This is a guest post by Pat Flynn from The Smart Passive Income Blog.
In 2008, there was a special video that went viral and caught the attention of millions of people. It didn’t go viral because it was simply a cat playing the piano or some kid named Charlie biting another kid’s finger. It went viral because it was personalized.
If you haven’t seen the video, the general idea is that beforehand, you can enter the name of a person and while watching the video you can see the name that you entered inside the actual video. It’s quite clever, and because people’s names were shown in it, tons of people paid attention.
In the online business and marketing realm, which is where I come from, many of us utilize an email subscription service, usually to generate leads for future sales and marketing tactics, or to simply stay connected with our audience and readers. Whatever the case is, it’s widely known that one of the best practices is to include the subscriber’s first and/or last name in the emails, which can easily be done by including code such as %firstname% within the email. Why is this important? Because “Dear Pat,” attracts a lot more attention and sounds a lot more personal than “Dear Subscriber” or “Dear Member”.
Personalization keeps people’s attention, and personalization sells.
As I’m sure you know, there are many ways that a real estate marketer could utilize personalization, however I’m going to try and introduce another strategy that you may not have heard of before: PURLs.
PURLs, short for “personal URLs”, can be used to combine direct marketing tactics with a website and personalization. It’s the alternate to a business reply card and a lot easier to get people to use. Utilized across various niches online, it could prove to be perfect for the real estate marketer as well.
This is basically how it works:
You setup a direct marketing campaign that mails out a number of postcards or letters. When a recipient receives the piece of mail, not only does it have their name on it, but it also includes a link to a website. The copy might look something like this:
Dear Mr. Pat Flynn,
We have a special deal just for you! You can visit your personal website which explains everything by visiting:
This is obviously a crude example, but I think you get the idea. There are a lots of possibilities here.
Anyways, when the recipient, curious about his “personal website” (wouldn’t you be if you saw that there was a website with your name on it?), enters the address into a web browser, he’s taken to a landing page which also includes his name on it. It might say something like:
“Welcome Pat! We knew you’d come and see us. Here is your special offer…”
On this page, you can then do whatever it is you need to do, like collecting lead information such as email and phone number. One advanced trick is that during this PURL process, you can have the website also automatically autofill the visitors’ name and address, which you should already have. This makes the lead generation process even easier.
Other things you can do on the landing page are show special offers or mention open houses or viewings in the area that are “just for them”.
Again, because the page is personalized and just for them, you will see increases in ROI and conversions.
If you manually created each unique website, with each unique person’s name and information on it – indeed, it would be hard grueling work and probably a waste of your time. Fortunately, there are a lot of services out there that can automatically do this for you!
All you need to provide is the name and addresses of each recipient, and they will take care of the rest. Some of these companies will even take care of the direct mail and websites for you (so you’ll need some good copy too), to make sure your letters and websites are congruent with each other, thus increasing your conversion rates.
There are some fees involved, usually a setup fee (I’ve seen it start at $50.00), and then a cost per PURL (usually only a few cents each).
I recommend simply typing in the keyword “PURL” or “PURLs” into Google and start comparing the various companies that offer the service. I’ve attended conferences where I’ve heard of people making crazy ROIs using this technique, so maybe there’s something in it for you.
Thanks for your time, and best of luck to you! Cheers!
About the Author: After getting laid off back in 2008, Pat Flynn has since created an online empire, starting multiple online businesses which earn him well over 6-figures a year in passive income. He writes about online business and blogging on The Smart Passive Income Blog. You can also download his free eBook, eBooks the $mart Way, which reveals all of Pat’s secrets to writing and automating a killer eBook for your blog or business.
- Improve Your Marketing Conversions with Personalized Urls - June 22, 2010
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Nice guest post!
Love this guest post and love Pat Flynn! His blog is one of my favorite blog discoveries from last year. This is an interesting idea…I'm going to have to put it in my Evernote as something to consider in future marketing campaigns.
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Interesting guest post. Though, I'm not that much of a techie compared to others I do believe personalization in any business (whether online or offline) is very important – people want to feel like someone cares. I like to do things on a smaller scale so I guess it can be easier in that sense, though I can see how personalization is important even with larger scale businesses. I feel that personalization is sometimes lost when a business gets too large, though I've seen a lack of personalization in small businesses as well – I guess it can go both ways. Good stuff, thanks for sharing!
Thanks Greg – I appreciate it!
Thanks Shae! It's cool to see you here!
If I ever go offline with my marketing efforts, you can be sure I will try to utilize this technique. Some testing will obviously be involved, but I've heard a lot of people making a killing using PURLs with this businesses, in many different niches, including real estate. Cheers!
Thanks for the comment! Indeed, like you said, personalization can go a long long way, especially with “big ticket” items like houses that large businesses and corporations seem to overlook sometimes. Either way, people only open their wallets for others when they trust them, and the “trust meter” begins right from the first impression, and personalization can give you a big boost of authority with little to no extra effort.
Cheers, and thanks again!
Scott & Pat – this is a great idea. I'm going to look into it and do some brainstorming as to how I can put it to use in my business. I am not the greatest “techie” but this seems doable. What kind of results to you get Pat when using this with direct mail? If you send out 1000 letters or post cards, do you have to go ahead and set up a site for each person that received a letter?
Thanks. Sharon Vornholt
Personalized URL's aides businessmen to their own branding. It is a great strategy if they buy domains with their name on it.
This is great info Pat, it will definitely come handy in my business. I just found out about your blog a few weeks ago and it has lots of great content. Keep up the good work.
Hi Sharon! With direct mail, I've heard of conversions increasing at least 15% – 20% typically, but I've also heard crazy stories about people using it in other markets who have a 100% increase in conversions. They must have had awesome copy to go along with it.
On the techie side of things, you don't have to setup all 1000 websites. The url on the piece of mail will automatically take the name and put it into a website that is ready to change the name based on the url automatically. So, if the url was:
sharon.vornholt.awesome.com/offer (just a random example), the site would know to include the first two words (the name) in the copy of the website in specific places. Change the name and the website updates automatically.
Indeed Marc, although you don't even have to buy the domains. These companies will set it up for you so that all you have to do is provide the names, and their link magic does all of the work to put those names into the landing page for you, without having to create multiple different pages. The names update based on the different urls that are provided.
Thanks flippingmom! Glad I could help out, and hope to see you on the blog later on as well. Cheers!
Thanks so much for the info. Can you recommend a service to try that is economical? I love this idea if it can be done for a cost that makes sense.
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Wow Pat, that is a great idea! You are awesome. Not sure how I stumbled onto your blog, but I read it more than my own. good stuff!!