ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: How Cook's Direct Found Success With a Microsite Strategy
There's a growing interest in microsites, which are online collections of distinct segments of merchandise from a larger range of products. If you sell a variety of housewares on your site, for example, you could break out the kitchenware to form a single microsite with a whole new name.
To work, a microsite must have a finely tuned and highly targeted collection of merchandise, and a completely different name than your main site so it has fresh perspective and pulling power when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO).
Microsites were the subject of a May 25 session at the Direct Marketing Association's Retail Marketing Conference 2010 in Orlando, Fla. Presenters included Jeff Breeden, CEO of Cook's Direct, a multichannel seller of foodservice equipment and supplies; and Carol Worthington-Levy, partner, creative services at LENSER, a multichannel direct marketing firm.
During the session, Breeden gave attendees a step-by-step look at how his company implemented its microsite, CateringSuppliesDepot.com.
After careful research, Breeden said, Cook's Direct chose the catering supplies niche for its microsite because the category met all of the company's criteria, which include the following:
- it was a smaller segment of a larger niche;
- the product was unique, interesting and specific to the target customer;
- the product could cross many customer types; and
- the product offered Cook's Direct the ability to advertise, attend trade shows and mail catalogs about it.
Cook's Direct chose its microsite URL with the same care after extensive keyword research. "Your URL should give customers confidence in your brand, and not be too corny," Breeden said. "What's more, it must have a .com top-level domain. Other domains, such as .info, don't work as well, I've found."
The build process came next, Breeden said, and involved designing the microsite's template, organizing the category structure, and selecting the products and pricing.