Marketing 8 min read

Microsites: What are They and Why They are Effective

Mudassar Iqbal / Pixabay.com

Mudassar Iqbal / Pixabay.com

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss what microsites are, their benefits, and how you can optimize them for conversion.

Main Takeaways:

  • A microsite is an individual web page that exists as a subdivision of a larger online entity.
  • Brands use microsites to generate leads and promote events.
  • A microsite is also useful for testing new ideas for effective branding.
  • Before creating a microsite, you must first set a measurable objective.
  • Your microsite’s content should be customer-focused and aimed at a specific audience.
  • Connect your site to marketing and analysis tools to measure your goals.
  • Promote your microsite on various digital marketing platforms to attract more audience.

Several marketing tools already exist for brand building and targeting. These include social media, email marketing, paid advertising, content marketing, to name a few.

However, microsites may be the most underused, misunderstood, and underappreciated of these tools. In this article, we’ll make a case for microsites — what they are, and why you should create one.

What are Microsites?

A microsite is an individual web page or a small group of sites that exist as a subdivision of a larger online entity. Companies typically use microsites to target specific buyers, tell a short story, or inspire a particular call-to-action. As a result, these pages usually exist independently and hold different content from regular websites. They also tend to be temporary.

Think of microsites as tiny websites that serve a specific purpose based on your need.

For example, Spotify created Year in Music microsite, which enables users to relive their music preferences for each year. It includes details such as your first played song and how much time you spent listening.

But it’s not just Spotify. Tons of companies also use microsites for various purposes.

What are the Benefits of Microsites?

Illustration of a desktop computer displaying a webpage.
Mudassar Iqbal / Pixabay.com

1. Generating Targeted Leads

Microsites provide an excellent opportunity to capture leads that have already expressed interest in your product or service. That way, you can easily convert them into customers.

It’s also a useful targeting tool for businesses that are scattered around different parts of the world. You can create an individual webpage on a separate domain for products in each specific geography.

For example, Audi uses the micrositeauditestdrive.in to capture leads for its range of cars in India. Thanks to this microsite, the German auto company can tap web users who have already expressed intent to test-drive one of its vehicles.

2. For Promoting Events

It’s common for companies to organize events or campaigns to enhance their brand presence.

That’s when a microsite comes in handy. Unlike a corporate website, microsites allow you to elaborate on the event or campaign as you want.

A while back, Domino’s announced their new Chevy Spark pizza delivery cars called DXPs. So, the pizza restaurant chain launched a dedicated microsite to show off the vehicle’s usefulness.

The site is heavily interactive to provide the best learning experience for visitors. Besides a zoom feature to help visitors understand the car’s features, the site is also animated to create an exciting experience.

3. For Testing New Ideas

Identifying marketing strategies that work for your business requires a lot of trial and error. Marketers usually have to conduct several experiments to assess whether specific ideas can provide value for brands.

Luckily, microsites are a wonderful way to do just that.

Along with testing your message’s effectiveness, these sites can help identify what your customers find attractive. What’s more, its standalone environment ensures that you don’t confuse your customers.

4. Effective Branding

When launching a new product or service, you may want it to stand out from the mother brand. This is especially true when the mother brand is not reputable or is launching a new product for a target market.

Microsites can help in this area. Unlike a regular company website, creating a dedicated site allows you to effectively brand the new product or service.

Big companies like Unilever use microsites to market some of their smaller brands. For example, Axe has a dedicated site to help potential customers find a range of products.

5. Providing Detailed Information about Products or Services

Brands that offer multiple products or services can create separate pages for each of them. That way, each page can contain detailed information to help customers understand the product, service, or even the company.

For example, the French fashion house Chanel created the micrositeInside Chanel, to inform consumers about its history and heritage. It also uses the page to share the fashion house’s success throughout the years.

How to Optimize Microsites for Conversion

illustration of a crane lifting a webpage
Mohamed Hassan / Pixabay.com

1. Set the Microsites’ Objectives

The first thing to do before building your microsite is to define its purpose.

Are you looking to generate leads or improve conversion with the microsite? Maybe you want to build brand awareness through consumer engagement and interaction.

Whatever your goals may be, ensure that they are specific and measurable. For example, “get more web traffic” is neither clear nor quantifiable. On the other hand, “increase web conversion by 8 percent in Q3” is a clear objective.

Other examples of measurable objectives include:

  • Improve the time spent on site by X percent
  • Increase revenue from returning visitor by X percent
  • Increase new visitors by X percent

After defining your objective, you may also want to consider your call-to-action. That way, you can include the CTA in your microsite’s design and copy.

2. Pick and Buy a Domain

Marketing, at its core, is all about communication. That means the perfect domain name can help your microsite attain more visibility.

Since your microsite exists outside of the primary site, it can’t enjoy any automatic brand recognition from Google or users. So, your domain name must reflect what you’re trying to say or achieve.

Your domain name should be catchy and resonate with your target market. For example, the domain EveryLastDrop.co.uk suggests that the site is about water usage in the United Kingdom.

3. Research Competitors’ Microsites

Like most marketing processes, building a microsite usually involves a great deal of research.

So, take the time to analyze some examples of successful microsites — including your competitors’. Not only will it give you ideas, but such analysis could also show you the marketing possibilities of a microsite.

Whether you want to build an information-driven microsite or one that focuses on sales, someone out there has already done it. Use these pages as a template to brainstorm design ideas for your page.

4. Pick a Design

At this point, you must have picked your domain name and explored other sites to gain ideas. Now, it’s time to head to the drawing board to develop a concrete design for your microsite.

While the site’s aesthetic is vital, other elements are equally essential in the design development stage. These include:

  • Number of pages
  • Navigation method
  • Call to Action (CTA)
  • Media — videos, images, audio, and animations

Depending on your objective, you may also want to include elements of the primary site to maintain continuity and brand recognition.

5. Create Relevant Content

The ideal copy for microsites is customer-focused and targets a specific audience. Like a standard sales pitch, your content should grab attention and persuade some form of action quickly.

As such, it would be best if you keep relevant information and call-to-action in plain sight. Also, you may want to consider the tone of voice and the interaction between text content and other media elements.

6. Connect to Marketing and Analysis Tool

As said earlier, your microsite’s objectives must be measurable. And you can do just that using the right marketing and analysis tool.

For instance, Google Analytics can help you track session duration, pages per session, bounce rate, to name a few. Also, microsites with email marketing elements can use marketing automation or CRM systems.

In the end, these tools will help you make informed decisions about your marketing strategy.

7. Launch and Promote

Now that you’ve created a fantastic microsite, it’s time to share it with the world — or with your target audience.

However, it’s not enough to launch the site. You also have to promote it. Luckily, there are several ways to get eyes on your microsite. These include social media, blogs, PPC advertising, and display advertising.

Wrapping Up: Best Practices When Using Microsites

The primary reason to invest in microsites is its narrowed focus. Since it’s designed to attract customers who want specific things, you can create a more positive user experience.

However, some best practices can make the experience even better.

For example, copy content from your primary site to populate your microsite is a bad idea. Such duplicate content can have a negative SEO effect on your microsite. Instead, focus on creating original content.

To game the SEO system, brands sometimes set up microsites to link visitors back to the primary site. Unfortunately, this provides a poor user experience. Also, the search engine may penalize you for such action.

Read More: Why Storytelling is the Future of Content Marketing

First AI Web Content Optimization Platform Just for Writers

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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