There are more than 1.5 billion sites online, belonging to millions of different companies, all striving to earn the attention of their customers.
In today’s competitive world, many digital businesses have discovered that they need a lot more than just a basic website to capture the hearts and minds of their audience. Instead, companies need a complete toolkit of assets, ranging from social media profiles and standard websites to landing pages, splash pages, and even microsites.
At first glance, the difference between a microsite and a landing page might not be particularly obvious. Both of these tools have a very specific focus, and both are intended to drive action from the right audience. However, as similar as these two assets might be, they also have some significant differences too.
Today, we’re going to put microsites, and landing pages head to head, so you can decide which one you need for your brand.
Landing page vs. microsite: Defining the microsite
Let’s start with the somewhat lesser-known concept in the digital marketing world – the microsite.
A microsite is basically a miniature website that’s highly targeted towards a certain purpose. For instance, you might build a microsite to:
Target a unique audience with a new message.
Showcase a product or countdown to a product launch.
Test different domain names and company titles.
Educate and entertain on a specific topic.
Generate interest in an upcoming event.
While microsites are often linked to your primary site, they might feature unique branding, a different tone of voice, and even an entirely new navigation system.
Microsites can be made up of a single page, like a landing page, but they often contain a handful of pages, complete with contact details, links to your primary website, and information about a specific topic. These websites can create interactive and unique experiences for your audience while expanding brand awareness, building recognition, and increasing brand loyalty.
Like most digital assets, microsites have their pros and cons to consider. For instance, the positives of using a microsite include:
Excellent for experimenting with new ideas without putting your primary brand at risk.
Great for building engagement with your audience when focusing on a specific campaign.
Help to lower the bounce rate on your main website by targeting a particular audience.
They support traffic generation for your main website.
Useful for building hype about an upcoming event.
On the other hand, microsites can also be confusing, expensive, and complicated to manage. Although setting up a microsite doesn’t require as much initial investment as a full website, you’ll still have a price to pay for your design and development requirements. You’ll also have to pay for things like a new domain name and new hosting. What’s more, there are expenses to consider when it comes to maintaining and updating your microsite too.
Microsites can also play havoc with your SEO by reducing your chances to earn new backlinks, or making it difficult for you to establish yourself as a thought leader.
Microsite vs landing page: Defining the landing page
Okay, so now that you know what microsites are for, let’s take a look at the standard landing page. While landing pages can differ in their appearance and purpose, they’re usually designed to promote a particular service or product, and they’re hosted on your main domain, under an URL that supports a certain campaign.
Your website is a comprehensive tool intended to provide your audience with information and gently nudge them along the sales funnel. On the other hand, a landing page is specifically intended to promote conversion. Some landing pages convince customers to sign up for your email marketing campaigns, while others are all about getting people to buy a product.
When it comes to comparing microsite vs landing page campaigns, both are hyper-focused and often SEO friendly, with keywords included. They each convey facts and figures in a concise manner, and they’re designed to convince the reader of something. The main aim of a landing page, however, is to encourage action. Landing pages also have a more positive impact on the SEO of your parent website by giving you extra pages and terms to rank for.
The benefits of landing pages include:
Landing pages are usually quite easy and affordable to create.
You’ve already got your hosting and domain name, so you don’t necessarily need to make another one.
You can deploy your landing pages quickly and get rid of them when you’re done.
There’s no need for heavy maintenance with a landing page.
Landing pages allow for excellent tracking and data gathering thanks to UTM tags and short-link services.
However, landing pages, like microsites, have their downsides. For instance, these pages are intended to convey only very basic information. If your customer isn’t at the point in their buying journey where they’re comfortable with converting yet, then your landing page might frustrate them, rather than encouraging a sale.
A landing page isn’t particularly engaging either; it’s only there to do one thing. Some landing pages don’t even allow users to click out to other parts of the website if they want additional information. Relying too heavily on landing pages won’t allow you to build a memorable reputation or personality for your brand.
What’s the difference between a microsite and landing page?
So, here’s the million-dollar question: which website asset do you need.
When it comes to selecting a landing page vs. microsite, how can you decide which one is right for you? Well, there are a lot of different factors to consider, including the nature of your campaign, your goals, and your marketing budget.
For the most part, the main difference between a microsite and a landing page is that a landing page is all about conversions, while microsites are best for brand awareness and growth.
If you’re looking for a digital asset that will allow you to experiment with your online presence and potentially develop more loyal fans in the process, then a microsite could be just the thing. Microsites allow you to create highly targeted campaigns that are perfect for a specific kind of customer, or ideal for generating interest towards a particular product or service. In the process of helping you to play around with new content types and showcase new products, microsites can lead to conversions. However, that’s not their primary goal.
Microsites are all about giving you a place to get creative with your branding or deliver something experiential for your audience. You could even launch a microsite specifically for a substantial seasonal event or a competition.
On the other hand, landing pages are about driving conversions and nothing else. They’re like the ultimate online sales pitch, intended to help your audience make that final conversion after they’ve done all their other research. When your leads have moved through most of the stages of the buying cycle, reading your blogs to learn more about your company, and comparing you against your competitors, they may end up on your landing page last.
This final digital asset in the buyer journey is your chance to push your customers off the fence and convince them that your product or service is what they need.
Building the digital assets for your brand
Though both landing pages and microsites can have a positive impact on your brand and your campaigns, it’s important to remember that they’re both intended for different goals. A landing page might help you to get conversions, but it won’t do anything for your brand reputation, and it’s unlikely to give you an in-depth insight into your audience.
On the other hand, a microsite can offer a lot of valuable information and give you new ways to reach your customers, but it’s probably not going to provide you with as many conversions as a highly focused landing page would.
Most businesses find that they don’t have to decide between using a microsite or a landing page as they’re building their online presence. Instead, they’ll use a combination of different assets to create a bigger and more comprehensive campaign for their business. You may have both microsites and landing pages in your toolkit that you use for different strategies throughout the year.
Some companies, on the other hand, decide to bypass landing pages and microsites entirely, and update their website with temporary pages and campaign sections that help them to achieve their goals. There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for succeeding online.