In today’s digital world, social media marketing is one of the best ways to promote your business and make it stand out. However, reaching potential customers is not always easy, and creating great content is only half the battle you have to win. No matter how much effort you put into making your content engaging and user-friendly, it all comes down to a click. If the target audience doesn’t click on your link, the time and effort you’ve invested become useless.
So, when you share your content online, remember that everything from the headline and feature image to the URL should be optimized. Convincing people to click on a long and unruly link is difficult. Using URL shorteners is a simple way to create short and easy-to-manage links that people want to engage with. A link can be more than a random series of numbers and letters leading you to an obscure place on the internet. It can become a critical tool for your business and brand that helps you boost your SEO and increase traffic to your online platforms, as well as build trust, brand recognition, and awareness.
From influencers to business owners, if you want to connect and engage your potential customers online, and draw people to your product or service, using a URL shortener is a must. In this article, we break down how the URL shorteners work, what benefits they can bring to your business, and the ways they can help you drive the maximum traffic to your website.
What Is a URL Shortener?
A URL shortener is a tool that reduces the length of your URL. It generates a custom link that sends traffic to your website and has significantly fewer characters than a traditional link. URL shorteners not only minimize the web page address into something that’s easier to remember but they also allow you to track link performance, giving marketers useful data on who clicks your links and where that traffic comes from.
How Does It Work?
The way URL shorteners work is based on redirecting the traffic. When you input your lengthy URL into a URL shortener, it generates a shorter link that, when clicked on, gets the user to the same destination as the long link.
To generate a short URL, you start by entering the long link on the shortener’s web page. That link gets sent to the server that validates it and stores the longer URL in a database. Next, it generates a unique hash code and returns it in the form of a short URL.
What Are Branded Short Links?
Branded short links are shortened URLs that contain the name of your brand, company or product. These short links are easier to remember and they increase brand visibility and boost brand recognition.
Benefits of Using a Link Shortener and Branded Links
There are many good reasons to use a link shortener and branded links in your content marketing strategy. Here are some of them.
1. Facilitate Link Sharing
By making your URLs shorter and avoiding irrelevant and random characters, they become esthetically more pleasing and easier to share. When the URL of your website is long and complicated, it might look like a spam message and keep people from sending it to someone else. Long, messy, and unclear links raise doubts about their credibility. In turn, shorter URLs encourage users to share information about your product with other people who could eventually become your clients.
2. Increase Click-Through Rates With Branded Links
A branded link shortener can turn a long and unappealing URL into a recognizable one by including the name of your business or product. Branded short links not only increase brand recognition and visibility but also can improve your CTR by 34% on average. A branded link instills trust as it shows your potential customers where you are leading them, which makes them more likely to click. For example: Nonprofits can experiment with adding custom back halves like “/donate” or “/volunteers,” while a finance company could try “/invest” or “/banking.
3. Build Trust and Credibility
The internet can be a scary place. When it comes to customers trying to navigate the complex world of eCommerce websites and online shops, safety is everything. Using branded short links will help you build consumer trust and improve the credibility of your links. A branded link will help users recognize your business as it looks more trustworthy than a general link. This is especially important as people get more conscious about their internet security and avoid clicking links that look suspicious.
4. Get Analytics
One of the most useful features that URL shorteners offer to marketers is the opportunity to track link clicks, locations, channels and other user data. It can help you understand more about your audience, customers and the way they engage with your content. These insights will be useful if you want to adjust your social media marketing strategies based on what works best for your audience.
5. Stand Out From Your Competitors
The internet is a crowded space and it can be hard to gain visibility and stand out from the crowd. You need to use every strategy that can help separate your brand from the others, even if it’s such a subtle detail of your marketing campaign as a URL. While links with many letters and numbers look boring and unprofessional, customized URLs will look more presentable, attract the attention of your audience and, if used consistently, become recognizable. Several major media companies use branded URLs when sharing links, for example New York Times uses nyti.ms while Netflix shortens their links to movi.es.
6. Improved SEO
It is important to remember that URLs carry qualities that are influencing the ranking of your website. For instance, if you include a targeted keyword in your URL slug, Google will rank it better as it gives the readers a better idea of the content of your page. To choose the right keywords, you can use tools like Google AdWords Keyword Tool, SEMrush and more.
7. Better Manage Your Links
Marketers often have to deal with managing multiple links and that can become a daunting task. By using an URL shortener, you’ll be able to effortlessly manage all your links in one place, making it easier to keep track of your campaigns and their success.
8. Improve Your Social Posts
Social media is all about speed and convenience. When browsing the internet, the audience’s attention span is low and nobody wants to read long posts. Therefore, the content you post has to catch the reader’s attention and spark interest immediately. Using shortened links will make your posts look more appealing and help you not to waste characters, making a huge difference in how your audience perceives your messages.
URL Shortening Use Cases
From branding to analytics: There are many ways marketers can use short URLs for their benefit. Here are some examples to get you started.
1. Branding Online
Whether you’re working with your personal brand or a business brand, it is crucial to know how to represent it online. By using your brand name on all links that you share, you will improve brand awareness among your followers and customers. For example, amzn.to is the chosen short URL of Amazon.
2. Social Media
Nowadays, every digital marketing strategy entails the use of social networks as they offer great potential for brand promotion. Thus, it is important that your social media pages look professional and reinforce your brand image. By using branded short links in your bio, posts and social images across channels, you will be able to ensure consistency of your messaging and improve brand awareness.
For example, use branded short links in your Instagram bio to let people know where your bio link will send them. This way your audience will be assured that they will be taken to your website, and will click without any doubts.
3. QR Code Marketing
QR codes can provide a powerful way to amplify your company’s message and attract people’s attention. For example, you can print QR codes on physical products like cosmetics or accessories to share your brand’s story and connect the buyers with your digital platforms. By sharing personal messages through product labels you can improve customer retail experience and increase sales.
URL shorteners that allow you to create QR codes from your short links, will also give you access to scan statistics so you can analyze the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Moreover, QR code marketing will help you ensure your offline content stays up to date when you use link redirection.
4. SMS Marketing
People read their text messages more often than emails, which has made SMS marketing an effective way for companies to directly connect with their target audiences and grab their attention.
The main goal of any SMS marketing campaign is to get clicks on the main Call To Action so mobile users go to your website and convert. By using long and unruly links, you will lose your customer’s interest and compromise your chances of people clicking through. Instead, shortened links in your SMS will make your messages look more appealing and trustworthy.
Influencer and affiliate marketing has been around for a while and is a common strategy for brands to gain additional exposure among their target audiences. When you partner with a person or another brand, you might provide them with a link to a dedicated campaign landing page. By using a custom link that includes your company or product name, you will not only look more professional but also ensure that the audience notices the cooperation even before they click on the link.
For example, you can add links to your stories by using Instagram’s clickable link sticker.
6. Campaign Analytics
URL shorteners are great digital marketing tools that can support your multichannel campaigns, A/B testing, and mobile marketing as they allow you to easily gather campaign analytics. Using this data allows marketers to better optimize their campaigns based on what content works and doesn’t work for their target audience.
How To Choose The Right URL Shortener For Your Business?
With plenty of different link shortening tools and services out there, how do you choose the best one that fits the needs of your business? There is no one simple answer, however, there are a few factors you can consider when making the decision.
Your situation – start by understanding where your business stands and what needs it has. Ask yourself questions like: How many links and clicks are we generating? What’s the size of our budget? What’s the size of the team? Why do we need a URL shortener?
Features – evaluate what the URL shortener is offering and which features are the most important for your business. For example, some of the features to look out for are unlimited links, editable shortened links, QR code generator, password protected links and many more. Pay attention to what they offer for free.
Price – for some advanced features you might need to pay. Consider what paid offerings the tool has, and how they compare with other URL shorteners.
Customer base – explore how many customers the link shortener has. Do they have customer reviews available on their website? Are there well-known brands that are using this service already?
Link branding – how easy is it to customize your domain and make branded short links?
Whether you’re a small business owner, influencer or established entrepreneur, the way customers view your brand online can directly affect your business goals. By using short, attractive and recognizable URLs, you can improve your digital marketing campaigns and stand out from your competitors. Not only are the short URLs easier to remember, they are also convenient to share with others, they help you track link click statistics and analyze the visitors’ flow on your website. All these benefits make link shorteners an invaluable part of any successful brand’s marketing efforts.