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The Benefits of a Personalized URL Redirect

Advantages Of Direct Mail Marketing

If you’re thinking about testing a personalized URL (PURL), but you’d prefer a more simple and less expensive way to slowly back your way into the technology…or if you’re looking for a way to add more tracking and transparency to your direct mail campaigns, this post is for you.

A Standard PURL Involves:

  • Personalized URLs for every person on your mail file. i.e. www.ballantine.com/john.doe, www.ballantine.com/sally.smith, etc.
  • The URL takes the person to a personalized landing page with copy and images that swap out.
  • On the landing page, you have your call to action, usually a response form that is pre-populated with the person’s information.
  • When someone submits the form, the landing page redirects to a thank you page.
  • All data is captured, specifically visits and responses broken out per individual on your mail file.

The Cost of a Standard PURL Usually Includes:

  • PURL set up fee
  • Per PURL load fees (if applicable — we don’t charge these, but many do)
  • Copy and design of landing page

What is a PURL Redirect?

With a PURL redirect, there is no landing page. You still generate personalized URLs for every person on your mail file, but when a PURL is visited, it redirects to whatever static URL you want. i.e. your donation webpage, your order webpage, your promotion webpage, etc.

PURL Redirect Example

Let’s say you are a retail store sending out a mailer to customers to cross-sell them on a new product…

  • You send out a mailer to customers but instead of saying, “order now at your-website.com”, you would say “order now at www.domain.com/firstname.lastname”
  • They visit their PURL and it redirects them to your-website.com or any URL you want.
  • Because they visited your website through their PURL, we know who they are. You can then use this data to craft together an effective follow up strategy.

More Simple and Less Expensive

A personalized URL is very powerful marketing technology and we think most companies should at least test it to see how your audience responds. But sometimes budget cuts, time restriction or even apprehension gets in the way.

This is where a PURL redirect comes in. It lets you easily gauge the response of your audience to a PURL. i.e. Are they enticed by their name in the URL and, as a result, your visit rate increases…or are they turned off by the added personalization.

There’s no landing page so the campaign is more simple overall. And it’s less expensive because there’s no copy and design cost.

Tracking and Transparency

A PURL redirect also adds an extra layer of tracking and transparency to your direct mail marketing. Most mailers include a website on their direct mail and that website will usually have an analytics program attached to it. So after the campaign launches, you can see how many people visited your webpage as a result of your direct mail campaign.

The great thing about a PURL redirect is that it not only lets you see how many people visited, but specifically WHO visited. This data can be used for follow up phone calls or additional mailings. For example, maybe the campaign with the PURL was a nice multi-component package. And then using the data you captured with the redirect, you mail a follow up on-demand postcard to those that visited their PURL.

Quick Summary of Benefits

  • A simple and less expensive way to test a PURL i.e. does the presence of their name in the URL boost response.
  • Adds an extra layer of tracking and transparency to your direct mail because you’ll know specifically who visited their PURL.
  • You can (and should) use this additional data to craft together an effective follow up strategy.

PURL Redirect Pricing

If you’re interested in getting pricing, please email Ryan Cote: [email protected]. If you have any questions, please also email Ryan or leave a comment below.

Thank you for reading!


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I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!