Do you really need a Microsite?

When it comes to building a successful branded marketing campaign, there are plenty of ways to approach it. A campaign microsite is but one of these solutions.

Put simply, a microsite is an individual web page or a small cluster of pages which are meant to function as a discrete entity within an existing website or to complement an offline activity. It has the power to highlight a product, launch a promotion, or augment a marketing campaign in a way that full websites or more traditional marketing cannot.

Some companies have used microsites to highlight a specific campaign or target specific buyer personas. Others have used them to tell a short story, or to inspire a specific call-to-action.

There have been suggestions that the popularity of these hubs have taken a hit in recent years due to the rapid rise in social media, with plenty of marketing using to drive traffic to campaign-specific social media pages, hashtags and accounts.

However, other organisations from many industries have embraced the effective method of microsites, and have also incorporated the social element of their marketing efforts.

Why Microsites?

Branding: Compared to a larger website, a microsite provides a more focused and clearer presentation of your specific brand of product and also gives marketers full control and flexibility over the design element.

Focus: Since microsites generally highlight and feature only a specific product or service, they give potential customers a more seamless experience – less clutter & no distraction. If there is too much clutter on a single website, it can turn online users away from your main website before even getting to your ‘campaign’ section.

SEO: Every microsite is actually its’ own website with its’ own one of a kind URL. With a unique address that one can easily remember, people can find your product and service faster and easier. Microsites can also feature an assortment of keyword-rich domain names that are highly valued by search engines.

Cost: Contrary to what most people think, building and maintaining microsites may be more affordable than actually creating bigger websites. The limited number of pages means content is easier to manage.

Social Aggregation: Social Media campaigns are a great way to reach communities. It adds missing depth and detail to what can be a fragmented brand story. It’s a flexible and engaging tool that can be laser-focused on the niche market to drive higher levels of response, engagement and lead generation.

Why not Microsites?

Confusion: One of the biggest problems with microsites is that depending on the design, they can force users to adapt to different user interfaces. They visit the main corporate website, click on a link and find themselves on a microsite. The design may be different, and the navigation has changed and there is often no straightforward way back.

Brand Identity: Sometimes, microsites can look completely different to an organisation’s main website, so beware of ‘diluting’ it. Yes, you want it to appeal to a specific audience, but you also don’t want to steer away from a brand’s primary look and feel.

Lack of Information: Sometimes, microsites can be very stale and not include all the relevant information needed to get its message/purpose across to users. Depending on the content structure, visitors may find the information to be too sparse, and even navigate their way back to the main site in order to get the full information they’re looking for.

Content: Microsites generally require dedicated or at the very least, repurposed content. In this case, the microsite is a hurdle for users and may hurt the overall experience they have with your brand. This all comes down to the planning aspect and ensuring the campaign will fulfil all user requirements from a holistic POV. Does the microsite serve the purpose you need it to?

Cost: You’ll notice cost has been included as both a pro and con. Sometimes, there is a substantial and often unjustified cost associated with the creation of a microsite. The site has to be designed, be built and hosted on a content management system and may well need additional functionality and maintenance. At the end of the day, it will depend on your research & ability to project manage.

Check out some of the Microsites we have built for our clients including TABCorp, Kathmandu and Toyota here.