Today I was going through old mail and found a promotion that was about a year old (yes, sometimes my mail piles up in dark corners of my house only to see the light of day years later). Well, today, I just happen to be in the market for that exact thing!

Here is the scenario of events:

  1. I type in the URL of the promotion at www.thecompanysite.com/promotion.
  2. Whoa! Error message that nothing exists here (not even a 404 page, a server error).
  3. Ok, let’s cut off that extra url and go to their home page to find what I want.
  4. Hmmmm, I can’t even tell where to go to start finding the product I had wanted.
  5. Forget it, I’ll just Google it.
  6. Hey, this other site has it! Perfect, I’m buying.

The Problem
We are constantly creating links that have an unknown shelf life. With social media, sending links out on Twitter, our links could potentially be out there on the internet for years just waiting for someone to find them.

If we change our sites or clean up outdated content and promotions, we remove those conversion paths for people to complete our goals whether direct sales, calling for quotes or whatever.

The Solution
We can no longer change our sites willy-nilly. These are opportunities–even if a promotion ends or we stop selling products. If something changes, the page can be updated or redirected. If the promotion ends, then forward them to the product or services normal page. People may still buy or call even if the promotion is over. If the product or service is gone, create a page of similar offerings.

The Lesson
Don’t forget about the leftover links. The internet and even that pile of mail I have in my house have a long memory. Make sure you take the right actions to not miss out on a lot of potential customers.