7 Creative and Effective Ways to Use Branded Short URLs
This is a guest post from Rebrandly's Louisa McGrath explaining how branded short links could improve your marketing efforts by up to 30%.
Why do branded URLs make a difference?
Digital marketing today is a full-contact sport, with messages bombarding customers from all directions. This barrage of information makes it difficult for your target audience to focus. A clear and consistent messaging strategy is necessary to stand out in today's overcrowded newsfeeds.
This is why marketers present their brand name and logo at every opportunity. It builds brand trust, visibility and awareness - and this increased recognition will automatically attract the attention of those who see your name.
That's where branded short URLs come in. Branded URLs reinforce your brand and help it stand out in a positive way. Adding them to your messages is a simple, but effective, change to boost your marketing strategy.
To give you an idea of how you can use them for your organization, here are seven of the best ways to use branded links in a marketing campaign:
1. To become a social media success
Connecting with others on social media can be difficult - especially when you have so little time to communicate your message and so little space to make people pause and take notice.
Create a branded link that lets people know what you’re all about - the ability to edit the slashtag also provides an opportunity for you to include a strong Call To Action in your message.
Include your name or the name of your organization, a TLD that communicates what you’re all about and a keyword after the slash.
Links like this receive more click throughs and engagement. Because they are so descriptive, people know exactly what they’re clicking on and are likely to engage with the content they find once they’ve clicked through, rather than leave your site straight away. And if they’ve clicked through because they recognized your name, they’re also likely to be part of your target audience.
2. To avoid the dreaded spam folder
Marketers have been using short URLs as part of their email marketing for years, but this practice has recently caused some major headaches for organizations.
Email service providers blacklist different generic short URLs from time to time. When they become closely associated with malicious content, spam or phishing sites, they land any emails containing them in the spam folder.
But when you use a custom URL shortener, which features your own domain, you don’t have to worry about this. Because you own the domain, no risky content can be shared by third parties. This will ensure your weekly newsletter and other updates will make it to your mailing list.
3. To stand out online
One of the best ways to stand out online is to be fun, clever and indulge in some quirky marketing methods. Branded short URLs provide an opportunity to make people pause and take notice, without being too over the top. Some cunning word play is all it can take to make your messages more memorable - and maybe more shareable.
Add an emoji to your short links to really grab people’s attention and drive the message home. Or try using a memorable short domain or slashtag to tell readers exactly what you do.
You could use a descriptive link to share verses of the Bible: Matthew.Bible/Matthew-16
Or you could include an eye-catching CTA to encourage clicks: Find.Bible/Languages
4. For some easy tracking and analytics
Marketers measure everything. But it can be tough to determine when you should delve into the detailed data and when you just need an overview of impressions.
Branded short URLs provide the best of both worlds. At a glance, you can see how many clicks your links have received. This will give you a clear insight into what content appeals to your audience. But you can also dive deeper and improve upon your Google Analytics insights, by adding UTM parameters to your links that will let you see how successful each of your campaigns and traffic sources are.
5. Make your offline marketing more effective
Make the most of your offline marketing materials by using them to drive traffic to your website. Here people can find more information or start a conversation with your organization.
Whether you’re using leaflets, posters, pamphlets, billboards or newsletters, include a branded URL on them. If people like what they see, they’ll want to find out more and the simplest way to let them do this is by including a short, memorable and easy-to-type link.
With short links, you don’t have to send people to your homepage. If you share a leaflet advertising a community get-together, link to the event page on Facebook. If you’re creating a church pamphlet, include a link that leads to a custom welcome page for your congregation. Here you can feature the latest church news, details about upcoming services and a sign-up form for your newsletter.
6. Track the impact of your offline marketing
Digital marketing tactics are beloved for their ability to be tracked and classified, while offline marketing often feels more like a "spray and pray" tactic. But you can gain some of the benefits of online marketing solutions when you use branded short URLs in your leaflets and posters.
If you create an individual link for each piece of offline marketing you print out, you’ll be able to see exactly how many visitors come to your website from each one. This will allow you to determine which ones are most successful and are worth investing more of your budget in.
By using a short link, you can also edit the destination of the URL on your printouts. This can help you get more use out of your leaflets before needing to update them and print new ones.
7. Make an impression at events
Whether you're speaking at an event or simply handling booth traffic, branded short URLs help you quickly route visitors to a great online experience. Event attendees are much more likely to recall a custom URL that reinforces your organization’s name and the work you do than a generic short link or long link.
Your link could lead to a competition, a sign up form or even a download page where visitors can get the slides from your presentation - as soon as they enter their email address, of course. Depending on the action taken, you can figure out an intriguing way to follow up. That’s one way to feel better about not being able to talk to every individual at a bustling event!
Tracking the interest of individuals who attend an event can be challenging, but this is a great way to sort out who is interested in your organization and what aspect of it they are interested in. Then you can decide on the next conversation to have.
Whether you simply want to keep your emails out of spam, or are trying hard to engage with attendees after an event, using a custom URL shortener can support your outreach activities in creative and analytical ways. While you benefit from better data, including your name on all the links you share will build trust with each audience interaction.
Ready to get yours?
Author Bio: Louisa McGrath is a content manager at Rebrandly, the URL shortener empowering marketers to put their brand on their links. She can be seen blogging around Dublin city center, except on Sundays when she stays in to pore over the newspapers.