Microsites for Local Business Partners: Two Solutions are Better Than None

BrandMuscle | October 9, 2018

Enterprise brands that market through local business partners (dealers, distributors, franchisees, etc.) are often confronted with a common challenge: how best to represent and support the local businesses online.

Some local business partners (LBPs) invest in and manage their own web presence, while others rely on the enterprise brand to provide a microsite solution. The problem is that “one size fits all” rarely pleases all. Some LBPs prefer the flexibility of managing their own presence, but many others don’t have the budget, resources, or expertise to properly represent the brand. This often leads to a paradigm where some local businesses have a professional and effective local presence, while many others fail to meet consumer and brand expectations.

For this reason, and many more, leading brand marketers are increasingly opting to provide a microsite solution for their LBPs. This helps ensure brand compliance, and equally import, provides a powerful marketing infrastructure that helps drive customer acquisition and engagement.

Yet, our clients often question whether the brand should provide a microsite solution when some of the LBPs already have a solution in place. In short, why duplicate efforts?

You Don’t Have to Choose

BrandMuscle’s point of view is that it should not be one model or the other. Even if a LBP has their own site, it is absolutely critical that the brand provides a solution.

Frequently, the sites built and maintained by LBPs are of very poor quality, out of date, and often not brand-compliant. Furthermore, they typically lack adherence to user experience best practices, mobile responsiveness, search engine optimization principles, and proper tagging for analytics. By just letting LBPs do their own thing, the brand has little control over brand presentation, promotions, regulatory/legal compliance, data collection, analytical insights, etc. And, because they are typically poor-quality sites and not built for search engine performance, they rarely show up when consumers are researching, presenting a missed opportunity for both the brand and their LBP.

When a brand provides a microsite solution for all of their LBPs, the result is a high-quality and consistent user experience across the brand’s entire geographical footprint, eliminating “local blind spots.” This creates a true win-win solution. The LBPs can maintain their existing sites (if applicable), where they may also highlight other services they offer or even a relationship with competitive brands (e.g. John Deere dealer who also sells Toro), while the brand can ensure quality, consistency, and performance for the sites they empower.

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