Wednesday is for Writers: Christian Lee discusses using short links for marketing

Wednesday is for Writers

Any time I hear someone say “less is more”, I tend to roll my eyes and think that he has never munched on a good steak or had a few bucks in his pocket. The whole concept just sounds ridiculous, but it holds true in certain areas. One of these areas is that of book promotion.

When promoting my own book idea, Sealed, I like to use shortened links. There are several reasons why I like shortened links, but first let me answer a question that you may have: What is a shortened link? Let’s take an Amazon link, for instance. It will usually look something like the link to Wade Fransson’s first book, People of the Sign:
http://www.amazon.com/The-People-Sign-Wade-Fransson/dp/0984693807
That’s sixty-five whole characters, and a lot of Amazon links are even longer! If you used a link shortening service like Bitly, you end up with something like this:
http://amzn.to/1AWaulX
Click on both links. They take you to the same place, right?

The first reason I use shortened links is by far the least important. Let’s face it. Would you rather weigh five hundred pounds or two hundred? When it comes to body weight and links, less definitely is more. A shortened link just looks a lot nicer. Not only that, but it shows that you cared enough to take the extra thirty seconds to shorten the link. That extra effort will be noted by people in the publishing industry. It won’t land you a publishing contract, but it will at least show them that you’re not as lazy as some.

I also use shortened links as they allow me to write more in tweets. Twitter is my best friend. I have over fifty accounts with my main account having over seven thousand followers and love it! You only have a tiny number of characters to use in a tweet anyways. Why waste half of them on a link if you don’t have to? It’s the difference between: “Great book by @wfransson” and “How does the World Wide Church of God and the Beatles fit together?” Which of the two descriptions of a link is going to make you want to click it? Most likely it’ll be the second one.

The third reason I have for using shortened links is by far the most important. You can track clicks on shortened links. This is invaluable in determining which marketing efforts pay off more. For instance, you could use one link for your posts to Facebook and another for your tweets. At the end of the week, you could determine which platform gets you more traffic. You could also use different links at different times of the day, which would help you to see which times are the best.

While I’d still pick a huge filet mignon over a tiny sirloin or a briefcase of hundred dollar bills that Donald Trump dropped, I’d definitely pick a tiny, little shortened link over a normal, enormous one. Two of the reasons are obvious: shortened links look nicer and leave more space for enticing description. The last reason is much more important. Any successful marketer of books or anything else will instantly see that in the case of links, less is more.

Christian Lee, SOOP contributor

Christian Lee @BasilicaCEO

 

Christian Lee  @BasilicaCEO  Christian Lee is the Founder and CEO of Basilica Press, a free author platform building service, and a social media manager for authors and publishers.

Comments

  1. Agreed. I use link shorteners as well. That said, I do so with some caveats:

    1. Will the shortened link be permanent? It’s a big issue if you use a shortened link in an ebook that may be read some years later. That link is at the mercy of the link shortening services and whether they will still be in business some time from now. Broken links can turn off readers, and it’s an issue I’ve debated with myself.

    2. How secure is the shortened link? There have been many cases in which unscrupulous individuals, including hackers and criminals perpetrating phishing scams, post tweets and links in social media that use shortened links that when clicked, either launch a malicious download or take the visitor to a site that imitates a bank or business, but is actually designed to steal personal information. Larger services such as bit.ly or Google have methods to protect against this, but the very fact that it happens often makes the public reticent about clicking on a shortened link.

    Much as I love them, I am in a quandary about using shortened links for this reason with my marketing or in the text of an ebook.

    I would love your thoughts in response. Thanks.

    • I agree with posting shortened links, but like Brian, I have also questioned the security and the permanence of shortened links. For the same reasons, I only use them in social media – and not always.

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