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



Introducing Social Share & Track

I just released Social Share & Track in Purlem’s campaigns! With a simple click of the button, you can add social share icons to your PURL landing pages.  This gives  visitors the ability to share their PURL landing page with their social networks. Any easy way to add a viral element to your PURL landing pages.  Here is how it works…

Tom Smith receives a postcard enticing him to visit his Personalized URL:

PURL Postcard

Tom then visits his PURL to claim his offer:

Social Share PURL

Tom is asked to share the offer with his friends. It’s such a great offer Tom decides to Tweet it.


Now Tom’s friend (we’ll call him Bill) sees the offer on his Twitter feed. Bill visit’s the offer page and which requests some additional information.


After Bill completes the form, he taken to his offer page, where he to can share with his friends.  All the while, Purlem is doing some serious tracking in the back end. You can use this to track visitors who have shared the PURL page with their friend or colleague and who they have influenced.

All of the Social Share and Track results are available in the results export from Purlem’s dashboard.  Were soon going to be releasing a new results page that will be much prettier (for all you visual folks out there!)

Learn more about how Purlem’s Social Share & Track works.


Batch Download PURLs

Released the new Batch Download feature today that the MEGA Purlem users will enjoy.

Purlem Batch download feature

Before, when exporting PURLs, users with more than 20,000 contacts would receive multiple files to download. For the MEGA users, this would mean that in order to export PURLs out of their campaign, they would end up having to download several, if not hundreds of files. This was not only slightly annoying, but opened the door for user error when trying to mesh the files back together.

With the new Batch Download feature, users with more than 20,000 contacts will be given 1 file. Were able to accomplish this by creating the file behind the scenes. When the file is completed, we will shoot you an email notifying you that you can download the single (probably massive) CSV file.

This was another feature that many Purlem users have requested. Always trying to make Purlem better and easier to use. Your feedback is welcome – we actually listen and take action!

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 Managed Plan

Our new Managed Plan provides a turn-key solution for Purlem users.

I have had many requests over the years for more of a turn-key solution for Purlem. Now, you have it.  For $249/mo we manage your PURL campaigns for you.


Purlem Managed

Campaign Management

Let us handle the tasks associated with managing your campaign. We can create the campaign, upload contacts, export the results, etc… We’ll handle it all for you.

Best-Practices Consulting

We have seen hundreds of PURL campaigns. We see what works and what doesn’t. Give your campaign the best shot at success by working 1:1 with Purlem’s founder.

VIP Support

Your support requests are queued to the top of the list. We strive to answer within minutes during normal business hours.

If your interested in learning more about Managed Plans, please contact us.

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.

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 – 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.


Alphagraphic’s PURL Campaign Proves the Value of an Effective List

In 2009 AlphaGraphics released their Rubik’s Cube PURL Campaign.  The goal of the campaign was to generate new leads for each individual AlphaGraphics store.  The first group of Alphagraphics stores had an average response rate of 23%.  The campaign was so successful that AlphaGraphics corporate decide to rerun the campaigns for 31 other locations.

Alphagraphics PURL

Do you know what happened with these 31 locations?  The response rates ranged from 3-46%!  Everything was the same – the creative, offer, sales follow ups, emails, EVERYTHING!  The one thing that was different between each location – THE LIST!

Each Alphagraphics location chose their own lists to market to. In order to ensure the quality of the list, some sales representatives were responsible for covering the cost of the direct mail pieces. Putting the financial responsibility on the sales representatives gave them incentive to create the most effective lists possible.

Maybe it was the sales person’s fault?  Maybe it was the geographic location?  Or maybe, just maybe, some lists were purchased and others were generated in house.

I have a hunch that the Alphagraphics locations with the 46% response rates had a list of interested prospects that have previously shown interests and gave alphagraphics permission to market to them.  What do you think?

Source: AlphaGraphics Solves Direct Marketing Puzzle with Rubik’s Cube Campaign

Allow Website Visitors to Create their own PURLs

We recently released our API that opens the door for some really interesting integrations for PURL campaigns. One way people are integrating with the API is by allowing website visitor’s to create their own PURL.

One of the prerequisites to use Personalized URLs, is that you have to first know who is visiting the landing page.  But with this workflow, you can ask the visitor for their information, then instantly redirect them to their PURL.  This will allow you to collect valuable information from your website visitors while provided them with personalized and relevant information.

Executing something like this is very easy.  To learn more see the tutorial – Inserting a new PURL contact through a form on your website.

Below is a very simplistic example of this feature.

PURL Generic Landing Page

PURL Landing Page