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Domain Names Used to Track How You Sell Your Products

Domain Names Used to Track How You Sell Your Products daily-golden-nugget-1089-50
Over the last three days, I've given you some specific marketing tactics that, as a whole, would equate to a large marketing campaign for the holiday season. I began with a discussion on choosing the right products for the campaign, then explained how to plan your offline ads, and yesterday I shared ideas for online social marketing.

Next week, I'm going to explain where you should be looking in Google Analytics to track the results of all that marketing, but before we get to that, I need to explain how you need to set up your tracking.

It's really important to track your efforts of all your marketing. Years ago, you would simply pay for advertising with the hope of some type of return, but not anymore. There are so many advertising options today that it doesn't make sense to randomly run an ad without tracking it somehow.

Without tracking, you are simply wasting your money with advertising guesses. You can learn and improve your future ROI when you correctly track each of your current ads.

Throughout each of the last three Nuggets, I referred a lot to using multiple domain names along with the built in ability for Google Analytics to track UTM variables.

I'll explain how I use domain names today, and I'll dive into the UTM tracking variables on Monday (tomorrow is the Friday review).

What you'll find below is my suggestion of purchasing multiple domain names and using them throughout different ads. This might seem quite expensive, but think of it as a necessary cost that helps you save large amounts of advertising costs in the future.

I do not recommend that you register your domain names through Network Solutions, Enom, or MelbornIT. I've had bad experience with their technical support. In fact, I'd rather you register your domain names through GoDaddy or one of their resellers because there's also a built-in GoDaddy feature that's going to be a critical part of the tracking I'm about to explain.

The first thing you need to do is determine how many offline ads you will be running. You'll need to count up the ads, not the medium. So, for example, if you are running 4 weeks of newspaper ads then you'll have 4 ads. A billboard in one location would be 1 additional ad, but two billboards would be 2 additional ads. TV commercial? I'll count that as 1 ad. How many direct mail ads are you running? Count those up. Shopping cart, church bulletin, and newspapers in other regions... count them all up!

During the non-holiday season I would recommend having 1 domain name dedicated to each of your offline ads, but the number of ads could easily jump up to 20 or more during the holiday season. That's quite a lot of domain names and we could save some registration money by overlapping how we use them. However, pinching a few pennies on domain name registrations translates into more complicated reporting.

Just so you know, my experience is that the more complicated reporting always costs more money than the domain names.

For simplicity sake, I'll say that you have 6 weeks of ads and 1 direct mailer. That's 7 extra domain names that you would register and use in those 7 ads. The idea here is similar to tracking ads with different telephone numbers, in that you would know what ad a person was looking at based on the telephone number they called.

With telephone number tracking, it didn't matter what the phone number was since people were just reading it from the ad, but with domain names, you're sure to roil your branding a little bit by using anything but your primary domain.

A few years ago it was popular to register domains with specific keywords, but now Google penalizes you if you are too aggressive with that approach. Examples of keyword specific domains include,,, and

Instead of keyword domains, try to come up with a few phrases that help to maintain your branding.

Here's how I might morph my domain name

3. (this alliteration only works for a pearl ad)

The last one,, will be reserved for the direct mailing. Let's assume that someone reading their mail isn't sitting at their computer, but they probably have a smartphone in their pocket. Your postcard could have a QR code on it along with the invitation to "visit" is a much shorter variation of the domain name, but if you are worried that they won't understand ".mobi" then you can also use the ".us" domain extension.

The other 6 domain names would each have their turn in the weekly newspaper ads. One domain for each ad.

Using the built-in domain "Forwarding" feature in GoDaddy, I then set up each of these domain names to redirect to my normal domain.

For those of you who are a little tech savvy, you might be wondering about the possibility of duplicate content because of multiple domain names. However, because of GoDaddy's built-in forwarding feature, there won't be any duplicate content and therefore nothing to worry about.

Using that forwarding feature I would set up the domain name to point to this:

It's important to note that and are considered to be 2 different web addresses and I'll have to set up forwarding for the www version using the same utm address I indicated above.

Look carefully at that URL and you'll see the utm_content=11-26. The 11-26 refers to November 26, 2014, the fictitious date that this domain name would be used in the newspaper ad.

I'll dive much deeper into the UTM stuff on Monday, but for now, you can just concentrate on counting up your ads and thinking about some extra domain names. Try to come up with domain names that are easy to remember, and more importantly, easy to spell!

I have to warn you about another possible domain name tracking method. Once upon a time, I noticed a TV commercial that had the same 30 second video, but the domain name appearing at the bottom of the screen was slightly different each time. It looked something like this:

They were using subdomains for their tracking. A subdomain is anything that appears before your actual domain name. In reality the common "www" we use is a subdomain for your website.

The problem with subdomains is that most people don't bother to type them out, or even notice that you have something unique there. Do you still type out the www when typing in a domain name? In other words, relying on subdomains for your tracking is not going to be good, and it will yield really poor tracking results.

I'll return on Monday with some detailed examples of how to set up your UTM tracking in the 5th part of this Holiday 2014 marketing campaign.

AT: 09/25/2014 08:43:16 AM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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