The world is on a desperate quest to find new and effective tools that give an impetus to marketing and relationship building. One of those tools is Microsites. This blog is divided into three categories – the WHAT, the WHY, and the HOW of creating Microsites.
So at the very beginning, we would start on with the WHAT part. As in, what are Microsites and what are all the hypes about them?
Microsites are not too new a thing. Since 1999, they have been in use by various companies of all size. There’s a fundamental reason behind creating microsites. They act as a marketing tool, targeted towards a specific section of the target audience or a particular topic.
Technically if a microsite is defined, it is nothing but a cluster of web pages with branded contents thriving on a separate URL. Which means, the URL of a microsite doesn’t contain the name of the company sponsoring the site. They have they own stand-alone URL. If not, and if the company’s name could be seen in URL, then we can call it branded verticals.
Essentially, both the concepts are somewhat same and focus on microsites and why they are considered to be marketing tools. Unlike websites having a page for its inception, the team members, to the legal sections, a microsite is more trimmed and targeted. The contents mostly promote an upcoming event or a new product or a service and have nothing to do with the parent website.
There are two major classifications of microsites:
If a microsite is created with the purpose of promoting a particular campaign, they mostly tend to have independent URLs. These are created with the sole purpose of anchoring the campaign. An example of such a campaign based microsite can be this (https://www.prudential.com/personal/workplace-benefits/live-how-long).
This features financial investments cycle in an average middle-class American. This is an excellent example of a microsite that features interactivities and quizzes, where the user can take part. Or this (https://always.com/en-us), Procter & Gamble’s all woman microsite that talks about empowering women health.
Microsites publishing daily, ongoing contents
Also, some microsites publish ongoing contents and functions with continued iterations and regular redesigns. One of them is the Red Bulletin started by Red Bull (https://www.redbull.com/int-en/theredbulletin), that features health-related content and bears the company name in its URL.
This brings us to the second part, the WHY. Why do you need microsites for your business? Today’s marketers understand the value of focused content and specific campaign goals. What do their audience want or how to connect with them, how to build relationships over time – all of these questions culminate in the creation microsites.
Below I have cited a few of the benefits of microsites that have elevated its stature amongst marketers.
1. Microsites help in Creating and Increasing Brand Awareness
Creating a strong brand presence is the first step towards business on the web. Regardless of the nature of your business, your brand presence must be effective enough to turn prospects into paying customers. Microsites help in this.
They feature the most significant elements of a brand more tangibly, with interaction with the visitors. And most of the microsites that are being created these days are highly shareable across all social channels. This boosts brand awareness and escalates a company’s growth potential.
2. Cost is negligible in Microsite creation
Thanks to the lesser number of web pages involved in a microsite, the cost and the time taken to create one, is considerably lower when compared to a traditional website. Microsites comprise of a cluster of web pages containing only the crux of the story with interesting content.
This makes the development faster and reduces the cost involved. Harnessing this low-cost model contributes to more ROI with proper marketing efforts and CTA.
3. Microsites are quick to launch
Once again, owing to the lesser number of pages, the development time taken to create a microsite is way less compared to a company website. The lesser number of web pages to create implies no or negligible internal friction, that means you can put up the site quickly.
And since the design will align with the main website, it’s easier to take design-related decisions. Rapid implementation of the site can accomplish quick successive launches.
4. Microsites are great for boosting SEO
Microsites are a boon for marketers with their SEO benefits. You might ask why, because previously this was just the opposite. But with today’s SEO techniques going under massive changes, microsites play a useful role in boosting SEO for a brand. Basically, every microsite is an independent website as a whole but with far better qualities.
For eg; since microsites have their own stand-alone URLs, they can have an extensive assortment of keyword-rich domains, unlike traditional websites. Mainstream websites can never have more than one or two keywords in their domain names.
Also, microsites could be found through organic search, since they have a unique address that one can easily remember. Hence, because of being intense, engaging and fun, gain a lot of traffic. And since the also have links to the actual website, and the company logo, that traffic gets driven to the main site too. All these facets of microsites help in the SEO factor.
5. Microsites mean more focused content
Microsites streamline the content and focus only on what is essential. This way the visitors are not inundated with the whole inventory, but only what is relevant to them.
For eg; when your products and services are available only in a specific region, it’s a great way to create a microsite that is region-specific. This helps the visitors from that area get the detailed content and would want to come back.
Visitors can otherwise get lost in the pages of your main site, so microsites are a great way to cater to their requirements, without overwhelming them. Also, the navigations are more explicit with bright, bold designs. This less confusing path of action creates a faster user experience and improves conversion.
6. Eliminates overcrowding to your homepage by Declutter
Most of the times websites are stuffed with so many elements that visitors get turned off and leave. Too many data are repellant for the ones who come to your website seeking specific information. Here, microsites save the day.
Given that they are created for one single intention or campaign, the content on microsites is simple and straight-forward. Thus, your website gets saved from overcrowding and online congestion. The traffic gets channelized to the microsite and alleviates overcrowding on your main site.
With this, we come to the third and final part, the HOW. How would you create microsites without investing much of your time and effort? What are the tips and best practices? Keep scrolling.
Avoid Content Duplication
Duplicacy is hated anywhere it is seen or experienced. And if it is done on the web world, it gets severely panned. Duplicate content not only puzzles the visitors but also confused the crawlers.
So never go for copy-pasting texts from your main website into your microsite. This will end up in a negative effect on your SEO as Google might penalize you on the grounds of content duplicacy.
And moreover when microsites are intended for something unique, why not the content be re-written from scratch, focusing solely on the campaign!
Come up with a suitable domain name
A keyword-rich and original domain name create a smooth path for SEO. And as we all know in case of microsites we have that liberty to incorporate as many keywords we like, we must avail that. For example, if your microsite is tightly focused to a specific geographical location, then give the name of the city or town into the domain name, no problem in that!
After all, Google loves relevant local searches, so geographical search parameters are highly optimized for SEO.
Establish your site objectives
Without a specific objective, nothing is successful. What purpose do you want to achieve through your microsite? You must figure out this answer at the initial stage. Objectives are such set guidelines that will guide your website and give you a framework to measure the success analytics of the site.
If you are confused about the objectives your microsite must serve, these are a few,
- Build more relation with prospects
- Attract more potential customers
- Convert the prospects into paying customers
- Encourage referrals
Enjoy Creative/Design Liberties, within the Brand Ethos
The fascinating part of creating a microsite is, the design freedom. Since it is more of an experiment, it doesn’t have to look so serious and somber like its actual counterpart.
However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be any connection between the two. Always keep in mind that your microsite is just an extension of your main website, though a more chic and stylish one. The aesthetic must represent your brand identity, through high quality photographs, clear brand fonts, and colors that have a subtle resemblance to your main website.
Don’t turn off the readers with out of the track content
The copy or content must be tight and engaging, holding the reader’s patience. The language must be lucid and easy to understand by all, because your microsite, no matter how much it is target-specific, will be visited by all. So create the content/copy in a manner that is fathomable by all and sundry.
Position the main campaign message in such a way that it is visible easily. The sales pitch can be put later in the closing statement.
Add images and Videos, do some storytelling
Adding engaging images and relevant videos is a great way to spark up your microsite creation process. A compelling video welcoming the visitors that deliver them the message of the campaign is the best thing possible for someone who wants to extend his/her website to a micro version.
Whether you take resort to any free microsite creating tool (https://www.microsite.com/), or assign a dedicated team of professionals to create one, don’t ignore the power of images and videos. Instead of lengthy textual paragraphs, you may put an explainer video that talks about the campaign, or the service/product you are featuring.
Make your layout simple, keep the navigations easy
Pay attention to the navigational issues and finalize a simple, yet corporate layout. The layout and the navigation should include links to the transaction page. This makes it easier and faster to turn the visitors into paying customers. The faster you push them down to the sales funnel, the sooner conversion happens.
Though you have a complete freedom to play with the layout of your microsite. Still, a simple interface is preferred more by the visitors that one that has a lengthy presentation. Don’t keep your visitors waiting from what they have come to get from your site.
Keep a visible and engaging CTA (Call to Action)
Regardless of anything, a microsite must have a clear and visible call to action that quickly prompts a visitor to a logical next step. Once they have fathomed what your microsite is all about, don’t keep them waiting. Take action as long as the effect is active.
However, this doesn’t mean you would stuff your microsite with dozens of silly CTAs, no! Keep the clutter away and focus on smart CTA buttons that even includes a perk.
For eg; “Sign Up to get more Newsletter like this every week”, “Book Now for Flat 25% Off”, “Subscribe to our Email List, and be the first to hear about our brand new products”, etc etc.
Wrapping Things Up
Microsites happen to be fantastic tools for a business, not because of a single reason. There are reasons abound to consider these small websites as a powerhouse of potentiality. Solely because microsites are flexible and can be done on a shoestring budget, they can effectively serve diverse marketing goals and a wide range of industries. You can target a niche target group with your tightly focused microsite and craft an excellent user experience.
Following a few practical tips, you can get your own microsite in no time and give your visitors a cohesive experience. Play with the design, content, layout and include only relevant information on a very specific topic or campaign. This way you can create brand awareness in a new form, and in a shorter span of time.
Microsites being a highly popular and preferred solution for several digital challenges, if you are in search for an expert guidance, feel free to contact a professional design and development agency. We can provide with turnkey solutions, without you taking any trouble.