be very powerful in establishing rapport with customers/clients.

PURL Landing Page

The Results

  • 40% access rates to the PURLs
  • 64% e-mail click-through to PURL rates.
  • 81% drop in sales cancellations within the first 14 days of service
  • 39% reduction in new customer attrition

Purlem is not associated with ScottishPower in any way.  Just another great PURL campaign that I thought we could all learn from.
Case Study provided by PODi.  Download the entire case study free for a limited time.

Use ShareThis.com to supercharge your PURL Campaign

PURL Social Sharing

I recently came across sharethis.com for a client’s project.  The goal was to integrate social sharing into their Personalized URL (PURL) Campaign.  The process would go something like:

  • Marketer sends a email/direct mail to Person with PURL
  • Person visit’s their PURL
  • Person shares to Facebook/Twitter etc
  • Friend sees the post and visits a “generic” landing page
  • Friend enters their name & email
  • Friend is immediately redirected to their PURL
  • Marketer collects the Friend’s information and tracks who referred them

The PURL the friend sees is the same as the original PURL shared, but it will be personalized to the friend!

Here is how we accomplished it…
This does get a little technical, so if you need helping executing a campaign like this contact us.

1) Sign up for a ShareThis.com account

Go to sharethis.com

2) Add Social Sharing Code to PURL

Add the sharing code provided by ShareThis to your PURL landing page (index.php file)

3) Add Open Graph Meta Data

Add the following meta data between the <head> tag in your PURLs index.php file:

<meta property="og:url" content="http://yorursite.com?
r=<?= $visitor->firstName.' '.$visitor->lastName; ?>"/>
<meta property="og:title" content="YourPageName"/>
<meta property="og:description" content="YourPageDescription"/>

4) Create Generic Landing Page

Create a generic landing page to collect the “Friend’s” information.There is a tutorial on doing this here:

You’ll want to add an additional hidden field to track the referrer:

<input name="customID" type="hidden" id="customID" value="<?= $_GET['r']; ?>" />

Where the customID, is the ID of the customfield in Purlem where you would like to referrer’s name to be stored.

Add the following meta data to the Generic landing page between the <head> tag:

<meta property="og:title" content="YourPageName"/>
<meta property="og:description" content="YourPageDescription"/>

5) Create PURL & Redirect

When the Friend enters their information on the generic landing page you created in Step 4, a PURL will automatically be created for this friend.  To immediately redirect the Friend to their PURL see the comments here: http://support.purlem.com/entries/483637-inserting-a-new-purl-contact-through-a-form-on-your-website


Now this is cool!

PURL Review: LTA Marketing Campaign

The folks over at LTA Marketing asked me to review their recent PURL campaign.   I’m always happy to throw in my two cents, and it’s a great way us all to learn together.  If you have a PURL campaign that you would like me to do a quick review on, email me at mthomas@purlem.com.

For the birthdays of both customers and prospects, LTA will send out an insert (seen below) within an envelope.  The insert encourages the recipient to visit their PURL to receive their drink. The goals of the campaign is to:

  1. Let our current agents know we care
  2. Keep our name in front of them
  3. Capture Email addresses
  4. Capture good phone number
  5. Get an idea of what products they sell (Annuities, Life, LTC, etc)

LTA has been sending out these birthday inserts for the past couple of years with moderate success.  Moving forward they would like to see an increase in their response rates (who wouldn’t!), and focus on capturing email addresses.

Below are some of my suggestions….

First of all, I love the simplicity!  I think that using inserts – as opposed to postcards – is genius for smaller run campaigns such as this!  The amount of money that is saved by using inserts is great, and I also think it adds a little bit of a personal touch.  Maybe, to take it to the next level, actually hand-write the PURLs!  For larger mailings this would definitely not be possible. But when sending out less than 100 mailings, this could be worth testing.

Like the insert, the landing page is also very simple. Not overwhelming the visitor with a bunch of content on the landing page is crucial to a successful PURL campaign, and LTA does a good job of displaying only what is necessary.  I do, however, have a couple of suggestions for imporving the landing page.

  • From an aesthetics standpoint, the paragraphs are running over into the form.  (This is something that could/should be correct in the Purlem template – so it is partly my fault!).  But it would be easy to use a carriage return to make the paragraphs fit within the main content area.
  • I would also like to see the call-to-action stand out a bit more.  Maybe by highlighting the “Simply verify that the information we have on file is correct and we will send you your Starbucks Card!” paragraph.  You want the call-t0-action to jump off the screen so that it is the first thing that the visitor sees.  The way the design is currently setup, the visitor’s eye immediately goes to the Starbucks picture.
  • Finally, I would make the form shorter.  How crucial is it to know what the annual life insurance premium volume is? By asking all of these questions, you are drastically reducing your conversion rate.  If the main goal of the campaign to collect emails, I would have only 1 field – the email field.  The less questions you ask, the higher your conversion rate will be.


PURL Postcard


PURL Landing Page

Use the Bandwagon to Increase Response Rates

There is one, very powerful, way to increase response rates of your Personalized URL campaign,  by just choosing the right words.

No… It is not “But wait, theres more!” or “Hurry before it’s to late.”  It is much more subtle of an approach that that.

The trick is to simply show that others are hopping on the bandwagon. (Seeing other dog owners carrying plastic bags encourages others to do so as well.)

There was a story in the NY Times recently about how a tax authority in the UK did a campaign to try and encourage business owners to pay their taxes on time. The results were quite interesting…

Profession of psychology Robert B. Cialdini “People are more likely to comply with a social norm if they know that most other people comply.”  Cialdini research suggests that if the tax authority would show how others are paying their taxes on time, it would encourage those that would otherwise not.  It would encourage the late tax payers to hop on the pay-on-time bandwagon.

The tax authority split tested their campaign to find a 15% increase in response when they used the words (perhaps, “9 out of 10 people in Exeter pay their taxes on time”).  A brilliant use of the bandwagon! The tax authorities estimate that this initiative, if rolled out across the country, could generate £30 million of extra revenue annually!

So consider how to integrate the bandwagon when working on your next Direct Mail, or Email Personalized URL Campaign!



Personalized URL Door Hanger

PURL Door Hanger

Door hangers have always been a great way to introduce your business to your neighbors.  The problem is, that they are very hard to track.  Until now!

Imagine how powerful it would be if you walked up to your door with a door hanger sporting a Personalized URL.  The message would be something like…

Visit site.com/123.MainSt to claim your free ____.

Would you be intrigued?  Would you visit that Personalized URL?  Although I have never seen a campaign like this executed, I would imagine that response rates would be huge!

The goal of a campaign like this would likely be to capture the name and email of the homeowner.  So, once the person visits their Personalized URL, you could ask them to

Enter your name and email below, and we’ll email your coupon for a free _____.

And just like that, you’ll be tracking and collecting valuable data from your neighbors.

You could create a campaign like this in one of two ways:

  1. Have the address pre-printed on each door hanger.  The nice thing about this approach would be that you would have all the Personalized URLs up and ready to go.  It might, however, be difficult to keep all the door hangers straight when it comes to hanging the right hanger on the right door.
  2. Leave a blank space to write in the Personalized URL (address). This way, you can write in the Personalized URL as your hang the door hanger.  At the same time, you’ll need to create the actual Personalized URL as well.  If you had a partner back at the office, you could email him the Personalized URL to create.  Or, you can login to Purlem from you mobile phone, and create the Personalized URL  on the fly.  I think this would be the way I would choose.

Then you could go back and watch your neighbors begin to visit their PURL.  You can receive real time notifications when the Personalized URL (PURL) is visited from each neighbor.  You will also begin to automatically collect the names and emails of those that would like to claim your offer.

Actually creating the PURLs themselves is easy with Purlem.  It will literally only take minutes, and we’re here to help!