Updated: May 22, 2023
Originally Published: Aug. 1, 2017
“I already have a website. Why do I need another one?”
For some businesses, microsites can be an effective way to reach different audiences or build a greater online presence. There are many reasons you may decide to build a microsite for your brand, such as to highlight a specific product, promote a contest, reach a specific market and more.
But a microsite shouldn't be treated the same as your main website. You need to develop a specific strategy for this new site to ensure it achieves your set goals. Keep in mind the following when developing a microsite for your brand.
1. Define Your Goal and Stick to It
Microsites, by definition, represent a single purpose or idea. Focus on one product, service, concept, or application to stay on point and immediately actionable.
Try to narrow the purpose of your microsite down to a single goal. Unlike a larger website, a microsite should serve a single purpose. Don’t overcomplicate by including too many elements.
2. Define Your Target Audience
All digital marketing and web design, microsites included, require deep understanding of your users. Without understanding your audience, you risk designing a microsite that doesn’t meet their needs.
A great first step in understanding your audience is to conduct user research. User research allows you to dive into the needs and challenges of your users. Once you’ve done your research, you can create data-backed digital personas. You can learn more about that process in our Why You Need Digitally Focused Personas blog post.
Once you have your personas, determine which ones are the focus for this microsite. Think about your goals and identify which users are most likely to use what your microsite is offering. Develop relevant, unique content aimed for them. Highlight how you can ease their pain points and address the needs you uncovered in your research.
3. Create a Unique URL
The best microsites have unique, catchy URLs. The address is your brand’s first chance to show the message you want this site to share. The URL implies the purpose of the site both to users and to Google. Include a keyword or two if you can, but don’t sacrifice memorability for an SEO boost.
4. Tie Your Brand to the Microsite
You have the freedom to stray from your main corporate branding when developing a microsite. But the look, feel, and messaging should align with other campaign materials and traditional marketing efforts. For example, if you're running social media ads to promote an event and would like to drive those engaging with the ad to an event microsite, make sure that the creative used in the ad matches that of the microsite.
5. Optimize for SEO
Microsites teem with opportunity to boost your brand’s SEO. But it also faces several SEO pitfalls. The last thing you want is to hurt the search engine performance of your main site. So, consider the following.
Don’t duplicate content from your main site. Duplicate content causes your microsite to compete against your website for search engine rankings, which defeats the whole purpose. Your microsite has a unique purpose, so the content should be unique. Ideally, the topic of your microsite will be something that differs from what you discuss on your main website, so it should be easy to differentiate the two to search engines.
Build content around keywords. The best microsites have them in page titles, headers, and within the copy on the page. Research your keywords; don’t guess at them. Learn more about how to properly conduct keyword research.
6. Promote the Microsite
Once the site is up, get it out. Share it through email marketing, digital ads, social media, or other traditional methods. It does you no good if no one visits.
Think about how the microsite’s goals fit in to your larger marketing plan. If you’re using your existing marketing channels to promote this microsite, you want to make sure that you aren’t losing interest from your larger audience by putting too much emphasis on something only relatable to a small portion of your audience.
One way to avoid this is through audience segmentation. For example, if you plan to promote this microsite via email marketing, consider creating a separate list of users from your large list that are part of the persona you are targeting for this microsite, and only promote the microsite to them. That way, you’re still reaching the audience that matters, but you aren’t alienating the others in the process.
7. Track Your Microsite's Success
As you begin to promote your new microsite, create a plan to track its success. Make sure you set up Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and any other relevant data tracking methods on your site to monitor its performance.
When looking at website metrics, think back to your goals when building the microsite. What did you want the site to achieve? What metrics are most relevant to track to see if those goals were met? There’s no point creating a report with every interaction on the website if all your stakeholders care about is whether users filled out your contact form.
Microsites can be a very valuable marketing tool if done correctly and for the right reasons. If you’re developing a campaign or promoting a specific product to a specific audience, a microsite may be a great tactic to consider.
If you need guidance to determine whether using a microsite is the right approach, reach out! Our expert digital strategy will help you make the best decision based on your goals and objectives.