Before proceeding with this article and getting into the characteristics of websites, landing pages and microsites, we are going to ask you to choose a goal that best suits what you want to do with your company, and to remember it later on; is that OK? Once you reach the end of the text, you’ll understand why!
So, let’s start by briefly looking at ‘what is what’ in what these web tools are concerned:
- Website – a website serves to explain what your business or organisation ‘is’, what it does, and which products and/ or services you have available. Websites usually have a navigation menu with one or more linked pages.
- Landing page – a landing page is a webpage thought and designed to lead the user into taking a certain action (or conversion), be it to download an e-book, buy a product, or fill out a contact form to receive more information on something.
- Microsite – as the name implies, a microsite is a micro website, which is usually designed to promote a particular product or service.
The website is a long-term tool, while landing pages and microsites have a more ephemeral character and are both normally devoted to just one product or service.
So how do you differentiate a microsite from a landing page? And what are their respective pros and cons?
Landing page vs. microsite:
Quite often, and at first glance, one can confuse a landing page with a microsite, but the key to clarifying and telling them apart is simple: the landing page is just one webpage, often linked to the main website through its domain or with a subdomain; while the microsite is a smaller website than the main one, often even unrelated to the main brand and/ or with a different domain.
Advantages and disadvantages of microsites:
Microsites are an immersive experience for those who visit them. Due to the amount of specialised content in the product or service they offer, they are quite ‘rich’ in information for the user, and generate a higher engagement rate (or a lower rejection rate).
On the other hand, as they are more elaborate, they take more time to develop than a landing page, and you will probably have to buy a separate domain and hosting for them, as well as keep them up to date during the time they are live.
Advantages and disadvantages of landing pages:
A landing page, after proper planning of the design to use and its content – the product or service to promote and a CTA (call-to-action) that tells users what action you want them to do take – can be quickly implemented and, as we saw before, can be set up in the main domain of the existing website or in a subdomain.
A popular disadvantage that is often pointed out is the fact that these pages do not contain the complete information about the product or service, but only the info necessary to convert the user (which honestly, from a marketer’s point of view, is a good thing!). It may be difficult to understand at first, but keep in mind the landing page is created to ‘sell’ (convert) and normally (and as intended in what these web pages are concerned) if there is a connection to the main (parent) brand, the user easily identifies it through the logo, the colours, and sometimes even has the possibility to visit said main website (though in this case we suggest that this option is made available only after the CTA and not before).
And that’s it! So, to sum it all up, here’s when and for what you should use each one of these web resources (website, landing page or microsite) according to the most common objectives:
- When to use my website:
– when I want to tell my story;
– to ‘explain’ my products and services;
– to have a safe online shopping space;
– to appear on Google search;
– to advertise more than one of my products or services.
- When to use a landing page:
– for promotional campaigns;
– to increase the purchase of a product or service;
– to increase conversions in paid advertising campaigns;
– to reach more specific market niches or audiences.
- When to use a microsite:
– to launch a product or service;
– to increase the users engagement rate;
– to increase brand awareness;
– for seasonal products or services.
At the beginning of this article, we asked you to choose a goal for your company, right? And do you remember which one you chose? So tell us, are you using the right tool for what you need, or do you have to rethink the way you communicate and sell online?