Intelligent Links: More Than Just Smart, They’re Genius

Pad Thai

 

In an Internet-driven, highly-connected world, there’s so much repetition and competition that it’s hard to stand out.

If a person knows nothing about you, and their first interaction with you is a hyperlink, can you stand out from the first click? If your paying customers have a half-dozen other options available at the touch of a finger, can you guarantee that their experience is so intuitive and easy that they’ll never click away?

The short answer is yes, of course, but the reality is always more complex. It takes loads of work, testing, trying and re-trying to make sure that what you have to offer can not only be found, but loved.

And the other reality is that every subtle investment you make to create a smoother, happier experience for the people who want to give you money will not only pay dividends, it’ll build relationships and bolster your brand.

What could that possibly have to do with intelligent links? And what makes intelligent links so special, anyway? Well, thanks for asking, ‘cause we’ve got answers.

Short links are highly useful, but they’re not always intelligent.

A short link is just that: A condensed URL that’s easy to share and doesn’t make you seem like you’re channeling the ghosts of 1997.

Today, short links can be branded to represent who you are and where the link is taking customers. Short links make reporting and tracking a whole lot easier, too, in that you don’t get bogged down in line after line of unintelligible letters and numbers.

Some short links are intelligent, but not all. The standard dumb short link goes straight from Point A to Point B without asking who, what, when, where, or why.

Intelligent links, on the other hand, go from A to B, but it might perform a service or intuitively redirect to C, D, or maybe E, depending on who’s clicking, what they need, and where you want customers to go.

 

Care for an example to illustrate?

 

You are the proud proprietor of a cooking blog. You dish up the most mouth-watering recipes every day, and your readers gobble them up. So, every morning, you promote your latest iteration of Pad Thai or Chicken Gumbo on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Every morning, there’s a new link to a new recipe.

Of course, Pad Thai and Chicken Gumbo are loved around the world, and some of your recipes require special tools or unique ingredients, just the type of thing the Internet is good at providing at the click of a link. But most people want to be sure that when they order something online, it is from a site they trust that accepts their currency and shows up quickly.

Sending your loyal international fans to your favorite, local ecommerce provider doesn’t keep them loyal for long. Intelligent links instantly recognize that a reader in Bordeaux doesn’t want to order fish sauce from San Francisco, and send them instead to their local Asian food website.  

 

Intelligent links help solve problems.

Fragmentation. Its very mention makes online marketers break out in a cold sweat.

Fragmentation is at the heart of two of the most significant challenges that almost all marketers face: lost sales and missed opportunities. If you think of every click as an opportunity to make a sale, get exposure, build customer relationships, and showcase your brand, you come to realize that fragmentation can pose a tremendous threat. But, never fear! Intelligent links are your armory of customizable capabilities and performance optimization opportunities.

Here’s a look at the tools and services intelligent links offer to help you avoid losing sales:

  • Custom Targeting

Using Intelligent Link targeting, you can cater to 100% of your audience by creating a customized experience for each person, based on their wants, needs, history, language and location.

  • Automatic Translation

Nobody wants to feel left out because they don’t speak your language, and you don’t want them to click away because they don’t understand you. Automatic link translation creates localized links in the blink of an eye, creating a better experience for your customer and saving you time and money.

  • User-Picked Destinations  

Got a few options for your customers? With an optimized landing page, you can offer anyone clicking your links to choose the destination that suits them the best and helps you close the sale.

  • Link Affiliation

If you’re given the chance to sell a couple more books or albums, take it! Use affiliate links to direct traffic to Amazon, create new revenue streams, and get insight that you can’t get elsewhere.

  • A/B Testing

Split testing allows you to methodically figure out what destination best suits your customers’ needs, all through a single link for ease of reporting and analysis. Knowledge is power!

Avoiding missed opportunities can prove even trickier than preventing lost sales. With the right tools, you can capture your customers’ interests and cater to your entire audience.

  • Retargeting

Introduce new products or services to customers who already know and love you. They’ll never miss out on your next great thing and you’ll be assured that you’ve made the most of your marketing efforts.

  • Editing

Your latest campaign is launched and the link love has been spread far and wide. But, there’s been a last-minute edit and you need to update the destination link. Intelligent Links let you simply edit on the backend, rather than wasting time and resources (and losing face) by changing all the customer-facing materials.

  • Mobile Deep Linking

You’ve dropped huge coin to create a kickass app. It looks fantastic, runs like a dream, and embodies everything you want your brand or product or band to be. So if you’re promoting your latest and greatest thing on Instagram and a customer has your app installed, Intelligent Links will open the destination in the app, no running around or questions asked.

 

Let’s name names: Who does NOT offer intelligent links?

Truly intelligent links that offer services and solve problems are a relatively new phenomenon. Most link shorteners do exactly that and nothing else. We’ve compiled a list of popular, but “dumb”, link shorteners to give you concrete examples of what is not an intelligent link.

 

  • TinyURL
    They make URLs tiny, but that’s it!
  • Ow.ly & Hootsuite
    Ow.ly is essentially the same service as TinyURL, and Hootsuite is the bigger brother that offers analytics – but only analytics – of your shortened links. Useful, maybe, but not intelligent.
  • Goo.gl
    The power of mighty Google is attractive, but there’s nothing superior about their link shortener. It’s entirely static, meaning that it always sends users to the exact same destination and generates the exact same reporting.
  • TinyCC
    Another service that offers static links, regardless of who’s clicking or where they are in the world.
  • Bitly
    Ah, the 800-pound gorilla of the link services world. Their bread-and-butter is shortened dumb links that always drive to the same destination. To muddy the waters, if you’re using the free version and you build a link to the same end destination as another free user, you can’t separate out whose traffic is whose in analytics. They’ve recently rolled out link editing and mobile deep linking in their expensive monthly plan, but the functionality is limited and is only a small bit of the Bitly brand.

Intelligent links are the future.

So all of this highly intuitive tech may seem unfamiliar, or even unnecessary. But think back to the Internet of ten or fifteen years ago: we dialed up, checked email, maybe read a few headlines that each took minutes to load, and logged off. Anything beyond that seemed like overkill – but not to the visionaries who foresaw the possibility of what the Internet could become and how it could revolutionize our lives.

Today, we not only expect content to load instantly, we want the destination to know who we are, where we are, and what we want. Your customers may not recognize it yet, but the services you’re providing them now via intelligent links will be standard and expected in just a few years. That’s why intelligent links are so vitally important to both business and life today.

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