16 Feb Using personalised landing pages to enhance the customer experience
Over the last twelve months, we’ve seen a rapid shift in customer behaviour. Older generations have embraced digital channels and solutions, whilst the younger generations are demanding hyper-personalised customer experiences from the brands they shop with, especially via digital channels.
Essentially, customers are looking for easy solutions. They don’t want to jump through hoops. It’s the responsibility of your brand to make it easy for them.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at personalised landing pages (PURLs), a cost-effective solution which will help you create stronger relationships with your customers.
What exactly is a PURL?
PURL is an acronym for Personalised Uniform Resource Locator (a more common phrase is URL). A PURL is a website page or microsite that will be personalised and pre-populated based on a specific customer record.
A PURL is shared with the customer/recipient typically via hyperlink in an email, a shortened-url via SMS or embedded in direct mail pieces. Many brands also create QR codes from the PURL, so when a customer scans the code on their device, it takes them directly to their own personalised landing page. A PURL is pre-populated, saving the customer time.
How do PURLs work?
A PURL is essentially a call to action, examples include; updating contact details, updating preferences, making bookings, entering a competition, referring a friend, completing a survey etc.
Marketers generate PURLs by uploading a customer list, populated with the relevant fields to a marketing automation software platform. (E.g. name, address, mobile number, current preferences etc.). Brands can expand to include personalised images, personalised maps, personalised links and so on with the overall objective being to tailor the content to each individual customer.The structure of a PURL will normally look something like this:
Where the ‘111’ part identifies the targeted recipient uniquely. The ‘/a-deal’ part identifies that particular PURLs campaign. The ‘111’ part, as a system identifier, isn’t that user friendly and in reality will be a longer set of characters to type in so instead we use what’s called a ‘slug’ (i.e. a human readable word). E.g. https://mycompany.com.au/a-deal/maryjane
Below is an SMS > PURL visual example:
The benefits of PURLS
The most beneficial aspect of PURLs is data enrichment, as PURLs are typically used to ask customers to provide data. It’s essentially a way of collecting consented data from the customer. PURLs enable brands to capture accurate data from customers which is vital to customer communications and ongoing engagement.
Higher engagement and conversion rates
Marketing and insight professionals absolutely love PURLs. Not only do they help them to deliver greater personalised experiences to their customers, they also enable individual and accurate tracking on engagement for every customer. Each time a customer shares more information about themselves, it makes the next interaction with the customer even more personalised.
Gain customer trust
Findings from our recent research ‘The Unspoken Customer’ revealed that 53% of customers don’t trust brands with their data. They also shared their top 3 irritations about the communications they receive today; 1. They are non-stop, 2. They contain the same information, 3. Apart from my name, the content is not personalised. We spoke about this in detail in our recent article – 5 ways to improve your marcomms with less budget.
PURLs help you gain customer trust. The customer recognises that the communication is bespoke to them, they feel more recognised as an individual, and not like a number on your database. They believe you are looking after their data and using it carefully, opposed to many brands who choose to abuse it.
Compatible with multi-channels
We’ve referenced the fact that customers today are active across a number of channels. Which means your brand also needs to be active across multi-channels – there’s no one size fits all. PURLs are compatible across digital and print channels, making it easier for you to continue the conversation with your customers via their preferred channel. This, again will have an impact on engagement and conversion rates.
Things to consider
PURLs prefill from existing data – which means they are only effective if the data is accurate. This is incredibly important, yet unfortunately, remains a low priority for marketers. Data is our most valuable asset – it helps us learn exactly who our customers are and what they’re most likely to do next. Data deduplication, hygiene & enrichment are ongoing tasks – as is data quality monitoring.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) revealed last year that 1 in 3 Australians have been affected by cyber crime – with a new cyber crime being reported every 10 minutes. That’s crazy! It’s vital you have the correct security measures in place for your customers.
PURLs aren’t typically protected by passwords or secure logins and are, therefore, publicly accessible to the rest of the population. Here are a few ways to ensure you deliver a safe and secure experience to your customers:
- Obfuscate the slug, e.g. https://mycompany.com.au/a-deal/maryjane4q!rt2x. By appending random characters to a good enough level of entropy (i.e. complexity or unpredictability), so that it’s extremely difficult to guess someone else’s PURL address.
- Ensure your web hosting infrastructure has an intrusion detection system so that malicious hackers will be denied access to your PURLs if it’s detected that they’re making too many failed access requests via programming scripts attempting a brute force search.
- Expire the PURLs and make sure they are short-lived so the likelihood of achieving malicious access is even lower. Once a PURL expires, the visitor to the site should be redirected to an appropriate replacement page explaining the expiry so they don’t just get an error page.
All PURLs should be denied access to search robots so there’s no chance of sensitive data being indexed by search engines.
Whilst there are data security factors to consider, PURLs are a fantastic way to deliver enhanced customer experiences that enable your brand to genuinely continue the conversation.
Customology are customer lifecycle management specialists. If you need any support cleansing your customer data or implementing PURLs into your marketing communications strategy, we’d love to help. Visit our website to learn more or get in touch with one of our Customologists on 1300 264 549 or firstname.lastname@example.org.