A primary goal in all your online marketing initiatives should be to make it easy—not tricky—for your customers and other interested parties to connect with your organization. Which is why I was shocked to come across an advertisement in Car and Driver magazine for Purolator oil and air filters. At the bottom of the full-page ad for was this sentence:
Save up to $6 by logging on to www.purolatorautofilters.net/Pages/PromoA.aspx
Seriously? How many people will type in that URL? And what percentage of people who try will make a spelling error that will prove fatal, such as typing “.com” instead of “.net,” or “.asp” instead of “.aspx?”
A better way for Purolator to have handled this would be to use a simplified URL such as http://www.purolatorautofilters.net/cd (to indicate the campaign source as Car and Driver). I’m guessing there were minor technical issues that made it easier for Purolator to implement it the way they did, but that’s not the point: they should do the extra work to make it easier for their customers, not make their customers do extra work.
Another approach to shorter, easier to use URLs is using one of the many free online shortcut URL services, such as tinyurl.com, budurl.com, or bit.ly. Using budurl, for instance, the long Purolator URL would become a much more manageable budurl.com/7xux. Moreover, these shortcut URLs mask bizarre or hard to spell company names. Another key advantage of these short URLs is that they’re easy for your customers to spread virally, such as in Twitter updates, in emails, or in status updates on Facebook or LinkedIn.
Help your customers help you!