Using URLs in ads

Most marketers include phone numbers in their ads. It’s intuitive to do so and appeals to that most primal of all marketing urges – the desire for an immediate phone call in response to an ad exposure. But, as readers of this blog know, the process of earning new customers usually involves multiple steps between the initial exposure and the first transaction. One of the most important stops along the way occurs when someone is encouraged to visit your website for more information. While it’s not unusual to see URL’s in advertisements these days, it is still fairly common to see basic formatting mistakes that can make it difficult for interested consumers to note the address. Here are a couple of very simple guidelines to keep in mind when placing URL’s in your advertisements:

  • Do not use all caps to display your URL. Despite the fact that it looks bad, it’s also harder to read and generally looks unsophisticated.
  • It’s okay to skip the “www” part if you want a cleaner look. Most people get that URL’s begin with “www” and most browsers navigate to the right place without it anyway. If you want to get picky about it a full URL includes the whole “http://” thing as well but you hardly see that anymore do you?
  • Use capitalization or other font treatments to seperate words. Unless you are lucky enough to have an address like, you probably have several words in your URL. It’s asking a bit much to expect drivers passing a billboard at 65mph to decipher:

But if you capitalize you end up with a much easier to read:

Different colors or other font treatments also work well:

  • When you include a URL in an advertisement, make sure that the landing page is strategically relevant to the ad. If someone sees your ad offering “buy-one-get-one-free cheeseburgers” and then types in the URL to find out more, they should be taken to a page with information on that offer. Don’t just send people to your homepage and expect them to dig around. Again, sounds simple but lots of businesses still get this wrong.
  • Simplify, simplify, simplify. Once you start adding a bunch of forward slashes to your landing page address you might as well forget it. Nobody’s going to hear this on the radio and recall it later that night after dinner:

Using subdomains is a better option:

Campaign Specific URL’s are even better still:

If you really want to use your homepage as the landing page for an offer make sure you include a button, banner, or other link that is prominently featured and will take your visitors where they need to go.

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