Personalized URLs: In-House Lists Vs. Prospecting Lists

By | December 13, 2013

On Tuesday, I wrote a post about the changes in perception and expectations regarding personalized URLs. I’ve gotten some great feedback, including a comment I’d like to share here.

Many see anything interactive like a PURL as being a trip to nowhere except a hundred more emails a month, and more telemarketing calls.  It takes time to separate the legitimate benefit from previous pratfalls.

I totally agree with this. In fact, it’s why I have listed as one of the best practices for personalized URLs as using an in-house list rather than a prospecting list. In-house lists naturally come with a higher level of trust.

An exception would be prospecting lists in which respondents want ongoing contact from the marketer. A classic example comes from the Zeiterion Theater (whose case study can be found in PODI’s case study archive). It created a profile of the ideal patron, then sent a prospecting campaign to the desired demographic and invited them to log into a personalized URL for a chance to win free theater tickets. Even if respondents didn’t win, they responded because they were interested in theater and were most likely wanting and expecting additional and ongoing contact.

But the issue of not responding because of concern about unsolicited telemarketing calls is a very legitimate one and one of the reasons that in-house lists can be a more effective channel.

What’s your experience? Do you encourage clients to use in-house lists? Or do you use personalized URLs for prospecting? If so, how do you get around this perception?

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One thought on “Personalized URLs: In-House Lists Vs. Prospecting Lists

  1. Joe Manos


    Our customers are using both types of lists. Yes, most prefer an In-house list when available. But do not assume that the In-house list has great data. That’s not always the case and it is one of the chief reasons to start an effective marketing program with a Purl to create better data, short and long-term.

    Simply stated, one of the most valuable outcomes of using Purl’s is that marketers can achieve outcomes that simply aren’t available from a stand alone direct mail piece or email!

    Sometimes marketers need to use a purchase list and if they have a great offer, and offer something other than just a purchase opportunity, like ongoing education and high value content, the purchase list can deliver better than average results.

    The point is, each case is unique and based on available data you have to make the best choice available to create new opportunities.

    Aside from the list decision, the other Best Practices, such as, a great offer, personal and relevant information, the timing of the offer, multi-media use for more response paths and high value content options (once on the personal site) all come into play for taking a marginal list and optimizing the potential results.

    The final point is one that is developing very quickly. “One and done programs” are being replaced with ongoing, lead nurturing programs. . Today’s marketers realize that you need to have a lead nurturing program in place to move prospects through the funnel staring with awareness, development and finally the close. Sometimes their biggest sale or flurry of prospect activity come from the fifth or sixth nurturing touch.

    For optimized results in today’s world it’s less about the individual elements of the program (like the data base) and more about the “overall program elements” working in a cohesive manner.

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