Local microsites and landing pages are both vital pieces of the local marketing puzzle, each serving different needs within the online ecosystem. As BrandMuscle’s Sr. Director of Digital Marketing, I spend my days working with companies who want to magnify their local marketing’s reach and impact. I also talk a lot about the differences between microsites and landing pages, their unique value propositions, and how to help address brands’ and national marketers’ common questions and concerns.
Microsites and landing pages are different, and each serve distinct audiences and accomplish different goals. Microsites establish a local web presence and help consumers discover local businesses. Landing pages are typically focused destinations for paid advertising, with the goal of conversion.
What is a microsite?
As it relates to local marketing, microsites are single- or multi-page websites that establish or support a business’s web presence, while maintaining a connection with the overarching brand or company, and are often part of a larger brand website or ecosystem. The goal of a local microsite program is to establish a business’ visibility and encourage organic search traffic to ensure that customers can find the local business that is right for their needs. BrandMuscle’s microsites offer the ability for both local business owners and the overarching corporate brand to publish content, which creates a balance between the brand voice and the local business.
What is a landing page?
Landing pages, on the other hand, are concise, informative pages that help customers take action after they have clicked an ad. Action can mean filling out a lead form or continuing on a path to purchase. These pages get their name because visitors “land” on them after clicking on an ad, following a link in an email, or scrolling social media — meaning, from following some search engine optimized result or advertisement. These landing pages are typically hidden from search engines and are only accessible from a paid ad. BrandMuscle’s Dynamic Landing Pages solution is scalable for thousands of campaigns simultaneously because it is driven by data, and BrandMuscle manages the content so that local businesses don’t have to. Marketers then use various data to measure their marketing’s success and to determine how to improve it.
Technically, businesses can drive paid media advertising to microsites and their local websites — and just about any website you’d like. But the advantage of driving that traffic to landing pages is control: control over the messaging, control of the branding, control of the user experience, and control of the tracking and reporting.
For example, with BrandMuscle’s Dynamic Landing Pages solution, a paid advertisement focused on home insurance in the Northeast Ohio area can drive consumers to a landing page that offers additional information about home insurance in that area and give consumers easy ways to start a home insurance quote or get in touch with the Cleveland agent nearest to them. On the other hand, driving traffic to a microsite or other local website often means that the person who clicks an ad gets dropped off on a website homepage with no connection to the messaging of the ad, no clear call to action, and — depending on who owns the site — often a black hole in terms of reporting metrics. The clear, concise, and consistent nature of dedicated campaign landing pages has proven to dramatically increase conversion by creating a better user experience for consumers. We did this for Cabinetworks, which is the second largest cabinetry maker in the U.S. Our program helped drive traffic to dealer showrooms and get customers to schedule in-store appointments with designers, and a unique phone number on the landing pages provided Cabinetworks call-tracking stats.
Local partners benefit from having a microsite and their own website. Co-branded microsites can complement existing partner websites and, in some cases, can actually boost traffic by linking the microsites and channel partner websites together.
In many cases, individual channel partners might have their own websites which are either specific to the corporate brand or highlight multiple brands. In those cases, channel partner websites often run the gamut from no website, to a quick Wordpress site an intern set up, to a fully-functioning $20K website built by an agency — and everything in between. By offering a co-branded microsite program, these microsites can fill the gaps for channel partners with no website, and work together with the ones who do have something in place. Often times it is better to think of “and” instead of “or.”
Contact BrandMuscle to discuss how our local marketing strategy and technology can provide you a local web presence, drive discovery, and increase conversions.