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Marketing URLs without www in print

I previously wrote about how  Internet addresses can help to promote our brands.  My main points in that post were that we are becoming more accustom to typing Internet addresses without www and that this behavior helps marketers to focus more on their brand. On printed materials this becomes more relevant today. As a basis for my points look at the construction of these two equivalent URLs:

www.mysite.com

mysite.com


Many marketers have already started to use the shorter format for publications and direct Internet addresses such as mysite.com/page.  If its not already your standard for URL publication it should be. Here’s why:

  1. It’s shorter. Shorter to read. Shorter to type. Shorter = easier. Shorter = simple.  Simple is better.
  2. www is not technically necessary. Www was originally setup for technical reasons and for consistency in URLs.  If it’s technically possible to work without the www, why include it?
  3. People speak without saying www.  Why? Its not natural. It takes longer to say it.
  4. The .com (or .extension) at the end of the characters signifies to the reader that it is an Internet address.
  5. The context of the message indicates to the reader that it is an Internet address.  Phrases such as “please visit” or “for more information visit” signify a location.
  6. The address bar in the browsers today is also a search engine entry point. Because of this, many Internet users don’t type a fully qualified URL because its not necessary.
  7. It puts the primary focus on your brand because the brand is the first element listed in the address instead of www.
  8. In print, marketers are often constrained for space. This could be due to physical limitations or cost implications. Less words helps to ease these issues.
  9. Remember when marketers told you to type “http://”? Why don’t they do that anymore?
  10. Omitting the www makes your web address feel more human and less techy.

In short, for print materials, I recommend to print the web address without http:// and www.   Focus on your site and brand.  Save the ink, and make better use of white space.  People see and know what you written based on context and the ending domain (.edu, .org, .com, etc.) There are some technical items to be aware of with this setup related to search engine rank and domain name resolution. So consult your network administrator and search marketer.

Combining digital and print media. Go Braves!

Baseball is one my favorite things in life. I played the game as a kid and now have the joy of watching my son grow-up playing the game as well. We also go watch baseball games several times each year including youth, collegiate, and professional levels. Braves Game Day

Each time we go to the Atlanta Braves games at Turner Field I’m always impressed with the customer focus and game day experience. I’ve previously written about the customer focus of the employees at Turner Field. On my last trip, I took notice of how they combine the use of digital and print media to both drive sales as well as educate their customers.

As fans enter the park, they are given a small print publication called “Game Day”. Atlanta Braves Game Day contains promotional materials for the Braves, stats and bios of the players, and a ballpark directory. Since the book is thin the amount of space given to any particular topic is limited. This is great because it forces the marketer to keep the message simple and on point. On the front of the booklet is the teams web address braves.com and then throughout the booklet are various additional addresses specific to the promotion or topic:

braves.com/phauction

braves.com/sideline

braves.com/tickets

braves.com/battingpractice

braves.com/birthday

braves.com/community

braves.com/bricks

braves.com/win

Game Day has several valuable marketing take aways for using digital and print media combined with a multi-channel strategy:

Use Internet addresses without ‘www’

I am a big proponent of printing web addresses without the ‘www’ because it shortens the print, makes it simpler to read, and draws more attention to the brand name. We come to a point now where when people see something like brandname.com they understand its an Internet address because of the .com suffix.  Make sure your web site will work with and without the ‘www’ prefix on the address.

Use Internet addresses with landing page designators for your target segment

OK, so creating customer segments is from marketing 101.  The job now is to create separate and distinct landing pages for each segment such as brandname.com/segment1. Doing this allows you to not only design a custom message for the target segment but to uniquely track the site usage through web analytics software. Designing landing pages is an Internet marketing topic unto itself. The basic principal is to make sure the call to action is clear and distinguishable. Don’t clutter the page with multiple options and distractions for your customer. Help them get to where you want them to be!

For the Braves they have created segments based on life events of their customers, baseball events with players, community service, etc. They are reaching people that want to watch baseball for the game as well as those that use baseball as more of a social event.

Use a multi-channel strategy to reach your audience

Multi-channel marketing offers the target segment more than one way to interact with a brand.  Certainly there are strategic considerations about how to message the target audience such as advertising in a single channel or multiple channels. The Braves are using the stadium, a printed brochure, and a web site to present messages to their fans. In addition to this, throughout the stadium and during the game, almost every written and audible advertisement has URLs with targeted landing pages. The messaging is clear and follows a consistent pattern of pointing customers to braves.com/keyword for information and ordering.

Use your main channel to sell and promote for future visits

Modern eCommerce sites always offer cross sell and upsell items for existing visit. But how do those brands promote future visits during your current session? The Braves use your current visit to show you things you could do on your next visit. Are you having a birthday? (we all do right?)You can get a free Braves ticket. Do you want to get on the field and watch the pros take batting practice? Do that by planning your next trip in advance and purchasing the extra ticket. Are you looking for seats with all-you-can eat food? Tickets for this type of experience are available for your next visit.

What’s your experience with marketing of professional sports as they compete for your entertainment dollar. Are there other lessons to be learned from this industry?