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The Best Microsite Examples We've Ever Seen

Alekh Verma | February 7, 2023
Microsite

Humans seek a quick fix in every area of their lives since our attention spans are getting shorter by the minute. We no longer want to engage in activities that might require putting any kind of extra effort, and rightly so. This is where microsites are useful. Microsites often have fewer features and are simpler to use than normal websites. But it doesn't mean you won't want to explore for a while after seeing them. In actuality, the best ones accomplish just that.

We'll show you some excellent design examples of working microsites in this post. However, before that, we must diverge and first answer some of the questions that must be popping into your head right now. Such as what is a microsite? How is it different from a website? And finally, what is a microsite used for?

So, let’s start with the first one.

What is a microsite?

A microsite is a webpage or a set of branded web pages that are independent of your main website. A microsite's goal is to give potential customers yet another platform to learn about your company with the hope that the distinctive material it contains will inspire them to take some sort of action. This action might be as simple as reading the text or as complex as subscribing to email newsletters. While a microsite frequently includes elements of your brand (logo, color schemes, typefaces, etc.), you have the option of changing these to distinguish the microsite from your main website or to emphasize a certain point.

A special note, one mustn’t confuse a microsite with a landing page i.e., a single page used for lead generation.

How is it different from a website?

You must be wondering why you need a microsite if your company already has a website. This is a simple yet crucial question. We'll do our best to respond to your question, elucidate how a microsite differs from a website, and discuss the potential advantages of having both for your company.

  • A microsite differs from a company's primary website or any other branded platform in that it has its unique URL, typically one that does not contain the name of the organization that sponsors the site.
  • It's crucial to distinguish between microsites and subdomains, which are, as their name implies, websites that are hosted beneath your primary domain. You may have noticed that some of your favorite websites' blog sections have the term "blog" in front of their regular URLs. What you have here is a blog website that uses the domain of the primary website.
  • Microsites are typically transient websites. They are employed by brands as part of particular marketing initiatives or plans. The microsite disappears once the campaign is over. This isn't always the case, though; some microsites get updated frequently, get repurposed by companies, or get integrated into the main website.
  • It is a standalone entity and hosts different content than a website. There are frequent media components there that aren't on the main page, such as audio, image, or video.
  • A microsite frequently contains fewer pages than a typical website. With microsites, brands hope to reduce clutter and other distractions to make content much more concentrated.

Now that we’ve cleared how microsites differ from a website, let’s dive into understanding what microsites are typically used for and how building a microsite might benefit your business.

Benefits of Building a Microsite

A very pertinent question that might arise in your mind is- why companies would choose to create a small site apart from their main website, especially those with strong brand awareness and market share. Using a microsite enables a business to target a specific audience using alternate content tactics. Many times, businesses have websites with very fixed messaging, style, and structure. This is not to imply that this is a terrible thing; in some industries, it makes sense for brands to have these websites.

However, having a microsite, along with a website, would open up new avenues for your business. One important thing that you must note is that microsites work as a great addition to your website, and in no way, it ever works as a website’s replacement. A microsite is a terrific approach to distill or filter down to the core of what you are about if your website contains hundreds or thousands of pages. Microsites are an excellent way for firms to benefit from digital marketing, especially if they compete in crowded markets.

1.  Enhanced brand awareness

The internet is a cutthroat market. Anything that can provide you with an advantage over rivals is worthwhile investing in. Microsites give businesses another way to increase online brand recognition. They can assist in achieving enhanced brand awareness since they are utilized for content that is interesting, entertaining, educational, original, creative, and inventive.

Moreover, it particularly helps in promoting certain campaigns that might not get reflected if they were on the main website, or sometimes the primary website isn’t flexible enough to make changes. In such cases, opting for a microsite is one of the best decisions a business can make as it allows the campaign to reach more people, and with that increases brand awareness.

2.  Lead generation

The main focus of any business is to generate leads and somehow convince the audience to interact with the website and turn them into customers. However, nowadays customers are getting smarter and they do not want to fall for the gimmicks and old marketing tricks, and rightly so. This evolution in the audience has triggered a change in businesses marketing strategies as well and now they want to find new ways to keep the audience entertained and convince them to engage with the brand.

Successful firms are getting around this by developing entertaining and instructive experiences rather than the standard hard sell or push marketing strategies. The ideal microsite offers a simple, seamless transition from curiosity to real interest. A microsite provides the audience with the kind of experience that convinces them to go to the following stage of the sales funnel.

3.  Better CRM (customer retention marketing)

We are all well aware of how important customer retention marketing can be for a business. And although businesses have been using the traditional methods of customer retention for ages, they sometimes can become a tad bit boring or repetitive. For instance, using email newsletters might be a terrific method to keep your customers informed and hopefully convince them to return for additional business, however, there's no denying that it is an ancient (almost!) form of marketing. Customers nowadays are looking for fresh and personalized content, which can be attained using microsites.

Your marketing communication may be more creative, interesting, and memorable with a microsite. Depending on the nature of your business, you can customize a microsite by adding elements that set it apart for the user.

4.  Affordability

One of the major benefits of creating microsites is that you can use as much or as little money as you want and it wouldn’t make much of a difference. Microsites deliver a lot of benefits and do not require as much money as you would have to spend on developing something for a particular campaign. We have a lot of examples (mentioned later in the articles) about how brands have launched microsites to serve a particular campaign, and how those microsites ended up creating a new image for the brand.

Moreover, the affordability of microsites evens the playing field and allows small and medium-sized businesses to compete with the big sharks in the same sector and leave their own mark. In the end, what matters is your creativity and out-of-the-box thinking that might just convince the audience to switch to your brand.

5.  Improves SEO Performance

A microsite can assist your business to perform better in search engines if there is a specific area you'd like to see. You have a possibility of performing well if you target a certain keyword, subject, or area of expertise and put content on a website that just focuses on that.

While initially, it might appear that this is only advantageous for businesses that decide to host their microsites on the domain of their main website, businesses that host SEO-rich material on a separate microsite domain can still greatly profit by including links to their primary webpage, requesting links to the primary website from other websites that have links to the microsite, or once the campaign is over, having the microsite URL reroute to a pertinent page on the primary website. Microsites are also ideal for SEO components like structured data (schema) and AMP (accelerated mobile pages), two click-boosting aspects in search engine results.

Now that we’ve understood what a microsite is and how it can benefit your business if it’s implemented along with having a website, blog, or any other platform. Let's move forward and discuss what makes a good microsite. It is important we discuss the extraordinary features of microsites that make them a great addition to any marketing scheme.

What characteristics distinguish a quality microsite?

First and foremost, the main intent of any microsite is to better the user experience and give the users something that was lacking in the main website. Or present your brand in such a manner through the microsite that the user would be intrigued and compelled to associate with your brand in any form- be it buying your product or service, visiting your main website for information, or raving about your brand on social media. In the end, what any business wants (if not, they should want) is to make the customer happy. Thus, in order to achieve customer satisfaction, a microsite should be designed accordingly.

Let's discuss a few features that make a microsite stand out and give it the quality your brand stands for-

  • Unique Content- It is a no-brainer that no matter what medium you’re choosing to promote your business content is always the priority if you wish to give a good experience to your users. Thus, we advise you to create a microsite that not only hosts good content, but also content that’s different from your other channels. Giving a unique voice and angle to your microsite is a sure-shot way to its success.
  • Easy Navigation- A good rule of thumb is if your microsite has more than one page then make the navigation as easy as possible. Having a microsite that’s a nightmare to navigate is a good way to scare the users away, if that’s what you’re going for, which we’re sure is not your intent. Thus, make your navigation as simple as possible. Show your creativity in other aspects of designing but leave the navigation untouched.
  • Add an interactive element- Adding an interactive element to your microsite keeps the user engaged and offers them something new. Nowadays audiences have evolved and they’re tired of seeing the same kind of content on every site. Businesses need to stay with the time too and evolve to stay relevant. Gamification, or the use of gaming elements, is a wonderful approach to engage users in a campaign and keep them on the website for extended periods of time.
  • Make it shareable- One of the main features that developers must add to their microsite is access to the company’s social media handles. A microsite should feature share buttons for social networking, mobile apps, email, and other platforms.
  • Optimized domain name- A good microsite should, whenever possible, have a URL that contains the motto, campaign name, target keyword, product name, etc. for which it was created. As a result, the microsite has a good chance of ranking highly on search engines while still being relevant to its subject. A microsite with a URL that includes the search terms a user-entered is more likely to be visited by that user.

However, to fully deliver our point and help you understand how microsites function in the real world and how these features can be incorporated, we’ve created a list of companies that have already built a microsite for their brand and have been reaping the benefits of this amazing technology.

Best Microsite Examples We've Ever Seen

  • Listening Together (Spotify)

When it comes to creating a microsite, Spotify has understood the assignment. In 2020 Spotify released its microsite ‘Listening Together’, to support its campaign of helping people connect and blur the boundaries of nations. Spotify, as a leading brand that touches the lives of billions of people on a daily basis, made this step towards globalization and delivered the message of how music transcends boundaries and brings people together.

A rotating, three-dimensional Earth map covered in pins can be found on the microsite. Each pair of pins depicts two people simultaneously pressing and playing the same music. This microsite serves as a great resource for finding new music since when you click a pin, the song is played.

  • Elf Yourself (OfficeMax)

One cannot mention microsites without mentioning one of the most successful and widely known websites people still rave about, and that is OfficeMax’s microsite- Elf Yourself. Right from the name to the functionality, everything about Elf Yourself creates curiosity amongst people. Half the battle is already won as people get curious about a product which most definitely results in more brand engagement. You can expect your every email box to be filled with Elf Yourself animations every holiday season.

What initially made the website so well-liked? First and foremost, the content on the website is downright hilarious, and then come other factors such as the website being easy to use, the material being readily shareable, and the users being given center stage. You hardly even notice that this website is corporately funded.

OfficeMax successfully displayed its freak flag on the microsite by being creative and letting it fly. Although the company's campaign was centered on the consumer rather than the brand, there was a sales tie-in at the conclusion of the Elf Yourself films in the form of discounts and promotions.

  • Inside CHANEL (Chanel)

Anyone who is even remotely interested in fashion would know how big a deal the Chanel brand is and how every girl wishes to own at least one Chanel item. This is why people are extremely interested in anything related to this brand, and if the history of this brand is presented package so nicely to users, then there’s nothing else one could ask for. Famous celebrities over the years have donned statement pieces from Chanel and there is no limit to users' curiosity as they want to know everything that is to know about the vast history of this huge brand. The website has a ton of quick, social movies that detail the people, places, things, and occasions that have aided in the ongoing success of this venerable fashion brand.

Chanel understood the potential of this idea and created ‘Inside Chanel’, a microsite that showcases the history of the brand in interesting videos and picture form. We adore their emphasis on visual storytelling through videos. Each film pulls back the curtain to give you an insider's perspective on behind-the-scenes images and tales that relate to many facets of the business, such as color, couture, and so on.

Moreover, this is not Chanel’s first venture into creating microsites. Previously they had also launched ‘Chanel News’, an editorial-style microsite that hosted fashion news.

  • Life at Home (IKEA)

Living during the times of global pandemic has been hard on everyone. In the years 2020 and 2021, the world was shut down and people were forced to live indoors due to Covid-19. Ikea as a leader understood how taxing it can be for people to stay indoors 24x7 and how it can take a toll on people’s mental health if their living situation is not pleasant. There are not many people can do when it comes to the pandemic or the risks of infecting the virus, but at the very least they can try to make their houses more habitable and peaceful.

To help people achieve that Ikea launched its microsite called ‘Life at Home’, which hosted their original research on how one can find ways to stay happier at home. They place a heavy emphasis on the importance of having a cozy home and healthy connections for our mental wellbeing. A map visualization, films, and brief questions directed to the reader are some additional cool features.

The website for Ikea expertly links the value of secure homes and wholesome relationships to its branding, creating favorable connections in visitors' thoughts and influencing them to make a purchase.

  • Nasa Spacecraft (NASA)

Space is one of the most fascinating things for people no matter how young or old they are. People all over the world have been intrigued about the limitless possibilities space and space travel holds for the human population. Nasa, one of the leading space research organizations launched a microsite called ‘Nasa Spacecraft’, which hosts information about all the launches performed by them. The microsite is a visual treat for every space lover as it’s a deep dive into the history of Nasa and how it has progressed over the years. People can find the history of Nasa’s first launch in 1960 to the most recent ones.

There is a short description and a three-dimensional representation of each spacecraft that can be rotated and viewed from different perspectives. Any child's (or adult's) passion for space science and exploration can be rekindled by the spectacular visuals and a goldmine of information hosted on this amazing microsite.

  • Blue Heart (Patagonia)

One of the few great companies, Patagonia goes above and beyond in its advocacy activity in addition to providing a top-notch consumer experience. The business developed a microsite in collaboration with Farm League to highlight the damage hydropower dams in the Balkan region are doing to the environment.

The ‘Blue Heart’ microsite does not have any conspicuous CTAs pointing users to the main Patagonia website, in contrast to the majority of microsites. Instead, it focuses on the narrative being presented through the use of a short video, articles, and an interactive map. Blue Heart is an engaging, visually stunning experience with an aim that goes well beyond generating leads for the business to serve a broader mission. It's uncommon for businesses to release microsites of this caliber and that stands for humanity which is far bigger and more important than any sales or marketing.

  • Chipotle Farmers Market (Chipotle)

With global warming on the rise, brands need to be cognizant of the effects of their actions on the environment, and this stands especially true for big brands that make sales in millions every day. With time, people are moving towards a sustainable way of living, and now is the time to support anything that has contributed to a role in saving the environment. Farmers can very easily be on the top of this list.

Chipotle launched a microsite called ‘Chipotle farmers Market’ that hosts information about the farmers and with this Chipotle wants to deliver the message about how important it is to move towards sustainable and environmentally friendly living. The site delivers the message of how Chipotle as a brand procures its ingredients ethically and sustainably from family-owned farms.

The microsite provides a list of a few of the company's suppliers along with links to websites where you may make direct purchases of their goods. The website also serves as a marketing tool for the Seed Grants program, which awards $5,000 to 50 farmers under the age of 40.

Conclusion

A microsite is a page or group of pages that are typically temporary and exist for a single purpose, such as the introduction of a new product or the display of expertise in a particular area. The ultimate objective of microsites is to encourage users to finally peruse the main website and raise general brand awareness, even though they differ from regular websites in terms of URL and branding. The advantages of having a microsite outweigh the few disadvantages, and we recommend you do not miss the chance to utilize the full potential of microsites.

Alekh Verma

CEO and Founder at eSearch Logix Technologies!

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