Skip to content
May 18, 2009 / jasonpinto

Calling me to action

As someone that works in the marketing department of a marketing software company, I am able to lay my eyes on a lot of campaigns. I certainly am well acquainted with the marketing materials that we produce, and I also see a lot of the marketing pieces that our customers execute.

Over the past few years, I’ve certainly seen my fair amount of mailers with personalized URLs.

However, I had not yet received a mailer with a personalized URL at my home address where I was actually a true target of the campaign…. until recently! Last week, I actually received two pieces in the mail that contained PURLs. One was from an auto-dealership, and the other was from a college promoting adult education courses.

I probably was a bit too giddy about receiving these. But the bottom line is, I thought it was cool.

Finally, I was truly wearing the shoes of a recipient. At work, we spend a lot of time trying to make sure our marketing pieces will inspire people to respond to a call to action. Now these pieces were asking me to do that very same thing.

Seeing the mailer and the personalized landing pages from this new perspective definitely helped me out.  I thought that both campaigns did a pretty good job of executing these efforts.

Here is a quick run-down of what I thought they did well, and also what I did not like. Hopefully these tips will help you when you launch your next personalized URL effort:

The Good:

  • The PURL was very visible. On the front of one of the mailers, there were only 3 things. A picture… a compelling sentence… and the PURL.
  • The PURL was in multiple places… In the tri-fold mailer, I found the PURL on each panel. Thus, if I only scanned the right-hand side of the piece, I still might run into the call to action.
  • There were options – Yes, not everyone will respond to a PURL. Thus, at the bottom of the inside of one of the mailers, they presented an “OR…” option to call them for more information.

The Things-I’d-Like-to-Change

  • The makeup of the PURL — I think traditionally, most campaigns we see use FirstName + Last Name  (and then the domain) to create the PURL. One of the mailers I received also had my Prefix, and the first initial of my middle name. Well, one problem is, they had the initial of my middle name wrong. So, that didn’t make me feel good… Plus, I thought it was overkill anyways to put the prefix and middle initial in there. It made the PURL look that much longer, and caused me to hesitate before typing in the URL on my computer.
  • This goes along with the first point.. But, the domain itself was all lowercase…even though there were four words. For example, it looked like… I know this is a small detail, but if it had been “”, I think it would have made it a lot easier to read… and the easier it is to read, the easier someone might think it is to type that address in on their computer.
  • Contact fields – Once I visited the landing page, there were survey questions, and a section to put in contact information (i.e. name, address, etc..). Well, when I typed in my PURL, they certainly knew who I was… They have my name and address. However, those fields were blank. So, if I wanted to respond, I would have to type in all my information. Whereas, if they had pre-populated those fields with what they already know, it would have decreased the things I had to do before I responded.

I really enjoyed this whole process, of being a true recipient of a mailer (or two!) that contained personalized URLs. I was encouraged to see companies using them in their marketing efforts… but it also will help me to look at our own pieces slightly differently the next time we send one out the door.



Leave a Comment
  1. Chris Ballard / May 18 2009 4:46 pm

    Jason – appreciated your overview of the marketing pieces received, as a marketing professional in the print and fulfillment business for years, I value your judgement as a peer in the marketing arena and hope that you will keep up the good blog!


  2. Marty Thomas / Dec 12 2009 4:49 am

    HI Jason.. good post. I am yet to actually receive a PURL in the mail as well so it was interesting to hear your point of view. One thing regarding the pre-populating the fields… some feel that pre-populating fields is a privacy issue. For example, if somebody were to enter in a fake PURL, they might access the phone and address of somebody else. With our software we give the user the option to pre-populate the fields or not.

    • jasonpinto / Dec 17 2009 10:28 pm

      Hi Marty,
      Thanks very much for commenting on the post! I appreciate it…

      I haven’t received a PURL in a mailer in about a month now.. The last one was from the auto dealership where I purchased my car.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: