Landing Pages Vs Micro Sites: Which Should You Choose? 

Landing Pages Vs Micro Sites

Micro sites and landing pages are often used interchangeably. However, to get the most out of either, you need to understand the benefits and pitfalls of each. 

In our opinion, there are specific instances where micro sites will provide more value than landing pages and, conversely, occasions where the opposite is true.

What Is a Micro Site?

Micro sites are typically temporary websites, often with 2 or more pages1 that are created for specific marketing purposes such as:

  • Promoting specific products
  • Limited edition or anniversary products
  • Sales, deals or offers
  • Lead generations
  • Email subscriptions
  • New product launches
  • Re-releases
  • Brand awareness exercises

So What’s a Landing Page?

Similar to a micro site, a landing page can be used for the same marketing purposes, although landing pages tend to consist of a single page, often with a prominent call-to-action (CTA) or a form of some kind2.

Both landing pages and micro sites can lead to the generation of leads, conversions and sales by engaging users and providing value, but which ones should you use and when?

When to Use a Micro Site

Micro sites are better suited for times where you need to do some convincing. Let’s say, you’re releasing a new product into the market that no one is aware of. You’re likely going to have to convince those that land on your site that this product is right for them. Micro sites are great for this, as you can dedicate a page to each feature, provide tutorials of how to use it, screen shots or images, videos, stories, social recommendations and any other form of content that might persuade the user to make a purchase or enquire.

With micro sites, you have more time with your user and, if you make something that’s engaging enough, you’ll have more attention. You can turn a sceptic into a friend right there and then if you’re respectful, provide genuine value and don’t ask for too much too soon3.

Micro sites are best placed following a relatively subtle CTA, such as a flat banner ad, a Tweet or a ‘find out more’-style prompt. When the user lands on a micro site, they ought to be inquisitive. This gives you the opportunity to engage them by allowing them to prod around and investigate. All the while, you’re priming them to convert, so the more dynamic and personalised, the better4.

When to Use Landing Pages

Landing pages, on the other hand, are best served when you've already convinced someone or if the convincing is done somewhere else. For example: if you see a 'Free Coke, sign up today' label on a Coke bottle, then a landing page could be used to simply finish off the transaction. Or if you’re having a flash sale or you’re discounting an existing product, you can use a landing page following a strong CTA, such as “Get 25% off X when you sign up today”. Here, the user has already been convinced as they:

  • Know the product,
  • Are aware of the offer
  • Have built up some interest in the deal
  • Understand what they need to do to benefit (i.e. sign up)

Again, a landing page can be used here to seal the deal.

Landing pages, then, should be free from distraction, include a strong CTA and be consistent with the preceding interaction. If the user sees “Free Coke, sign up today” in red and white with an parasol and sunglasses on the Coke bottle, then the landing page should use the same design, the same tone and reinforce the same message.

Alternatively, you can use landing pages following content where the user has already spent time engaging. Here, the user has again already been sold to elsewhere, such as a blog post about your product, or a rich media ad where users can interact with your proposal. When they land on your landing page following an engagement elsewhere, they are again in a position where they have an urge to convert. All you need to do with your landing page is help them over the finish line.

Micro Site Pitfalls

Both micro sites and landing page aren’t without their faults. Those most notable for micro sites include:

  • They’re typically more expensive to implement,
  • They take longer to create, as there’s more content,
  • They’re harder to maintain for the same reason,
  • They take longer to analyze,
  • More pages = more room for drop outs,

If you don’t position micro sites correctly, you’ll have trouble, too. For example, if you have a strong, long or informative CTA leading up to the micro site, and the user is ready to convert when they land there, they could be distracted by the content, loose momentum and drop out. So go easy on the convincing in your CTAs, let the micro site do the work.

Landing Page Pitfalls

Alternatively, with landing pages, if you don’t provide sufficient motivation or incentive before the user lands on the page, you’ll have a harder time converting users through a single page. In this instance, the inclusion of additional content such as videos will help increase the conversion rate of landing pages with poor CTAs preceding them.

Landing pages are relatively quick and cheap to create, so plenty of brands don’t put as much thought into landing pages as they should. They can sometimes be an after thought or a rushed job. Be sure to take enough time, do your testing and optimising first and strive for a high single digit conversion rate5.

The Choice Is Yours

Although seemingly similar in theory, micro sites and landing pages are two entirely different beasts in reality. Choosing the right one to use in your given circumstance could be the difference between generating leads and making sales and crying yourself to sleep at night, thinking about the money you’ve wasted.

Don’t make the same mistakes as everyone else and get it right first time.







Wednesday, August 6, 2014 1:40:00 AM Categories: B2B content development inbound marketing landing pages website

How to Write for the Web Part 3: User-centric Style 

content marketing strategyIn our How to Write for the Web series, we’ve covered the importance of planning in Keyword and Competition Research, and the importance of crafting a compelling title in The Power of the Title. So now that you have a solid content concept and a title, it’s time write your content.

If you’re going to write an engaging piece of content and stand a chance of nudging your potential customer towards a conversion, it’s got to be built around your user; their needs, wants and behavior. So when writing content, you must understand four things:

There’s MASSES of competition out there. Everybody wants a content marketing strategy or a Facebook page or a blog, so the amount of content generated on a daily basis makes the entire broadcasting history of CNN look like a Tweet. This isn’t a bad thing because it would suggest that there’s a real demand there, but what it does mean is that your potential customers have more to choose from. So you need to work harder to convert those that find you.

People are busy and don’t have time. We’re all living busier lives these days. We have more choice of things to do and less time to do it. When we get some spare time, we can watch a video on YouTube or Vimeo; check Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn; catch up on emails; watch an episode on Netflicks or Tivo; play around in an app. You see, you’re not just competing with other articles; you’re competing with the rest of the internet for a slice of someone’s scarce free time. So you’ve got to treat every single one of your readers with absolute respect because they’re giving up everything else to spend time with you.

People don’t care about you. They care about them. So if you spend all your time banging on about how fantastic you are, you won’t make many friends. Whereas if you spend your time genuinely adding value, educating, entertaining and meeting their needs, you’ll earn the trust needed to form a relationship and make a sale.

People Don’t Read. Despite what content marketers across the globe would have you believe, users don’t actually read… much. We’re all far too busy these days, so most people don’t make it to the end of the article1. Some people even tweet articles having only read the title and first paragraph. 

The above points are all things that are out of your control. You can’t change any of it, but it completely changes the way you design and write content. 

What you can do, is use the above to understand the user so that you can create valuable content that meets your business needs, while embracing the user's behavior.

Here are a few techniques to use and skills you can develop that will give your content a better stab at success:

Tell a Story Through Your Headlines

Your headers and sub headers aren’t just important for SEO purposes, they allow your users to scan your blog or article and pick out the main points without having to spend four days reading every word. 

Use Lists
Bullet points and numbered lists help users digest content because they:

  • Make it easy to scan
  • Are quicker to read
  • Look more presentable

If you have a few points to make, always split them up into bullet points and do your reader a favor of helping them take on board your content.

Be Concise 
Why take four sentences to say something that can be said in one? Why use 16 words if you can use 8? By being concise, we make our content less daunting, easier to take in and accessible.

Use the Pyramid Style
Put your conclusion first, then work through your supporting information. A user should be able to tell if they’re in the right place after reading the first few words of your content, then read on if they want more. 

This is the pyramid style of writing that newspaper journalists use and it can be applied to writing for the web so that we help those that are busy understand the general point of our article without having to read the entire thing.

Understanding Users
By understanding your potential customers, you can create content that embraces how they behave online. If you can meet their needs through providing value with your content, then by respecting their time and helping them digest your it quickly and easily, you’ll begin to shape a positive relationship that could lead to sales and conversions. 

Let’s Get to Work

You now have all you need to start creating, original, attractive and compelling content that embraces your user’s natural online behavior. If you do your keyword and competition research, create an engaging title, and write for your user, you’ll be reaping the real rewards of content marketing in no time.


Thursday, July 31, 2014 6:56:00 PM Categories: content development inbound marketing

The Secret Google Analytics Feature That Will Change Your Life Forever  

I’m going to let you in on the single most helpful and immensely useful, but hidden secret in the whole of Google Analytics. There’s no cheats or workarounds involved here, you don’t need to make any adjustments to your tracking code and you don’t need special admin privileges to take advantage.

Have you ever been pondering over your traffic timeline and seen unusual spikes or out of the ordinary traffic? Or have you ever wondered whether those posters you put up, the ad you created or campaign you launched had any noticeable effect on your website traffic? Well, now you can see all of this at a glance by using Google Analytics annotations.

What are Google Analytics annotations?

Annotations in Google Analytics are little notes that you can place across your timeline to monitor or remind yourself of, well, whatever you want! You can use them to keep on top of your marketing activity, online and offline, and monitor what effect it has on your web traffic at a glance. You could note:

  • Product launches
  • Big website changes (or new website launch)
  • Newsletter and email news shots
  • Marketing campaign launches
  • Server downtime
  • Or anything else you feel is important

Then, you’ll quickly be able to see the overall and broad effects that your activity has on your traffic. Plus, annotations stick around, so in six months time when you’ve moved on to future projects, you’ll still have a reminder in your annotations. This is handy for retrospective analysis and completely eradicates those “Hmm, I wonder what that spike was” moments.

How Do You Use Annotations?

Getting started using Google Analytics annotations is simple and, once you do start, you won’t be able to stop. It’s that addictive!

So here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start using annotations:

Step 1. Log in to Google Analytics and head to the Audience – Overview screen.

Google Analytics annotations









Step 2. You see that little, sneaky arrow hiding in plain site? Click that.

Voila. This will open the annotation editor.







Step 3: From here, you can click on ‘+ Create new annotation'.







Step 4. Select the date of your event, newsletter mailout, campaign launch or whatever you want to make a note of.








Step 5. Add your note. You only get 160 characters here, so pretend you’re jotting a tweet.








Step 6. Select whether you’d like it to be a shared or private note.








What’s a shared or private note?

Glad you asked.

A shared note means that anyone with an analytics log in for the site in question can see the note. A private note is only visible to the person that creates it (or the email address currently logged in). So if you only have one email address and one log in for your Google Analytics account that lots of people use, be careful of noting sensitive information. Consider creating a separate log in1 for each person that needs access.

Click Save. Now you’ll be able to see your annotation on the axis of your timeline and your annotations underneath:

Bonus Tip: If a campaign or a specific marketing activity is particularly important, you can favorite it by clicking the little star next to the date:

This allows you to keep track of major marketing initiatives and groups them in the ‘Starred’ tab:

Hopefully, in the future, Google will introduce the facility to create groups of annotations. This way, you could group all of the ‘email’ related annotations together and access them through the same tabs at the top.

Let’s Get to Work

So, now that you know the most useful trick in Google Analytics, it’s time to get to work and use it. Don’t be left in the dark any longer, keep track of your marketing activity and see the effect it has on your web traffic at a glance with annotations.

Believe it or not, few people are aware of this hidden gem, so whether you choose to keep it a secret or share it with your followers is entirely up to you.

There are some sharing buttons below, if you’re tempted.


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Posted by Thursday, July 31, 2014 6:29:00 PM Categories: blogging content development inbound marketing online marketing social media

15 Tips To Optimize Your Social Media Marketing 

By Steve Hoag

tips to maximize your social media effectiveness

Social media marketing is one of the most important components of internet marketing. If it isn't already part of your marketing, it should be. Here are 20 tips to maximize your social media effectiveness:

1. Post regularly.

2. Post when your customers are most active. E.g. 9 am - 5 pm

3. Ensure you have company accounts on all social media channels that your customers utilize.

4. Always respond to mentions, comments, etc.

5. Thank people for sharing your content!

6. Don't only post your content. 

7. Use Google Alerts and custom list searches to quickly identify articles to share with your network.

8. Google Alerts and custom list searches are also useful for finding leads.

9. Ensure that you have a database to store lead information on.

10. Use social media management tools like HootSuite or TweetDeck to post and manage your accounts.

11. Use free or paid analytics tools to track click throughs. Bit.Ly or HubSpot are great free and paid options.

12. Use landing pages and forms to capture leads when people access your content.

13. Adapt your content and messaging based on your click throughs/engagement.

14. Establish which metrics to monitor on your social media accounts.

15. Keep track of these metrics, and create monthly reports to track progress!


View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, April 16, 2014 6:35:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise inbound marketing landing pages SMB social media social media marketing

Engagement: The Most Important Social Media Metric? 

By Steve Hoag

social media metric

Social media is a powerful marketing tool. Lots of people and businesses are using it, but many still don't know how to measure the ROI social media provides. What metrics should you be following? Number of followers? Number of re-tweets? Are these accurate performance indicators? Well I'm here to argue that your engagement rate is the best indicator of performance. What is engagement? It's basically the percentage of times that followers interact with your your posts. If you have 400 followers on Facebook, but your post only receives 40 likes, that means your engagement rate is 10%. There are a bunch of websites that will give you a variety of formulas you can use, so we are going to focus on the major conceptual points.

Social media is full of fluff.

Lots of accounts out there have thousands of followers/connections. Unfortunately, a lot of these numbers are full of fluff or people who just want to increase their follower count. Major networks like Twitter have #teamfollowback, while Facebook pages have people who like a brand but will never actively interact with it. Connections like these are more or less useless. 10,000 followers who refuse to engage with your brand is worth far less than an account with 500 followers and even a 10% engagement rate.  As a brand you NEED people to interact with you to gain traction. 

Engagement rate can be directly attributed to how well your content resonates with your audience.

Someone sharing your content, or commenting on a post is more valuable than someone who just glances at it and moves on. The majority of followers will usually be passive and act like the latter. The highest performing brands online are those that can drive interaction, and have a larger proportion of active followers. Engagement rate also is much better at tracking how well your content is performing. You may have 10,000 followers, but what is that worth if you don't track who, or how many times someone is interacting with a certain piece of your content? 

Engagement is useful for identifying and qualifying potential leads.

Which would you identify as a more promising lead? A person who never looks at or shares your content in their newsfeed, or the individual who actively comments/shares/ask questions about your posts? Probably the latter. Your messaging and content are clearly resonating with them more than the first person. The more engaged a person is, the more invested they are in a brand. In marketing that usually means they are the more likely sale.



View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, April 9, 2014 11:00:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise inbound marketing social media social media marketing
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