Have you noticed? The best practices for personalized URLs are becoming more sophisticated. You may not always see those best practices listed, but they are being reflected more and more often in industry case studies. It’s really neat to see the evolution.
It struck me because, earlier this week, I released an update to “Personalized URLs: Beyond the Hype,” a primer and training and educational tool for printers and marketers. In the best practices section, I had previously separated out the best practices into two categories: those commonly seen in industry case studies and those not yet commonly seen but practiced by some of the industry’s leading practitioners. During the process of updating the report, however, it struck me the extent to which the two are converging. In fact, in the October 2009 update I removed the distinction between the two classifications.
Here are three of the best practices that have now moved into the mainstream:
Incorporating personalized URLs as part of a larger, multi-channel campaign. Although personalized URLs are, by definition, multi-channel, I’m talking about using them as part of a larger, more comprehensive strategy that includes email, text messaging, and other channels to prime the pump, follow up, or reinforce the message.
Using personalized URLs as one of several response mechanisms. Personalized URLs are not a marketing strategy. They are a response mechanism. Sometimes they are the best response mechanism. Sometimes they are one of several “best” response mechanisms, depending on your target audience. The recognition that different audiences respond to different response channels and that marketers don’t want to lose responses by forcing them into a single channel is finally starting to sink in.
Using the survey buttons to really learn something. For a long time, marketers were using the survey buttons on the mini-sites to be cute. Tell us your favorite band, your favorite color, or some other thing like that, and then marketers would follow up with a personalized poster or sign to show their ability to process variable data, but in the long run, it didn’t really accomplish much. The buttons weren’t really being used to learn about the prospect in a way that could either be used by the sales force to make follow-ups more effective or that could be used to wrap around to better personalize future campaigns. Today, they are.
Those are only three of the major changes I’ve seen, and there are many more. The point is that 1:1 printers and marketing services providers are really beginning to wrap their minds around these applications and do a better job of implementing them. That is good for everybody — printers, their clients, and the customers and prospects, too.