Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Email learns another trick from Snail Mail

This isn’t exactly state-of-the-art news for old hands at direct mail, but apparently emailers have discovered that personalization pays.


We’re not talking about gratuitous, unnecessary personalization, mind you. (Like the infamous 1960’s piece that blared “YOU’RE THE ONLY HOME IN [NAME OF CITY] TO RECEIVE THIS IMPORTANT LETTER!”) which was a nice showcase for early direct marketers to practice basic personalization skills. It was just a warm up. The encore. But more—and better—was to come.

Personalization should make a difference in the context and flow of the message. Good personalization should sound conversational, not stilted. It should sound natural, not computer generated. And it should allow for records that have null sets or voids in fields from which the data is being pulled.

Using personalization well shows the recipient that the sender has been paying attention. For instance, “Thank you for your gift of $25. With it we have….” Or “Thank you for your recent purchase of ________” or “We’re delighted that you have enrolled in our ____________ program to ___________” etc. Personalization isn’t only about names, places and dollar amounts.

Bottom line: Using personalization well reinforces the relationship between sender and recipient. Using it poorly doesn’t.

Direct mail figured this one out 50 years ago. Welcome aboard, newbies.

…So we ratchet it up!

Just about the time direct marketers got the personalization thing down pat, technology opens new doors. Change is the only constant.

PURLs—the latest and greatest “in thing” in direct marketing—take personalization to the next level.

If LinkedIn is networking on speed, PURLs are personalization on steroids. They are bigger and stronger yet amazingly flexible. Mark Maguire notwithstanding.

Combining the best of individually printed digitally produced direct mail and individually personalized web-based landing pages, PURLs turn one-directional communications into a conversation.

We write you…you are interested in our message…you go to the PURL site we’ve set up specifically for you…you respond, giving us additional information that we can then respond to in our next communication…which drives you to a successive PURL etc.

With each conversational loop we find out more about you—your needs, wants, interests—and we respond to you accordingly. The exchange lets you know we are listening to you…responding to you…building a relationship with you.

And we can do each PURL cycle one-to-one. No mass-produced awkward-sounding personalization…but it is done for the one individual to whom we’re sending it. Yes indeed, PURLs are personalization on the next level.

Want to know more about PURLs? Want to know how they can help you generate business, reduce cost and increase ROI? Call us.

We’ll help you hit one out of the park.

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