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The power of the modern microsite

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It’s a brand-new year, full of new possibilities. And there's no better time than now to bring new possibilities to life in your digital experience and content strategy. Incorporating microsites into your online strategy is one of those possibilities.

Did you know that modern CMS technologies now enable you to launch microsites in as little as one to two weeks? If you're looking to enable experimentation, create targeted and personalized campaigns or launch new capabilities outside of your main website, it's time to consider microsites.

We love them because we've seen how they help companies regain creative control, experiment with fresh capabilities and test out new campaigns. By giving you the power to separate specific initiatives from your core site, microsites enable you to drive engagement without interrupting the usual flow of your primary site. Here's everything you need to know.

What is a microsite?

A microsite is a branded content site that lives outside of your company homepage and/or brand URL. Most people assume microsites must have completely different URLs, but they can also be subdomains of your main website. They are also referred to as “content hubs.”

Microsites are typically built for a specific campaign or a discrete objective. Because most of these objectives have a finite end—such as a launch or an upcoming event—they usually live online for a distinct period of time. But there are times when you can maintain a microsite long-term, for example when you use it to house a blog.

While microsites have very specific objectives, it’s important to note that they are also extremely adaptable based on your needs.

What does a microsite do?

Generally, they are used for the following purposes:

From hosting events to releasing new products, they can serve multiple purposes across marketing, product, brand and PR teams. Some of the most common types include:

Perhaps you want to expand your efforts to a foreign country and need to publish content in another language. Instead of picking and choosing which pages need that functionality, a microsite can exist specifically for the audience that speaks that language.

No matter what your use case may be, a microsite is a compelling way to showcase your expertise, explain your business effectively and, ultimately, drive organic growth.

What can a microsite do for you?

Content marketing teams will be pleased to know that they are easy and manageable—and they offer the flexibility to pursue innovative tactics for reaching customers. Everyone from CMOs to brand managers will benefit from:

It’s important to note that they don’t exist simply to deliver marketing messages—they provide additional value to customers. By dedicating your site to a single topic, product or service, you're doubling down on dedication to your customers. And at the end of the day, that's what it's all about: getting your customers exactly what they need or want, in a fast, accessible and engaging manner.

  • To create awareness around a new product launch
  • To reach a new, targeted audience demographic
  • To encourage a specific user action (register, purchase, subscribe, etc.)
  • To publish content displayed on HTML pages
  • To market test a new concept
  • To experiment with innovative features and take risks
  • Event sites: Promote a specific event and encourage users to learn more and sign up.
  • Marketing campaigns: Intended to run seasonally and showcase new products or initiatives to generate excitement and drive leads.
  • Blogs: Provide the freedom to experiment, target a specific audience or vertical or express viewpoints that may differ from an established brand voice. These blogs are separate from the main site.
  • Branded games: Drive engagement and increase brand affinity without causing dissonance on a main website.
  • Infographics: Present information in a visually engaging way, warranting exposure that’s separate from other content.
  • Test Labs: Test a new idea or capability outside of a main site to a small, defined audience.
  • Fast launch and content delivery: Many will exist only for a specific duration, so speed is imperative.
  • Front-end freedom: They make navigation easy and intuitive.
  • Rapid design with little IT involvement: They allow editorial teams to upload and update content without a heavy reliance on IT.
  • Ability to launch and maintain multiple sites: Want 50 separate sites? Microsites make it easy to maintain every single one.
  • Brand independence: It’s time to get creative! No need to align with the main site’s brand voice, look or feel—unless you want to, of course.
  • Complete control over your content and ideas: Because they exist outside the corporate domain, what you publish tends to undergo less scrutiny.
  • Differentiated customer experiences: Create distinct sites for different customer personas, delivering the personalized experiences everyone is looking for in 2019.
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