This morning I had just dropped my daughter off at school when an ad came on the radio as I was headed to my workout, the gist of it was:
More and more consumers are headed online as the first step in their next purchase. Is your business positioned to cash in on this trend?
It sounded a little 1998-ish to me, but what really got me was the URL. These ads were from some online internet marketing company here in Toronto and the URL was……
I don’t know.
internet dash marketing dash toronto dot com
something like that.
What struck me at first was an internet marketing company using a URL in a call-to-action delivered audibly (via radio) that was three distinct words (some of which were multi-syllable words) and separated by hyphens. The announcer was actually saying “dash”, i.e. “you need to go to internet dash marketing dash toronto dot com” where the experts will help your business make big bucks online.
Only problem is I’ll never get there. Here I am a few hours later and I can’t remember exactly what that URL actually was and the dashes aren’t helping.
It wasn’t online-marketing-toronto.com because that’s not even registered (yet).
It wasn’t http://internet-marketing-toronto.com/ because that’s just parked at Godaddy, although the fact that it was registered exactly a year ago today is somewhat curious.
Whatever it was, somebody spent big bucks on a radio ad campaign promoting some thoroughly crappy and unmemorable URL.
What a waste. That they’re billing themselves as internet marketing experts is just the comedic irony.
Remember the gist of lesson one in the “Useless URLs” saga:
Every word, every syllable, every dash, every dot, every plural, every possible variation or composite element in a domain or a URL is one more chance for the end user to get it wrong
This applies even moreso for call-to-action type URLs delivered via audio.
I should make something else clear: I am not saying that all hyphenated domains are garbage. In fact, they tend to work well for certain functions. While it is debatable how much weight search engines still attribute to keywords within domain names; within the context of an overall SEO strategy, a domain name like the one I’m ranting about here can fit the bill. It’s a matter of using the right tools for the right job. Using a long, hyphenated contraction domain in an audible call-to-action is a waste of money.
Again, even if your main website happens to be some-long-term-here.com, don’t try to convey that in your radio ads. These guys could have gone out and grabbed something more tailored to the commercial, shorter, more memorable and then simply redirected. The added bonus is you get to easily layer a bit of ROI measurement onto an otherwise institutional marketing campaign.