Easy-peasy method to test out potential pitch words with link shorteners

linkOh the “quiet” months of summer—at least in the office. Lots of family (and otherwise adventurous) vacations are planned at this time of year. The pace in the office shifts. Ahhhh.

So with this change in rhythm, now is maybe not the best time to rally the troops behind a big, new organization-wide project. But with a little less noise than at other times of year, summer can be a great time to learn some new tricks (you know, when you aren’t out practicing your belly flop or BBQ technique).

The seasonal lull presents a great opportunity to try out some new tools (Google Keyword Tool maybe?) and focus on some of those activities there doesn’t seem to be a good time for. I’m all about words and perfecting your pitch, so how about investing a little time and effort in testing different variations and elements of your pitch online? And yes, I’ve got a tool for that.

A quick and easy way to test the words you use in your pitch is to get them in front of people online with a clear click opportunity (you know, that blue underlined hyperlink thing), and to see which words draw the most attention (to wit, clicks). You can do this on your organizations blog or other pages, anyplace folks come to read about what you do. And you don’t need a fancy-schmancy web analytics suite to do it either. You just need a link shortener.

Now you might be thinking “Why the heck do I need a link shortener? The whole idea of hyperlinking text is that people don’t have to see the links!” Well, yes, this is true. However, most link shorteners allow you to easily access data on the clicks on the shortened links you’ve created. We like bit.ly for this over here.

So here’s what you do: write something—a newsletter, your web page, a blog post—that includes variations on your verbiage. Test out your verbs and your pronouns. Try out pitches developed by team members. For each one that you want to track, find a relevant page on your website. This will be the destination page when someone clicks on thy hyperlinked words in your masterpiece. For example, maybe you want “we create opportunities for children to have fun while they learn” to link to a page that shows some pint-sized service recipients exploring educational games (which you delivered) in their classroom.  Take the URL for that page, and create a shortened link. Now, hyperlink the words you’d like to test on your web page with the shortened URL. Follow this process with all the experimental word combinations in your content and then put your content out into the world.

Then log in to your shortener account to check on your stats and learn about your clicks: how many there were and when, where your link was shared, where your audience is located and who shared out your link. Your click numbers alone will help you understand relative interest in the word combinations you are testing out (and you won’t have to dig through those pesky web site analytics). The other data will help you determine the value of your web pages that you’ve linked to. If it’s interesting to friends-of-friends, they will share.

Another variation on this approach would be to test out taglines with your engaged audience by using them in your autosignature. Just swap out taglines on a regular basis.

You don’t have to remove the magic of how you talk about what you do by over-orchestrating it with technology. Link shortening tools are simple and easy. It’s like free market research.

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