7 Ways a Custom URL Shortener Can Improve Your MSP Marketing Efforts
Getting a custom URL shortener branded to your MSP can bring you numerous benefits. We’ll tell you how by telling you a bit more about URL shorteners, and how you can use them to your advantage.
What is a URL Shortener?
A URL shortener is an application that converts a normal URL into a condensed format. The application that you use creates a redirect - the specific type of redirect varying depending on the application that you use - between the normal URL and an abbreviated URL of much fewer characters. When a user goes to the condensed URL format either by clicking on it or typing it in, they will be redirected to the normal URL.
See the GIF below to see how it works using our own URL shortener:
You’ve probably seen some of these in action while browsing the Internet. Here are some frequently used ones that most people recognize:
While the above are all great options that your MSP can take advantage of, a better option would be to get your own URL shortener. Let us tell you why.
Reasons that Your MSP Should Get Your Own URL Shortener
1. Promote Your Brand, Not the Brand of the Link Shortener
When your MSP uses a URL shortener application like goo.gl or buff.ly, you are promoting the brand of Google and Buffer, respectively. As a small to medium-sized business, you should know how important branding is.
Using these instead of a URL shortener that is tied to your brand can dilute your brand over time.
2. Keep Things Short and Sweet
If you want to keep your links on brand, you may decide to forego a URL shortener altogether. The problem with this comes when you have to actually display the link you are sending people to: in many instances, it’s quite long!
Imagine trying to send people to one of your service pages from a postcard you mail out using the full URL to that page. They would have to type in your domain in addition to the specific path and page information. Depending on how nestled your page is in your menu, this link can get quite long! What incentive do they have to type it all in?
You could circumvent this by sending your postcard recipient to a landing page in which you specifically pick a short alias. This may be fine in some cases. However, now you have to take the time to create a landing page with a short alias for each and every page you’d want to send people to: service pages, to your deliverables, to your blogs. At a certain point, this stops making sense.
3. Increase Trust In Your Shortened Links
Tell me this: if you saw a bit.ly link on a flyer of a company that you were not familiar with, would you want to type in that link into your browser?
Generic short links should not be trusted because hackers and spammers can use them just as easily as the average person. You don’t know what the destination URL is. Those who keep up on technology news may be familiar with some of the following issues that plague URL shorteners:
- Abuse by Spammers - Spammers will attempt to use shortened URLs to get users to go to dangerous malware-infected websites. A shortened URL conceals the target address, and can be used to redirect those who choose to go to it to a potentially dangerous website. The short URL can allow blacklisted URLs to be accessed, bypassing site blocks and redirecting users to blacklisted scam pages or pages containing malware.
- Linkrot - If a link shortening service that you use stops working, all shortened URLs created using that service will be broken. This has already happened - a study in May 2012 showed that 61 percent of URL shorteners had shut down (614 out of 1002). This is because many of these companies did not have a sustainable long-term business model.
- Blocking and Banning - Some websites prevent short, redirected URLs from being posted due to concerns regarding unsafe links.
If you were already familiar with some of the above issues, chances are that your audience might be too, and they may be wary about heading to a shortened link that can be created by any person.
4. Pick a Clear Alias Every Time - Your Choice
Many URL shorteners will give you an alias with randomized characters that include capital letters, lowercase letters, and numbers unless you pay to have a custom alias. This can become a problem when you’re dealing with any non-digital marketing piece: depending on the type of font you use, it can be hard to tell certain characters apart! For example, a capital “I” might look similar to a lowercase “l” which might look similar to the number “1”.
If you decide to pay the fee to customize your URL, you now have to compete with everyone else who chose to do so. This means that the alias that you wanted to use might be taken by another person or company, forcing you to choose something else.
5. Track Metrics
URL shorteners allow you to track how many times that your shortened URL is visited, and often allows you to gather other information about its stats including the number of hits over a period of time, traffic location, and traffic sources. This insight can be used to form insights into the preferences and behaviors of your target audience, making it easier to optimize your MSP marketing efforts.
You can even go the extra mile and create shortened links for your campaigns. To do this, you can create a shortened URL for a longer URL that has campaign tracking features added in from whatever tool you use to do this (Google Analytics, our own Websight Tracker tool, etc.).
6. Drive Increased Levels of Traffic to Your MSP Website
Custom URL shorteners encourage people to feel safe about clicking on your link, allowing you to drive additional traffic to your website. In fact, according to Rebrandly, having one with your brand name rather than the URL shortener brand name can increase your link clicks up to 39 percent!
7. Use In Your MSP Marketing Efforts
Shortened URLs are great to use in just about any marketing your MSP plans to do. They can be used for:
- Direct Mail Pieces
- Social Media Posts
- Website Deliverables
- Vehicle Wraps
- Booth Displays
The versatility of shortened URLs makes them something worth investing in.
Get Your Own Custom URL Shortener Today!
Stop using generic link shorteners and get your own branded URL shortener to be used by your MSP only. The YOURLs Shortener is a link management application that allows you to not only shorten your URLs, but also customize them to your liking. Just pick and purchase the domain you want to use for your shortener, and for a small setup fee, we’ll apply the software to your website so you can redirect the right way!
Learn more by visiting our service page or give us a call at 888-546-4384.