Dynamic Duo: E-Newsletter and Microsite

In my last column, I talked about smart e-newsletters. This week, I’d like to chat a bit about how to make smart e-newsletters even smarter by combining them with a companion microsite. In this case, a microsite is a collection of Web pages directly related to an e-newsletter or email marketing campaign. This dynamic duo can help you create an environment where the relationship between you and your subscribers flourishes. And, the best thing about this is it’s an environment you have total control of!

As marketers, we must treat information — and how it’s disseminated to our customers and prospects — as the key element in defining our strategy. In using a microsite in tandem with an e-newsletter to manage information and its flow, we have an opportunity to build personal brands that are customized to the needs and wants of individual customers. When we make the exchange of information a highly personalized experience for readers, we build brand loyalty, click by click.

As e-newsletters go well beyond simple email messages, microsites go well beyond the basic concept of a “landing page” or “registration page” that collects information. I’m talking about well-crafted, action-oriented, habit-forming microsites that truly deliver intelligent, one-to-one marketing. Ideally, such microsites compel your readers to return to your messages repeatedly, allowing you to build strong, personal connections with them. These sites are extremely versatile and can drive seminar attendance, survey what your readers are thinking about, build stronger channel bonds, and, most important, convert prospects into buyers.

A Good-as-Gold Microsite

What makes a microsite good as gold? How can you create your own dynamic duo? With these six steps:

  1. Engage immediately. Please, please don’t overlook the obvious! Simple as it may sound, as you plan your e-newsletter, start with the single-minded goal of readers responding immediately so you can send them to the information you want, such as a highly segmented, very specific marketing program.

  2. Determine the interaction. Once subscribers are prequalified based on their initial response, determine how to interact and communicate with them. Where do you want to lead them? What do you want them to do? How should they interact? What should they know about your brand? Determine these steps in advance so you can lead them to specific links within the microsite and get instant feedback to help you adjust marketing messages in real time.
  3. Make it easy! In clicking through to a companion microsite, readers shouldn’t feel as if they’re crossing a chasm. The transition should be seamless and the experience a continuation of the process started in the e-newsletter. Make sure design, layout, copy, content, and brand of the microsite reflect and complement the e-newsletter.
  4. Remind them why they clicked. Subscribers want to be greeted with individualized content, communications, and incentives on the microsite that match their interests and preferences based on the promises made in the e-newsletter. Send readers to pre-existing, noncustomized pages (such as your home page)? A big no-no. Your Web site was designed with a variety of marketing and sales objectives in mind, not specifically as a complement to e-newsletters.
  5. Build a habit-forming memory shelf. Branding is about building a memory shelf in the minds of subscribers. Make sure your microsite presents a compelling brand story. Provide a consistent stream of informative content on your products, services, and company that addresses the needs of customers and prospects. Create a strong memory bond, and they’ll come back for more.
  6. Analyze, analyze, analyze. For tracking and reporting, an e-newsletter complemented with a companion microsite can’t be beat. By integrating this dynamic duo, you’ll have a better, more complete picture of subscriber behavior. You can learn from the way they navigate: what they read first and last and how much time they spend in each area. Follow up immediately with personalized, customized programs.

The dynamic duo of an e-newsletter and a robust microsite gives your marketing strategy a one-two punch. By strategically using this duo, you’ll create stronger brand identities, better relationships, and good-as-gold brand loyalty.

Questions or comments? Please email me.

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