It's The Perfect PURL
If you've been paying even the least bit of attention you know that PURLs are hot. No, I'm not talking about the white beads you wore in your high school senior picture, but PURLs -- Personalized URLs.
Not clear? Here's a quick refresher:
You send a direct mail or an email to Susie Smith, inviting her to log onto a PURL site you've set up for her. In exchange you're going to give her schematics for your new mousetrap.
PURLs are the cross-media solution for generating interactive communications with your base.
Susie's cat just announced he was out of the mousing business, so Susie wants those plans. She logs onto the PURL site you've provided: www.MyCompany.com/SusieSmith.
There you greet her by name, welcome her warmly and ask a few questions to help you better understand her needs and motivations... and coincidentally give yourself fodder for future marketing.
You ask her to confirm her pre-populated address, and provide her phone and email. You ask her how many mice she has, how big they are, and how she has tired but failed to control them before. She complies, then you give her the plans.
It's a win/win. You get info on Susie's thinking so you can be more effective the nest time you contact her and she gets what she needs.
It's the Perfect PURL.
Or maybe not. PURLs are complicated, and that means people make mistakes. Here are a dozen errors you can avoid when launching a PURL campaign:
1. Print prematurely.
OK, you're anxious to get moving on your promotion. The creative team did another great job, so you let 'er rip and send it to press. Whoa, there! Reconfirm that your chosen URL address is live and actively working before you commit ink to paper.
2. Shortcut your URL.
Sure, most of us know that "www" precedes the URL. But it's best to restate the obvious for the neophytes out there. You've got to give them directions if you want them to come.
3. Mail prematurely.
If you're counting on the Post Office to take a week to deliver your mail so you can finish the website design, Don't mail! This is the one time the USPS will deliver in 1 day. It's Murphy's Law.
4. Hide the PURL address.
Keeping your light under a bushel may work well for the truly humble. It's a sure-fire way to doom your PURL. Display the PURL prominently. Use color. Use reverse type. Use arrows. Whatever. If they don't see it, they can't use it.
5. Depend on the PURL alone to drive response.
PURLS are hard-working guys, but they need a bit of help, too. Give them prospect-specific copy and graphics and they'll do a lot of heavy lifting for you.
6. Skip the call to action.
It's Direct Marketing 101: every pitch needs a call to action. Forget the obvious at your own risk. Give folks a reason to go to the PURL. Offer them something they can not readily buy or acquire elsewhere -- like information.
7. Get click happy.
Click-throughs lose readers. Don't take four pages to do what you can do on one. It's the KISS principle - 'nuff said.
8. Ask too many questions.
People don't want to be interrogated. Make sure the questions you do ask matter. And no more than 5 or 6 at the most.
9. Squelch two-way conversation.
Let your visitors express what they want to tell you, not just what you want to know. Then listen. You'll get a lot smarter. Ask any husband how this works.
10. Forget follow-ups.
Your stuff is so good that you don't need to follow up. It practically sells itself. Right? Wrong, WRONG, WRONG! Sure, following up can be tedious, but it's where the rubber hits the road in sales.
11. Force prospects to relinquish personal information.
Forcing people to turn over info they don't want to provide makes them run for the exits. If you don't intend to do phone and email follow up, don't ask.
12. Launch without testing.
The Russians were onto something when they said "Trust, but verify." Get several people to test the PURL. If they can't "break" it, it's ready to go.
Remember Susie's cat? He's decided to retire to a warm spot in the sunshine. He's of the opinion that snoozing in the sun all day beats the stress of leading the mouser brigade.
And PURLs? Catnip to your sales bottom line! It's Purrrfect.