For many businesses, there is confusion surrounding the use of landing pages vs microsites. Both have powerful lead-generating web properties; however, there are differences in the purpose and strategies used with each. Which choice you make largely depends on your end goal.

Below are the key differences between microsites and landing pages, so you know which to choose for your next project.

Microsites

In short, a microsite is a website-within-a-website. It is a branded content site rooted in a subdomain of your company’s main site. It can also have its own URL independent and distinct of the main site. Why the redundancy, you might ask? It provides a deeper, in-depth look at a product, idea, or service and provides a different experience apart from the company’s other offerings. It may have multiple pages, a unique design, and a different navigation menu than the main site.

Its end goal? To generate engagement and brand awareness. Microsites position your brand as an authority and expert in your field, and raise awareness at the top of the funnel. They are generally not intended to close a sale, but to educate the consumer.

The Good and the Bad

The main benefits of microsites are that they provide a rich, fully immersive experience around a product or category. They also help you rank in search results along with your brand’s main site, yielding higher opportunities for clicks. Because microsites offer focused space for a particular aspect of your business, whether a product or service, it ensures that your users are finding the information they seek, without potential distractions from your company’s other offerings. Interactions are more meaningful, leading to longer interactions between users and your brand.

So what are the drawbacks? Microsites can be time-consuming and costly to build. You need to buy additional domains, create new designs, and consider a possible new CMS, which can cause management confusion within your team. And the possibility exists that the microsite can lead to confusion as to whether the microsite is a third-party affiliate also selling your product, or if it’s officially a part of your main brand’s online presence.

Landing Pages

Most are familiar with landing pages, which are individual web pages rooted in the domain of your main website. Their main purpose is to encourage the user to complete a single Call to Action (CTA). This can include email list opt-ins, purchases, or simply registering further interest in what you have to say. This CTA converts a website visitor into a lead, which is the main goal of a landing page; hence they often don’t have navigation menus.

The Good and the Bad

When are landing pages ideal? When you want to provide a focused experience on a single product or service immediately upon entering your website, and when you want to turn your visitor into a lead. Landing pages are typically simple in design and purpose; they describe the benefits of your product or service clearly, and have a strong CTA. They are meant to prompt your user to act rather than surf on your site. Landing pages are easy to set up and manage, since they are rooted in your website’s domain. If the copy is written well, landing pages deliver results in a cost-effective manner. They are easy to track with your site’s existing analytics, and they convert better than a homepage.

One of the drawbacks to landing pages is that they should only focus on one service and one CTA. In order for this to convert successfully, the content must be engaging from the start, otherwise you risk losing conversions. Because you only have this single page to entice your user to act, it’s difficult to convey all the information of your product or brand that might be better displayed in a full website.

Time to Choose

So, back to your end goal. Review your objectives, and decide which would better serve the message you’re trying to convey and the function you’re trying to achieve. Both microsites and landing pages bring awareness to your brand and both are smaller than traditional websites. If you want more consumer engagement and further education of your brand or product, before any CTA is even offered, opt for microsites with their multiple pages and videos. If you’re looking to convert visitors into leads as quickly as possible and close those sales, then landing pages are the way to go.

Bottom line, both tools are great to have in your marketing arsenal. They each serve different functions and achieve different marketing goals. Give PlanetMedia a call to strategize which option suits your needs.