How to use branded links in your marketing campaigns
How links affect online and offline marketing
Marketing is all about getting people from point A to point B, where A is minding their own business and B is buying your product or service. And those people have a limited attention span for ads. If they have an interest, it will be brief, and every second of friction is a chance to get bored or frustrated and give up. Whether someone encounters your marketing online or in the real world, you want to get them to engage with your brand ASAP. And how do you do that? What’s the missing link?
Links, of course! If someone sees a banner ad, they click and it takes them right where they’re going – the actual link is hidden. On Instagram and Twitter, you have to show your link – visitors will still click it, but most short links are forgettable: a bunch of random character strings. Wouldn’t it be great if your links contained messages and your brand? That way, your audience would better understand where they’re going when they click on your link. And wherever they find your link (which has real words and your brand) – on a flyer, a billboard, or on a TV ad – it’ll be easier to remember that link because it actually means something.
Why branded links can do “double duty”: create great marketing messages and unforgettable brand impressions
Since links are so important, how do you ensure they’re working their hardest for your brand? Easy. Branded links using real words always explain where the visitor will go, so a visitor knows what to expect. And since you have precious few characters to work with in most marketing scenarios, you should use every bit of space to reinforce your brand and key messages: branded short links using real words have proven to drive more clicks.
Let’s explore some of the best ways to use these types of links in your marketing campaigns:
Make it your brand name, but better
Brevity is the soul of advertising. Take your www.Specialagency.com/great-idea/ and turn it into special.agency/great-idea. Your brand name is even more memorable and it’s easier to say out loud. The key things are to keep it meaningful, memorable, “speakable”, and readable.
Don’t just think of branded short links as preserving your brand only – think about how they’ll look on a business card, a brochure, or in an ad. Think about the impression it creates on a big billboard – will someone driving 60 MPH remember the URL? Or what about your good old-fashioned TV announcer talking about it. “Get yours at ‘www dot special dot agency today!”
Here are just a few of the creative top-level domains (the names to the right of the dot) you can use to get going:
There are top-level domains for every kind of company, including yours, plus other clever ways to rep your brand. For example:
- Patagonia uses pat.ag
- Airbnb uses abnb.co
- Gulfstream Aerospace uses glf.aero
- Tech YouTuber and BL.INK Advisor Steph Carls uses savvy.life
Create different extensions for different marketing efforts
The old saw, “context is all” is more than true than ever with digital marketing and advertising. The best part of branded short links is that you can use a variety of different domains to pair with your brand, to create links that are context-appropriate.
Take the example of Amazon. They use Amazon.work for their employee portal, amazon.kitchen for their kitchen store, amazon.photography for their photo section, and amazon.style for their fashion section.
The possibilities multiply once you stop limiting yourself to “.com” in your marketing efforts.
Track and compare your links’ effectiveness
Any marketer knows how important it is to track campaign performance. Branded links present a strong, quantifiable opportunity: not only are they more meaningful and memorable, but also measurable. And with branded links, you can hide the unpleasant-looking parameters that follow the URL for marketing campaigns. In BL.INK, you can configure each marketing campaign link to have an Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) so that when you’re gauging performance in other marketing analytics platforms, such as Google Analytics, you can tell if a visitor to your site came from one campaign vs. another.
For example, you might have a link with UTM parameters that reads: “www.mydomain.com/campaign#143532423452516jlllii#1dd=yeahsure,” which is great for tracking, but the link is ugly and forgettable!
Compare that with “domain.agency/summer-giveaway.”
When you create branded links in BL.INK, you don’t have to sacrifice the visitor experience in order to attain meaningful campaign data. In addition to better-looking links, you can measure the performance of your campaigns right within BL.INK, instead of having to track each link through multiple platforms. This allows marketers to spot trends and get insights faster.
Create trackable branded links in BL.INK
BL.INK lets you add lots of different branded domains and allows you to customize UTM codes at the link level. You can manage your branded links and measure their performance all in the same place. You can even measure the performance of offline campaigns by embedding UTMs into the links you use on TV ads and printed materials. If any customers come directly from these sources, you can easily and correctly attribute them. The only limit is your creativity!
Time to Link Smarter
Branded links help reinforce your brand wherever you use them. They’ve proven to drive greater engagement because they help set expectations and trust for users. By using branded short links with real words, your marketing campaigns will take off in no time.