Today, improved technology means that personalized approaches to communication don't need to break the budget. Among the higher-tech options, nonprofits should consider personalized URLs as a response vehicle for members and donors.
Typically sent via direct mail or e-mail, PURLs provide links to Internet landing pages that have been designed for particular campaigns and personalized for individual members or donors.
The strongest asset of a PURL is its ability to track respondent behavior in real time. When your member or donor clicks on a PURL, you can generate additional contacts (a second direct-mail appeal, additional e-mail marketing, a phone call, etc.) right away, based on preprogrammed “triggers.” The process sounds complicated, and it can be, but an experienced direct-marketing production company can provide either a predesigned workflow or formulate a workflow based on your specific needs.
PURLs bring unexpected benefits
Barbour Publishing, a prominent Christian book publisher, tried PURLs to generate interest in a new Mystery Book of the Month Club membership. Beyond good response, PURLs brought unexpected benefits. Barbour’s Karen Miller says, “We have been pleasantly surprised at the number of sign-ups we received through the PURLs. The cost was minimal, and the PURL brought up each customer’s information automatically. PURLs also saved postage, since customers don’t have to send anything back to us via USPS.”
When reaching out to prospective members and donors, a PURL discloses exactly where a response originates, both from which list and from which geographic area. Miller says, “We now have more accurate response rates because when responders sign up via the PURL, we can track their key codes to the list they came from. This helps us analyze each list individually and gather more accurate response data.”
The initial test was so successful that Barbour expanded the use of PURLs to market the company’s Romance Series.