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Using PURL Redirects to Enhance Your Direct Mail

We just recorded another video. Our goal is one per month — and so far we’ve been able to keep on pace in 2013.

Today’s video is about personalized URLs. The traditional way of using PURLs is:

PURL –> Landing Page –> Thank You Page

Well, in the video below, we introduce you to another application called the PURL redirect. And for further reading, this blog post gives you even more information on the topic.

Video Transcript

Hey everyone, this is Ryan Cote and Matt Cote with a new video for our blog. In today’s video, we’re going to talk about personalized URLs, and we’re going to talk about a special application for PURLs called the PURL Redirect. We’re doing more and more of them for clients, and we think they have lot of potential. So we’re putting together this video to educate you on the marketing technology.

OK, so we’re going to do a comparison of a normal PURL versus a PURL redirect. And my amazing sketch here shows you the normal PURL, which is usually how they’re done. You’ve got the PURL that takes a person to a personalized land page where you can swap out copy and images and a prepopulated response form. And when they submit that form, it goes to a thank you page. So this is traditionally how personal URLS are done, and they can be very effective.

A PURL redirect is a much more simpler version. It’s less expensive. That’s one of the benefits. Basically, you’ve got the PURL, and when a person visits their PURL, it just redirects to whatever URL you want. That can be a page on your website. That can be a special offer or landing page that you’ve created for your campaign. But PURL just redirects to the URL.

Much more simpler, less expensive, and the way we like to describe it is if you’re just using a normal landing page on your direct mail piece versus a PURL redirect. They basically do the same thing. They go to an end destination, which is a URL.

But with the PURL redirect, you’re getting the tracking data. So with the normal URL, you can see how many people visited your website if you have analytics installed. But with a PURL redirect, you can see who those people are. And that reporting makes it very powerful, especially if you have some sort of follow-up system in place for phone calls or emails or what have you.

There’s a few different ways you can actually get your PURL onto your mail piece. The first way is to digitally print them, advantage being that you can actually reverse out of a solid, or you can incorporate it into the actual artwork better than the other technologies. The second way is to do inkjet. You have the ability to do duplex inkjetting, which is on front and back, and also simplex inkjetting.

The third is to do laser, and you can either do that cut sheet or continuous. The benefit again is you can put the actual PURL on multiple spots on the actual mail piece. And the thing you want to consider when you’re doing all these different technologies is the spacing you allow for the PURL. You can either design around that, or you can design the PURL truncated to the amount of characters you can fit onto the actual mail piece. So that’s just a little bit about the technology behind getting the PURL onto the mail piece and one major thing to consider when actually putting it onto the mail piece.

And I’m going to jump in with one point also to add onto that. We usually recommend that the PURL goes on its own line so that it stands out more. Anything you can do to draw attention to the PURL will help drive people to it.

OK, so that’s it for today’s video. If you have any questions that PURLS or PURL redirects or direct mail in general, just get in touch with us via our Contact Us form. Thanks for watching. Have a great day.

Two Options for Address Label Packages

Address label packages are very popular amongst the non-profit community, but they can be applied — more or less — to almost any industry.

In today’s video, we discuss two different options for printing the form that carries the address labels. And there are a couple of bloopers at the end!

Your comments or questions are welcome below, thanks!

Video Transcript

Hello, everyone. This is Ryan Cote and Matt Cote with a new video for our blog. Before we get into the actual video, just want to mention that we’re getting close– probably within a couple months –of launching a Ballantine awareness campaign that’s going to be tied into a giveaway. It’ll involve t-shirts, probably an Amazon gift card– not sure of the full details yet –but keep an eye out for that email that we’re going to send when it’s ready.

OK. Today’s video is about address labels. We have two different styles to share with you. And Matt is going to go into the full details of how they’re made and the benefits and all that.

As Ryan mentioned, we’re going to be talking about address labels. And many times it’s used for nonprofit fundraising campaigns as a giveaway for giving a gift. In our case, we’ve done two types of address labels, or I guess, two formats of address labels. The first being an order form printed on a flexographic press with pressure-sensitive labels as the address labels, and each portion of the actual form is a pressure-sensitive sticker.

And again, it’s flexo printing, so the quality of that line screen is not as high as offset printing. So the quality, if you’re looking for a really, really high-quality product, this probably wouldn’t be the option for you. Which leads me to the other way that we’ve done this.

And that’s on a traditional continuous forms press where we’ve actually taken a form that’s printed, we’ve applied a patch to the back of it as well as glue to the back of the stock and then kiss cut the labels out of the sheet of paper. So when you remove them, you see the patch on the back. And again, it’s done offset, so the quality tends to be higher line screen. And it’s better for higher runs, I would say. So those are the two different ways you can do address labels in our case that we’ve done. Thank you.

OK. That’s it for today’s video. Thanks for watching. If you want samples, we’d love to share them with you. And if you want to pick our brain about address label packages or just direct mail in general, just contact us at the Contact Us page, and Matt would love to have a conversation with you. Take care. Have a great day.

Thank you.

Video – 2 Examples of Custom Folders

We have a new video to share with you — and there’s bloopers at the end!

We don’t just produce traditional direct mail for clients here at Ballantine. Sometimes we get involved with custom formats as was the case recently for 2 folder projects. One was used as a handout and the other was mailed out — and both are great examples of what can be done with a dash of creativity.

Click play below and enjoy!

Video Transcript:

Hey, everyone. This is Ryan Cote and Matt Cote from the Ballantine Corporation, here with another video for our blog. Today’s topic, custom folders.

We have two examples to share of projects that we recently produced for clients. Matt’s going to go into more detail on both.

But just to kind of sum things up, the first one is sort of a two-for-one special. It’s a folder with a catalogue inside, or a brochure.

The second one– this was a sales kit. And it utilizes a custom capacity fold. And Matt’s going to go into more detail about what that is and why it was done.

OK, the first example, the custom folder that we have is for a magazine. It was a media kit to advertisers. And what they wanted to do is sort of explain the different rates, when the issues are being sent out, the reader demographic, et cetera, in the actual brochure.

And then, they wanted an area where the salesperson could actually put custom information. So there is a pocket on the back of the folder. And then the brochure is actually stitched into the folder.

So it also has on the folder in an over aqueous coating with a stripe through varnish. It’s hard to see it on this, because it’s a white background. Usually it works better on darker colors, but you can see it.

And then the other example that we have is a sales kit. It’s actually part of a direct mail campaign. And what makes this unique is, what we did is we sent mock-ups of each of the items in the folder– there was floor plans, a brochure, and some other inserts– we sent paper mock-ups of exactly to spec the items to the folder printer.

And then what he did is he created the capacity fold to spec. He essentially put together this folder and created the capacity to fit everything real snug, so it doesn’t get damaged.

And then the other thing that we did is we shortened the height. And the reason we shortened the height is because it was going into an envelope. And we were afraid that if it was going into an envelope, that the extended height would actually get damaged, folded over, dog eared. It does get a little bit damaged as is in the mail, but it would’ve gotten even more destroyed if we kept it higher.

So those are our two examples of custom folders.

OK, that’s it for today’s video. Thank you for watching.

Good news and bad news. The bad news is that we do not have extra samples of this folder. But if you have any questions whatsoever, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

The good news is that we have plenty of samples of this folder. So if you want to see the brochure stitched into the folder with the pocket at the back and the aqueous coating, just contact us with your address and we will send you out a couple samples.

That’s it. Thanks for watching. Take care.

Video About Lenticular Printing

We have a new video to share with you — and there’s bloopers at the end!

We recently produced a really neat 6×9 package for a University client that included a lenticular printed luggage tag. Since using lenticular printing with direct mail might be uncharted land for some of our blog readers, we decided to create a video about it.

Click play below and enjoy!

Video Transcript:

Hi, everyone. This is Ryan Cote and Matt Cote from the Ballantine Corporation here with a video for our blog. And today’s video is about lenticular printing. We recently did a package for a university client of ours. And it involved lenticular printed luggage tags.

Lenticular printing is where you move the piece like that– and we’ll zoom in, in a second, and show you– if you move the piece like that, you see different images, like motion graphics. And we put that type of printing on a luggage tag for a fundraising package for a university client. And Matt is going to talk about how lenticular printing works.

So I’ll try to explain this as simply as possible. In this case we had a three motion graphic. So that means three separate images were used. And what pre-press does is, they take really thin slices of each image and they marry them together. So you have image one, slice one, marries to image two, slice one, and then image three, slice one. And you go down until you get to the bottom of the artwork.

And then what you do is you print it on a substrate on a traditional offset press. And then you marry it to a lens. There’s many different lenses you can use. There’s different line screens you can use for the printing. It all depends on the end product and what your artwork is, how many motions you have, and so on and so forth.

So hopefully that was as simple as possible. But again, you take different slices, marry them together, affix to a lens.

That was very simple. If you compared a lenticular printed luggage tag versus just a normal printed luggage tag, what’s the cost?

In my experience the cost to do the lenticular luggage tag would be about double the cost of doing just a plastic, traditional, luggage tag. Well, you have to factor in that lenticular printing is a little more impactful, that the motion graphics just stands out more. They’re probably more likely to use it. And when they use it, they’re exposed to your brand constantly.

So this was used in a fundraising package for a university client, but this really applies to any fundraising effort. So the lenticular printed luggage tag really does stand out.

OK, so here’s a up close look at the package. It’s a six by nine envelope with a large picture window that shows the luggage tag through the window. You can see if I move it, you can see the different images– so their campaign tagline, their logo, and then their URL.

And it’s placed on this green backer. And then inside the package is this plastic cord to affix the luggage tag to your luggage. We’ve got a BRE, double-sided reply card, side one, side two, and then a one-side letter. And that’s it.

OK, that’s it for today’s video. If you want a sample of this package, we have a few left. So it’s first come, first serve. Just shoot me an email at And if you have any questions whatsoever about lenticular printing, email Matt at Thanks for watching.

Video – Promotional Items and Direct Mail


We kept saying “we HAVE to make another video”. Well, we finally sprung into action and hope to keep the momentum going.

Today’s video is about promotional items and direct mail. Using them IN direct mail and using them AS direct mail with examples for both. We also covered this topic in this blog post.

In the video we mention brainstorming with us about promotional items and direct mail…or getting a catalog. If you’re interested, please contact us.

Video Transcript

Hey, everyone. This is Ryan Cote and Matt Cote from the Ballantine Corporation, and we’re here with another video for our blog. Today’s video is about promotional items. Use them inside your direct mail, and use them as your direct mail. And I’m going to tell you about using them inside your direct mail.

So if you’re mailing a number 10 or a 6 by 9, obviously you need something flat to insert into the envelope. So a couple of ideas include a smartphone screen cleaner– which we recently featured on our blog, so let me know if you want a sample. And we recently did a mailer for a nonprofit, and they inserted a packet of seeds into the envelope. I don’t have samples to share, but that can be done, also.

And this mail that I’m holding here is for a university. And this piece is kind of unique because it’s a Jiffy envelope with the bubbles inside. So this one’s a small mailing, not machine-insertable, obviously a higher cost per piece, but you’re hoping it stands out and you get a higher ROI.

Inside is a letter. OK, a step brochure that fans out. And then the promotional item, which is a personalized pin. If you want to do this mail piece, this type of mailing, just check with your letter shop and make sure that they can, in fact, hand-insert this promotional item.

And on the note of the flower of the seeds, sometimes you can insert a packet of seeds like that. Just check with your fulfillment house prior to going on with the project.

OK, and now Matt is going to talk about using a promotional item as a direct mail piece.

So I’m going to talk about using the promotional item as your direct mail piece. The challenge that the customer faced was developing a campaign that had a piece that had a lasting impression and stayed around for a while. Not common to a direct mail package.

And so the agency that we worked with on this particular project were very creative in coming up with that promotion item. And it actually is a white box, has a personal label with a message on there– for obviously their branding message. And then inside, there’s a card personalized with a salutation and then coming from the VP of Market D Development

And inside, you’ll notice that there’s a flower pot with a pen, and there’s crinkly paper. The crinkly paper is blue, which is the brand colors. And inside, there’s a flower pot with a pen.

And again, this will last a long time. It’ll stay on the person’s desk for a while. Other people will see it. They’ll ask about.

It has their brand logo on the front, and then it also has their URL and the phone number on the pen. And the pen’s cute, it’s a flower pen. People will like it. They’ll see it and they’ll ask questions.

So again, this is all hand work. You have to put the crinkly paper in by hand. You have to put the flower pot in by hand. You print the card digitally. And then you hand-match the card to the box, so it is a pretty intense project, but the hope is that it will last a long time, and it’ll stay around for a while.

And have a higher ROI, so.

That’s the hope.

OK, so that’s it for today’s video. If you want to brainstorm with us about using promotional items inside your direct mail or as your direct mail, or if you want a catalog of the promotional items that we can offer you, there’s an email address just below this video. Just drop us a line line, and we’ll get back to you ASAP. All right? Thanks for watching.

Thank you.