Operators can use PURLs in a direct mail capacity to increase response rates while exchanging information with your customers in a targeted manner.

Here's a quick, basic overview of personalized URLs, how they work, and how to apply them to your marketing initiatives.

To start, a personalized URL (PURL) is a unique web-based microsite or landing page that will help support any type of marketing campaign. I will focus mainly on how you can use PURLs in a direct mail capacity to increase response rates while exchanging information with your customers in a very targeted manner.

Any type of personalization on a mailer is an eye-catching feature. Add to that personalization in the form of a URL to cater to the recipient’s ego. He/she will want to visit their URL to see what is waiting for them. (“Wow-my name is on this URL-it must be a special offer just for me!”) Plus, since casino guests usually talk to each other, PURL campaigns have the potential to spread by word-of-mouth. (“Hey, did you get that cool free buffet offer from Winning Casino?”) Also, studies show that over 40 percent of direct mail recipients prefer to respond online-personalized URLs provide an appealing response option.

Here is an example: Let’s say you need information from your customers. You want to know what they think about a new section of slot machines you just installed or you want their thoughts on a new restaurant. You want to conduct an online survey, but need to ensure solid participation.

The solution-you can send out a postcard with a PURL to each recipient in your database. You can automatically generate a PURL for each name in your database-simply create the name of the URL and insert recipient’s name somewhere within that URL name. The front of your postcard in this example might say “FREE BUFFET OFFER! Just click on your personalized URL at www.JohnSmith.WinningCasinoFREEOffer.com!” So the hook is the free buffet.

Once the guest goes to their URL, what they do at that point is entirely up to you. In this case, the survey customer’s URL leads them to a landing page that contains 10 questions. Once they answer all 10 questions, they’re directed to a FREE BUFFET voucher page that they can print and bring in. Or you can e-mail them a voucher once answers are submitted.

The customer’s data would be collected and stored in a custom personal URL database for your campaign. On the back end, you would receive an e-mail alert notifying you every time someone filled out the online information and the contents of what they filled out-along with their information. This can be provided to you in a report format as well.

Another example of how to use a PURL campaign: perhaps you have a large database, but you are lacking in e-mail addresses. By having more e-mail addresses, you can start sending e-blasts or making your current e-mail campaigns more effective by reaching a larger audience. Use a PURL campaign to obtain e-mail addresses. Send target customers postcards featuring on the front side a “free” offer redeemable just by going to a  personalized URL. Once they arrive at their landing pages, they’ll have to provide their e-mail addresses in order to move on to the next page, which would be the offer.

Also, you could run this same campaign over and over again-start with a large audience, then every week or month send it to the non-responders from the previous mailing period. And you can even incorporate PURLs into referral and prospecting campaigns. Keep filling the funnel when it comes to adding new patrons to your database.

To recap:

With a PURL campaign, your team will…

• Integrate personalized URLs with current marketing collateral/tools such as direct mail or e-blasts.

• Create strategies to reach each customer group.

• Have a plan in place to follow-up with each “lead” or “response.”

With a PURL campaign, your team will know…

• Who responded and how they responded.

With a PURL campaign, your team can…

• Send a follow-up email or call when a guest opens/clicks.

• Trigger a personalized mail or e-mail offer when someone clicks a link/selects a particular answer to a survey question.

• Trigger a reminder e-mail message if someone hasn’t visited their personalized URL in a certain number of days.

The options are endless when it comes to incorporating PURL campaigns into your overall marketing strategy. At the end of the day, it’s all about increasing response rates and engaging your audience and PURLs are a great tool to have in your marketing arsenal.