Microsites: The next big thing in B2B

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Can a website that lets you direct the actions of poultry, like SubservientChicken.com, enhance your brand? Wouldn't you like visitors who spend half a day on your site, like they do watching films online at BMW? As a marketing person, perhaps you wish you worked in an industry where over-the-top advertising tactics are standard. Stop wishing. The business world is waking up to the power of microsites. What was once considered a consumer-only media is quickly becoming an extremely powerful tool for B-to-B marketers. Here are a few reasons why:

Create excitement

Nothing gives a new product introduction more energy and focus than its own campaign. That bottom corner on your existing site with the header "NEWS!" doesn't exactly scream excitement, regardless of how many exclamation points you use. However, a site geared entirely toward your new product is exciting. A microsite gives you something to shout from the rooftops. It says "we're confident in the value of this offering, and we're putting our resources behind it."

Focusing your site toward a unique message tends to generate attention. By stepping out of the normal corporate image and comfort zone, you can produce a site that's actually entertaining. And pulsing with personality. Martin Stein, President of RMI Direct Marketing Inc., is a believer. "We've produced two microsites and each one focuses on our unique approach to doing business. These sites let us tell a story to the industry and potential clients that is more targeted than would be possible on our main site. We have future plans to use them as marketing tools for both RMI and our clients."

Allow users to interact with your brand

The best microsites allow users to interact with the product or service. They use creative techniques to engage the user directly and move beyond the passive viewer mode. Imagine your best PowerPoint presentation on steroids. Microsites allow visitors to absorb features and benefits while they sell themselves on your brand. Mullen Interactive produced a microsite to help promote their agency to clients in the consumer electronics category. "We produced SeeItFeelIt.com to highlight the tremendous success we've had with the Olympus and XM Satellite Radio brands. The site let us convey more content than would have ever been possible in a typical sales presentation." says David Swaebe, Director of Corporate Communications at Mullen.

Don't mess with your corporate branding

You can launch as many microsites as you need, without any affect on your master brand or corporate website structure. That means approvals are easier, budgets are more reasonable, and implementation teams can be kept to essential players. While a major revision to your corporate site could take many months, a microsite can be completed in days/weeks, with easier approval processes, tighter budgets and zero impact on your corporate branding. And once it's launched, a microsite can be continually updated as your brand grows, or closed when the campaign ends. Absolute control.

Leverage the full power of your campaign

You're already investing in a print ad and direct mail campaign to launch your new offering, so why not extend that online? Most likely, you have more content than can be reasonably covered in your print advertising. Microsites provide the perfect venue for the whole story.

People who already know your brand aren't likely to revisit your existing site. Would you visit BurgerKing.com? But SubservientChicken offered visitors something worthy of their time. A microsite delivers a new stage to present all of the detail, the context and the excitement of your brand. Your microsite becomes the call to action that your advertising campaign deserves. When was the last time you called a 800 number to learn more about a product? Exactly.

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