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What is a Microsite? by Jerry Bader

Mircrosites are mini websites dedicated to delivering information and soliciting 'call-to-action' responses for particular products, services, market segments, demographic groups, marketing campaigns, initiatives or promotions, Microsite traffic can be generated from e- newsletters, email campaigns, links from corporate websites, online and offline advertising. direct-mail campaigns, and Google-type advertising vehicles.

Why do you need a Microsite?

Microsites focus audience attention on particular initiatives. Most general business websites present a variety of background information that is irrelevant to visitors' immediate needs, while microsites concentrate viewer attention on campaign particulars so your audience doesn't get distracted, confused, or irritated by non-applicable material.

Because microsites are dedicated to single-issue initiatives, they more easily conform to search engine optimization tactics and techniques, delivering more appropriate visitors, who are more directly concerned with the information being presented.

Because mircrosites are smaller in scope, they are less expensive to create. As a result it is more cost effective for you to create multiple versions designed to target different geographical regions or market demographics. This cost effectiveness allows you to test different messages and different delivery techniques to determine what works.

Mircrosites satisfy a visitor's quest for relevant information and for problem-solving solutions that form the basis for positive user experience and high levels of visitor satisfaction. Because mircrosites cut through the clutter, they quickly establish brand relationships and seed word-of-mouth opportunities. The confidence created by solving problems helps close the sale: prospects buy from companies they know, like, and trust.

Because mircrosites provide a direct and specific reference to particular problem-solving solutions they are more likely to me bookmarked for future reference than more general corporate information sites, or email newsletters that are easily lost, deleted, or misfiled.

Mircrosites extend the utility of email newsletters that on average have a very short shelf-life, anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes and e- newsletters are rarely read below the virtual fold. Getting email subscribers to simply connect to the microsite invests them in your message.

Mircrosites move email newsletter subscribers from plain-Jane text emails of relatively little impact designed to avoid spam blockers to fully enhanced, highly focused, rich-media microsites designed to convert prospects to customers.

Mircrosites create opportunities for interactive initiatives like questionnaires, polls, and surveys that promote interest and involvement, extend time spend receiving your marketing message, and provide you with mission critical customer feedback.

What Are the Elements of a Good Microsite

Microsites must engage the visitor immediately and deliver the promise featured in the initial contact vehicle (newsletter, advertisement, or informational link). Microsites must be branded so that visitors know whom they are visiting and they should contain visible and auditory tags that help visitors retain the marketing message.

Microsites must have straightforward navigation, be easy to understand and provide a clear call to action with appropriate contact links. Microsites provide opportunities for collecting analytical information so that adjustments can be made to future initiatives. They are also an ideal vehicle for offering incentives in return for customer information and feedback, or for driving traffic to ecommerce websites and brick and mortar stores, and for disseminating sample offers for new product launches.

This article was published on Friday 10 November, 2006.
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