Trying to stand out amongst a sea of competitors can be challenging. This is why marketers are constantly looking for new and interesting ways to attract and engage the right audience and convert site visitors into viable leads. This is exactly what led to the invention of microsites, landing pages and splash pages. While they may seem to be the same thing on the surface (and, indeed, they do share some similarities), they are each unique marketing efforts that can be beneficial in their own individual ways. Before you decide to implement one of these tools in your marketing campaign, it helps to have a better understanding of what, exactly, they are and the pros and cons of each.
What is a Microsite?
Put simply, a microsite is usually an individual web page or small group of pages that function independently of their parent website. They provide visitors with very specific information, rather than informing the visitor everything about your brand like a website might do. They typically contain branded content that does not necessarily coincide with the branding of their company homepage (and may have their own domain name). Most commonly, microsites are used to reach a very specific audience through their direct and customized approach. They are great for tracking shorter campaigns, launching new products, telling a story, or experimenting within new markets.
Advantages of Having a Microsite
There are many advantages that come with using microsites in your marketing efforts. They are often used to accomplish the following:
- Build brand loyalty by increasing brand awareness on a specific product, service or promotion.
- Keep your audience entertained by telling a story that is easy to follow and engaging.
- Increase time that site visitors spend connecting with your brand by encouraging them to view additional pages.
- Improve offline advertising performance due to their own specific URL which you can direct your audience to.
- Allow for more creative freedom by giving you the ability to ditch corporate templates.
Disadvantages of Having a Microsite
They also, however, come with their own set of disadvantages. They may lead to the following:
- Confuse visitors by having their own unique branding that doesn’t integrate with the original branding they know.
- Be expensive, as they require additional design and backend maintenance.
- A microsite takes longer to build then some other options.
- Require the purchase of additional domains.
- Be difficult to measure and track ROI for microsites.
- Generally more difficult to create effective converting call-to-action’s (CTA’s) for microsites.
What is a Landing Page?
The simplest explanation for a landing page is that it is a dedicated page on your main domain that is used specifically to promote one particular product, service or promotion. The URL associated with this page will give the visitor a clear indication of its purpose. Landing pages are built with the sole purpose of driving site visitors further down your sales funnel and eventually converting them into customers.
Unlike a microsite, which relies heavily on persuading, entertaining and informing the visitor, a landing page does what it can to keep the visitor where they are until the conversion is completed and will avoid linking out to additional information or providing other sources of potential distraction. They are perfect for encouraging site visitors to click on a CTA. This can result in them purchasing or download something, signing up for a free trial, or subscribing to a newsletter, to give a few examples.
Advantages of Having a Landing Page
Landing pages also have their own set of unique benefits. They can accomplish the following:
- Boost the SEO of your site by using keywords, thus improving your sites overall searchability.
- Be created for relatively very little time and money.
- Avoid the requirement of having to purchase an additional domain.
- Function as a huge asset in converting visitors.
- Easily measure the ROI through the use of UTM tags.
- Connect easily to marketing automation tools and install analytics tools.
Disadvantages of Having a Landing Page
Some of the disadvantages associated with landing pages are:
- They only offer access to a limited amount of information, which may lead to dissatisfaction among some visitors.
- It can be more difficult to story-tell in a way that will engage and attract your target market.
- They may add an unwanted additional step to your conversion process.
- They can only be accessed through promotional emails, PPC advertisements, social media posts or other marketing efforts, meaning that users may have a harder time getting back to your landing page if they lose it for any reason.
Please keep in mind that landing pages can be used in a wide variety of ways, and some of the advantages or disadvantages may not be applicable to your situation. But, what you’ve read above is often the case.
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What is a Splash Page?
A splash page is another marketing tool you could find beneficial. This is a starting screen a user will see when they first visit your website. It is comprised of minimal and action-oriented copy. It also has a CTA, high-quality visuals and is engaging. The goal of the splash page is to collect contact information, provide data that your visitor might find useful, or to clearly express to your visitors a specific benefit or offer they can get from your site. It should also, however, always include an exit option that can redirect the visitor to your main site without forcing them to leave any information. Some examples of a splash page are a newsletter or email list sign-up, an age verification form, or collecting an email in exchange for a discount or freebie, to name a few.
Advantages of Having a Splash Page
You’ll possibly want to use a splash page if you’re trying to capitalize on any of the following benefits:
- Find a great way to vet your audience (as in the example of the age verification form).
- Draw attention to special announcements or pertinent site information.
- Have the website load quickly, through the simplicity of its coding.
- Simplify the process of gathering visitor data.
- Help your visitors to navigate your site more easily, by directing them to the right sub-page on your site.
Disadvantages of Having a Splash Page
Just as with the other options, they also come with downfalls. Here are some common disadvantages:
- Your site visitors may find them annoying (particularly if the exit button is not easy to find).
- Splash pages are not typically indexed by search engines.
- It’s possible for them to hurt your overall SEO performance.
- They can be redundant for regular site visitors.
- Not every operating system is compatible with splash pages. This could lead to some visitors finding it difficult to get to your main site.
Factors to Consider
When you’re trying to determine if any of these options good fit for your marketing needs, consider these factors:
- Team Size: Do you have the resources necessary to create a quality page?
- Size and Importance of Campaign: How long will it run and how important is it to attract new visitors?
- Purpose: What, exactly, are you trying to accomplish with your creation?
- Time & Budget: When do you want to launch and how much money can you spend on creation efforts?
- Target Audience: Do your visitors want to be led (as they would in a landing page) or would they prefer the autonomy of making their own decisions (that they are more likely to experience through a microsite)?
When you have the answers to these questions, it will be much simpler to decide which option is your best choice. Hopefully, this has given you a clearer understanding of the similarities, differences, pros and cons of each one.
When you need assistance with your microsites, landings pages or splash pages, let us know! We would be happy to learn more about your marketing needs and see how we may be able to assist.
Joshua Lyons Marketing, LLC was established in 2015. Since that time we have provided digital marketing services to business and professionals. We help our clients increase their online exposure as a means to increase sales and revenue. Our core services include search engine optimization (SEO), website development and content creation. We also provide other online marketing services, such as email marketing, marketing consultations and various types of advertising. Our team is based in the Milton, Pace and Pensacola, Florida area. However, we work with clients throughout the United States. Read More