Landing Pages or Microsites? The debate rages on!


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Whether or not to simply use a landing page or build a completely new microsite to support a campaign is a debate that seems right up there with the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s. (Well, without the obvious hatred, gunplay, and murder—ok, maybe it’s nothing like the Hatfield and McCoy’s.) I recently kept an eye on a comment thread regarding when to use a Microsite vs a Landing Page on a LinkedIn Group that ultimately extended over 18 days and generated 50+ comments.

Subscribers to the Chief Marketing Officer Network Group can view the entire thread, but here was my comment:

I agree with the others in that it really depends on the goals of the campaign. We use landing pages all the time for virtually every campaign, they are essentially the conversion tool for the offer and can drive the next action and will be the entry point for you campaign measurement. I have used campaign microsites when I wanted to tell a broader story, to engage the prospect in a deeper conversation. There was a clear call to action to take the next step in our sales process, but the engagement with the content mattered as well. Microsites can be more expensive to design and build of course, but may wind up being trivial in the total cost of the campaign.

If you are looking at true ROI (total sales over total spend) then whichever medium delivers prospects down your funnel in the manner you want them to is going to be the best choice.

So how do you decide what is right for you? The comment thread provided a number of insights but the consensus centered on the following:

Landing Page: Use for campaign specific calls-to-action, where the goal is to convert rapidly and there is a specific action path (i.e. download this whitepaper, start a free trial, buy this now etc).

Microsite: Use when the campaign is about creating engagement and an experience around a message. Best when the call to action is part of a program, not only a specific action.

Not surprisingly, there was also substantial discussion around campaign goals and objectives, audience targeting and the like. All of which factor into your microsite vs landing page decision, and ultimately, which “medium delivers prospects down your funnel.”

No matter which direction you ultimately choose, it’s critical to have the flexibility to make the right choice for you. Too often marketing teams make the decision based on external factors that have nothing to do with the campaign. For example you might know a microsite will work best, but you don’t have the content management infrastructure or skills in place to quickly build the site. You might prefer to build a dedicated landing page, but it’s actually easier to hire an outside agency to build the microsite than have your development team create a landing page with the required analytics and form tracking capabilities.

In both of those cases you are knowingly choosing to run a suboptimal campaign based on factors that should be well within your control. Now clearly, those are the two extreme ends of the spectrum, but marketers are making these kinds of trade-offs every day. (Watch this short animation for a slightly off-beat look at the larger underpinning web technology problem).

Are you forced to base your campaign strategy on technology factors? If so, calculate how much better your campaigns would perform if you could optimize your conversion process. Convert that improvement into a hard dollar figure and lead your next technology initiative request with that number!

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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