Why Microsites Don’t Work
Microsites focus on a specific product or product line. Unlike landing pages, the navigation and visual look are tailored to support that focus.
To see the difference, compare www.positivepromotions.com/breast-cancer-awareness/c/4210 to www.positivebca.com. The first link shows an example of a landing page for breast cancer awareness products. The top navigation shows the entire product line the company sells, from health and wellness to imprintable items.
Positivebca.com leads to a microsite on the same topic. The color scheme has changed to pink, and the navigation reflects only breast cancer awareness products. When you click on a top navigation link like Walks & Runs, you stay within the microsite. Equestrian supplies cataloger Dover Saddlery uses a microsite in a similar way at www.doversaddlery.com/info.asp?ii=76 to sell barns that range from $36,836 to $77,677.
But microsites aren't useful to most traditional catalogers. They're the online equivalent of direct mail solo-mail packages. In the offline world, solos are used by companies like Nautilus to sell big-ticket items, vitamin/supplement companies for selling formulas for joint pain and gardening companies for specific collections of plants.
Shoppers who buy from solos typically don’t respond well to full catalogs. Likewise, shoppers who buy from catalogs don’t respond well to solos.
So use microsites carefully. They work if you have high-ticket items or a group of closely related products. But most catalogers should spend their time working on landing pages, not microsites. — LK