I’ve been having a bad week as some people will know, today was always going to be the worst part and so it was that I was racing across Sheffield city centre to catch a train, because Mercedes of Sheffield couldn’t supply me with a courtesy car even though mine had been booked in since last week and I had to wait a week simply to get said car. I was therefore frustrated and in a hurry and as I was running through the city centre was accosted by a charity worker for SENSE, I wasn’t rude to her (I hope) but was quite keen to move and since the only way was to listen to her pitch and attempt to speed it up or physically pick her up I wasted a few moments chatting to her.
What is SENSE Tim?
glad you asked SENSE is the uk largest deaf blind charity (note no and) it’s dedicated to people who are both deaf and blind normally from birth it is an amazing charity and the work they do is vital to help give some hope to people who live in utter isolation caused by their own bodies. If you want to know more about what SENSE does I really suggest you check out their website sense.org.uk
So back to my day while I appreciate her enthusiasm her timing sucked so I cut her short and said very bluntly what’s the website address.
She looked blankly and said well Google SENSE but I think it’s .com (it’s not it’s sense.org.uk) anyway I dashed off but made a mental note to visit the site which I duly did while sitting on my train it’s pretty terrible and so I spent some time making notes which I will send them though I doubt anything will be implemented but the whole incident got me thinking.
How do you record an off-line campaign accurately?
The simplest and most obvious route is when handing out information use a separate domain name for all offline promotional info that redirects to your main site. It’s cheap to implement and assuming it’s just a top level domain name change not going to cause to much confusion. you see larger companies do this on TV adverts normally with the .tv version of their trading name. However lumping all the traffic from your campaign really doesn’t help you from an analytics side it also makes working out what promotion is working harder particularly as off line campaigns can have long lag times mail shots going astray for 5 weeks that old poster being seen in the railway station a year after it was put up. Getting any more detailed information and we are going to have to start going beyond domain names.
The problem is simple the longer the url the more typing the person needs to do the less likely they are to complete the whole url but give up and either go to the domain root or worse Google it. Yet to give each campaign a new domain would seem impractical for most businesses and a management nightmare.
Shorturl vs domain name
we are all familiar with the idea of using shorturls for social media campaigns where we are limited to a set number of characters but would they be usable for our offline campaigns.
Pros – Short equal less characters, hopefully means less likely to abandon type-in
cons – Any domain recognition goes out of the window, often short urls will use strange domain extensions and might prove hard to type in.
So the question is a potential customer more likely to type in:
www.mydomain.com/mytrackingurliscool or sen.se/wrt4
Well this afternoon I managed to convince a client to test it, here is the proposed plan.
3 separate mail shots each will include a unique shorturl for that mail shot (indeed we could go to that mail/poster etc) the shorturl domain is purchased and is 7 characters long including the dot. The domain root logs visit and redirects to the main site, the unique urls act like any normal domain shortner.
To test we will be split testing against long url equivalents though with an extra /m appended to the end for tracking purposes.
I will let you know the results but what do you think is this a good idea have you used such tactics? oh and if you happen to know anyone who was canvassing for SENSE in Sheffield today point them at this post and to the nice blonde lass I’m sorry if I was rude to you but I hope I have made up for it.