Tom Kubinski www.shapco.com
You may be asking yourself, "What is a microsite?" Well, it's not part of your old high school chemistry SLUDGE test where you need to find out what exactly is in the jar. Yet, it is something filled with many possibilities for your marketing efforts. Read on...
A MICROSITE also known as a landing page, minisite or weblet, is an Internet web design term referring to an individual web page or cluster of pages which are meant to function as an auxiliary supplement to a primary website. The microsite's main landing page most likely has its own domain name or subdomain.
Microsites are typically used to add a specialized group of information that is either EDITORIAL or COMMERCIAL. Such sites may be linked into a main site or not or taken completely off a site's server when the site is used for a temporary purpose. The main distinction of a microsite versus its parent site is its purpose and specific cohesiveness as compared to the microsite's broader overall parent website.
Microsites used for EDITORIAL Purposes may be a page or group of pages that, for example, might contain information about a holiday, an event or similar item which gives more detailed information than a site's general content area may provide. A community organization may have its main site with all of the organization's basic information, but creates a separate, temporary microsite to inform about a particular activity, event or similar.
CLEAN UP your database
GAIN A VOICE of customer
FIND OUT WHAT products or services your customer is interested in
FIND OUT HOW the customer would like to be marketed to
FIND OUT WHICH vehicles the customer prefers so your marketing dollars may be spent wisely
AND A WHOLE LOT MORE.
Often, microsites will be used for EDITORIAL Purposes by a commercial business to add value. For example, a retailer of party goods may create a microsite with editorial content about the history of Halloween or some other holiday or event. The COMMERCIAL Purpose of such editorial microsites, (beyond driving product sales), may include adding value to the site's visitors for branding purposes as well as providing content and keywords allowing for greater chances of search engine inclusion.
Microsites may be used for purely COMMERCIAL Purposes to create in-depth information about a particular product, service or as editorial support towards a specific product, such as describing a new technology. A car manufacturer, for example, may present a new hybrid vehicle and support the sales presentation with a microsite specific to explaining hybrid technology.
(Opinions expressed in the article below are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.)
7 ways to make a good Microsite, even from a distance:
If done correctly, you should obtain very favorable conversion lift metrics. Also, it may cause you to pursue additional microsites for additional information.
Making content deeper and easier to consume -
The first, are the principles of conversion content marketing. More than anything, visitors are searching for good content. They don't want fluff, they don't want teasers-they want the goods. And then, if they like what they see, they want a clear (but optional) next step to take.
However, there's a paradox with such deep content. People want depth of information, but as Nicholas Carr and Gord Hotchkiss keep reminding us, they also want instant gratification-they don't want to dig through a lot of raw material to find the gems that are relevant to them. One big page of content, such as a long blog post or product page, isn't as helpful as a collection of organized subtopics that lets the user quickly dial in on what is most important to them.
Microsites provide this lightweight structure by offering a few simple, interrelated navigation choices-the tab metaphor is common and intuitive-without getting bogged down with the baggage of your main website's navigation or being constrained by its existing page layouts. By breaking your topic into several subtopics, you can simultaneously deliver deeper content while making it easier for people to consume.
Enabling transparent audience segmentation -
The second force, closely related, is audience segmentation. Using multi-step landing pages (also known as "conversion paths") to enable visitors to self-select the content that's most relevant to them-one or two quick choices on the landing page, followed up with a highly targeted presentation. Hundreds of experiments have shown that these conversion paths often convert much higher than regular landing pages because the choices give visitors a strong "information scent," leading to a more personalized experience.
However, depending on the circumstances-such as campaigns designed for SEO or social media marketing-that "guided flow" architecture may not be best. The microsite design pattern offers an alternative way of organizing choices, while still allowing people to deep-link into a particular subtopic, regardless of the page they first link into.
As with conversion paths, these segmented microsites deliver two key benefits:
Such segmentation is transparent to users and accurately reflects the choices they make in their own self-interest. The resulting data-learning which traffic sources bring you which audience segments and how well you perform in converting each of them-is pure analytical marketing gold.
As pure HTML, they're only a little more work to construct than stand-alone landing pages. And, like professional landing page programs, you can build them around a set of reusable templates that let you leverage the design assets of one microsite concept across a number of campaigns.
Because such microsites, like landing pages, live outside the formal framework of your main web site, they can often be deployed quickly and without death-by-committee-supporting agile marketing practices. You can easily use your favorite A/B or multivariate testing tool to experiment with different variations of the content, presentation and conversion offer. You can even use A/B testing to compare the performance of such a microsite against an alternative single-page landing page.
Schapco has been working with and managing Microsites for many years with great success. We can assist you with obtaining critical data, managing it, sorting it, and strategizing for future campaigns. Please keep us in mind for your next campaign or contact Tom Kubinski at 612-278-1568 to learn more and how you too could incorporate Microsites.
In this issue, we have covered one element within the Response Mechanism. Future issues of TK's Korner will cover the other Emerging Media Solutions as they pertain to:
Tracking and Linking Mechanisms-
Dynamic HTML and Publishing-
All of these elements are provided by Schapco and have greatly influenced many of our clients marketing efforts. Why don't you contact me for more information on how we may assist you with your marketing efforts?
If you would like more information for your next printed project, to see some of the really cool samples I have or regarding this article, please give me a call at 612-278-1568.
Stay tuned for the next issue of TK's Korner. You just might be surprised!
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