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!
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:
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:
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!