PURL Power in Real Estate Marketing

When it comes to buying a new home, personalization matters big time. Case studies continue to tell us that prospective homeowners respond enthusiastically to a highly personalized marketing campaign.

Including Personalized URLs (or PURLs) in your next mailing campaign is the perfect way to make an immediate impression on your readers. When they receive your mailer and see that you’ve set up a unique website just for them, they instantly become more likely to hop online and check it out.

Here’s an example of what a PURL looks like: “john.smith.yoursite.com” or “yoursite.com/johnsmith”

What’s more, you can easily design John’s personal landing page to welcome him by name and entice him with a special offer, both of which are awesomely effective ways of initiating a solid engagement.

To show you just how effective PURLs can be in your marketing campaign, we’ve provided an exclusive case study of a real estate firm called Tampa Homebuilder. Spoiler alert: In the weekend after they launched their PURL campaign, they tripled the number of homes they sold!

Just fill out the top form to the right with your name and email address, and the case study is immediately yours for free. Please feel free to sign up for our monthly newsletter as well.

Once you check that out, we can answer any questions you might have about getting your PURL campaign on. We’ll even throw in a free 30 day trial so you can see what the fuss is all about, no strings attached.

Need ’em? Want ’em? Purlem.

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!

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



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

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.

How HP Used PURLs

Hewlett-Packard used to send out a catalog of courses they offered to IT pros.  It was a large catalog, that was becoming increasingly expensive to send out.  Back in 2003, Hewlett-Packard decided to switch to an online version of the catalog.  To drive people to the catalog, HP used Personalized URLs (PURLs).

HP had a strong list of people who have taken courses in the past.   They sent out an email and postcard, both containing a PURL, that drove people to a landing page.  Once on the landing page, the visitors were provided a “Recommended Class” and encouraged to register.

What I like most about this campaign, was idea to immediately offer a Recommended Class. HP could have very easily just shown the visitors the entire catalog of offerings on the landing page.  But this would have required too many options, and way to much thinking for a landing page.  By offering the Recommended Class, the visitor were provided with one option, and the ability to register right there.  Brilliant!

The Results
HP was expecting a 1-3% response rate, and 3% conversion rate.  The actual results way surpassed expectations. By introducing Personalized URLs into their marketing, HP received a 16.5% response rate from the email,  and 8.7% from the postcard!

But that was not the most impressive statistic.  HP had 31% of visitors actually purchase a course!  That is huge, and I would argue that the “Recommended Class” feature was a large part of this success.

By introducing PURLs, and the personalized landing page, HP generated $556,000 in revenue.

Congrats HP on not only a great PURL campaign, but also a great example for us all to learn from.


The email with Personalized URL

HP PURL Postcard

The Postcard with Personalized URL

HP PURL Landingpage

The PURL Landing Page

Purlem has is not affiliated in any way to Hewlett-Packard or the creation of this campaign.  Simply a great example of a PURL campaign that I thought we could all learn from.  Lear more about this campaign here: http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article.php?contentID=2457

Using PURLs as a Recruiting Tool

hiremeFinding the right people to hire can be a daunting taks small and large businesses alike.  To help find “A” talent, you should try adding another layer between the resume and interview. One popular option is inviting all potential candidates to an Open House.

The next logical question then is… how do you let people know that your having an open house?  Sending out an email or direct mailers to protential candidates can help generate awarenes and drive attendence.  Using Personalized URLs (PURLs), in these marketing materials can really ramp up your results.

Florida Hospital Tampa teamed up with Katon Direct to create a Personalized URL Campaign to drive awareness and attendance to their Open House event.  9,000 Direct mailers and 1,000 emails were sent to qualified RNs.  Both the direct mailer and email contained a PURL where candidates could register for the open house.

The results exceeded expectations: 

  • 193 online responses via the PURL landing page
  • 130 candidates attended the open house
  • 40 RN hires were made by Florida Hospital Tampa

Congrats to Katon Direct and Florida Hospital Tampa on a successfully executed PURL campaign!

Rosemont College raised $1,700,000 with PURLs

Rosemont College in Philadelphia launched a PURL Campaign that received a 29% response rate and raised over $1,700,000!

The trick to Rosemont’s college success was building a relationship before asking for money.  Many people jump into PURLs expecting that throwing out a one-hit campaign with pull in the magical response/conversion rates.  They won’t!   The trick – as Rosemont college just proved – is to use multiple touch points (direct mail, email, web, and social media) over an extended period of time (months to years), to first establish a relationship before going in for the kill.

Round 1

The first round for Rosemont college was a email to previous donors.  The emails contained a Personalized URL (PURL) where they could read about current students, complete an online survey about what they had been doing since graduation, connect with Rosemont’s Facebook page, and (ofcourse) make a donation to the College.

Round 2

In the second round, and a series of emails and solicitation letters were sent to alumni and parents.  Both the emails and letters had a PURL to make a donation.

Personalized URL Letter

Round 3 & 4

The final rounds again contained a combination of email and direct mail to past donors and alumni.  A four-color self-mailer was sent to previous donors and young alumni.  A solicitation letter was sent to older alumni.  Again, both version gave instructions to visit the PURL to make a donation.

Personalized URL Self-Mailer

The Results:

  • 29% of recipients (2,361 individuals) vis response to either email or direct mail
  • Over $1,700,000 was raised in donations from 1,123 alumni and parents

Yep – this is one of those PURL campaigns that really gets people excited about PURLs.  I mean… what could your business do with a 29% response rate?  You send out just 100 postcards and 29 people respond!  That is 29 new people interested in what you have to offer.  That is incredible!

But Rosemont College has also shown that there is a lot to making a PURLs work.  This particular campaign spread over 9 months and took a lot of work and coordination to pull it off.  In this case, the hard work paid off with great dividends. Congrats Rosemont College on a great campaign we can all learn from!

You can see the complete case study here (and it’s free for a limited time): PODi Case Studies 

agencyEA received a 7.4% Response Rate from their PURL Campaign

agencyEA, a marketing agency with clients like Boeing, Oprah, McDonald’s and United Airlines recently used a direct mail campaign to drive new client acquisitions and create brand awareness.

The direct mail piece included a Personalized URL (PURL) that drove recepients to a personalized landing page where they could register for a chance to win $500 in airfare.  The campaign was sent out to marketing and communications executives for major corporations in the States.

When visitors completed the survey on their PURL landing page, the received a follow up “thank you” email and were automatically entered to win the $500 airfare.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the results of this campaign,” said Katie Ellis, VP of Marketing of agencyEA.

The Results

  • 7.4% of recipients visited their PURL
  • 34% of PURL visitors requested further interaction
  • agencyEA was able to collect valuable information about respondents’ needs and budgets for future follow-up, as well as phone and email information.
PURL marketing direct mail

PURL marketing landing page

Case Study: Boelte-Hall Receives 33.5% Response Rate with Personalized URLs

Boelte-Hall, a print service provider in Kansas City, recently used a direct mail campaign to increase traffic to their booth at the Ag Media Summit (AMS).

The first batch of 1,379 postcards were mailed to AMS’ list of previous attendees and prospects for the Summit. The postcards contained a Personalized URL where recipients could schedule a one-on-one meeting with Claudia McCue (an Adobe expert).

Personalized URL Postcards #1

Personalized URL Postcards #1


A second postcard was sent to 498 registered attendees. This postcard also had a Personalized URL where recipients could request a ride from the airport to the show, and enter a drawing for an iPad2.

Personalized URL Postcards #1

Personalized URL Postcards #2


Here is where the campaign got really smart…  Upon visiting the Personalized Landing Page, recipients learned exactly what they needed to do to be eligible to win the iPad2.  Attendees needed to:

  1. Visit each booth and scan a QR Code to receive two questions
  2. Talk to booth staff to receive answers to those questions
  3. Write the answers in the entry blanks of the postcard
  4. Drop the completed postcard off at Boelte-Hall’s booth

Leading up the to Summit, Boelte-Hall also sent two reminder emails to those that did not respond to their Personalized URL through the postcard.

The Results

  • 33.5% response rate – registered attendees visited their Personalized URL and completed an online survey.
  • 44.9% of respondents request more information about cross channel marketing
  • 214 people requested a ride from the airport
  • 66 people entered the drawing for the iPad2
  • 28% Survey Respondents came from the Postcard mailing, 50% from the first email reminder, and 22% from the second email reminder.
  • Boelte-Hall experienced tremendous traffic and lots of conversations with attendees (priceless) 🙂

I find it very interesting that 50% of the survey respondents came from the first email reminder.  This goes to show just how important repeated communication and multiple touch-points are in a campaign.

To see the entire case study visit PODI’s Free Case Studies.