As a Client Success Manager, I often advise my BL.INK clients to “begin with the end in mind” when planning their campaign strategy. If you know what result you want, your link management tool can give you the clarity and insight you need to create that from the very beginning.
Marketers have too much to think about: strategy, budget, messaging, placement, branding, timing, audience…you get the idea. It’s common to create campaign links at the very end of the timeline, as an afterthought, since they’re often the last piece to put in place before a campaign begins.
So it’s non-intuitive to be sure that the link is the first thing you think about. We may be biased of course, but we’ve seen how much power the link holds to deliver the insights you need. That’s because it’s the first part of your campaign that your target audience will see; it’s the thing that will either drive clicks or turn off your audience.
The bottom line: Every link you create matters. Here’s why:
- Short links convey your brand: A lot of publishing platforms shorten your link, but hide it behind a generic domain, such as bit.ly, or ow.ly or go.ogle, and then a string of forgettable characters. These tools are actually putting their brand ahead of yours! Instead, use every single opportunity to remind people of who you are and why they should click on your link. A recent survey shows that users prefer to click on branded links and/or short links using real words twice as frequently as the generic link shorteners. With that kind of proven success rate, we advise you use a link shortener (such as BL.INK) that enables you to highlight your brand.
- Short links are key to accurate analytics: Since posting is usually the last step in your strategy, you probably need to get a link up quickly and move on to your next task. The problem is, you are losing valuable information if you fail to append tracking variables to each and every link.
This isn’t as hard as it sounds (with BL.INK, it’s actually easy). No matter which analytics platform you use, these variables can tell you how many times a page was viewed, how many clicks a link received, how many times a customer took action after they clicked, how much revenue is attributed to each click, and whether your customer disappears after viewing your content. Read more about the power of UTM parameters in our recent blog post here.
With the right link management platform, no matter who is creating your link, your tracking variables will be appended. BL.INK’s URL builder includes this within the link creation interface.
- Prevent embarrassing mistakes. Have you ever posted something, or advertised a link and realized the link you created points to the wrong page? Your links are the key to the campaign’s success—that is, if they go to the right place.
If you’re using BL.INK, you can make sure your links always go to the right place—even if the destination changes after you publish—because your destination URL is always editable. No more stress about hunting down and changing URLs you’ve already published. This is a real sanity-saver, especially if you’re using channels where the published link can’t be changed easily, such as with print or TV.
- Short links direct traffic so you don’t have to: Make this built-in automation feature do the work for you. For example, BL.INK has a client publishing content in both English and Portuguese who was doing double the work to manage links for each language. BL.INK’s dynamic routing gave them the ability for the link to check the browser language setting and direct users to the correct language, seamlessly. BL.INK links can also be routed by device, location, time of day, date, and day of the week.
- No more short link free-for-alls: If your team is creating links willy-nilly just before the campaign launch, you may end up playing telephone tag with everyone creating slightly different tracking links. Your reporting could end up being scattered and disjointed, and a real headache to stitch together after the fact. Planning your links ahead of time and putting everyone on the same path ensures your analytics will be accurate and your insights will be clean.
- Keep your stats secure and private: Your data should be yours and yours alone. If you use the quick fix of a generic shortening platform such as Bitly, your click stats are open for all to see—including your competitors. Creating your links with a link management platform such as BL.INK ensures complete privacy, so no one can go in and snoop your stats.
- Short links are integral to the entire campaign; that means end-to-end tracking. Are your links feeding into your analytics platform? How about your other marketing automation tools, or your eCommerce system? This may not be easy to achieve: it will likely require API integration efforts from your engineers. But the payoff from those efforts can be massive since you’ll be able to track user behavior from the short link click straight through to the shopping cart and purchase (or whatever the intended behavior of your campaign).
By re-prioritizing links at the top of the to-do list for your next campaign, you’ll likely have better results. If you need some guidance, the BL.INK client success team is always here to help.