How To Get Started with a Microsite
So, you’re considering using a microsite for an upcoming promotion or product launch—but you’re not sure how to get started. From a strategic perspective, it helps to think of it as a hybrid of launching a website and creating an advertising/marketing campaign. Like the former, there are logistical and technical items you have to address; like the latter, it’s all about creating a buzz with your messaging and the overall landing page experience for your audience. Here are some of the basic steps, and the questions you need to ask during the process.
Determine if the message is appropriate for a microsite platform. Microsites are an exceptionally effective tool under the right circumstances. Is your offer or message simple enough to be conveyed quickly—generally within 2-10 pages? Is there a specific value proposition or unique theme that will be crystal clear to the visitor?
Define your target audience. This is where the microsite may be quite different from your corporate site–in fact, the more tightly defined you can get, the more effective the microsite will be. Do you have a clear idea of the demographic or niche market you?re trying to reach? Do you know what is most important to their buying decisions?
Assess your objectives and results requirements. For your corporate website, you may simply be measuring traffic, not necessarily responses. That’s OK, but you need to set a higher bar when it comes to microsites—because they’re all about getting the user to take action. How do you want users to navigate through the site? What exactly do you want them to do: generate a lead, sign up for an event, make a purchase or take the next step in the relationship process?
Address the details. One of the absolute keys to microsite success is the domain itself. Have you brainstormed and secured a catchy URL, or a couple of different URLs that can have mirrored or slightly altered content? Have you created a site map? This goes hand in hand with objectives and results, because you want to make sure the navigation is simple and drives users to a specific task.
Test, revise, test again. One of the great benefits of microsites is flexibility far beyond what you can achieve with your corporate site–in particular, A/B testing is an excellent way to measure the effectiveness of different messaging. Do you have multiple offers you can make? When you find that one of the offers is outperforming, do you have a plan in place with your technology team to shift gears?
Spread the word. As I’ve discussed previously, microsites offer a superior way to aggregate social media — but you need to make sure you keep all of the balls in the air! Have you compiled a social media plan and a calendar for when different items will be promoted?
Of course, this only scratches the surface of what’s possible with microsites. These are some of the details, but keeping your focus on the overall dynamic and engaging landing page experience is what will make your microsite a success.
What do you think is the most-often-overlooked aspect of creating a microsite (or landing page)? What are the pros and cons of having a microsite managed by an outside vendor vs. an “in-house” tech team? Once a campaign has run its course, what’s the best way to repurpose the microsite’s domain?
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