Microsite Marketing

Kelly “Rags” Ragland is owner and operator of Rags to Stitches Productions, a holistic advertising-specialty company providing a range of services from web design and development to customized apparel.

In the sport of darts, we like to use the phrase “aim small, miss small.” This adage has everything to do with focus and keeping aim on-target. I recently wondered how this same saying could apply to focusing on a target audience in terms of marketing, brand awareness and selling online. The answer comes in a small package called the microsite.

Microsite, defined Microsites, by definition, are smaller websites that relay a more focused message. They are used for brand awareness, link-building for search engine optimization and to generate qualified web traffic to a main website, social networking channels and, of course, direct sales. A microsite generally features around four to seven web pages—nice and small—geared for a no-nonsense approach to promoting a product or service and providing a call to action. Microsites are generally easier to maintain due to their small size and provide businesses the ability to keep current information and sales promotions up-to-date with less effort than is required with a larger commercial website.

They can be created for free using a blogging platform such as Google’s Blogger, or can be designed and developed on an existing server. Microsites can also benefit from having their own domain name that complements a main website. For example, yourcompanyname.com could have microsites that use yourcompanynameuniforms.com and yourcompanynamesportswear.com, keeping the domains memorable while keeping the business name included.

While the how couldn’t be simpler, let’s look at the why and it becomes an even bigger return-on-time-investment.

Why go micro? There are many valid reasons to build and maintain a microsite. At the top of that list is focus. Main websites tend to be more broadly-focused as to present the total sum of information a business wants to share about itself. Usually, the website’s verbiage is more corporate rather than driven toward persuasion and selling.

A microsite, or even multiple microsites, can be geared toward the direct sale, promoting a specific product or service and targeting a specific audience with a call to action. For example, an embroidery or screen printing shop that offers custom work for a variety of different markets could easily build several microsites to target each specific audience—a microsite promoting to restaurants that draw attention to products like aprons and uniforms, or one promoting spirit wear and letterman jackets for the school market, for instance. One can create a microsite for each individual target audience that can link to a main website or social networking site and provide a quick and easy contact option for the customer.

Search engine optimization is another big reason to consider this micro marketing strategy. With the in- and out-bound links added from a main website to each of its microsite counterparts, the search engines pick up on each site’s content and their relationship to the main site. The site content is clearly going to complement each site as a primary subject which, in turn, improves visibility within search engine results.

Additionally, consider the viral capabilities a microsite can open up. In today’s fast-paced Internet environment, share buttons, Tweets, Facebook posts and PlusOne buttons abound. They all generate clicks and viral sharing on social networks. Smaller microsites lend themselves to these quick sharing tools as they are more focused, smaller and faster… and get your message across in little time. Finally, as each microsite has a specific target audience, the chances of generating a lead or sale increase. These branched-out channels of marketing will result in more likes on your Facebook pages, more inquiries or sales in your inbox and more traffic driven to your main website. Good luck with your leap into the world of microsites, and remember, good things can come in smaller packages.