In my last column, I wrote about microsites and received a lot of great feedback and requests for more information. People were quite intrigued about these little powerhouses, so today I thought I’d discuss some of the cool things that make a microsite more than just a little old landing page.
Let’s start right there. A microsite is not a landing page. Typically, a landing page is one page that links the reader to your Web site or makes a simple call to action. A microsite, if used to its full potential, can provide you with one heck of an opportunity to get your newsletter subscribers to move closer toward a buying decision or next level of the sales cycle. A true microsite is multilayered, has more depth, and can be thought of as a launching pad for myriad marketing opportunities. Beyond just a companion for your newsletter, it can be a doorway for search engines, a marketing site for e-marketing campaigns, or a targeted site for brands, products, and services.
Delivering the One-Two Punch
What’s the true power of a microsite? Here are some of the power punches that you can take advantage of when you’re using a microsite as a companion for your newsletter:
- More than an email. Newsletters distributed by email alone have the shortest life span of any type of publication. In fact, a plain vanilla email newsletter probably has a shelf life of 30 seconds to maybe 3 minutes. It is received and read quickly, and often the articles appearing below the initial screen view are never even seen. By using a companion microsite, you now add depth and breadth to your newsletter, helping it last until the next issue comes in.
- HTML noncompatible. Despite the rapid insurgence of HTML-capable email clients, many of your subscribers can only see a plain text version. A microsite lets you give new life to that email by allowing your readers to be immediately connected and immersed in the HTML-formatted, full-color version of the newsletter. This gives all your readers the opportunity to experience the full force of your branding and formatted content.
- A bookmarked brand. An e-newsletter with a companion microsite has an indefinite life span. For instance, if your microsite is being used to brand a particular product in your company, you can encourage your readers to bookmark the site so they come back and visit often to get the most up-to-date information.
- More time, more tracking info. A companion microsite opens up the door to a whole new level of interactivity that is just not possible within the scope of an email message. This interactivity invites your audience to spend more time with your newsletter; more time means you can collect more information. Once you understand how a subscriber interacts with your newsletter over time, you can personalize content based on what the person prefers to read.
- Timeless content. Content builds brand, respect, and community. So why not use your content to your best advantage by making it timeless? Content that is archived from older issues can offer fresh ideas and concepts to new readers and old. And more content means more time on your site, which in turn gives you yet another opportunity to track your readers’ interest.
- New, highly interested subscribers. When people find articles of interest, it is natural that they want to share them with their fellow workers. When your newsletter gets forwarded and passed around, you’ll get new subscribers with high interest levels that you would never find through tradition acquisition methods.
- Search optimization. A microsite can be optimized for search engines and start to take on a presence beyond your initial marketing campaign. Utilizing search capabilities for your products and services means you’ll reach more prospects and buyers at various search points. And when they get to your site, they’ll find information tailored specifically to meet their search criteria, making your site immediately relevant.
Microsites in Action
I’m including here some newsletters that incorporate companion microsites so you can see how the two, by working together, have complemented and extended the effectiveness of the respective company’s e-marketing campaigns. The Workforce Network newsletter mirrors its content online, so that each issue is a microsite. MyRegion.org uses a similar approach. Both use some or all of the power punches I mentioned above to create a customized, one-to-one, effective connection for their readers.
If you have any questions, please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.