PURLs: Still Precious? The Truth Behind Personalized URLs

For those of you who still think of their grandmothers when they hear the word “pearl”, it’s time to snap out of it, because there’s a new type of pearl on the market: PURLs.

PURLs, a convenient acronym for “personalized URLs”, might just be the essential push your business needs to increase your conversion rates.  Here’s how they work, in a nutshell (or a clamshell, to be more precise.)  Let’s say you have a new potential customer named Bob Johnson.  You send him a friendly email offering your services, and then, almost as a casual side note, you mention that you’ve set up a page on your website entirely dedicated to him. And, as if that wasn’t already blowing Bob’s mind (it is), this personalized webpage is at BobJohnson.yourwebsite.com. Whoa.

Let’s take a step back and compare this to some “real-world” situations. Having a personalized URL for a client has a similar effect as if you walked into a doctor’s office to discover that not only had they prepared a personalized room for you, dedicated for your use and no one else’s (not to mention it includes all your favorite magazines and pop-up books), but on top of all this they’ve engraved your name into the door.  Would you return to this doctor for a second visit? I sure would, assuming they didn’t kill me the first time, of course.

Here’s another one.  Imagine walking into a sandwich shop for the first time and being greeted by name by the (admittedly, slightly hairy) old man behind the counter.  Before you even have time to glance across their extensive menu he hands you a sandwich, informing you that what you’re about to eat has been personalized specially for you according to your tastes.  “One more thing”, the friendly, faintly furry shop owner says. “Check out the sandwich menu – we’ve named this one after you.”  At this point I’d be calling all my friends and distant relatives to the restaurant so I could gloat about my new found edible glory. Good for our sandwich man’s business? You bet.

Luckily for us, PURLs make individually customizing your webpages’ URLs for your prospective and current clients a cinch.  Whether you set them up individually or use a program to automatically generate them (I’d recommend the latter, unless you’re a robot), using PURLs can add that extra kick of personality to your website that might be all it takes to draw in a whole host of new clients.

The benefits of PURLs are astounding, both in their lead-capture capabilities and the fine-tuning that they add to your customer relations.  On the surface, having PURLs will instantly increase your customer response rate – who wouldn’t want to reply to a company that’s set up a webpage just for them?  It goes deeper than that, however. Using PURLs allows you to see which customers are actually clicking on the email campaigns you send out, allowing you to decide which potential customers you should be “honing in” on and which ones might be best let you.  And, perhaps most importantly, you’ll be able to deliver personalized landing pages to each of your clients, tailored to their wants and needs based on your previous interactions with them.  So what do you think? Looks to me like PURLs are back in fashion.

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