In this corner, we have the direct call to actions of a traditional landing page. And in the challenger’s corner, we have the interaction and awareness driver, microsites. But which will ultimately be the winner for you and your business?
When it comes to marketing a specific product or service, the debate surrounding Landing Pages Vs. Microsite rages on. Many people view Landing Pages and Microsites as interchangeable and their differences remain unclear. However, by having a clearer understanding of which each option offers, you can make the decision for marketing your products or services so that they succeed in the best way possible.
The best piece of advice this article will offer is that in todays world of online marketing both are must-have-tools to drive the highest return on investment possible.
Landing Pages Defined!
A landing page is exactly what the name suggests. It’s a particular page on a website used for a certain purpose, to promote a specific product, or service. Because it is hosted on your main domain, its web address will usually be something like www.YourDomain.com/LandingPage or LandingPage.YourDomain.com where the title “LandingPage” is customized to reflect the product or service you’re promoting.
For best results, ensure your landing page is hyper-focused on one specific product or service. Use keywords and topics that represent the landing page & watch your SERP placement (Search Engine Results) rise.
Landing pages function as single pages that tell the story of the product or service you are offering, and it provides a method for people to interact with your brand. Methods of interaction include downloading a specific file, signing up for a free trial, subscribing to a newsletter, or buying a specific product or service. Put another way, just as your homepage focuses on site navigation, landing pages focus on conversion.
A few benefits of using landing pages to promote your products or services include that they can be quick to setup, range in price to fit any budget, and convert at a much higher rate than a general site page. Additionally, depending on the story you are trying to tell, they can have a relatively small up-front cost. This isn’t to say Landing Pages are always cheap (as an agency, we’ve created pages that cost a few hundred dollars to other complex pages that cost a thousands!), however as most landing pages are hosted on your existing domain, there isn’t a need to buy additional domain names or hosting space.
Other advantages include:
- It is easier to examine the effectiveness and ROI of a Landing page; especially if your organization utilizes UTM tags, short link services, or it is tied to a specific campaign (a specific PPC ad-group for example).
- If setup correctly, it’s easy to identify and monitor when people take action the landing page requests and funnels this information directly into your campaign analytics.
- There are a ton of really great Landing Page services to help with a/b testing, analytics and way more. We recommend Unbounce!
*Read more: 10 Tips To a Better Landing Page
Depending on your campaign needs, landing pages do have some shortfalls. If done properly, they are minutely focused on a specific product or service. As such, they can should miss attracting an audience outside of who you are directly appealing to and thus are not a suitable alternative to a proper website. Further it’s important to understand your visitor persona and ensure the page is telling your story in a way that is compelling and concise.
Microsite! What is it & Why Use It?
Microsites are specific domains that cover a single subject or individual campaign. In this case, you would register a different domain for each microsite, and its web address would be something like www.YourCampaignMicrosite.com or CampaignMicrosite.YourDomain.com.
Microsites give you flexibility. They are a topic based website that contain between three (3) and thirty (30) pages worth of specific content that visitors can interact with. Although a specific call to action is a must on each page, the goal of a microsite is to create an experience around a specific story and often includes multiple products or services. Microsites tend to function best when used to facilitate brand awareness and engagement while they act as part of a larger campaign.
An excellent example of a microsite is Facebook for Business. Facebook has built an entire site dedicated to helping small business’ better advertise.
Microsites have several benefits. The expanded size allows you to tell the complete story of your product or service. Further, they encourage visitors to click through your site and view multiple pages, thereby increasing the amount of time that they spend interacting with your brand (and lowering your bounce rate too). Additionally, having a specific URL just for your microsite allows the web address to be more effectively used in radio, television, or print advertising. After all, when the visitor is required to type the website address into their browser, an address that is easier to remember is more likely get traffic.
Microsites do have some shortcomings, however. They are more expensive to set up and maintain than landing pages due to the need for additional hosting space, domain registration fees multiple page designs, and content writing. Further, the call to action may be more difficult to create, and it may lead to a less obvious ROI.
So… Which Is Right For Me?
The important thing to understand when choosing a landing page strategy vs. a microsite is that the right choice for you is going to depend on your goals. If you are building brand awareness, enhancing your audience’s experience and interaction with your brand, while telling a larger story, a microsite is the way to go. On the other hand, landing pages are the best choice for engagement on a specific product or service with a direct and obvious call to action. Each of these items can be powerful tools in your marketing toolbox, so it’s important to not allow yourself to be pigeonholed into only doing one or the other. They each work given the right situation, so analyze your need and choose the web service that’s right for you.
Who ultimately ends up the winner in this fight between landing pages and microsites? When done right, your brand does.
If you have any success or horror stories about either Landing Pages or Microsites, we would love to hear about them in the comments below. Until next time, keep your stick on the ice.
Image courtesy of Ugo Magni