Print13

I’ll be exhibiting Purlem for the very first time at Print13 next week. Looking forward to actually meeting many of you that I’ve otherwise only known online.  If your going to be attending, make sure to stop by and say hi.  I’ll be at booth #4675.

I’ll be giving away a free 30 minute consultation to all Print13 attendees, where we will work together to create a PURL campaign. I’ve been to many trade shows in the past where everybody goes on and on about how wonderful PURLs are, and how XYZ Corp made millions of dollars using them.  I’m going to take a slightly different approach – How about instead of just talking about how great PURLs are, let’s get our hands dirty and create a live, fully-functional PURL campaign!

This is the screen I’ll have up at Purlem’s booth…

Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 11.10.49 AM

New Feature: Multiple Logins

Just released a feature that allows you to create multiple logins into your Purlem dashboard. This also allows you to restrict certain logins to the results only.  A nice way if you want to protect the rest of the campaign from certain people.   This was another highly requested feature that I’m proud to have finally launched!

Learn more about creating multiple logins.

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 3.23.05 PM

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.

share

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.

friend

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!

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

Basic

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.

Smart

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.

Integrated

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 Blog gets a New Look & Strategy

Purlem BlogI have been blogging on Purlem’s blog since 2008 and published 271 posts.

I can directly attribute a total of 9 people that signed up to Purlem from the blog.  There are also only 18 people following the blog on feedburner.

Something needs to change.

Now… there are a lot of other benefits of blogging besides the tangible results. I may continue to “ramble” on a different blog in the future to reap these other benefits, but I don’t think the diary style is working for Purlem.

My goal moving forward with Purlem is to be more strategic about each post. This will involve creating a content calendar, and spending much more time on writing each post. This will likely also mean that the time between posts will be substantially longer – once a week, once every other… I’m not sure.

At the same time, I think that mainting a personality behind a blog is extremely valuable.

Hubspot has a blog with great content – and seems to be working great for them.  But it’s so cookie cutter that it sacrifices having a personality. Seem’s like everything can be accomplished in 8 easy steps!

I’m going to try and walk the line of offering great content while still maintaining a personality. I think it’s important for people that stumble across Purlem’s blog to realize that were much more then content pushers.  That were real people that really care about our product, and not a bunch of content producers that are looking to make a buck.  Moo.com’s blog is one that I think pulls this off well, and will be something I use for inspiration as I consider the direction to take Purlem.

Customer Feedback is Gold

Customer Feedback

The lean approach to starting and running a business has been very popular in the startup world over the last couple of years – and for good reason.  The lean approach tells you to launch quickly and integrate rapidly. It has been the foundation for many, if not most, of the recent startup success stories.

I have taken this approach to heart over the last few years with Purlem.  I’ve tried to integrate many of the principals into my daily routines, and consult it often when looking at the big picture.

The 2013 Purlem is the result of a very important part of the lean method – customer feedback.  The feedback received from customers is like gold! It allows you to see where the value of your product really lies.  But stopping there is not enough – you need to take that feedback, and quickly integrate it into your product.  Sometimes this means completely changing the direction of the product.  Other times it means adding or subtracting minor features.  The benefits of taking action and integrating customer feedback allows you to create a product your customers want, quicker and more efficiently than your competition.

So how do I get the customer feedback?  We’ll there are a few different ways…

  • A week after a person signs up with Purlem, I send them an email asking if there is anything I can help with.
  • If a person cancels an account, I send an email asking if there was anything that could have be done differently.
  • I also participate in the help desk, chat, and email support with current customers where feedback just seems to pop up.

The feedback I receive goes in three different categories:

  1. Actionable
    If 80% of existing customers could use a new feature AND it will not add any complexity to the application, then it makes the actionable list. These are usual very small features, or adjustments to existing features.  But these are added to my Omnifocus list to be handled immediately.
  2. Someday Maybe
    If I think and idea is intriguing, but still not very sure about the idea, it goes into my Someday Maybe list in Omnifocus.  I review this list on a monthly basis.
  3. Back of my mind
    All other bits of feedback go into the back of my mind.  If something is brought up more than a few times, it just may advance to the Someday Maybe list

The updates to the 2013 Purlem was a combination of Actionable and important Someday Maybe features.  Hopefully you will all be able to benefit from and enjoy the updates!

The 2013 Purlem

Over New Years I quietly launched the all-new 2013 Purlem.  With the update I was able to add some features, introduce an API, fix some bugs, and give the entire application a nice little face lift.

Here are some of the major changes…

A New Look

Both the marketing site and dashboard of the 2013 Purlem is sporting a cleaner, more consistent look.  The little difference between layouts, fonts, button designs, etc has been driving me crazy for a while now.  I used Twitter bootstrap to set the base for the design work. – No, I’m not ashamed to say that I used bootstrap.  I think the framework is absolutely brilliant.

Purlem-Personalized URL 2013

Update Existing Landing Page Design

Those that use Purlem Templates for their PURL campaigns can now update the template of an existing campaign.  Before, you would have to delete the campaign and create a new one if you wanted to change the design.  Now, simply select a new design from under the Settings tab, and your new template will be applied without skipping a beat!

Personalized URL Update Templates

Duplicate Contacts

This is a big one!  The way duplicate PURLs are handled has always been a point of contention.  One user wants to use a random number to make their duplicate PURLs unique. Another may want to append the company name.  Now Purlem users have the ability to define exactly how Purlem handles the duplicate contacts. The duplicate options can be found under the settings tab.

PURL Duplicates

 

Transfer/Delete Filtered Contacts

You could always filter contacts based on profile data or landing page activity.  Now you have the ability to transfer these filtered contacts to a different campaign, or delete them all together.  A nice feature to optimize contactact management between your PURL campaigns.

Personalized URL Filter contacts

 

Purlem API

With the 2013 update were introducing v1 of the Purlem API.  The API will allow developers to integrate 3rd party websites with their PURL campaigns.  This will make integrating with CRMs, Email Marketing Platforms, and the like a breeze!

Purlem API

 

Chat Support

We’re now using olark to provide a chat interface to assist both potential and existing Purlem users.  The interface is available both through the marketing site as well as through the dashboard (in the dashboard, click on the bubble icon in the top right of the screen).

Purlem Chat

 

Purlem is now 6 years old and this is the third major overhaul of the application.  Besides the updates mentioned above, the back-end of Purlem has also been made substantially stronger and more dependable. Hopefully these updates will help make your PURL marketing experience even more enjoyable. As always – a BIG thanks to all my clients for helping to make Purlem what it is today.  Your comments, critiques and suggestions are always welcome!

 

 

Saying No Thanks

As Purlem grows, we’re starting to attract the attention of larger “Enterprise” companies. Yesterday I was asked to provide a quote for a PURL project from a large marketing agency. I’ve been struggling for a while with how to handle these types of opportunities.

My experience dealing with enterprise companies is that they demand a lot of vendors. Of course, there always willing to pay you handsomely for your efforts.

Some might say…  So what! If somebody is willing to pay you to do something, take the money and do it!  This is how businesses grow!

I think back to a video that of Jason Fried refers to this as “Growth for Growth’s sake,” and warns of this type of growth in the video embeded below.

My fear is that taking on enterprise business will take away from what Purlem has really excelled in – providing a product that makes it extremely easy for end users to create PURL campaigns.  I believe that by continuing this approach, Purlem will make a much larger impact than if we were to take on a few high profile clients. On the other hand, I wonder if I’m not taking advantage of good opportunities and  pushing outside my comfort zone.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, yesterday I was asked to provide a quote for a PURL project from a large marketing agency.  The request came with a long two page document and a lot of big words. After much deliberation, I politicly declined the opportunity.  It’s the fist time I actually said “No Thanks” to a potentially large business opportunity.  In the email I wrote…

Purlem has found it’s sweet spot in providing a service that allows the end users to create PURL campaigns themselves. Our focus has simply been to make this process as effortless and streamlined as possible.

Although I hate to turn away business, I’m very cautious about moving outside this “sweet spot” into becoming more of a consulting company. I’m afraid the commitments required along with manually compiling monthly reports would be doing just that.

Maybe this decision will prove to be the wrong one.  But for now I’m confident in the direction Purlem is heading, and extremely excited about the future of the company.