Writer Wednesday: Using Bit.ly as part of your marketing campaign

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This is one of those posts I hate to write, because there’s probably other services people like better and I’m by no means an expert, and will cause eye rolling on the part of those uber-familiar with it. So this post is to other fellow authors who’ve never used bitly to help with tracking how their marketing and promotions are working, because I wish I’d thought to use them from the beginning.

So you non-eye rollers are probably familiar with them for its way of making your hyperlinks shorter, and that’s why I initially went there shortly after my book launched. I sent out a notice with those shortened links and didn’t think anything more of it. Then I went back again to get another link shortened and noticed the “Stats” button, and was like Whoa!

bitly_clicksIt not only tells you how many times someone’s clicked on it, but where. You can also break it down by day, if you want. Also, you can see which sites had folks clicking on the link.

So, how to use this effectively? I now use it anytime I’m promoting a link that I care to track, like links to buy sites, reviews, guest posts and the like, because these are stats I can’t get anywhere else. Anytime I’m posting on a site other than my blog (email, guest posts, facebook, twitter) I use these, so that I can track the effectiveness of my campaign.

The other thing it has, which I wish I’d seen before I made my postcards promoting my book, is a QR Code generator for each link! Print materials are so difficult to assess, but now you can use bitly to create your QR code and then track its effectiveness, cool huh?

I went so far as to have a QR code on mine (I also have them on my business cards), but alas, I created them without using bitly, so I have no way to see how many people scanned it. I know there are services out there that can generate your QR code and probably track it as well, but I like this because it’s part of the rest of my links.

Bonus tip: What if the QR code is to a link you already have in bitly but you want to track separately? Here’s a coding trick: You can add extra stuff to the end of your URL and it won’t affect the page being pulled up. Just do this, at the end of the URL add:

?campaign=pcard

Or whatever will distinguish it for you. Be careful though. Check the URL string for ?. If there’s already one in there, then at the end do this instead:

&campaign=pcard

Just remember that this is visible to your reader, so don’t make it offensive (unless that’s part of your brand).

Do you use bitly or another service? If you know of a better service, or even a blog post that explains this better than me, please comment! I’m all about sharing the knowledge we accumulate!

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14 Comments

  1. I’ve used http://is.gd for links because I can get similar stats, altho it does give pie charts so far as I know. It does make QR codes. And I like the theme of the site they use. It’s nice to have tools like this. Thanks for sharing the details. No eye rolling here. Just a 😉

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  2. I’m facinated, by this. I’m about to order new business cards and with three books coming out this year, I need all the help I can get.

    Reply
  3. I’ve used bitly before to shorten links, and knew (vaguely) there were stats attached, but hadn’t really looked into it. Thanks for the info…

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  4. That’s interesting, Angela! I’d be interested to know how to read the little graphs.

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  5. That is way cool! I’ve seen this around on people’s sites, but had no idea what it was. I still don’t understand it completely, lol . . . but I’m gonna look into it:-)

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  6. Wow great information for down the road when my book is published. I’m going to reblog this post. I doubt anybody new will read it but hey you never know. Thanks, Angela 🙂

    Reply
  7. Reblogged this on C. K. Crouch and commented:
    Great post for even those of us that are not yet published.

    Reply
  8. Hi Angela! Wanted to thank you for this post. I learned a lot and have implemented Bit.ly for all my buy links and website links. Now when I do guest blogs, I’ll be able to see what kind of response I get from who clicks to one of my sites through that blogger. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes, but it was a breeze to set this up.

    I just did up a marketing&promo word doc with all the buy links made up how I like them to appear and when I write a guest post, I link to my website and blog with the bitly link instead of the regular hyperlink. Thanks so much for the info. I had no idea this even existed!

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