Web links are a bit like the branches of a tree, with each branch leading to yet another. However, links have evolved from simply branches of basic information to intricate webs of data, and their benefits are growing. Link tracking, the ability to monitor link hits and the popularity of your links, is important when using content to support marketing and sales communications.
I recently drafted an email on treasury management intelligence, offering my research and reporting services at an upcoming conference. What began as a simple self-promotional email turned into an informative, multipurpose article when I added links to the research reports and articles used in creating the initial offer.
When someone clicks on a link, bit.ly records the hit. We don’t know who clicked, but we do know someone clicked, which indicates whether that link is of interest. This is especially useful for samples of our work or references to other websites that we link in Outlook emails.
The bit.ly links I included in our article linked to quite a few external web pages and research articles, both to back up the statements in the article and to provide links to research reports of interest to the target audience. With the added bonus of link tracking, I realized I could leverage my links within the article to provide perceived value and the potential for a lot more information, and in a small amount of space.
Bit.ly also shortens links. The service lets you enter a long web address and create a short version. Shortened web addresses are required for social media services where the number of characters in a message is limited, both by the service and by social media messaging convention.
Hypertext links serve to provide additional detail to an otherwise quick read and serve the same purpose as footnotes in crediting original sources and providing credibility. Using links in marketing and sales promotions emails also makes your offer as valuable for the information it contains as for the offer itself.