This summer, the USPS is offering a discount to companies that include a QR Code on their mailings. Also, the QR Code must either point to a mobile-optimized personalized URL or a mobile-optimized storefront.
While personalized URLs were extremely “hot” a few years ago, they certainly have cooled off a bit recently. But they still have a place today in the marketing mix!
Getting Back in to the Personalized URL Game
If you have not sold a personalized URL or built one in a little while, there may be some open questions in your mind about them.
Today, I’d like to chat about personalized URLs and security for a bit.
As you try to decide whether you should use them, or while in the process of trying to convince a client to use personalized URLs, the item of whether they are secure may come up.
Concerns about Personalized URLs and Security
While many companies have embraced personalized URLs because they see the benefits of one-to-one marketing, others have hesitated to incorporate them into their promotional efforts out of security fears.
We primarily have seen this in specific industries, such as banking, healthcare, and others.
If you or your client is worried, there are a few practical things that can be done to address their concerns. Below are three items that we have heard over the years, along with ways that you can address them.
Worries About How Much Data is Exposed
One of the benefits of using a personalized URL is that you can pre-populate contact information on the landing page.
If the personalized URL includes a registration form or survey, pre-populating contact information in form fields can save time for the user and increase your response rate!
If the client is concerned about this, there are a few options:
- Eliminate the pre-population of the form fields: The URL can still be personalized, and the landing page could even still greet them by First Name.
- Include only fields on the form that are absolutely necessary for the response: We may be tempted to ask the user to give us everything — from their Twitter handle to their Cell Phone #. We might even have good intentions for asking for it (“We could use this data for future marketing opportunities!”).
But if your client is worried about exposing too much information, than limit what fields you display and require. For example, if they are responding to the PURL to download a White Paper, perhaps the only field on the page is for entering an Email Address.
Simply Entering Another Name to Access Data
Most personalized URLs follow this format — [FirstName + LastName].DomainNameHere.com.
Thus, when I enter JasonPinto.DomainNameHere.com, the first page I see might greet me by name and present the pre-populated registration form.
Some companies might say, “Well, could Jason simply enter JohnSmith.DomainNameHere.com and see another person’s information?” In many cases of PURLs, the answer is Yes. Typing in that other name (that’s also a valid PURL for that campaign) would allow someone to see another person’s pre-populated registration form.
If you do not want that to happen, one option is to include an “Access Code” along with the personalized URL.
Thus, when I enter my personalized URL, I am greeted by a screen that requires me to enter a unique Access Code. Only then can I see my personalized page.
By doing that for each PURL that you generate, you will add a second-level for people that are trying to access personalized data.
Submitting Data over a Form
Many personalized URLs include Forms that ask people to provide and submit information.
Oftentimes, this is just Contact Information and answers to questions.
But if your client is concerned about protecting the data that is submitted, one option is to utilize SSL.
In that case, the user would access their PURL at https://[FirstName + LastName].DomainNameHere.com, which would enable the landing page and form to use SSL encryption when submitting data.
Would you like more information?
I hope that you find these ideas helpful as you look for ways to improve the effectiveness of your marketing programs (or those of your clients)!
If you have any questions about personalized URLs and security or about the USPS Mobile Barcode Promotion, please contact our team today!