The pros and cons of using websites, microsites and landing pages - Showtime Digital

The pros and cons of using websites, microsites and landing pages

07 May 2019 Read 1010 times

Aha moment - Have you ever thought that the only place you absolutely need to use a website is to rank in a Search engine?

There are many other channels (see the list below) we interact over to engage services and products, and these are sometimes better suited for other digital environments like microsites and landing pages.

  • EDM’s
  • Google Ads
  • Bing Ads
  • Newsletters
  • Affiliate 
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

There are three main types of digital assets you can use; a website, a microsite and a landing page. We’re going to discuss the pros and cons of all three and from this you’ll have a better idea of which asset you use as you go to market.

Firstly let's look at the website (Image1).



The pros and cons of using a website?

Positives of using a website

Maximum credibility - Your website is your collective credibility and like the family home, it has all your stuff in one location.

Cost effective - Companies who rely solely on their website will find it a cost-effective way to promote. The hope is the prospect views your services and the conversation ensues based on the credibility of your website or a referral.

Search engine ranking - If you create content, then the articles you write will assist in improving your Search engine rank for specific topics as well as being relevant to a niche in your client base.

These articles may be the prospect’s first interaction with you, and these could be promoted over other channels, eg. LinkedIn, Newsletter.

Negatives of using a website

Distractions - The main challenge with a website is there are lots of distractions. Sliders, multiple Call to Action Buttons and copy which states what you do rather than building on the emotional reason for the prospect to pick up the phone.

Site speed – If you have too many elements which need loading the site can be slow, ideally you want the page to load in less than 1 second. Load times can be a huge challenge, especially when people use a mobile device to search for you. That’s around 50% or more of the market.

Consumers do give you a grace period of around 4-6 seconds when they use their mobile but be mindful for every second over time you lose 11% of your potential audience.

It’s not a logical purchase - Let’s be honest, unless you have a marketing creative in-house, and you give them room to move, a website is often built to please you. After all it’s your website and you’re parting with money for it. But where was the consumer consulted in this process?

When people view your website, they’re basing the experience on their needs, not yours. Engaging consumers is a huge subject and covered in this eBook.

‘Why am I here’? – Approaching people logically can cause sleep apnea for the viewer. You’ll know if your website deserves this accolade because your website Analytics will give you tell tail signs the consumer had a power nap on your website.

For this reason, there’s a solid case for not using a website over certain digital channels, for example over Google Ads; it may be better to use a smaller version of your main website, a Microsite.


The pros and cons of using a microsite?

If a website is the family home, the Microsite (Image2) is a 5 Star hotel room. It’s smaller but still has all the trappings of home in a more sophisticated environment.

Positives of using a Microsite

Standalone focus - A Microsite has one purpose. It can be used for promoting a service or a campaign and it will have 3-4 supporting pages to validate the offer.

For sophisticated offers - As a standalone environment a Microsite is best used for more sophisticated offers where more consideration is needed to investigate the offer.

Independent of a Search engine - Because you are serving this asset directly to the target audience it doesn’t have to be optimised for a Search engine. This means you can optimise it for the needs of the consumer.

Data – Whether you present your microsite to potential or existing clients the data you retrieve and analyse will be invaluable. It will give you direction on how to optimise future offers. It can also help inform the look and feel of your main website as well.

Negatives of using a Microsite

Cost – A microsite will cost more to build in both strategic and development time, simply by virtue of its content being spread over a larger area. 

Digital anxiety - If you’ve only ever used your website to grow organically you may have digital anxiety about using a Microsite. You may have the perception you need to tell everyone about everything you do to build credibility. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sometimes it’s what you don’t say which speaks volumes.

If the offer is less sophisticated maybe you could consider your next option, a landing page.


The pros and cons of using a landing page?

If a microsite is a 5 Star hotel room the landing page (Image3) is like a campervan. It is the most agile of digital environments and can be the most rewarding if used well.

Positives of using a landing page

Quick to market – The beauty of a landing page is it takes all the essence of the offer and condenses it onto one page. This means the go live date can be very short, 24 hours if need be.

For unsophisticated offers - Its unsophisticated nature helps consumers know immediately, who you are, what’s in it for them and what their next step is? On the one page they can get to the point quickly and leave their details.

Independent of a Search engine - Like the microsite it doesn’t have to be indexed by Google (organic rank) and it’s not restricted by the hard coding of the main website.

Quick loading - The real value in a landing page is it loads super quick (less than 0.8 seconds), it can be super relevant to the viewer and you can serve multiple versions simultaneously to improve conversions.

Conversion increases - If a website has a lowly 3% conversion rate a microsite can be higher, and the landing page higher still. If you’re presenting the offer to new clients online, depending on the offer, the channels and tactics you use (there’s many variables here) you can convert a minimum of 10%+ (Disclaimer: We’re being conservative here). If you’re presenting the offer to existing clients, you should expect an even higher amount of conversions.

Data – Like a microsite you can present this asset to potential or existing clients. The data you gather and analyse will be even more pointed to the preferences of the consumer.

When you understand consumer preferences, their pain points, desires and their motivations, at both a conscious and subconscious level, you will convert many more people over time.

If you’re sold on using a landing page use the ultimate landing page checklist.

Negatives of using a landing page

High expectations – The outcomes of the landing page can be oversold in the initial weeks and months. Without a strategic approach and no data your best guess may be your only outcome. The opportunity to optimise only happens when enough data becomes available to you to analyse.

Low volumes of data - This leads to the challenge many B2B companies experience. If your page only receives 200 visits a month and 5 conversions, that’s not enough data to definitively say consumers loved this and hated that and this halts you from making improvements to optimise the asset.

If you need to build one of the above, or require a second opinion on which asset you should use and over which channels they’re best presented, contact us.

Steve Palmer

Steve Palmer is the Joint Founder and CEO of Showtime Digital. Steve has been in B2B sales since 1997 but influencing people and behavioural science has been a long-term passion.

The magic he brings to his clients is in knowing how to engage their audience. His goal is to help businesses understand the deeper reasons of why consumers convert online with them.