From PURLs to Profit

pURLs are personalized URLs, not to be confused with these types of pearls!

In addition to Variable Data Printing, another form of one-to-one marketing is PURLs.

PURLs, or Personalized URLs, are website URLs that are customized with a specific prospect’s information. They often contain the prospect’s name as part of the URL and are a great way to target your marketing campaigns.

To be more specific, personalized URLs are custom web pages created for and directed towards the end-user, or prospect. When the prospect visits their specific link, the website is tailored to that person. The possibilities of customization are vast. You can include any information you have on your customer on this webpage: age, location, interests, occupation, etc. The more custom, personalized content you create, the more effective the campaign will be.

Often used in conjunction with direct mail pieces, pURLs are also perfect for use in email marketing campaigns since the link can be easily clicked from the email. This gives your prospect instant gratification and provides for instant capture of lead information. Even better, all of the activity from this specific webpage can be tracked, giving you an idea of where your users’ interests lie for future marketing campaigns.

One of the best things about pURLs is the “not-so-silent P”: Profit. A marketing piece that is much more targeted will yield more information, better results (and higher profits) than a generic link that is sent to everyone.

Multi-touch marketing campaigns are essential to increase not only your marketing ROI but also your company image. Simplifying and quantifying the marketing process is a key component for success and pURLs allow for just that.

TIP: Always be sure to work with a printer that has experience developing these types of campaigns so you can rest assured it will be done right.

Variable Data Printing: An Overview

Variable Data Printing, also known as one-to-one marketing, is a form of printing in which unique data (text, graphics or images) is printed on each piece. It is achieved through digital printing.

How it’s Used

VDP is one of the most effective methods to use when implementing any direct mail or promotional campaign. Customizing each printed piece with personalized data adds a special touch to an otherwise generic mailing.

Why VDP?
1. Options

With Variable Data Printing, there are endless customization options. You can personalize a piece based on whatever information you have: your recipient’s age, location, marital status, gender, etc.

2. Profitability

It is ideal for small or large companies looking to get more bang for their buck (and let’s face it, who isn’t these days?) VDP campaigns are typically shorter print runs and because they are so targeted, they render higher response rates than mass mailings.

3. Eco-Friendly

VDP is inherently green. Unlike printing offset, it doesn’t take more energy to personalize a piece through digital printing – the process is essentially the same, just different data is used. Therefore a shorter print run is needed, resulting in less energy used and reduction of waste. Also, since mailing addresses can be printed directly on the piece it eliminates the need for a label!

The piece below is a Variable Data marketing piece we recently created. As you can see, the front is customized with the recipient’s name and the top right corner has data-specific text that pertains to this client.

The Proof
As is mentioned several times, variable data printing increases response rates. Wikipedia reports that the returns of variable print vary from double to 10-15 times the rate of generic pieces – pretty impressive.

The bottom line is, variable data printing is a great way to reach your customers and show them that you may know more about them than they think (or realize).

The key is to find a printer experienced in VDP who can guide you through the process, especially if it is your first time. After your first successful variable print campaign, there will be no going back. Not only that, but the door is also open for even more customization! pURLS (personalized URLs) and unique email addresses can be created using the same type of technology – but we’ll save that discussion for next week…

Print Green for Earth Day 2010

Happy Earth Day to all!

We are wrapping up our last day at the ON DEMAND 2010 Expo in Philadelphia (Stop by Booth 312 if you’re there!) It has been a very successful show and while we are very busy, we’d still like to take some time to post some tips for developing eco-friendly presentation/convention materials (it IS Earth Day after all.) See the list we’ve compiled below, and if you think of anything we missed, leave a comment!

1. Print on recycled or high PCW content paper.
It’s good for the environment! Use papers that contain at least 30% recycled or PCW content or that are FSC or SFI certified. When you do this, you help promote re-forestation and keep trees growing.

2. Reduce wasted space.
When formatting your content, always remain conscious of the space you’re using. If you have a lot of unused space on a sheet of paper, consider printing it on a postcard size piece. Also, reduce your margins and font size if you want to add more information. Try to minimize the amount of blank space.

3. Reduce pages used.
Always print on both sides of your paper. You’ll use half the amount and not only be greener, but lower costs at the same time.

4. Work with a web-to-print company.
If you’re outsourcing your printing, be sure to use a web-to-print company whose majority of business is done online (upload files, view proofs, view history, etc.) It’s better for the environment and much more efficient!

5. Use recycled products.
If you’re printing perfect bound workbooks, or coil bound manuals, use a printer that produces recycled versions. Recycled products are available in the same quality you would expect from its more environmentally harmful counterpart.

6. Print what you need – when you need it.
Work with a printer that specializes in short-run, on demand printing. Find out the number of expected attendees and only print what you need so you don’t have extra copies that you will never use (especially if the information is time-sensitive).

7. Promote responsible disposal.
Remind everyone you’re presenting to that your pieces are recycled and FULLY RECYCLABLE. Encourage responsible disposal and you will be helping to make a difference.

Using some or all of these tips next time you print will not only reduce your carbon footprint but can also reduce costs. Do your part. For Earth Day 2010, help grow trees by printing green.