4 New Purlem Design Themes

Unleash your creative genius with our 4 new design themes just introduced today!

Easily make them your own by adding your images, logos, colors, fonts, and more.  Adding video and other media is a snap. And they are pre-optimized for mobile so they will look great on all of your devices.

You don’t have to be a web developer to create beautiful PURL landing pages.

PURL Landing Page - Watercolor

PURL Landing Page - Watercolor

PURL Landing Page - Computer

PURL Landing Page - Video

A PURL Word Cloud

After creating the Ultimate PURL Case Study Directory, I thought it might be interesting to create a word cloud from the data. So I copied out the content from each case study, and used TagCrowd.com to generate a word cloud from the most frequently used words.

Thought it was pretty interesting how good of a showing words like students, university, alumni, and college made. Think universities are having some success using PURLs as a recruiting tool?

Personalized URL Word Cloud

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

How to Track Offline Marketing with Campaign URLs

So you need to track your offline marketing efforts to see which ads are working and which aren’t?

Accomplishing this is really quite easy.  The trick is to simply give each advertisement its own unique Campaign URL.  For instance…

TV mycampaign.com/tv
Billboard mycampaign.com/billboard
Magazine mycampaign.com/magazine

In this case, the TV, Billboard, and Magazines ads each has their own URL.  When combined with Google analytics, these Campaign URLs will give you insight onto which ads are generating the most profit for your business.

Unique URL Analytics

Here are the 4 simple steps to creating your Campaign URLs…

1) Create Campaign Folder


First we want to create the campaign folder.  To help get you started, download the landing_pages.zip file.

If you unzip this file, you will find that it contains a folder named TV.  The folder name will define the unique part of the URL.  For example…

  • If your folder is named TV, the URL will be mycampaign.com/TV
  • If your folder is named Billboard, the URL will be mycampaign.com/Billboard

Feel free to rename the folder to whatever you would like the unique part of your URL to be.  I’ll still continue to refer to this folder as the “TV” folder.

Open the TV folder and find a file named index.html.

You can open this index.html file with a simple text editor such as Mac’s TextEdit, PC’s Notepad, or any HTML editor.

If your familiar with HTML, this doesn’t need much explanation.  Simply replace the the Google Analytics code with your own, set the page that you want to redirect the visitor to, upload to your server, and your done.

If you need more explanation, read on…

2) Define the Redirect Page

With the index.html file open, find the line that says…

window.location.href = "http://mycampaign.com"

Replace mycampaign.com with the domain name that you would like the visitor redirected to.

You may notice that we’re using javascript’s setTimeout function.  We do this to make sure that Google Analytics has enough time to actual register the visit, before redirecting. This is important, otherwise you may be missing out on tracking crucial hits!

Save the file.

3) Adding Google Analytics

If you don’t already have a Google Analytics account, set one up now.

Find and copy your Google Analytics Tracking Code.

Next locate the Google Analytics Code in the index.php file.

<!-- Googly Analytics -->
<script type="text/javascript">
var _gaq = _gaq || [];
 _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'XXXXXXXX']);
 _gaq.push(['_setDomainName', 'domain.com']);
<!-- END Googly Analytics -->

Delete the existing Google Analytics Code and replace it with yours.

Save the file

4) Upload to Your Website

Next you will upload the TV folder to your website. If your unsure how to do this, Godaddy has a terrific tutorial on Uploading Files to Your Website.

After the upload is completed test out your work by visiting yourdomain.com/TV (or whatever you renamed the TV folder to).  You should be redirected to the final destination page, and the results should be tracked in Google Analytics.

A little hint – when testing,  Google Analytic’s Real-Time feature is awesome. This way you can see your testing activity tracked in real-time.

Personalized URLs for Extra Credit

Campaign URLs are great for when your working with static advertisements.  A static ad does not change – every person sees the exact same ad – think magazines and billboards.

But there are other advertising mediums that make it really easy to personalize the ad to each and every recipient – think email or direct mail.

Your already doing this with email. If you ever sent out an email blast, you likely greeted each person by their name – “Hi Joe,” or “Hi Sally,”. This is personalization in action. But now your going to take it to a whole new level.

The call to action in your email is probably something like…

“To learn more visit our website at Gizmo.com.

A Personalized URL will take “Gizmo.com” and personalize it to each and every recipient. Such as…

  • JoeSmith.Gizmo.com
  • SallyAnderson.Gizmo.com
  • BillJones.Gizmo.com

You get the idea.  Everybody, get’s their own Personalized URL.  Personalized URLs take campaign URLs to a whole new level.  Now, your not only tracking which campaigns are getting the most response, now you tracking exactly who is responded to your message, when they responded, and what actions they took.  This, my friend, is extremely valuable information!

Utilizing Personalized URLs will significantly increase your response and conversion rates. Ultimately, that means more money in your pocket!

So when is it appropriate to use Campaigns URLs vs Personalized URLs? Here is a brief chart showcasing which advertisement mediums are best suited for each.

Campaign URLs Personalized URLs
Press Releases
Online Banners
Direct Mail


I know what your thinking… These Personalized URL things must be expensive. And you would be right… 10 years ago!  But technology in the last decade has made Personalized URLs not only affordable, but extremely easy to use.

Variable Data Printing is the technology that allows printers to dynamically print the unique Personalized URL on each Postcard, Direct Mail Piece, or letter.  This used to be an expensive process.  Now, nearly every printer has the technology and can execute it for pennies.

Actually creating the Personalized URLs (also known as PURLs), also used to be very expensive and time consuming.  Now, you can get started with 100 PURLs for free with our software – Purlem.com.  And it is so incredibly easy!


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.

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

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.

3-D PURL Receives 17.24% Response

Infinity Direct created a self-promotion campaign around a fictitious character named Dr. Garmont.  Recipients of the extremely creative campaign could visit their PURL to see how their marketing “ailments” could be cured.

This 3-D direct mailer received an impressive 17.24% response rate, a response Infinity Direct didn’t think a flat piece could have achieved.

It is also important to note that this was part of a larger marketing campaign that lasted for 4 months and consisted of direct mail, website, game, movie, and triggered email. Response rates like this don’t come easy!

3D PURL Campaign

Infinity Direct is not associated with Purlem in any way.  Just a great example of a Personalized URL Campaign that we can all learn from.

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.


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!