Virtual Real Estate
What is a Microsite?Definition: A Microsite is a website, distinct and separate from an organisation’s main site, that delivers more focused, relevant content about a specific topic or to a targeted audience or even just requiring a defined action.
Example uses could be for a product, a service, a timely promotion, or an upcoming event – among many other possibilities.
The most popular Microsites of all-time include: Burger King’s Subservient Chicken, Office Max’s ElfYourself and Blendtec’s WillitBlend.
In business terms, a Microsite is a marketing tool. Used by companies of all sizes to help meet sales and marketing objectives.
For most organisations, it is not your main website – which probably took years to build, created an irreparable schism between your marketing and IT departments, and needs to accommodate many objectives and stakeholders, from H.R. and recruiting to customer inquiries and legal.
A Microsite can have a stand-alone vanity or promotional web address (called a URL) like subservientchicken.com.
A Microsite can be any size and use any technology. It can be a lot of things, but first and foremost, it is a marketing tool. And that has substantial consequences for the way it’s designed, built, and managed.Benefits of a Microsite1. Focus
A company’s main website traditionally has to meet the agendas of disparate groups within the organisation. As a result, it becomes too broadly focused and contains text that resembles corporate-speak more than marketing and sales language.
A Microsite can focus more easily on a specific topic, audience or action. This becomes critical especially for organisations promoting more than one product or service. Most marketing and sales experts agree that a tightly focused message communicates best.
A Microsite can be built quickly and with less internal friction between the marketing and IT departments.
The internal IT department typically manages a company’s main website. For many reasons (including job security), the IT group builds a sphinx-like infrastructure for a website that requires a great deal of time to update and revise. Since a Microsite functions as a marketing tool, it needs to react quickly to changing market conditions with updated content. Speed is not a typical attribute of most IT departments.
With a Microsite, marketing and sales folks can quickly change offers, introduce events, and switch text and images.
4. Niche Marketing
A Microsite lets you extend your brand in ways not previously possible on your main website. You can tailor narrow segments of your offerings for specific market niches.
A Microsite can serve as the hub of your marketing campaign where you control the information as well as the data – something distinctly missing if you use Facebook or any other third-party destination.
6. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO or Natural Search Results)
Because a Microsite is typically dedicated to a narrow product or service, it can come up higher and more frequently in search engine results than your main site would under the same searches. What’s more, a Microsite will also often look more relevant to people shopping in a specific category, so they will be more likely to click on that search result.
While this point can sometimes be argued by SEO experts, if you treat a Microsite as a subdomain with its own design and navigation, you can enjoy the benefits of a Microsite and the authority and depth of your main website, which aids in SEO rankings.
7. Higher Conversion Rates
Test after test confirm that because a Microsite is more focused, it typically produces higher conversion rates than a company’s general site. This is one reason why Google and others recommend landing pages be used in keyword campaigns.
A Microsite also allows a company to test brand extensions and experiment with merchandising and brand positioning in ways you wouldn’t have dared attempt back in the days of print-only. For an online retailer, you can test a new navigation scheme or a new way to emphasize products or product categories. A Microsite helps you understand the dynamics of those things before you make the investment to do a complete site overhaul.
Of course, a Microsite can also be ideal for testing marketing messages for new products and services. If you haven’t nailed down the marketing message, you can create a Microsite to test options before going full tilt and committing to a road on which it will be difficult to do a U-turn.
9. Viral or Word of Mouth
A Microsite can more easily encourage word-of-mouth. Successful viral campaigns tend to have content that’s entertaining, irreverent, and unexpected. Content like this tends to be acceptable on a Microsite, but not so much on a corporate website.
10. Firewall to Protect Your Company
A Microsite can create a sense of community. While creating a community among loyal followers is a good thing, opening up your organisation to honest public feedback can have its uncomfortable side. A Microsite creates a nice firewall between the community and corporate.
11. Not Perishable
A Microsite exists in a non-perishable medium. Unlike a print or television ad that loses most or even all of its value after it runs, a Microsite remains online, accessible, and easy to update.
12. Achieve Marketing and Sales Objectives
Because it can be a focus, testable communication vehicle that can generate leads, engagements, trial, demos, sales, and referrals, it can help organizations achieve their stated, measurable marketing and sales objectives.Why not just use Facebook?Why not just create a Facebook page? One word: Control.
Facebook Pages offer a great many benefits, but you don’t control it. Facebook does. And you are therefore subject to the whims of that organisation. Facebook controls the medium, the data, even access to your own information. And what may be good and working for you today may be changed or gone tomorrow.
“Hey, what happened to my database of customers?”
Think this is unrealistic, check out this story: Facebook In Control
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