Will Blunt is the founder of Sidekick Digital by Will Blunt - B2B Marketing Expert - Sidekick Digital, a publishing business that launches, manages, and grows brands with content marketing.
Branding is more important than ever…It’s estimated that multi-platform brand consistency can increase revenue by 23% and it takes 5 to 7 impressions for people to remember your brand.In short, you need to generate brand visibility across multiple platforms to build trust and recognition with prospects.A small, but significant thing you can do to increase brand recall is to use a branded domain for your marketing campaigns.
What is a branded domain?
A branded (or custom) domain personalizes the web experience of your landing pages when using a third-party campaign builder. Instead of using the auto-generated domain that comes with the landing page software, you can verify and switch to a custom domain that aligns with your main website and other branding initiatives.For example, instead of sending prospects to a landing page like http://1.www.shortstack.com/your-campaign you could send them to http://yourbusiness.com/your-campaign.It sounds simple, but this subtle change could be critical to the success of your marketing efforts and long-term brand performance.So, beyond the obvious, why are branded domains important?
The Benefits of Using a Branded Domain
From a visual perspective, branded domains are attractive because they directly represent your business. However, the benefits go far beyond the superficial.Here are five benefits of using branded domains in marketing campaigns.
#1. Enhance your brand identity
Your domain name is part of your brand identity. Just like your logo, colors, and tagline, the domain name contributes to the overall branding experience and perception of your brand by people in the market.This is illuminated during a marketing campaign when a domain name is being shared on social networks and other channels extensively. Prospects are exposed to your domain in numerous settings and if it isn’t branded effectively, they won’t associate the marketing stimuli with your business.For example, if someone shares your contest landing page on Facebook that is created using ShortStack’s page builder, do you want them to see ShortStack’s domain in the link preview or yours?
Branded domain example on Facebook
#2. Build trust with prospects
81% of consumers need to trust a brand before buying from them…That’s hardly groundbreaking news, but it emphasizes the importance of trust signals in your marketing campaigns. On top of website and payment security, testimonials and recommendations, and numerous other social proof factors that build confidence, your domain name plays a key role in the trust equation.Think about it for a moment, are you likely to trust a brand you have only been exposed to once? Probably not. Branding is all about repetition, and by having your brand name in your domain it reinforces and contributes to the multi-platform experience customers are having.
#3. Improve search engine discoverability
With all the money you invest into a marketing campaign through paid advertising, collateral design, prizes, and more, wouldn’t it be nice to attract organic traffic to your landing page too?Well, it’s possible if you optimize your campaign for search engines. Just like you would a product page or blog post, you can optimize a campaign landing page with appropriate keywords and other technical SEO aspects so that it is discoverable on Google and other search engines.A branded domain name helps in this regard in two ways. Firstly, Google shows a preview of the URL when someone searches for a page. If this URL is something generic and unrelated to your brand, people will click on it less and it will eventually move down the search rankings where no one will find it.Another thing to consider is the likelihood of acquiring backlinks to your campaign landing page. Hyperlinks from other websites directing to your page, known as backlinks, are a primary factor in how Google ranks content in a search. By having a branded domain, it is easier for people to link to because it appears as a regular page on your website and not a generic URL string.
#4. Tap into processing fluency
It sounds like a fancy phrase, but the concept of “processing fluency” is fairly simple.Basically, if something is easier to understand it is more likely to entice action.See how Rand Fishkin explains the concept in this video:
What does this have to do with branded domains?
Branded domains are simpler to pronounce, more intuitive, and avoid unnecessary extras such as numbers and hyphens, making them easier to process for prospects. This increases trust, credibility, and the likelihood of them engaging with your campaign.#5. Unlock multi-channel advertising opportunitiesAssistants like Alexa and Siri are growing in popularity, which means that your customers are searching for information in new ways. In fact, almost 35% of the US population uses voice assistants to make searches.A branded domain is much easier to verbalize than an auto-generated URL, which unlocks opportunities for brand exposure in voice search, on podcasts, and in other audio-based formats.It really comes back to the concept of processing fluency discussed above. If your domain for a marketing campaign isn’t easy to articulate so that people can remember it and navigate to the landing page, you’re losing potential participants.
When setting up a marketing campaign with a landing page builder, your domain name may not be the first priority that comes to mind. With so many other important elements it’s easy to just roll with the unbranded domain and assume all will be ok.But in reality, an unbranded domain in a campaign can have long-term ill effects on your brand.For starters, those that are exposed to your landing page won’t associate it with your business. Meaning that you’ll lose out on vital branding opportunities. Or, if they do associate it with your business, it could have a negative impact on your brand, with complex or unbranded domains often appearing cheap or spammy.In the end, it’s not worth the risk. Plus the upside of creating a branded domain, for very little effort, is significant. It enhances your identity, builds trust, improves discoverability, entices action, and opens up new channels.Learn how to set up a custom (branded) domain with ShortStack here… it’s really simple!
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