Throughout the year, many businesses will initiate campaigns and events for a variety of purposes – 54% of event managers plan to host more events in 2019. It could be to promote their new product line, commemorate a widely celebrated holiday or to boost their Corporate Social Responsibility. In preparation for these special events, a multitude of deliverables will be necessary in order to create a campaign that will be distinct to their competitors and amplify effectiveness on consumers. Often times, one of these deliverables is a microsite.
Microsites – An Effective Tool in Marketing
(Domino’s Anywhere microsite, source: dominos)
Not to be confused with landing pages, microsites deliver immersive and compact experiences for a particular campaign or event. The writing is short and straightforward, allowing the user to grasp the microsite’s purpose in just a few seconds.
Since the information is dedicated to a particular event, consumers are unlikely to be confused by irrelevant content usually found on their main website and will achieve their goal of disseminating details of their campaign to the target audience.
In most cases, microsites will have a completely different aesthetic design. The themes and graphics will be altered and media content will be purposefully crafted to match the occasion. This incites curiosity in the visitor and heightens their interest in the microsite, which will directly translate to curiosity in its content.
79% of people surveyed used smartphones to look up event information at the beginning of their research. A microsite would be decisive in cementing the consumer’s decision on a campaign.
Distinguishing a Microsite From a Landing Page
(Airbnb landing page, source: Airbnb)
Landing pages often consists of a single webpage with the purpose of attaining a lead. A lead, in this case, is a consumer who has decided to initiate contact with a company and wishes to do business with them. Due to the one-page limitation, the amount of content and information it can provide is significantly lesser, compared to a microsite.
An aesthetic makeover is also uncommon for landing pages, removing the ability to attract users through visual graphics. This means that the copy (writing of the webpage) has to be both brief and stimulating to elicit a sense of urgency from the consumer. A call to action (CTA) can be utilised along with time limited offers and promotions to encourage an immediate response.
In essence, both microsites and landing pages seek to create awareness to get your target audience to liaise with the company. The difference comes when we consider the scale. Since landing pages comprise of just a singular page, it is constraining in terms of creating awareness but cost-effective when the objective is to obtain leads. On the other hand, microsites offer multiple pages with a unique design to garner attention, and are wholly fixated on a specific purpose: To create awareness.
Businesses should think about what their end goal is to determine the best course of action between a microsite and a landing page.
Why build a microsite?
(Creating a microsite, source: freepik)
To conduct a successful campaign, advertising is needed. Many companies understand this, but there is inconsistency in their methods. Some would rely on newspaper advertisements, while others would distribute flyers to the public. However, our current generation has seen an increasing importance in promoting campaigns through online platforms such as company websites and social media.
Singaporeans spend over 12 hours a day on digital devices, often times browsing the web or social media sites like Instagram and Facebook. Surfing the web in one way or another has become ubiquitous in Singapore society, and finding someone with zero exposure to the internet is near impossible. Hence, online marketing tools like microsites have the potential to substantially increase the success of a campaign or event.
Microsites enable a more meaningful experience to a user whose sole purpose of visiting is to gather more information about a campaign, with negligible attention to the company itself. In retrospect, the user might take notice of the company if their experience with the microsite is pleasant.
The content on a microsite is concise and differentiates itself from the main website due to a design overhaul that is tailor-made. Since it is separated from the primary website, post-evaluation of the microsite’s performance through statistics like click-through rate is straightforward.
From a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) perspective, microsites provide an added benefit of catering to a target audience in a time sensitive environment. For example, if a microsite is crafted purely to celebrate Christmas, consumers that do an online search on Christmas are likely to encounter the microsite. Search engines like Google evaluate a website based on a plethora of factors, such as presence of keywords and a balance of words to images. This sort of assessment is favourable to microsites due to its concentration on an individual topic and use of visual imagery.
However, microsites do have shortcomings. They require a dedicated team that is competent in marketing, design, copywriting, programming and so on. When the team in charge of creating the microsite has absolute clarity on the purpose, design style and set of guidelines to be followed, arguments over design language will likely reduce and everyone’s mindset will coincide with one another. A cohesive and efficient environment will lead to creations of higher standards.
Creating a Microsite – The Basics
(Ideation, source: freepik)
Once an appropriate amount of consideration has been put into questioning the need for a microsite, the next step will be to start the creation process. To conceptualise it, further elaboration on the requirements of the microsite is necessary.
The most important aspect of a microsite is to keep it short and sweet. The writing should be effective and to the point. Through this format of presentation, visitors will be enticed to read through the entire microsite and gain an understanding of the company’s offerings.
A microsite has to be clear in its purpose to retain the interest of the consumer. Through this clarity, the audience’s engagement rate increases and its offerings become more attractive. An easy method of defining your microsite’s objectives, and by extension its writing and visual design, is to ask questions such as: Who is our target audience, what is the problem we are solving for them, does the content of our microsite align with our brand image? Once questions like these are answered, determining the content and design style will be simplified substantially.
Additionally, if we organise the content of a microsite effectively, the most important pieces of information we wish to convey to the audience will be given priority. Copy such as taglines, the company’s best products and reasons to laisse with the company should be placed at the top of a microsite. This strategy of content organisation will appeal to the consumer and portray the company at its best.
Examples of microsites
(Spotify’s Beats of Singapore microsite, source: Business Insider)
Spotify launched an event, titled “Beats of Singapore”, where users could receive a month of free Spotify premium just by participating. All they had to do was to pick a representative personality trait, choose a place in Singapore and a corresponding song that fits the location. This event accomplished two goals: It gave Spotify crucial marketing information on the songs Singaporeans enjoy, as well as promote their own premium service by encouraging users to extend their subscription.
(Main page of the Smart Cities microsite, source: The Straits Times)
The next decade will see an array of technological advances that seek to revolutionise and innovate life as we know it. The Straits Times, one of Singapore’s new publications, are obliged to report on these advances that will impact both society and the employment landscape. In light of this, a microsite was created to compile news relevant to their tagline: “Smart Cities: Building For Tomorrow.” This alleviates the need for citizens to search tirelessly for articles regarding the trends in technology and congregates all relevant information into a few webpages.
(Snapshot of Trinax’s Christmas microsite)
Trinax created a microsite with the intention of inducing business enquiries for events during the Christmas season. The aesthetic design is loaded with a red colour palette and a snowy atmosphere to evoke a sense of Christmas glee. Ornaments, Christmas trees and various props add value to the overall design as well. Links to multiple concepts and products Trinax is proficient in are also featured to familiarise the visitor on our capabilities and experience. A project gallery supplements this objective along with inspirations for future projects.
What Are Your Objectives?
A session of self-reflection should be convened to think about what you are trying to achieve. Company resources will need to be set aside in order to create a microsite that leaves a profound impact. An awe inspiring microsite is hard to come by, and many companies have ventured into its creation with little success. If the microsite’s foundation – such as objectives and design direction – is not clarified with the team that brings it to fruition, it will likely be insufficient in some aspect.
A proficient team with Clear Goals, sufficient time and effort as well as effective internal communication will pave the way to a brilliant microsite.Innovation: an all-inclusive term for introducing an entirely new solution to a problem or an approach that brings a fresh take on existing concepts.