Thursday, January 29, 2009

What's a PURL or personalized website?

We've been offering PURL's or Personal Websites for a while now, and I'm finding many dealers don't know what they are, and are having trouble seeing the value in them. This post is going to be just a basic explanation of what these snazzy little websites can do for you and why you might want to give them a shot. I'll do some Frequently Asked Questions early next week, if you have a question please leave it as a comment or shoot me an email with it and I'll be sure it makes the list (sthompson@triauto.com). First off, what's a PURL? These are not the type your wife (or yourself) ask for as Christmsa gifts! PURL stands for "Personal url" a "url" is a Uniform Resource Locator, or in regular person terms, a website. So for our purposes it's a Personal Website, but PURL is shorter so that's what I'm using for the rest of the article :) Who is the personal in PURL? Your future customer. Anyone you send a mailer to will have their own personalized website. On the mailer it may something like "Attention John, check out your website below for additional offers & discounts: www.Reveal.MyNextVehicle.com/JohnSample" Every mailer will have a different website with the person's name included in the URL. What is the experience like for the PURL user? It's simple really. They type the website into the Internet browser and it takes them to a site that is personalized with their name, and has a copy of your mailer & dealership information. It asks them 3 quick questions and gathers a little more contact info (in addition to name and address which are already there). If you really want to know what the experience is like, go to www.Reveal.MyNextVehicle.com/JohnSample, be sure to fill out the contact info with your name & email address. You'll then receive an email from "the dealership" thanking you for your participation. The dealership would then receive and email immediately with your contact info and the answers to your questions. In short, the experience is:
  1. Log on to PURL
  2. Fill out quick questions & info
  3. Receive thank you email from dealership immediately
  4. Receive follow up email correspondence or email from an actual person at the dealership within the next couple of hours

Why would I put a PURL on my direct mailer?

  1. You gain new responders. The people that respond to mail by walking in the door or picking up the phone are different from the people willing to go online to check things out.
  2. PURL responders are much more likely to be in the market than your typical prize seeker. Over 60% of our respondents say they are in the market to buy in the next 6 months.
  3. PURLS drive more traffic to your website. Most dealers I talk to are trying to get more people on their website-at the end of the PURL they can click to "view inventory" which takes them directly to your site.
  4. You get their email addresses and you know how these people like to be marketed to. Building a large & valid email database is becoming more and more important. You can now keep in touch with these people for the long term by adding them to your email list. You also know the best way to reach them is via the Internet since that's how they reached you (see my post on customer follow up for more http://directmaildiva.blogspot.com/2008/12/customer-follow-up-on-automotive.html)
  5. You close more car deals. These leads are real and timely, most are in the market & they are usually on your website looking at inventory when you get the email letting you know they've visited their PURL. What is a hotter lead than that?

That's all for now on PURL's. If you haven't experienced this type of marketing before please take a minute to go to the sample site & follow the steps. The best way to understand this technology is to experience it. I'm excited to answer any additional questions readers have on this one--so please get them over to me this week or weekend.

2 comments:

Marty Thomas said...

PURLs have really increased my response rate for my web design business. I was only receiving a .04% response rate, but after I started using purls it jumped to 3%. The trick for small businesses is to not spend an arm and a leg to get a PURL program setup. I used http://www.purlem.com and they only charge $79/month for a complete PURL system. Definitely worth it!

Direct Mail PURLs said...

To read more about purls or personalized urls please visit my Personalized URL Blog