By now, you know the drill:  when you develop a Pay Per Click ad campaign, you also need to create one or more landing pages, on which your click-thrus will be encouraged to part with some of their strategic information in exchange for some sort of offer.

And for many companies, this is still the recommended approach.  However, there are a number of situations where a different approach may be better, and should at least be given careful consideration.  Some of these situations include:

  • B2Bs with a big-ticket, highly-considered product or service, where the offer is most likely something “soft”:  e.g., a white paper or webinar
  • divisions or lines of business which have little commonality with the other businesses of the company of which they’re a part
  • companies that hold a portfolio of brands, each of which has – and requires – greater visibility than the holding company itself

All of these cases have a couple of things in common:

  • the visitor will probably require more information than can be imparted on a traditional landing page …even to simply decide on whether or not to accept your offer
  • the visitor may easily become lost or confused if routed to the main (or parent) corporate website to seek that additional information

Clearly, what is needed here is something in between a traditional landing page and a full-on website.  Something like maybe …oh dear, let’s just call it a microsite (since pretty much everyone else does!)  If there’s a formal definition of a microsite, I haven’t seen it;  but its distinguishing characteristics are…

  • Size:  somewhere in between a landing page and a full website, so maybe 2-10+ pages;  and
  • Scope:  it’s not trying to tell the company’s whole story, but simply bridge between the PPC ad for your widget and your offer of a free 60-day trial, free first month’s supply, or white paper explaining how implementing enhanced data security (as enforced by our widget, ahem) will cause your customers to sing your praises, analysts to raise their target price level for your stock, and your CEO to grant you a heftier block of options.

Perhaps the easiest way to see this concept in action is to take a look at some samples “out there.”  Some of the heaviest users of microsites are the pharmaceuticals, which of course fit our 3rd category above:  their drug brands are far more visible than the companies that discover and produce them.  Taking a look at Novartis, for example… their homepage has a drop-down box simply listing their 50+ drug brands.  Of these, roughly half have US-only microsites:  e.g., clozaril, combipatch, comtan, diovan, elidel, enablex, exelon, exforge (and we’re only up to the E’s!).

That’s where you’re likely to end up if you search on “Alzheimer’s disease”, whether via a paid or organic listing.  On the site (large for a microsite, at about 25 pages) you’ll find pretty much everything you needed to know about Alzheimer’s and the Exelon patch treatment… even a section that provides generic information for caregivers, going well beyond the drug itself.  What you won’t find? …anything at all about Novartis the company, or its other 50+ drugs.  Why? …because Novartis understands that its branded-site visitors are very single-minded:  they care for nothing but treating the condition that brought them there.  I suspect that Novartis also knows that if a goodly percentage of its Exelon visitors become purchasers – and that scenario also occurs at its other 25 or so microsites – Novartis will be just fine, thanks …even if none of those purchasers ever stops by

Now, our data security widget provider above probably doesn’t need a 25-page microsite;  but then he doesn’t have the FDA telling him all the things he has to say, if he says anything at all.  A page or two on “The Data Security Problem”, perhaps with a couple of industry examples;  a synopsis of your main site’s About Us / Overview page;  perhaps a case study;  an abstract of the white paper or webinar that is your offer;  and the registration/order form.  Pointers to that form on all the other pages, couple of links to your main site …and you’re done.  Just enough to convince a visitor that your offer is likely to be relevant to their situation, without all the distracting detail of your main site.

Your Web marketing consultants should be able to help you build a microsite that works for your B2B.