Published May 16, 2014

Microsites – small in name, big in nature

The microsite is a peculiar thing that brings up many talking points amongst us marketers. What is it, exactly? Why do we bother with it? Is it effective? What is the meaning of life?

Ok, so admittedly that last question was a bit off the charts and has nothing to do with what we’re talking about today…but I would still like to know if someone has the definitive answer.

To begin with we should ask: What is a microsite?

To quote Wikipedia, “A microsite is an individual web page or a small cluster of pages which are meant to function as a discrete entity within an existing website or to complement an offline activity. The microsite’s main landing page can have its own domain name or subdomain.”

So a microsite is a website (and is subject to your usual web design rules and systems), but a very small website. Unlike your corporate websites which are designed to contain all your messages, products, services, motives and everything else in between, the microsite is purpose made to be small and contain only one message or motive.

To quote one industry professional, “Because it is little, it has to pack a big punch and, because it only has one message to convey, it can focus completely on doing just that. Many brands’ main websites say everything and, therefore, say nothing” Fred Brown, Partner, Last Exit (follow them on Twitter here).

This brings us neatly onto: Why do we bother with it?

You’re probably now thinking: It costs a lot of money; is it worth the investment to promote just one part of your business?

The microsite’s use is to provide a platform for individual products/services/events/whatever it may be to be solely promoted without the interference of your other offerings getting in the way of the message. It cuts out the noise, and gets straight to the point.

The whole idea is you don’t want to waft through hundreds of products that don’t matter to you. You just want to get to the one that does with minimal fuss.

There are a number of notable advantages to the microsite too over your primary website, including:

  • Creative license – don’t hold back, just go off the rails! A good thing about the microsite is it’s meant to get noticed. Put as much creative flair into it as you can.
  • Quick and easy to create – Microsites shouldn’t take a massive amount of time. If you’re slaving away building hundreds of pages then you’re doing something wrong.
  • Cheap – with the emphasis on being small but perfectly formed, they shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg to get the word out there.
Case in point: Red Bull

Red Bull are in my eyes, one of the greatest users of the microsite. With their renowned brand of energy drink, they advocate their message through multiple major self-branded events such as the Red Bull Soap Box Challenge. All Red Bull events are heavily promoted and gain national, if not international, recognition.

How have they done this, you may ask? Well as much as it is down to their promotional efforts and brand reputation, it is also down to their dedicated microsite that works effortlessly behind the scenes. This is where those enthusiasts congregate, talk and build a community. Do these enthusiasts care about what else Red Bull do? Possibly, but more than likely possibly not. What they care about is soap box racing and drinking Red Bull, which is what the microsite fuels them to do.

The best thing about it? 

They share and tell their friends about it, and suddenly you have your very own brand ambassadors.

See how our web projects come together here, from start to finish.

Let us know your thoughts on microsites by tweeting us, getting in touch on Facebook or contacting us directly here.