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.

References

1 http://www.slideshare.net/Regalix/the-success-of-microsite-marketing-strategy

2 http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/what-is-a-landing-page-ht

3 http://www.slideshare.net/marketingexperiments/webclinic-microsites-testedv6-25273142
4 http://www.marketingprofs.com/8/improve-lead-capture-conversion-turn-landing-page-into-microsite-parsa.asp

5 http://dannybrown.me/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/Landing-Page-Handbook.pdf 

 

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

Three SEO Trends To Keep An Eye On 

By Steve Hoag

SEO trendsSearch Engine Optimization is a critical component of any online marketing strategy. It’s so important for building online exposure and recognition that ignoring it can cost your company thousands of dollars in lost sales. That’s why it’s important to keep a tab on new developments like:

SEO and content marketing gradually becoming synonymous.

Content marketing and SEO are so deeply intertwined that it’s becoming harder to run a successful SEO program without utilizing great content. 2013 was the year content marketing became a buzz word and growing trend. 2014 is the year it becomes a mandatory part of every SEO program.

Social media growing increasingly important for SEO.

People are just uncovering the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how useful social media can be to SEO. Social media is already demonstrating how reliable it can be as a source of traffic and brand awareness. As search engines become more intelligent, they will begin to take a harder look at the impact of social media when ranking websites.

Mobile optimization becomes mandatory.

Over half of Americans own smartphones, and a third of them use tablets at this point. Optimizing your website for mobile users is essentially a must-have now for most businesses. Google’s Hummingbird updates will reward you for implementing a mobile strategy. That also means you will be on the outside looking in if you decide to ignore this growing market segment. A responsive design will go a long way for ensuring that your website stays at the top of rankings and in front of your customers!

 

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 Thursday, May 29, 2014 1:51:00 AM Categories: B2B B2C SEO social media web trends

Five Security Tips You Need To Implement 

By Steve Hoag

Website security tips

Website security is a huge issue right now. Heartbleed has affected many people. Homeland Security claims it’s no safe to use Internet Explorer anymore. A new threat, ‘Covert Redirect’ recently reared its ugly head last week. Multiple US agencies and Fortune 500 companies were affected by threats like these. That’s why it’s becoming increasingly important to maintain a high degree of security on your website. You never know when you may be the target of a cyber-attack. With that being said, check out these five tips you can implement right now to keep your site secure:

Restrict users from uploading files to the website server.

One of the easiest ways to boost your website’s security Is by preventing users from accessing your server files or uploading their own. Clever hackers may eventually find their way in, but don’t make it easy for them by allowing them to upload malicious files.

Require passwords that use a variety of character types.

There are too many people out there that have easy to guess passwords for important websites. Your password should never include your name, or anything else that’s easy to guess. Make sure that your website requires users to choose passwords that include upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.

Keep your website software updated.

CMS developers will often come out with new updates to address performance, security, and technology issue. Always make sure to update your site to take advantage of the latest developments! Hackers look for websites that aren’t updated, because their security systems aren’t up to snuff.

Read the news!

This may seem like a no brainer, but staying up to date with current events is an easy way to stay aware of new security threats and how to avoid them. Imagine if Fortune 500 companies decided to stop keeping up with current events and never heard of HeartBleed. They would have a huge problem on their hands, and have no clue what they were dealing with! A scary proposition indeed.

 

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 Monday, May 19, 2014 11:53:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SMB web development web trends website

How To Improve Website Accessibility 

By Steve Hoag

how to optimize your website accessibility

Website accessibility is all about making sure anyone and everyone can access your website. There are many users out there who have disabilities or may be using devices that require additional accommodations. That being said, some things that can be done to improve accessibility will improve the user experience for everyone. Check out these tips on how to optimize your website accessibility:

Ensure your color scheme has an appropriate amount of contrast.

Color blindness is a very common condition among users. Make sure that your color scheme has enough contrast so that people with color blindness can still distinguish what exactly is on the page. Tools like colorfilter.wickline.org help to mimic colorblindness on your website so that you can see where to make changes.

Utilize alternative content where necessary.

Alternative content is useful for users with vision/hearing problems.  Alternative content means using text for non-text content. For instance, using words to describe images, or including transcripts along with videos for users who are hard of hearing. A text only version of your website can also be useful for users with slower internet connections or devices that are outdated.

Utilize skip links.

Skip links allow speech software to skip over links/navigation items that are repeated on every page. This is useful for people who are vision impaired and don’t want to listen to the same menu items being repeated on every page. Skip links allow users to skip over repetitive links so that they can access the primary page content.

Explain Select Menus.

The default value on select menus should describe what the menu is intended for. For instance, if a form is asking for your bodyweight it should label the default value of the select menu as ‘select body weight’ instead of leaving it blank or including number with no explanation. This will help to ensure everyone clearly understands the purpose of forms and fields.

Use descriptive link names.

Use descriptive links whenever you can! A link that says ‘click here’ isn’t nearly as useful as ‘click here to download Windows 2010.’ When in doubt, be more descriptive. 

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 Tuesday, April 29, 2014 11:24:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SMB web design web development website

What Is Website Usability? 

By Steve Hoag

what is website usability

Website usability is essentially the ease of use of a website. There are a variety of factors that go into usability including things like font, page load times, site search accessibility etc. It's important to ensure a high degree of usability so that more users can easily access and utilize your website. So how do you improve website usability?

Keep load times reasonable.

 Users are going to go to another website if a page takes too long to load. Users are fickle. They aren't going to sit around waiting for your website to perform better.

Use an easy to read font/color scheme.

What good is a website if a user can't read any of the content on it? Pick a normal font and color scheme to make life easy on your users. The last thing you want to do is burn your customers' retinas.

Intuitive navigation.

Another important factor in website usability is employing an intuitive navigation system. Make sure all the important sections of your website are easy to find and access in the nav system. It's important to also ensure that your nav system isn't overly complicated. Don't include too many menu items. Stick to the basics to keep it as streamlined as possible. 

Keep copy concise and explanatory.

A website with a high degree of usability makes great use of its copy. It's concise, easily digested, and very informative. There isn't much filler to discourage or frustrate users.

Make sure headings are clear and descriptive. 

People don't read website copy word for word. They skim and scan the entire page for what's important. That's why using clear and descriptive headings is useful. They can often replace a long-winded paragraph, and are much more user friendly. Would you rather read a sentence or five sentences to understand the same message? Exactly.

Make URLs meaningful and user-friendly.

Using meaningful URLs that have keywords in them can be helpful for users and search engines alike. They can help users understand where they are within a website, or the purpose of a page. 

 

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 Monday, April 28, 2014 10:35:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C SMB web design web development web trends
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