Let’s face it: The internet is a noisy, cluttered place. Just when you think the market couldn’t possibly bear another cat video from Buzzfeed, another one goes viral.
The sheer chaos and clutter of the internet creates something of a quandary for business owners and marketers who need to make their content stand out; it’s tough to create a corporate site that generates the same sort of buzz that animals that look like Vladimir Putin do (for obvious reasons), but that doesn’t mean you should simply abandon the internet to pets. Instead, you may want to consider building a microsite to drive traffic to your main site and to create some noise of your own out there.
What is a microsite?
As the name suggests, a microsite will be smaller than your main business site. Further, a microsite is devoted to one discrete topic or purpose.
Perhaps you are launching a promotion, doing a product giveaway, promoting a fundraising campaign or your work with charity. Microsites can be ideal ways to showcase and focus attention on one very specific campaign or push.
Why should you consider a microsite for your business?
A microsite can be a powerful tool in the quest to attract prospects, deepen brand loyalty, and extend your brand or organization’s reach in a non-spammy way. Microsites are so useful because they provide:
They offer flexibility
Changes to a major site can..move…at…a…glacial…pace. Microsites, on the other hand, are quick to design and go live, and therefore represent an efficient use of your resources.
While IT departments may cringe at the thought of marketing folks tinkering in their domain, they’ll appreciate not having to go through a long site change process.
It’s a solid Litmus test
Microsites are exciting opportunities for brands to experiment and take some risks. Because, as mentioned above, a microsite doesn’t involve tinkering with your main site, it’s possible to take more risks than you would with content on your corporate site.
If you have an idea that you have been playing with, and you want to dip a toe in those waters, a microsite can help you to gauge audience reaction.
They’re laser focused
Your main company website, almost by definition, probably tries hard to pay equal attention to each major site content section so that the whole feels balanced.
A microsite asks for no such thing from you. Instead, it offers the perfect antidote to the lack of specificity required of a main site. Because a microsite only focus on one topic, idea, promotion, or visual, you have the luxury of devoting all of your attention to your pet project.
They are user-friendly
Forget the backslashes and hashtags. In fact, forget a complicated URL altogether. Microsite web addresses, since they do not need to be tied to your main site, are easy to remember, find and share.
Users don’t need to remember a complicated pathway off of your main site—simply name your campaign or pick a specific keyword phrase and slap a “.com” onto the end.
You can take advantage of trends
It’s hard to imagine your whole site going viral; it’s too big and it needs to be too many things to too many different people. “Have you seen the whole Nike website???” is just not something that one hears outside of marketing land.
On the other hand, a microsite does have the possibility of generating buzz and being passed around via social media channels: A good microsite is focused, pithy and maybe even takes some risks. What’s not to like?
4 tips for creating an effective microsite
Are you convinced that it is time to venture into the tiny-yet-exciting land of the microsite? If cheap, efficient, crowd-pleasing and fun sound good to you, then you might just be the ideal candidate to create a microsite.
Below we’ve assembled some tips to guide you in your quest for microsite greatness, as well as some examples of microsites out there that are killing it.
1. Get creative
The delightfully animated Every Last Drop microsite makes water conservation fun and whimsical. Scrolling down takes you through a day-in-the-life of an average UK water user. What text there is is deployed in the service of showing viewers how much water they use doing common daily tasks. It’s quick, creative and laser-focused on its topic.
2. Get useful
This conversion rate optimization guide has made rounds on the internet for a couple of reasons: In addition to being well designed and visually pleasing, it is useful. Essentially it is a set of links, but the careful curation makes it much more than that. It’s one-stop shopping for anyone who wants to learn CRO, but it is useful, not spammy.
3. Get interactive
Microsites are fun forums to allow viewers to interact with your material. This home security guide walks readers through the best ways to keep their home safe. By combining curation (like the CRO guide) and visuals (like the water microsite), it provides the viewer with an engaging way to interact with the company’s content.
4. Get awesome
This iPod visualization is an example of a microsite that does all of the above. It’s visually pleasing, creative, useful (bet you didn’t know how much your music collection on vinyl could weigh or how much two adult grizzlies weigh, did you?) and interactive. (Notice also on the lefthand side of the screen how easy it is to share this microsite via Twitter, Pinterest, etc.)
Microsites are efficient and engaging ways to connect with new prospects and to wow your current audience. They are also perfect for allowing your brand or organization to take some (tasteful!) risks or to experiment with a new campaign. Even better, if you don’t like them, you can easily take them down; since they aren’t a part of you main site anyway, it is quick and painless to say goodbye.
Are you ready to put your creativity to the test? Good luck!