What Every Marketer Ought To Know About Personalized URLs

What Every Marketer Ought to Know About Personalized URLs (PURLS)

Personalized URLs (“PURLs”) are a powerful way to generate more leads and sales from your direct mail campaigns.

Without Personalized URLs on each of your direct mail pieces, you fail to maximize your opportunity with the large (and growing) group of your customers and prospects who prefer to respond online.

Chances are, you’re losing a significant number of leads and corresponding revenue.

Hold on,” you say, “My direct mail pieces send people to my corporate website … I’m not losing any responses!

While you may be sending respondents to your website, doing so puts you at a significant disadvantage if you are an ROI-driven marketer who needs to generate the highest possible number of quality leads from your direct mail spend.

Are you looking for a Whitelabel Marketing Platform to generate PURLs? Learn more about the MindFire Studio Platform, used by printers, agencies, and direct marketing companies to generate hundreds of millions of PURLs and leads p/year.

Let’s walk through each component of direct mail & PURL campaign to understand why this is the case.

First Things First: What are Personalized URLs?

A Personalized URL is a web address that incorporates the recipient’s name.  For example, imagine we want to invite Bill Gates to participate in a brand new type of fitness program (naturally, it’s targeted at the Forbes “World’s Billionaires” list).  His direct mail piece might look like this:

Strong is Sexy

… where “BillGates.BeStrong.com” is Bill’s Personalized URL.

In the same way, a Personalized URL is created for each recipient of the direct mail campaign (except you and me — we’re not fortunate enough to be on the list).

Whether you’re conducting a campaign targeting a few thousand people, or you’re a high-volume direct mailer targeting millions of individuals, the end result is the same: each person receives their very own URL.

How Are Personalized URLs Used Within the Direct Mail Piece?

Envision your last creative (or grab it if it’s nearby), and find your call-to-action. Typically, the Personalized URL is woven within your call-to-action, providing another way for the individual to respond.

For example, you may provide a toll-free number, business reply card, and Personalized URL — each giving the recipient a way to follow-up on your offer.

Here’s a real-life example where you can see how the Personalized URL is embedded within the direct mail piece (click here or on the image below to download a PDF containing the envelope, direct mail piece, landing pages, and more):


What Happens When You Visit a Personalized URL?

In most cases, when your respondent types in their Personalized URL, they’re greeted by a highly personalized Landing Page or Microsite.

The Landing Page contains information that directly supports the direct mail piece, which means that the respondent is more likely to stay engaged and complete the call to action.

In addition, you get real-time knowledge of who is responding — even if they don’t complete the call-to-action on the landing page. This means that instead of just seeing this in your web traffic:


… you actually know, by name, who is responding to your direct mail, even if they don’t complete the call to action, like this:


By linking your direct mail to the power of the web, you get two powerful media working together.

Personalized URL Case Studies

Now that you understand what a Personalized URL is, and how it can be used within a direct mail piece, take your knowledge a step further by looking at how others are generating more leads and sales using the kinds of tactics we’ve touched on here.

To help you do that, here are a number of resources that will help you in your journey with PURLs, including Case Studies you can download now, as well as podcast interviews with industry experts who share their behind-the-scenes insights.

How To Drive Credit Card Renewals w/Marketing Automation

Get the 28-page playbook First National Bank used to coordinate Direct Mail w/Personalized URLs, Email, Microsites & SMS to drive a 44% response rate, 34% offer uptake, and 43% renewal rate.

How BMW Sells More Cars With Multi-Channel Marketing Automation

This eBook has the 19-page strategy plan BMW used to retain lease customers using marketing automation. With MINI-O-POLY as the theme (a play on “Monopoly”), BMW used Emails, PURLs, and Landing Pages to drive over 20% of recipients to request a Test Drive, resulting in 2 to 7 cars sold p/month.

Raising Over $6,000,000.00 With One Multi-Channel Marketing Campaign

Learn all about the multi-channel marketing strategy and blueprint that raised $6+ million for NC State — while significantly cutting campaign expenses — using Print & PURLs, Email, Microsites, Facebook, and Twitter.

The Essential Handbook for Direct Mail with PURLs

This handbook is only for printers, agencies, or direct marketing companies who want to learn how to market and sell marketing services that incorporate Personalized URLs.

Here are a few interviews from the “Pixels & Ink” podcast series, where a few expert guests discuss their use of Personalized URLs:

Want to see inside a real-life PURL marketing automation campaign? Download the TexanCash example used in this post and get access to the direct mail piece, landing pages, and more. Download now and use these ideas in your next campaign!
Download now



David Rosendahl
Connect w/Me

David Rosendahl

Co-Founder at MindFire
Dad of 2 (wait, no there’s a 3rd, where’d he come from?) and helped launch MindFire. Techno-marketer fascinated with the convergence of print and non-print marketing, machine learning, and entrepreneurship. May run for political office one day (yes, I’m crazy).
David Rosendahl
Connect w/Me

Comments (11)

  1. Pingback: Grand Slam Resource Guide: Personalized URLs

  2. This is a great article about a marketing tool that has been under utilized for years. I have spend 30 years of y career in data-driven direct marketing with good results form my clients. After adding Purls to my direct mail campaigns the past 8 years – my clients have reached and exceeded each of their marketing goals. Purls are the future.

    • Hi Chuck, thank you for stopping by! I’m intrigued by something you said; specifically, that you feel PURLs are an under-utilized marketing tool. Why do you think they’ve been under-utilized? (I don’t disagree with you, by the way.) Would love your insights from the 8 years of hands-on experience you’ve had. Talk soon!

    • John, if you take MindFire as an example, we use purls all the time on Direct Mail and in our Email touches. We are doing BtoB only. If you consider that it’s a personalized communication to a “contact” on your list, the purl allows you to be more personalized and relevant in your communication. It doesn’t really matter whether the contact is a consumer or a business contact. Many of our Service Provider customers use purls in their marketing of their own business. The ability to deliver a targeted message and track the responses for future nurturing is a winning strategy.

      Mary Trotta, MindFire

  3. Great post Dave.

    John, we have case studies on both B2B and B2C success using the approach outlined in the post.

    Another key consideration of this approach is that there are NINE key marketing outcomes that can be achieved for any marketer when they leverage this approach.

    Our customers that use this approach see a higher level of engagement and conversion levels.

    If anyone is interested in viewing the NINE key deliverables document send me an email and I am happy to share it with you. jmanos@mindfireinc.com

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