Vanity Phone Numbers and a String of “pURLs”: Tips for Optimizing Your Direct Mail ROI


May 13, 2015 | Uncategorized

In the senior living industry, direct mail continues to play an important role in our integrated multichannel growth strategy. Direct mail offers precision targeting of key customer groups in a variety of important ways including age, income, geographic location, homeownership and more.

As with other basic staples of your marketing mix, direct mail has evolved. Today, the use of the latest best-practice tactics give it even more value through better performance and a greater return on your direct mail investment. Personalized website addresses (pURLs), (e.g. AssistedLiving4Me) and easy to remember “vanity” phone numbers (such as 800-Memory1) are helping savvy direct marketers to increase response rates to their mailings and also gain greater insight into their customer’s behavior.

The Advantages of Personalized URLs and “Vanity” Phone Numbers

Greg Marta, author of “Tracking Direct Mail Response in a Digital World,” says, “To a large degree, digital and traditional marketing channels are now comingled, creating both challenges and opportunities. The challenge is that fewer and fewer consumers follow a linear conversion path. The opportunity is that new digital solutions can help marketers gain more robust insights into consumer purchasing behavior.”

“Vanity URLs help to identify offline (i.e. mailers, print ads, radio ads, etc.) campaign traffic to a website and track corresponding visitor behavior once visitors arrive. Vanity URLs are easy to remember — for example, instead of use XYZInsuranceForMe — and should be prominent in any mail piece. Vanity URLs can be direct links to a website or landing page, or set up to use redirects, which set a cookie in a visitor’s browser that can be tracked in a Web analytics program, such as Google Analytics.”

Likewise, vanity toll-free phone numbers provide similar benefits. They are easier for consumers to remember, and have been shown to elicit higher levels of consumer response. By placing a unique phone number on a postcard, you can easily determine how many people call that number in relation to the number of cards mailed out, i.e. your response rate.  You can also assign different vanity numbers to different versions of your mailer to test which mailer design is most effective with your target audience – be it prospective senior adults, their adult children, referral sources or other centers of influence.

Remember, tracking is an essential element of direct-marketing. You need to know what is working and what is not working. Your marketing success and your budget depend on it. Thus, well-conceived and effectively executed direct marketing strategies that incorporate vanity toll-free phone numbers and personalized web addresses offer several key advantages, including:

  • Higher response rates
  • Greater brand awareness and recall
  • Optimized tracking capabilities
  • The ability to test a variety of different headline, body copy and visual format options to determine which options pull the highest response rates among your target segments
  • Greater cost-effectiveness and return on your direct mail budget investment

Consumer Research Supports the Use of Personalized Contact Information

The performance advantages of pURLS and toll-free vanity numbers is supported by the evidence of research. In one study conducted by Infosurv, Inc. titled Advertising Analysis of Consumer Recall and Dialing Preferences,” researchers assessed the relative performance of Vanity 800 Numbers vs. Numeric Toll-free Numbers vs. Website URLs in traditional advertising media such as mail, print, radio and TV.

The primary conclusions drawn from the study were:

  • The implementation of toll-free vanity numbers in advertising campaigns has proven to increase consumer response rates and improve consumer recall of an advertising company’s phone number.
  • Consumers were found to have higher recall rates of the easy-to-remember vanity 800 numbers in both visual and audio media formats. When presented with advertisements featuring vanity 800 numbers, numeric toll-free numbers and URLs consumers showed a 75.4 percent and 57.6 percent greater recall rate for the vanity 800 numbers over the numeric phone numbers and the traditional URLs, respectively.
  • Overall, every age group studied had a higher recall rate for the toll-free vanity phone numbers in advertisements, than they did for the advertisers’ numeric phone numbers or website addresses.
  • Advertisers should use both a vanity 800 number and a URL as the direct response tools to make the most effective use of advertising budgets and lead-generation tactics. Using both tools will ensure that consumers have the means with which they prefer to make contact with a company. They’ll also have a better ability to recall the vanity phone number for future calls. Note: Other research shows that combining vanity toll-free numbers with pURLS provides an even stronger combination.
  • Consumer preference for dialing a vanity 800 number over a numeric phone number, along with consumer preference for live interactions with companies, demonstrates that it is prudent for businesses to include a vanity 800 number in their advertising campaigns. Doing so ensures customer satisfaction, higher customer recall, as well as improved lead generation and the capture of powerful consumer data through tracking reports.
  • Media consumption data shows that although there is an inherent focus on online communications and social media presence today, consumers continue to spend significant quantities of time watching tradition television, listening to the radio and reading the print edition of newspapers. This behavior continues to be especially true for the mature market.

We Would Love to Hear from You!

If you have comments or questions on the value of public events as a means of directly engaging area prospects, families and sources of influence, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any experiences you’ve had in these areas, whether they have been successful or not. Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Proven Direct Marketing Expertise to Kickstart Your Growth Strategy

If you are a senior living community considering the need for assistance in building a stand out brand, growing your sales and enhancing your occupancy, we encourage you to contact us for more information today. SageAge Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth and marketing organization that operates exclusively in the senior living industry and was recently named one of Inc. Magazine’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America. For more information, please call or e-mail Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 202 /

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