6 “S-Factors” for Microsite Success
For e-commerce retailers, microsites provide an opportunity to focus on specific marketing initiatives outside of the confines of the larger corporate site and brand. Microsites can house special features, marketing campaigns and sales promotions. They range from unique URLs tied to ad campaigns; to sites featuring one product or product group; and even auxiliary sites that experiment with new brands, customer bases or feedback modules.
“If I’m a cosmetics and skin-care company, and I come out with a product for acne, I can build a microsite. I would probably still sell my acne products within my overall site but allow customers to click off to focus specifically on acne. I am going to provide a lot more content and become the expert on acne, with recommendations from doctors, detailed information on my products, testimonials and before-and-afters,” describes Ken Burke, chairman and founder of MarketLive, a provider of e-commerce software, in Petaluma, Calif.
Building a microsite allows a company to deliver new Web applications, test specific marketing initiatives outside of its general site traffic, all with freedom from the parent site’s brand and infrastructure. “When trying to bring somebody to your big site, you’re spending a lot of money to bring them there, and it could be more general traffic. When I have a site that deals just with one product, I can get much better search engine rankings because I have a lot more content and specialization, and, more importantly, the consumer perceives that I’m an expert in that area,” Burke adds.
“The whole purpose of microsites is to be able to throw something up quickly, see if it works and then decide what you want to do in terms of integrating it into you overall business,” says Burke. He believes a site should be able to go up in hours and days, depending on the company’s size—not in weeks or months. Companies like MarketLive and Austin, Texas-based Bazaarvoice, which specializes in social commerce technology like customer reviews and ratings, can store data and offer interface applications from which clients can build extension sites without internal IT constraints.