If internet presence were physical property, microsites might be comparable to plush suites on Park Avenue: Small, highly visible and poised to see a great deal of traffic. Finding the perfect mix of content and design isn't always easy, but get that ecommerce experience right, and your customer roster will grow accordingly. As with many marketing endeavors, the wise newcomers know to scope the competition to start off on the right foot, so here's a peek at three heavy hitters in the microsite sphere:
Shifting the focus from the sport to the player, Reebok's microsite encourages visitors to engage in a variety of ways, including a surprisingly rich interactive quiz, complete with layers of data arranged in a visually appealing results page. Another section invites participants to "break your selfie" with uploaded selfies of their exhausted workout aftermath.
Lessons to Learn: The path set by the microsite isn't rigid or one-way. Visitors can move freely throughout the design and obtain a fulfilling standalone experience regardless of where they click. Your microsite should give those viewing it the impression of exploration and control, even while guiding them to the desired landing pages or products within the site. Additionally, there's no substitute for good design, so be sure to support your content with crisp backgrounds and build in interactive components.
Prudential is faced with a product that's difficult for their target market to conceptualize—the idea of saving current resources for a time in the, hopefully, distant future. Their microsite takes the visitor on a journey through several different aspects of retirement planning, including multiple reinforcements that even well-educated planners often need the assistance of a professional to understand. The ecommerce experience they offer is full of information without being condescending, striking a rare balance between instruction and "edutainment."
Lessons to Learn: Prudential populated their microsite with a variety of media formats—videos, interactive tests, articles and infographics. This keeps visitors from "bouncing" away, and draws their attention by offering plenty to unpack, read and interact with. Multiple media options offer something for everyone, fleshing out the microsite and justifying the pitch it offers.
Red Bull has an enviable brand relationship with their demographic, sponsoring extreme sports events and partnering with events nationwide. Their microsite reflects the proactive stance the company takes on engagement, coaxing in the eyes and minds most likely to purchase their products with sharp, relevant content. This microsite in particular embodies what Melissa Lafsky of Contently describes as "finding white space"—turning heads with content that isn't the "same old" information rehashed. In addition to a rigorous update schedule to the Red Bulletin site, the company takes a special interest in new angles and fresh takes on compelling topics that fit into their brand experience.
Lessons to Learn: Even with great design and an ambitious upload schedule, a microsite still needs to have something solid for visitors to sink their proverbial teeth into. Make sure your content isn't the same articles, top ten lists and editorials that your competitors have already covered. Solicit questions and ideas from your audience to build a deep well to draw from.
The ecommerce experience you'd like to offer to your customers may be easier to express in a microsite—a limited "sandbox" with limitless potential—that that of a traditional site with all the bells and whistles. Use these three industry leaders as a template for your own site, and you'll be well on your way to widening your audience and scope, one microsite hit at a time.