Marketing your stuff on the internet is getting harder and harder. As a consumer, you might have plenty of experience shopping for products online. But what about when you approach digital marketing as a business owner? How should you do this? First, you start with a web presence that you own. But, should you have a website, a simple landing page, or split the difference with a microsite? This might sound more complicated than filling out your taxes, but it’s really not.
Website vs. Landing Page vs. Microsite: The Basics
How do you know what type of website to choose? For many of your potential clients, their click will be the first impression they get of your company. Of course, you want it to be a slam dunk and really represent your company. (Remember that old – “you never get another chance to make a first impression… yadda yadda.) So, in a nutshell, here’s what you need to know.
What is a Website?
To deliver an overview of your business to visitors, you want a website. Your site will generally have a large menu that includes links for:
- About Us
- Services (or Products)
- Contact Us
- Other links that are relevant to your business
What is a Landing Page?
A landing page is a single page that is meant to focus the visitor on one action. There are no distractions, no other links to click. It can be on the same domain as your main website or a totally different one. The key with this is it usually is the result of an action – for example – a paid ad promoting the product the landing page is about. The ad or promotion will will prompt them to the landing page – to “land” on that page – then find out more about the product. At that point, another action is usually the desired next step.
What is a Microsite?
A microsite is sort of a cross between a website and a landing page. It can be one page or just a few pages. If your microsite is just one page, it should still have internal links. These help a visitor jump from one section to another so that they don’t have to scroll up and down. It just makes for a better user experience.
When to Use a Website
Your company’s website should encompass your entire online first impression. Not sure when you should use a website vs. a landing page or microsite? Some of the ways a website shines for digital marketing include:
How You Solve Your Prospects Problem
For most websites, the number one purpose is to show your prospects how your company can solve their problem. Anytime we buy something, we are looking to solve a problem or satisfy a need or a want. Showing your potential clients your company solves their problem in the best way possible
Explaining Your Products or Services
You can use your website to give visitors all the information they might need to make their decision. Some have more questions or needs than others. What you don’t have on your products or services page, you can cover on your blog. You can “wow” visitors with your engaging content. It will also help improve your search engine rankings.
Telling Your Story
You can tell visitors what your business stands for with your “About Us” page. You might also have pages for Locations, Values, Mission, and Contact information. This is your chance to tell your story and set yourself apart from that guy down the street or across town. If you’re looking to connect with visitors and establish your brand’s voice, you should go for a website. A landing page or microsite won’t give you the real estate to tell people who you are.
Providing a Function
Does your company sell products online? Offer downloadable content? Allow online appointment scheduling? Have one of those cool bots that offers support? Host a user form where people argue about your products or post pictures of their cats? If any of these items are on your list, you’ll need the functions of a full website to do the best job.
You won’t get many visitors if no one can find you online when they enter a search query. SEO is vital to get your business ranked for the top search terms in your industry. But, you can’t cram all those terms and coding into a single landing page or microsite. You’ll get better results by spreading them across your website. And you can include long-tail keywords that will pull in more targeted traffic.
The Benefits of a Landing Page
Landing pages still have their place. And they have excellent benefits when used in the right situations. Since a landing page is micro-focused, it is most useful when you want visitors to take a single action. Some examples include:
- Signing up for your email list through some offered incentive (free or discounted stuff)
A special offer sales page for a single product or service
A deal or coupon offer where users sign up to get access
What About a Microsite?
You won’t generally use a microsite to close a sale. But they have some major benefits. These small websites are great for generating engagement. It’s a good idea to focus on a single product or category. For example, you might create a microsite to demonstrate a product. These sites are useful for:
- creating pre-launch buzz for a product
- promoting a new product just after launch
- introducing time-sensitive material
What Are Your Goals With Your Website?
Think about your goals if you’re still confused about choosing between a website, landing page, or microsite. Microsites work well to create and boost brand awareness. And landing pages are generally designed to drive conversions on specific campaigns. Websites can do all the above, provided they have the right content, and are SEO-optimized. In some cases, you might wish to use a combination of a landing page for your website and a microsite.