I think many of you know of URL Shortener services, like Bitly.com. They are definitely great tools to use when making a long URL link shorter and also have great tracking tools. You can see how many people click on the link, where they are coming from, etc. If you don’t use a service like this yet I would recommend that you start!
I use Bitly (bit.ly) – it’s free, easy to use, and has those great tracking tools. In marketing you really want to see what works best and then scale up from there, so knowing what and where clicks are coming from is great info.
NOW on to the topic of this email, branding your short URLs. A branded short domain is the domain that takes the place of the bit.ly domain name.
What that means is that instead of having all of your links look like this:
bit.ly/123ABC (bitly branded)
..you can have the URL look like this:
myclub.com/123ABC (your own brand)
Some practical examples – my website is louielavella.com and anytime I want to share my articles the links would look like this: “http://louielavella.com/advertise-to-your-email-list-on-facebook/” – kind of long, takes up valuable Twitter space, and not so easy on the eyes on a FB post.
Like many of the big companies out there using short URLS (Google = goo.gl; New York Times = nyti.ms; TechCrunch = tcrn.ch) I wanted one too! So I went out and bought lavel.la. This new shorter domain (spelling my last name… brilliant) was going to be used ONLY for my short URLs.
The cost of the new domain is $10 a year, and the use of Bitly is free. So this new marketing tool was super inexpensive.
That long URL from above quickly turns into http://lavel.la/1CEHnUO – pretty cool right?
1. Get yourself a free Bitly account – http://www.bit.ly
2. Click on your account name >> Settings
3. Click on the Advanced Tab.
4. Under Branded Short Domain, tell Bitly what your new short domain name is going to be.
5. Finally (and a bit advanced), Go back to the Domain Provider (where you bought your new domain, not Bitly and create a DNS record for your domain. Under DNS, change the A Record (www) to 126.96.36.199 and also add in your domain as well, and point it to those numbers. In laymans terms it is basically telling your domain provider to let Bitly use this domain
I know that last part sounds a tiny bit advanced, but it’s actually very very easy for someone that knows domains so perhaps forward the info to your web guy to quickly handle.
Now, when you want to post on Twitter or Facebook a link to an event or reservation page, be sure to use your own branded short URL.