You’re ready to expand your digital presence. Great! Whether you’re adding to your services or products, looking to better your SEO or feel like your current digital setup just isn’t big enough to hold your growth, flexible options (like landing pages, microsites and websites) are out there. The caveat: it can be hard to know what option is best for your needs and goals.
The meaning of landing page, website and microsite can get muddied in all of our digital marketing speak, but it’s important to know the unique affordances, drawbacks and applications for each digital format. And, to know when to use each. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the digital marketing trifecta.
Landing pages are based in the domain of your website and look a little something like www.website.com/landing-page. They’re common tools to create a space for one single focus—your product or service (or one of your products/services). Landing pages are so focused they usually have just one call to action (CTA) too.
While great for converting qualified leads, landing pages fall short with brand awareness and engagement. Many have little to no navigation, and you risk splitting your audiences’ attention if you try to introduce multiple CTAs, too much of your company’s story or other non-user-friendly features that take away from the page’s focus and goal.
Still, landing pages are easy to design and set up. And even the more complicated ones (animations, forms, etc.) don’t require a huge lift. This makes them amazing tools for creating a highly engaged space for converting qualified leads. The leads are interested in one product or service form you, and you’re delivering engaging, focused information on exactly what they want.
Imagine that you’re taking on another exciting venture that’s semi-related to your business. You’re tempted to add a pillar page to your existing website and call it a day, but that new venture starts to grow…and grow…and grow. And it starts to outgrow your current website (or, at least, starts to compete for attention with it).
If you try to crowd too much onto a website (or add a pillar page that doesn’t neatly slip into its current structure, service/products offerings or brand), it can be off-putting to your potential audience. People may not know why you’re advertising your artisan jam and your fresh milled flour business in one place, especially if each have a different look, feel and story.
When consumers land on a website, they can come from almost anywhere—and what they know about your business can vary widely. Websites are great for encouraging new and recurring consumers alike to explore your brand, your service/product offerings, your story, plus everything else that makes your business unique and desirable. Websites can have multiple links, CTAs and catchy things like banners, pop-ups and animations to draw attention and encourage an action. There’s a robust and user-friendly navigation system that can direct people to exactly what they want to see—and get them invested in your offerings.
It’s somewhat of a hybrid between a landing page and a website, yet a thing all unto itself: the mighty microsite. Microsites live in a subdomain of your website and look something like www.microsite.website.com. Microsites may also have a completely distinct URL, separate from the website, but act like a mini-site within a website. They can have a different navigation structure, design and feel from your main site, playing with colors or features that you would usually stay away from within your actual website.
However, adding a microsite to manage can muddy up your current content management system and make it difficult to track and update. They’re often a considerable lift as well: we’re talking unique concepts, designs, copy, development and more with microsites. It can all be for naught too if the consumer isn’t sure whether they’ve landed on some bootleg version of your brand or an actual site.
When done right, microsites are fantastic opportunities to be creative and unique while delivering top-of-the-funnel information to a target audience. Microsites can have multiple CTAs that may or may not drive conversions, but they usually house a collection of helpful information around a topic. They can effectively educate and engage consumers, better your brand awareness and position you as an authority.
When Do I Use What?
Affordances and drawbacks aside, certain conditions make a microsite, website or landing page the ideal choice. Think about what bottom-line goal you’re looking to achieve—is it driving conversions? Bettering your brand awareness? Boosting your authority?
Determine what gap you’re trying to fill first, then think about what exactly you’re looking to feature. Maybe the goal is to highlight a new location, or to provide everything a consumer needs to know about one of your products/services. You may also want to narrow the focus even more and look to highlight one specific product or service.
- If you’re looking for increased brand awareness, consider a website.
- If you’re looking for conversions, consider a landing page.
- If you’re looking for brand authority and top-of-the-funnel targeting, consider a microsite.
You know your bottom-line goals and what you want to feature, and you think you may have made your mind up. Hold off just a little longer—because your time and resources may restrict what you can and can’t do. If you’re looking for a two-week turnaround, you’ll want to stick to a landing page. If you’ve got six months and a comprehensive team that can deliver something more complicated, it may be worth considering a microsite or new website.
- If you have a long, flexible timeframe (6+ months) and comprehensive resources, consider a website.
- If you have a short time frame (2-4 weeks) and few resources, consider a landing page.
- If you land somewhere in-between with time and resources, consider a microsite.
If time and resources take away your favorite option, then it might be time to bring in outside expertise—expertise like ours. Hileman Group can bring your website, landing page or microsite to life (and no sacrifices needed). Contact us to learn more about our services.