When Should You Use Microsites

When Should You Use Microsites

Your website may be filled with hundreds of landing pages jam-packed with products, ebooks, blog posts, and videos. While an organized site architecture should enable visitors to navigate through your website easily, sometimes it’s better to keep things even simpler.

This is where “microsites” can help.

True to their name, a microsite is like a mini-website for your brand’s content. Brands often create these sites for a specific event or campaign.

Having a microsite may be convenient because it allows visitors to view information about an event or campaign in one place with no clicking through a whole site necessary.

This article explains how to come up with microsite ideas and how to create one.

What is a Microsite?

A microsite is a branded content site or a small group of web pages. It’s typically located outside the businesses’ main website or brand URL. The microsite can have its own domain, but it could also exist as a subdomain of your company’s website.

Brands have used microsites for marketing campaigns or brand awareness.

Many brands create microsites so their target audiences can focus on one particular event, campaign, or content. If these promotional materials were placed on the main website, it could get lost in the crowd.

However, some brands use microsites to regularly publish specific content types, such as niche online magazines.

Microsites vs. Websites: What’s the Difference?

In simplest terms, a website is a large hub leading viewers to all sorts of information about your brand—your brand story, your products, etc.—while microsites are smaller and have more targeted content. The primary site is likely what people come across when searching your brand, while the microsite is what they find when they’re searching for information about a specific aspect of your brand for which you’ve created this individual site.

For example, Patagonia’s main website allows viewers to shop, learn about their activism, and more.

In contrast, their Blue Heart microsite aims to raise awareness about the dams in the Balkan region—which Patagonia strives to show are harming their surrounding ecosystem and residents.

Pros and Cons of Microsites

Like nearly anything else in the marketing world, microsites have pros and cons.

Pro: Microsites May Help Visitors Focus On Your Marketing Campaigns

Sure, you could create a specific banner on your homepage to launch your new campaign. Unfortunately, many users may be distracted by the surrounding tabs, links, and product pages.

The average human attention span lasts for only eight seconds.

Even if you have a sizeable campaign-related banner on your homepage, surrounding site elements may distract visitors from that. Hence, less awareness and less participation.

By redirecting visitors to a specific microsite, you can wholly capture their attention.

It also forces people to focus on your campaign, cause, or event.

The main homepage is designed based on the campaign’s aesthetic, and the surrounding tabs and links contain specific information to bring awareness. Since other site elements have been eliminated, visitors can focus on your call-to-action or marketing campaign.

Con: Microsites Could Confuse Visitors

Upon learning the fringe benefits of having a microsite, you may be tempted to launch more than one so they can highlight several campaigns.

Be careful. Microsites must be used wisely.

A new user encountering your brand for the first time may unexpectedly reach your microsite.

These first-time visitors may learn campaign-specific information without finding the details they were initially searching for. If they can’t reach your main website easily, they may decide to shop elsewhere.

This con is additionally essential to consider because microsites can be costly, between your domain, design, maintenance, and more—you want to make sure you have good ROI for your microsites.  

How to Come Up With Ideas for Your Microsite

Creating a successful microsite usually isn’t as big of an undertaking as it sounds—as long as you know the right steps.

Here are those steps.

1. Create a Buyer Persona

Just like every marketing campaign you’ve launched in the past, you need to create buyer personas.

A buyer persona will help you visualize the target audience for your microsite.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Who will visit your microsite?
  • Why will they visit the microsite?
  • What will drive them to participate in your microsite’s campaign or event?
  • How will you entice your target audience to visit your microsite?

The ideal marketing persona provides an overview of your target market’s background, demographics, goals, interests, and aspirations. A detailed persona gives you an even better understanding of your target audience’s needs and aspirations.  

The result could look something like this:

2. Define the Goals of Your Microsite

The SMART goal process helps set goals and objectives. The acronym stands for

specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.

Let’s say your overall goal is to create a microsite to promote your new product line.

A good starting point is to determine the specific objectives you want to achieve by launching the microsite. What are your ideal sales or quarterly revenue? How many unique visitors do you want to attract?

For example, a specific goal could be: “I want to attract 100 unique visitors to my microsite per week.”

This is a clear and measurable objective you can monitor every week and may help you determine if your microsite effectively hits the goals you’ve set for your business.

3. Find Existing Examples of Microsites

To get some inspiration for your microsite, look into existing microsites.

According to Zesty, there are generally three types of microsites:

Informative Microsites

This type aims to educate visitors about a specific campaign, event, or cause.

For example, Team Rubicon’s microsite hopes to raise awareness of flood victims’ plights in the Gulf Coast.

Interactive Microsites

These encourage engagement with fun activities or campaigns.

Spotify’s “Year in Music” microsite is personalized based on the visitor’s listening habits. It has a personalized recap of your favorite songs or artists for the past year. This could trigger some good memories and may make your listeners keener on returning.

E-commerce Microsites

These sites sell services or products to consumers.

Bentley Motors launched a microsite to enable visitors to explore their new luxury Bentley Bentayga virtually.  Car enthusiasts have the option to request a test drive, digitally customize a Bentley Bentayga, or learn more about the vehicle.

I’ve compiled a longer list of more microsite examples a bit further down this page to help you out.

How Do You Create a Microsite?

Now that you have a clear vision for your microsite, it’s time to create your own.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Get a Domain and Hosting Service for Your Microsite

The first step is to get a domain name and hosting service for your microsite.

At this point, you probably have a few name ideas—or at least keywords in mind—for your microsite. You can use a tool like Domainsbot to see if these domain names are available or get suggestions based on your keywords. I used “social media SEO” to get the recommendations below:

Another trick is to consider buying expired domains. This lets you redirect traffic from the old domain to your microsite.

Visit expireddomains.net to find expired domain names. Again, I searched “social media SEO:”

You should also opt for a .com domain if you’re targeting a global market, though a country extension (i.e., .uk or .au) also works if you’re targeting a local market.

Depending on your host, they may be able to sell you your domain through their site (often via a third party). You can also use a separate site, like Namecheap, to purchase your domain.

2. Design Your Microsite

You’ve already searched for examples of microsites to see what works and what doesn’t. Now, it’s time to work on your own.

Meet up with your marketing team, designers, and developers to plan the format for your microsite.

Let’s take a look at the basics to consider:

  • Number of pages: Is one page enough to deliver the information, or do you need multiple pages to meet your goals?
  • Gamification: Will your site use interactive elements to tell a story?
  • Navigation: Will users navigate through the website through clicking, scrolling, or zooming in?
  • Media: Will the microsite have blog posts, videos, or images? How do you visualize the final look of your microsite?
  • Call to action: Where will you place the CTA, and how will you make it jump out to users?

If you want to retain your brand’s look and feel, you may use branding elements similar to your main website. You can also go for something different if you aim to promote a specific event or a new product launch.

However, it’s best not to abandon your brand—you don’t want users to forget who’s inviting them to experience whatever your site is advertising.

3. Create Content for Your Microsite

You’ll want to keep your team involved in this step as well. Here are some questions to discuss with them:

  • What content will work best for your site—that is, what types of media will you use?
  • What tone will you use to interact with your target audience?
  • How will your microsite encourage users to take action?

Once you’ve decided what direction you’re headed, assign content and get rolling!

4. Launch, Update, and Promote Your Microsite

Once you’ve launched your site, you need to keep things fresh and bring in new visitors.

If it makes sense, update content regularly—especially if you’re using blogs. Even if you’re using this to advertise an event and information isn’t changing much, use feedback from viewers—such as through a “contact us” form—to ensure the information is useful and clear. Perhaps use their input to create a FAQ page as well.

And of course, you must promote your website to increase traffic. Use your existing social media to let people know about your microsite, and consider creating separate social media or event pages for the site itself.

Additionally, advertise it through traditional methods you use for your other pages, such as pay per click. If you have a brick and mortar store, use physical strategies as mentioned earlier.

Managing SEO for Microsites

Just like your main website, you’ll also want to manage the SEO for your microsite.

After all, you want it to rank in the search results and make it easy to find for users.

Let’s take a look at some SEO tricks you can pull off:

Optimize Your Microsite for SEO

This means focusing on on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO for your microsite.

We highly recommend watching our video on “The Ultimate SEO Checklist For New Websites” to help you get your microsites to rank on Google.

Create Great Content on Your Microsite

The quality of your content is essential, and this goes for microsites as much as it does for your primary site.

Besides optimizing for keywords, the content on your microsite must be relevant, engaging, and clear. Otherwise, visitors won’t be motivated to stay on your microsite for a long time.

So, dedicate time to create valuable content.

What Are Some Good Examples of Microsites?

Microsites can be used to fulfill different goals. Some businesses have used microsites to reach a specific target audience or raise awareness about a campaign. Meanwhile, other brands have used them to provide personalized content or invite users to engage in a particular action.

For a dose of inspiration, here are some fantastic microsites:

Future of Car Sharing Microsite

Future of Car Sharing” is a collaboration between Collaborative Fund and Hyperkat, with assistance from Startup American Partnership. This microsite aims to educate readers on the benefits of car sharing. Visitors can scroll from left to right to learn more about car sharing types and how this practice is good for the environment.

The story begins with the types of car sharing and the different companies and nonprofit groups facilitating it. Along the way, you’ll encounter statistics and the top reasons to participate.

This microsite is useful because it uses easy-to-understand images and infographics to convey information. Users can hover in each illustration to learn more.

Styled by Levi’s Microsite

Styled by Levi’s,” which is run by (of course) Levi’s, is a microsite allowing users to respond to a quiz about their style preferences.

After completing the quiz, users are urged to log-in to their Pinterest accounts to get a personalized shoppable Pinterest board based on their choices.

When it comes to online shopping for clothes, everything is visual. According to Current Daily, the Pinterest boards can send customers to Styled by Levi’s chatbot and customer service. The platform also uses past browsing data of customers to generate personalized looks.

Thanks to this microsite’s user experience and collaboration with Pinterest, customers often find it easy to see Levi’s products matching their styles.

3. My Creative Type

For their My Creative Type microsite, Adobe lets users take an interactive quiz to learn about their unique creative types.

Users are asked to answer abstract questions that are matched with creative traits. After answering a question, users can engage with interactive ASMR elements or animations, turning the quiz into an even more immersive experience.

At the end of the quiz, users can learn their creative strengths, untapped potential, and the biggest challenges they must overcome in their creative journeys.

Conclusion

If you want to create a microsite, think about the objectives you want to achieve. Then, create compelling content to encourage visitors to engage.

Make microsites that have eye-catching designs and deliver seamless experiences to engage users further.

By knowing the right steps, you too could design a microsite your target audience will love.

How will you use microsites?

9 Social Media Trends Marketers Should Watch in 2021 [Data + Expert Tips]

9 Social Media Trends Marketers Should Watch in 2021 [Data + Expert Tips]

As we near the end of 2020, one thing is certain: We’ve spent a lot of time on social media this year.

But, our increased connection to social media isn’t at all shocking.

In March, as countries implemented stay-at-home orders due to the global pandemic, Statista reported a 21% uptick in monthly social media usage.

Throughout the year, consumers have not only continued to use social channels to catch up with loved ones, but they’ve also embraced them for product research, the latest news coverage, and hours of mindless entertainment. 

Now, as the world hits 3.6 billion social media users and continues to deal with the pandemic, brands aren’t just wondering how they’ll engage huge social media audiences next year. They’re also asking, “What social media trends should I expect in this constantly changing landscape?”

To learn more about what brands can expect next year, I spoke with HubSpot’s Social Media Manager Kelly Hendrickson and dug through research including HubSpot and Talkwalker’s Social Media Trends Report.

Below, I’ve compiled nine expert or research-backed trends social media marketers should watch or leverage in 2021.

Download Now: Social Media Trends in 2021 [Free Report]

1. Brands will continue to take a “less is more” posting approach.

This year, many brands spent less time churning out social media posts and more time producing only content that felt thoughtful, valuable, and in-touch with the world around them.

According to Hendrickson, the trend of “less is more” is likely to continue in 2021. 

“COVID-19 had brands starting to ask a question they may have never asked themselves before: ‘Does my audience even want to hear from me right now?’,” Hendrickson says.

“I expect we’ll see brands being more thoughtful about when they post. This may even mean posting less — regardless of algorithms — because it’s the right thing to do,” Hendrickson explains. “There will also be more thoughtful ad buys and partnerships.”

“Never before has ensuring your audience obtains true value from your brand meant so much,” Hendrickson adds.

2. Content value will beat production quality.

When many businesses were forced to go completely remote in 2020, social media and video marketing teams needed develop scalable production processes that could be done from home

When consumers still continued to engage with videos, live streams, and other social media content that was clearly made from home offices, marketers realized that content with lower production quality can still be engaging — if it provides value. 

“COVID19 forced many brands to get scrappy when it came to producing content, especially video work,” Hendrickson explains. “Without a production studio or tons of equipment available, production value became a bit more lo-fi and in the end, but also a bit more human.”

“The exciting thing for brands is that — generally — audiences loved it. If anything, they saw themselves more in the work,” Hendrickson adds. “They too were on Zoom, filming things with their phones, or stuck in their homes.”

Hendricks predicts that “we’ll see bare bones productions in 2021. But, audiences will continue to appreciate it.”

3. Conversational marketing will change its tone.

Conversational marketing isn’t new. In fact, most of the big brands we know and love allow you to connect with them via social media messaging channels at any time. 

But, in 2021, with more messaging channels than ever — and consumers needing more information to make a worthy investment —  the tone of digital conversations might change. 

For example, while past conversational marketing tactics centered around promotions and making sales as quickly as possible, 2021’s conversational marketers might be more focused on helping a user with something, educating them about a product, and nurturing them to conversion with a more thoughtful or empathic tone.

“Brands need to be more human on social media, inviting the world to your dinner table for a meaningful and engaging conversation,” says Aaron Kaufman, Director of Social Media at Square Enix in our Social Media Trends Report. “You are your fan’s greatest fans and need to embody that no matter what social media channel you live on. Emote, respond, recognize, relate, be engaging. We’re not robots.

So, how will brands deal with more demand for thoughtful conversational marketing? A mix of AI tools and human interaction could help. 

A healthy combination of AI and human interaction could enable brands to run efficiently on social media while still giving consumers the authenticity they need to see to trust a brand and make a purchase. For example, a bot could handle quick message queries, while sales, service, or community management reps could respond to more complex questions and concerns. 

To learn more about scaling up your conversational marketing strategy, check out this guide to building a chatbot or learn how HubSpot increased qualified leads with by mixing human and bots in our conversational marketing.

4. Consumers will crave snackable content.

In 2020, we saw the rise of TikTok and Instagram Reels, continued engagement on Stories content from Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, and brands creating other short-form or “snackable” pieces content to educate consumers about their brand. 

As social media attention spans continue to shrink and more people scroll endlessly through feeds while bored at home, don’t expect snackable content to lose steam anytime soon. 

To learn more about four types of snackable content your brand should leverage next year, check out this helpful post. 

4. Video will continue to take center stage. 

Early in 2020, HubSpot’s Not Another State of Marketing Report found that video was the most commonly used marketing content — and the second most engaging content type on social media. 

Screen Shot 2020-11-17 at 2.59.58 PMImage Source

As major platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and LinkedIn increasingly amp up their video capabilities, marketers can expect high video consumption to continue and grow in coming years. 

5. More brands will go live.

In 2019, one in five Facebook videos were live. In May of that year, YouTube users cumulatively spent 284 hours watching live video.

In 2020, as many brands were forced to take conferences, events, and other marketing experiences online, it’s not shocking to think that 2020 live stream numbers could be higher. 

At the moment, many brands are using Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, and Twitter to live stream events, Q&As, tutorials and other types of content. These types of content keep your followers engaged with your brand by bringing an event they otherwise might not be able to attend directly to their screens.

For example, each year, INBOUND interviews some of its noteworthy speakers and guests in live INBOUND Studio episodes on Facebook. This allows followers who can’t join us to get live tips from experts. It also allows followers of interviewed experts to learn more about INBOUND and HubSpot.

To learn more about going live online, check out this guide to live streaming, as well as these tips for marketing your next virtual event

6. Social media platforms could double as shopping channels.

As many brands learned how to do business completely online, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok raced to develop more online business marketing solutions.

While TikTok and Snapchat expanded business marketing offerings in 2020, Facebook and Instagram actually brought shopping capabilities directly to their apps. 

With Facebook Shops, Instagram Shoppable posts, consumers can buy a product seen in a post without even leaving the app they’re on.

For consumers, this adds convenience. For brands that couldn’t build their own ecommerce store, the online shopping tools noted above are providing new opportunities to effectively sell products online. 

8. Social media users will embrace gaming and VR.

In the last year, the number of social media users who identify as “gamers” increased by more than 10 million — or 32%. Our Social Media Trends Report reveals that the highest uptick in gamer identification happened in COVID-19’s heaviest lockdown months.

Now, with Facebook’s company, Oculus, launching new VR products, Twitch continuing to expand online game-streaming capabilities, and platforms like Snapchat launching mini-game apps, it’s clear that gamification and social media will continue to go hand in hand in 2021. 

As a small to medium-business marketer, gaming-related promotions might be inaccessible now, but with Facebook and other major platforms continuing to launch brand tools around their newest features — it’s not shocking to think that more social media in-game advertising opportunities could be possible in the future. 

Brands should keep an eye out for game-related promotions in 2021.

Even if advertorial game content becomes available to big brands but not smaller companies, marketers can still watch what bigger companies are doing and hit the ground running with fresh ideas if gamified promotion become more scalable.

9. Authenticity will be vital.

This year, consumers and brands faced a global pandemic, uncertain financial times, and a number of major events that paused nations in front of news channels.

Now, consumers need more than just great deals to trust, identify with, and invest in a brand. At this point, many brands have taken notice by embracing authenticity and their human side on social media.

While some brands have spoken directly about their thoughts related to COVID-19 or other news items, others have shown authenticity by zoning on their customers through user-generated content or customer testimonials. 

When done authentically, both strategies can help brands gain trust from their audiences while boosting awareness as a company that cares about people.

“We will continue to see the growth in creators in
the social media space. Influencers will continue
to be present, but accountability, authenticity,
and transparency will be the areas brands and
companies will use to determine who to partner
with, and who to pass on,” says Karen Freberg in our Social Media Trends Report. “Empathy and advocacy will be elements that will be integrated within messages and purposes for creator campaigns. The days of ‘faking it till you make it’ without any experience other than having lots of followers are over.”

In 2021, expect authenticity to take center stage on social media as successful brands continue to build trust from their audiences.

Navigating Social Media in 2021

Today, the world around us is constantly changing. And, although we think we know what to expect with social media, this list of trends is likely not exhaustive of what we’ll see in 2021.

As a social media marketer, the best thing you can do is to continue to research trends, online consumer behaviors, and your team’s social media data to determine which trends or strategies to lean into or how to navigate unprecedented online scenarios. 

One great place to start doing this research could be our HubSpot and Talkwalker’s recent Social Media Trends Report.

Along with insights and quotes from social media experts, our Social Media Trends Report walks through all the major 2021 trend predictions to know about and data on how COVID-19 could impact social media marketing. to see the free report, click here or the banner below.

New call-to-action


Which Affiliate Tracking System Should You Chose? Here is a Comparison Chart

Which Affiliate Tracking System Should You Chose? Here is a Comparison Chart

I wanted to create a simple comparison and discussion about which tracker you should start with. It all varies on where you are at with your affiliate career. I have tested all of them and I do have my preferences, especially when running specific traffic sources.

You can start small and then upgrade later. I have moved from a multitude of trackers because one tracker may not have the feature I need. There are trackers that are keeping it real simple while others evolved with the industry.

Essentially it is up to you on which platform you want to utilize for your campaigns. Now let’s look at the main and final comparison table of all the four affiliate trackers. In the next couple of posts after this, I will do a review on each, but here is a quick overview.

Features Voluum BeMob Binom RedTrack
Email Alerts 🙂 🙂 🙂 :)
Push Notification Alerts 🙂 🙂
Personalized Triggers/Notifications 🙂 :)
Raw Data Access 🙂 🙂 🙂
Known Bot Filtering 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Rule-Based IP/UA Bot Blocking 🙂 🙂 🙂
Auto-Detection And Anti-Fraud Details 🙂 🙂
Bot Traps 🙂 :)
Automatic Campaign Optimization 🙂 🙂
Shared Reports 🙂 🙂 :)
Notes  🙂 :)
Multiuser 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Traffic Loss and Leads Approval 🙂
Separate Workspaces 🙂 🙂 🙂
LP Protect 🙂 :)
White Label Shared Reports 🙂 :)
Custom Events 🙂 :)
Free Plan 🙂 🙂 🙂
Sixth Sense 🙂
Blog  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Live Webinars  🙂 🙂 :)
Video Tutorials 🙂 🙂 🙂
Step-by-Step Guides  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Landing Page Rotation 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Cloud-Based 🙂 🙂 🙂
Self-Hosted 🙂
Smart Rotations 🙂 :)
Back Button Redirect Script 🙂

And now let’s just summarize what these affiliate trackers have to offer, starting with Voluum.

Voluum

This is an analysis and information tracking platform that you can utilize as a basis for building for your affiliate network. You’ll get live data and reporting analysis options. Here is a concise list of what you can do with Voluum:

  • Check your affiliate’s/influencer’s/partner’s performance either separately or as a sum up
  • Monitor traffic quality by scanning for traffic bots
  • Analyze your traffic visitors’ characteristics
  • Share live reports to affiliates even if they don’t sign in on Voluum

BeMob

BeMob is a basic affiliate tracker that beginners can use to jump-start their affiliate marketing ventures. It doesn’t require extensive knowledge to operate. When it comes to capabilities, the features are quite decent but it’s actually known for the most advanced features.

Here is a concise summary of what you can do with BeMob:

  • Start tracking with a free plan
  • Get email notifications each time there is a change on your campaign
  • Real-time data reporting and statistics

Binom

Binom is a premium affiliate tracking software that can manage and track your affiliate operations without redirects. It can also get you seamless traffic distribution as well as provide you with in-depth reports about your clicks and conversions each hour.

Here is a concise summary of what Binom can offer you:

  • Generate reports in the highest speed
  • Group your campaign reports
  • Get automated updates every few months
  • Rotate traffic distribution in any of your campaigns

RedTrack

This is a conversions and traffic tracking solution as well as an affiliates campaign manager. Since RedTrack is a SaaS solution, you no longer have to invest in servers. They also offer cookie-less tracking as well as modest service plans.

Here is a concise summary of the things you can expect from RedTrack:

  • Anti-Fraud
  • Multi-step funnels
  • Auto-update of your potential marketing spend
  • Conversion, impression, and click tracking with over 30 data points

There are of course a multitude of affiliate trackers out there.

I personally have used all of these trackers and I find myself going to one than the other because of support. Though some trackers can be complicated I believe the support is super important. A strategy you want to implement may not be so hard when you have a support team that can guide you through it.

Also make sure to stay tuned as more post and in-depth reviews are coming this week on all of these trackers.



Sorry, I turned comments off – Read WhySend Me a Message Instead