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.

How We’re Saving Our Client More Than $100,000

Purlem has no sales staff. There’s no single person here vying for commission or fees or end of the month bonuses. We’re an all-hands-on-deck company where everyone’s working towards the same goal: To revolutionize and simplify the PURL industry, which is a scenario where every party benefits.

By removing the need for greed and, instead, being wholly transparent about the simplicity of our services, we can focus on offering an equitable, freakishly affordable price to you.

We recently saved our biggest client more than $100,000. Here’s how.

  • Our client’s order was ginormous. They were looking to create 30,000,000 PURLs for an epic direct mailing blast.
  • We’d heard of USPS’s Personalization promotion for May 1 – June 30, which provides a 2% postage discount for any mail that includes PURLs.
  • Typically, mailing out 30,000,000 postcards would have cost this company $753,000. But by informing them of this somewhat new promotion that would save them 2% on postage, we ended reducing their postage cost by $15,060.
  • We then started to think about how we might save our client even more on previously extraneous costs, which is when we came up with Creating PURLs on the Fly, which essentially boils down to only charging you for PURLs that are visited by your contacts.
  • At our competitor’s cost of $0.02 per PURL, this would have typically cost our client $600,000! Because standard response rates to PURL promotions hover between 12% and 26%, we can predict that our client will save much more than $100,000 using PURLs on the Fly.

We’re cracking the mystique of PURL pricing wide open, and it starts by looking out for you every step of the way. Doing anything else just feels wrong to us.

Drop us a line anytime. We’d love to show you how much money we can save you compared to other PURL providers. Money like that is money worth saving.

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!

8 ways to use PURLs

Few know this, but PURLs are more than just a firewood substitute or fashionable summer trend. Like their inventor, Walt Whitman, PURLs have grown to contain multitudes– sweet, heavenly multitudes of technological glory that are waiting to be unlocked and utilized to strengthen your business.

Here are but eight of the many scenarios in which PURLing can amp up your results:

1.) Event Registration: The level of personalization that PURLs offer make them a perfect fit for enticing attendees to your event. By beckoning them to visit the PURL you’ve set up for them, they can be sure the invitation is personal. Once they visit that page, you can gather and present as much information from and to them as you like. This is especially helpful for understanding their event preferences, receiving an attendance fee, or tracking their PURL activity once the event is over.

2.) Trade Show Marketing: PURLs are great for both pre- and post-trade show marketing strategies. You can ask potential guests specific questions in advance on their personalized landing page, such as whether or not they intend to visit the event, what they hope to get out of it, and what kinds of materials or case studies they may want to see while there.

3.) Lead Generation and Acquisition: PURLs help you cultivate the kind of home run leads the guys in Glengarry Glen Ross can only dream about. Use PURLs as a chance to provide interesting, relevant information to your reader and, in turn, get to know what they like and what they don’t. PURLs put you virtually face to face with prospective customers’ wants and habits.

4.) Loyalty:  Customers want to remain loyal to businesses that listen to them and that they can trust, both of which are bedrocks of harnessing personalization to its fullest extent. PURLs allow you to keep an open dialogue with customers, while also gauging data based on customer behavior and satisfaction. Keep your customers happy and, simply put, you’ll keep your customers.

5.) Membership/Customer Renewal: PURLs make it easy to keep track of your customers membership plans and renewal dates. By anticipating these renewal periods, you can proactively reach out to your customers via their PURLs in an effort to keep them on your side. Tailoring the renewal process for them helps simplify the work they have to do and lets them know that you’re attentive and interested in their business on a personal level. This level of personalization will do wonders in reducing your attrition rate.

6.) Donations and Special Appeals: PURLs are a great solution for Non-Profit enterprises that are looking for an effective way to boost response rates. This is cross-channel marketing at its finest, and your prospective donors will be impressed by the tailored call to action that awaits them at their personalized landing pages.

7.) Customer Surveys: Whether it’s a one-off questionnaire or a series of ongoing, experience-based surveys, PURLs make interviewing your customers ridiculously easy. Not only can you tailor questionnaires based on your existing relationship with them, with Purlem you can easily track these results over time and calibrate your service to match exactly what they want.

8.) Product Announcements: Relevantly targeting product announcements is easier than ever thanks to the level of tracking and personalization that PURLs afford us. Know who to tell your new whizbang about, how, and when, all based on your customer’s PURL activity to that point.

Check out our Ultimate PURL Case Study Directory to the right. It’s totally free and includes over 150 case studies showing how PURLs boost responses across all industries.

You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter, where we’ll send you exclusive Purlem offers and PURLing tips.

Need ’em. Want ’em. Purlem.

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 – mysite.com/Bob.Jones. 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

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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!

Creating PURLs On The Fly

Creating Personalized URLs (PURLs) On The Fly is a great money-saving tactic for marketers with a large contact database. (Typically > 1 Million)

PURLs On The Fly

I came up with this tactic after a prospective client came to me wanting to take advantage for USPS’s PURL Promotion.  They have a database of 6 Million contacts, and it simply wouldn’t make sense to transfer this data into Purlem, let along pay up-front for 6 Million PURLs. Creating PURLs on the fly would allow for this user to only pay for contacts that actually visited their PURL!

There are two major catches:

  1. The level personalization on the PURL landing page can’t go beyond the contact’s first and last name (because that is all we know about the visitor)
  2. It will be up to you to de-dup the contacts.

For example, if there are two “Joe Smiths” in your database, you will need to make them unique.  This could be as simple as adding a number to the end of their PURLs:


With that, you can simply send the de-duped PURLs to your print provider or email service. There is no need to first upload (and pay for) your contacts into Purlem.

Setting up PURLs On The Fly

The setup for PURLs On The Fly can be a bit technical. If you need assistance with getting this setup, please contact us.  But if you’d like to give it a try yourself, this is how to do it…

Insert unknown contact through Purlem’s API

You will need to work with through Purlem’s API to automatically add contacts into Purlem that do not yet exist.  The code to do that is below. Add this code to your landing page (index.php) file, just below the existing PURL CODE.

You’ll also want to download the purlapi.php, and add it to your server.

if($visitor->firstName == '') {
 require '../purlapi.php';
 $firstName = $_GET['first'];
 $lastName = preg_replace('/[^\\/\-a-z\s]/i', '', $_GET['last']);
 $dupID = preg_replace('/\D/', '', $_GET['last']);

 ******* Enter Your Info Here ********
 $userID = 'xxxx'; //Enter your userID here
 $token = 'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx'; //Enter your API Token here
 $campaignID = 'xxxx'; //The campaign that you would like to add the contact to
 // Add Contact 
 $data = array(
 'campaignID' => $campaignID,
 'firstName' => $firstName,
 'lastName' => $lastName,
 'customXXXX' => $dupID //the custom field to store the duplicate ID
 $response = Purlem::add_contact($data);
 $response = json_decode($response);

  if($response->code == 400) {
  $error = $response->message;

 else {
  //Redirect to PURL (Optional)
  header( 'Location: http://'. $response->data->purl ) ;

Define First and Last Name

Next you’ll want to add the following just above the existing PURL CODE to define the first and last name:

if($_GET['name']) $name = $_GET['name'];
if($_GET['first']) $name = $_GET["first"].$_GET["last"];

Modify .htaccess file

Every Purlem campaign uses the .htaccess file to redirect the PURL to the proper landing page. PURLs On The Fly request slight modification of this code.  Find the following line:

RewriteRule ^([A-Za-z0-9_-]+)\.([A-Za-z0-9_-]+)/?$ http://domain.com/purlpage/index.php?name=$1$2&ID=2764&page=1 [R,L]

And replace with:

RewriteRule ^([A-Za-z0-9_-]+)\.([A-Za-z0-9_-]+)/?$ http://domain.com/purlpage/index.php?first=$1&last=$2&ID=2764&page=1 [R,L]


And that’s it!  When a PURL is visited, if it doesn’t already exist in Purlem, a new contact will be added and tracked.  Pretty slick huh?

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.

Splitting First and Last Names

This is somewhat of a common problem for Purlem users. Purlem requires that the first and last name be split up in two separate columns. However, many people have a spreadsheet with the first and last names combined into a single column.

Fortunately, the solution is quite simple. I outlined the steps below to separate the first and last names into their own columns.

More of a visual learner?  Watch the video here.

1) Open the Spreadsheet in Excel

I’m using Mac Numbers in the example below.  But the process is more or less the same. In this example we have a single “Owner Name” column, with two different names separated by a forward slash.  The goal is the extract only the first of the two names, and then to split the first and last names into their own columns.

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 10.23.11 AM

2) Copy and Paste the Name column into a new spreadsheet.

Create a new spreadsheet in excel.  Then copy the entire name column from the old spreadsheet, into the new one.

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 10.24.14 AM

3) Save as CSV

If your using Excel, select File > Export > Save As > CSV (Windows)

Open the CSV file in a text editor.

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 10.25.01 AM

4) Find/Replace to Create new Columns

In CSV files, the comma represents a new column.  Hence the “Comma Separated Values.”

So to split up the name into it’s own columns, we simply want to replace every space with a comma.  In this example, we will also be replacing every forward slash with a comma.

Once commas have been added, Save the CSV file.

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 11.30.31 AM

5) Open CSV file in Excel

You now have all the names sepearted in their own column.  Since we only want to keep the first and last name, we can delete all other columns.

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 11.31.54 AM

6) Past the First and Last Names into Original Spreadsheet

Now you can copy out the first and last name columns, and past them into your original spreadsheet.  And that’s it!

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 10.31.46 AM