Why micro sites rock & how your company can use them

Let’s talk about “micro sites.”  By my definition, a micro site is a limited engagement website.  What I mean by that is its a website, but for a specific audience (a segment of your customers, fans, prospects, etc.) highlighting a specific product/service (usually one product/service or line of products/services), intended to run for a specific period of time (product launches, events, etc.).  Micro sites are my favorite kind of website, becasue it lets you get wildly creative and engaging with your audience.  Right Here Interactive has developed many micro sites, but today I want to focus in on a 2 micro sites that I really like and how you can use micro sites to your business.

Today…. more often than not, a website is a generalized snapshot of your business (it may even be a snap shot of your business 2 years ago).  Unless you are selling products online, then chances are your main www site is (dare I say) “brochure ware.”  That term not only shows how old I’m getting (since we first started using it in 1997), but it means that its a boring “me too” platform for information on your business.  There are so many variables to consider with websites (design, target audiences, balance, search marketing, content strategy, etc.), that you can quickly find yourself in a traditional style, with a traditional presentation of your content.  That’s okay for the main website, but it leaves real opportunity to get a wow factor from your audience and get them engaged enough to inquire, register, buy or even evangelize your brand.

Micro sites on the other hand quickly get to the point, often a more flashy way (pun intended).  Many micro sites incorporate a whole lot more graphical effects (Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, and even HTML5) combined with video that simultaneously give them pop while brutalizing their chances of being search engine friendly (its a trade off).

Done correctly, micro sites inform and engage your audience about a specific product or service that you have or are launching.  They’re often more effective becasue they have that focus and speak to the target audience very specifically with calls to action that lead the way to sales, registrations and inquiries.  But how do they do this?  Well, lets take a look at a 2 examples….

GOOGLE DEMOLITION LAB (http://www.google.com/demolab)

Oh boy, this site is fun for people who need to get a little anger out.  It’s probably the most simplified interface of a micro site I’ve ween yet.

PURPOSE: To demonstrate that Google Netbooks store information in “the cloud” so you need not worry about backups if something happens to the physical machine.

THE SIZZLE: When you land on the page, it just is one big picture of the netbook with a tag line by its side.  The sizzle is in the little pop-up virtual attendant that asks you how you you would like to see the Netbook destroyed.  You can type things in like “heat, drop, mace, ninja, dynamite, car” and probably man more (i’m sure I found only a few) and watch a short video clip of that operation being implemented on the netbook.  My favorite was when I typed in “woman” and it…. well, just type it in.  It was funny.

The intuitive nature of the virtual attendant (who is of course not really a live person, but rather a program that recognizes words you type in) makes you want to keep trying, it makes you want to tell people (in addition to this blog, I’ve shown about 12 people and posted to my Facebook wall).

POGUE-O-MATIC (Link)

An agency partner of mine just turned me on to this site a few days ago.  David Pogue, the New York Times tech columnist created this little gem of a micro site, that’s actually embedded inside the NY Times site.

PURPOSE: Pogue-o-matic is a product selection tool for cameras, camcorders, smart phones, & TV’s.  David starts off by introducing himself and the concept in a fun, light-hearted manner.  He then asks you to select what kind of a product you want to find and from there, each product type has a series of questions that slowly whittle down the different products that are floating on your screen.  From the first screen, if you make him wait, it’s knd of funny.  he talks on his phone, checks his watch and stands rather impatiently for you to choose (for about 4 or 5 minutes).

THE SIZZLE:  What, you can’t tell?  It’s David himself that is the real sizzle.  It feels like you are getting a personal tour through his electronic landscape and in the end you feel happy that you did and get great information on dozens of electronic products.  The site is so simple to use and yet, it has stickiness (you can find a camera today and a TV tomorrow).  It’s a great resource for non-technical people and I’m certain it does well for the Times.

BOTTOM LINE

Micro sites can really be effective in launching or promoting a particular product or service.  They can wow your audience not only to inquire and purchase, but evangelize (the golden egg of marketing these days) your brand and the site itself.  Micro sites use many of the same technologies that websites do, but do so in a more creative and compelling way.

Feel free to give Right Here Interactive a call to discuss your ideas for your micro site.  We’ll help you not only to build a killer platform like the ones you see above, but also to get the word out with interactive marketing promotions that bring the visitation and most important the conversions you want.

 

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