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October 8, 2013

Measure your marketing for a competitive advantage… a neat little trick (and it’s free)

Bit.ly_LogoMeasuring your marketing effort is critical to your success.  When you measure, you learn what works and what doesn’t… and from that, can create a process for continual improvement.

Sometimes, the measurement requires some good ol’ nose-to-the-grindstone effort.  And other times, some really smart people create easy-to-use tools that make the job a whole lot easier.  Here’s one of them.

We’ve all used a service like bitly to create shortened versions of very long URLs.  It can be a very useful tool.

But did you know that bitly also provides a very easy way to help you track your marketing tactics?  Here’s an example of how it works…

We recently launched a marketing workshop.  To generate registrations, we promoted it in a number of places… email, different social media platforms, online ads, etc. – more than a dozen places in all.  And each of these promotional sites linked to the workshop landing page.  The trouble is, every unique URL can only generate one shortened bitly link… and if you use the same link for all marketing avenues, you’ll never know which ones worked (or didn’t).

For example, the URL for the workshop is  Type it into the bitly site and it returns

But thanks to a neat little text widget (“?src=source”) added at the end of the URL, you can create a unique bitly link for each ‘source.’  For example, my source URL for Twitter was which then returned

Bitly also provides an easy-to-use dashboard so I can easily scroll through all of my links to get a real-time count for how many times each source-specific bitly link was used.  So now I know how many people linked from my Tweet about the workshop vs. the first email vs. the second email vs. each banner ad… and so on and so on.  Exactly what I wanted to know.

It’s easy, very effective and doesn’t cost a dime.  Thank you, bitly.

As you’re deciding which online marketing initiatives to use (or test), make sure to include a simple tool like the bitly links to help you accurately measure.  The more your measure and learn, the better you’ll become at marketing… giving you a competitive advantage in a marketplace where measurement is often not done.


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