breaking away from the pack

Microsites and Landing Pages

By on November 21, 2009 in Uncategorized

Yes, it’s a golden age in online marketing. We’re seeing something of a resurrection of Web site marketing in the form of microsites and landing pages. New marketing programs are getting a jolt of Web juice with these new strategies.

Okay, first microsite and landing page 101. Use the KISS principle — a microsite may be a site with only 2, 3, 4 or 5 pages. A landing page is exactly that. A page that your buyer lands on when she clicks on your Google AdWords ad, your affiliate link, a link on a blog, or a link in an article you’ve written for one of the e-zines, for example. This is all about marketing to the niches. These marketing pages or sites can be and should be separate from your e-business site, or maybe lie on top of it. For many organizations, this can seem counter to the organization’s Web Strategy, but when you are going for “The Long Tail”, going this route makes an awful lot of sense and serves your buyers needs very well, and that drives sales, support and involvement.

How do you drive organic traffic to your microsite or landing page? It’s probably very similar to what you are doing already. Go to the basics of search engine marketing.

Develop a business case and create your success metrics. A caution–don’t get tied up in or get crazy about analytics. Use them but making them your success metrics (“I need to get 10,000 hits a month on my site”) could be diffusing your focus or getting you off track (why focus on this when maybe there are 300 customers out there in your niche that you need to attract and once you’ve got them, you’ve done your job?).

In whatever you do, lead your Web site visitors and your constituencies to a place where they help you reach your real organizational goals. That means doing your homework and lining out those goals–the real goals (it’s common in some marketing departments and offices to think that attending 4 trade shows, printing up 500 T-Shirts and placing 10 magazine display ads a year are the real goals–they’re not).

Then identify your buyer’s personas. In developing your marketing and PR plan, this is the most important step you can take. Just keep in mind that the product or service you sell takes a back seat to identifying your buyers, who they are, what they are passionate about, and what problems and challenges they face. Really delve into that so that they live for you. Once you get that, then developing the products and services you offer and how you present them becomes a natural exercise and fit to your buyers.

Your search engine marketing process really starts to kick in now. You continue to do your research and find targeted keywords and use them so that the search engines rank your site high in the search rankings for your targeted niche. Post on other people’s blogs with a link at the end so people can contact you (this is a link to your microsite or landing page). Post on forums and build trust with other people on the forums you belong to. Set up your Squidoo page, your blog pages, and finally, your sales page because you are going to want to carry your buyers to the point where they actually buy your product or service, commit to supporting your organization or however you want to close the deal.

Wherever your content appears, so does the link to your microsite or landing page. Here’s another idea: write about your process for the niche you inhabit and giveaway or sell those pdf-formatted reports or e-books (I think giveaways are better). Your landing page could be a free offer to that report in exchange for a name and an email address. Build a list and use an autoresponder like Aweber or Mail Chimp to send targeted, useful emails to people on your list–always giving them useful, interesting, engaging content–the sell takes a backseat until you bring them to the buying stage. Always, always, always, building relationships with your customers so that they will continue to buy from you and help you in your word of mouth marketing.

So your microsite and landing page strategy keys in with a call to action, great content (always great content!) and converts your visitors into customers. I’ve seen many, many campaigns that use only microsites and landing pages to successfully meet their goals. When you are talking about niche marketing, it makes sense, doesn’t it?

So, welcome to the golden age of online marketing. Start setting up your microsites and landing pages and see what a difference they make in your niche marketing. In a later post I will talk about the nuts and bolts of setting up your microsites and landing pages. I’ll use my own microsites and landing pages as examples as I continue to bring them online.

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