If you're looking to run an event or launch your next product, what should you use - a landing page or a microsite?

You’ve probably heard these terms bandied about before and wondered what the differences are. 

This guide will walk you through:

  • What microsites and landing pages are
  • The key differences and features
  • Pros and cons of each 
  • Which one you should pick based on your business goals

What Is A Microsite?

A microsite is a mini version of your website. 

It is a website that is separate from your company’s main website. As such, it requires a separate domain or uses a subdomain related to your main site.

It can contain anywhere between three to thirty web pages that talk about a specific product or event.

The purpose of a microsite is to create brand awareness and allow potential customers to discover you through another platform.

Imagine this:

You have a full website dedicated to your company’s background, the services you provide, and a contact information page.

You want to run a specific campaign that talks about an event you’re hosting on the side.

You can choose to either:

  • Create a banner on your original website talking about this event (but it’s not half as exciting)
  • Create pop-ups about the event (but they’ll be clicked away and forgotten)

Or you can create a microsite - a separate website that 

  • Has full information about this event
  • Has multiple pages on the navigation bar that your website visitors can click on and find out more about the event without disrupting your original website’s settings and designs
  • Be able to still reflect your company’s brand and tone of voice
  • Your visitors do not have to click around your main domain or existing site trying to look for more information about this event - there is a whole new website dedicated to it.

Features Of A Microsite

The goal of a microsite is to provide fully immersive experiences about a new product or campaign.

Users who land on a microsite are able to obtain full details about this particular product or campaign without being distracted by other links or categories that are on your original company website.

Here are some key features of a microsite:

  • Uses a totally new or different domain, or
  • Uses the original brand URL in the form of a subdomain (example: event.companydomain.com)
  • Contains information about a specific product and campaign while reflecting the main company’s branding
  • Gives your target audience an extra platform to discover you on
  • The entire site and its internal links will differ from the original site and are aimed at giving your visitors more information about a particular campaign or product
  • May be temporary and taken down after the campaign ends

Main Benefits of Microsites

Creating a microsite is the best way to go when you want to preserve the look and feel of your parent website, but at the same time want to generate enough awareness and hype about your upcoming or new marketing campaign separately.

These small websites can be taken down once the events are over or kept permanently active as part of a larger campaign on an ongoing basis.

They function as an extra platform for more potential customers to find you.

Disadvantages Of Microsites

Creating a microsite means creating a full-fledged website - you have a pillar page (core page) with a content hub talking about a product launch, a campaign, or an individual product. 

Hence it is costly to create a microsite - you’ll need to find web developers or website designers to create this whole new website and make the microsite design consistent with your main brand.

When Are Microsites Used?

Here are some instances where you’ll need a microsite:

  1. New Product Launches

If you’re a business looking to drive traffic and build engagement for a new product launch, having an individual web page will be a great way to allow search engines to find you based on the targeted keywords, giving you more organic traffic. All these can be done without having to affect the parent domain. 

This is great for search engine optimization (SEO) because if you were to mix all this new product information with your existing copy inside of your parent domain, your chances of ranking in search results may be affected.

Visitors who go to your parent domain may also find it confusing to look for details regarding the new product amidst all the other information that is already there - leading them to give up and opt out of your website more quickly (a higher bounce rate).

  1. Create Awareness For A Cause

Your company may be working hand in hand with another company to create awareness for a cause.

In this case, having a microsite is a good idea because you’ll be able to create the page based on both companies’ brandings and values without having to compromise your main company website’s original design.

For example, you’ll be able to put together both companies’ logos, taglines, and images on the microsite to show your joint effort in running this campaign or cause.

  1. Standalone Calculator Tools Or Free Trials For A Specific Niche

Let’s say you’re a personal finance site, offering ideas on how to improve your credit and detailing the types of credit cards your visitors can use.

You decide to start a campaign to generate awareness about the new personal insurance consultation services that you now have.

You use a microsite to offer a free trial of your consultation services (or a personal insurance calculator tool).

A microsite will meet your marketing needs in this case because it can:

  • Attract potential customers with its free trial or free calculator tool
  • Give complete information about your new personal insurance packages
  • Allow your original parent website to still rank on search engines as the trusted site for personal finance information and services
  • Drive customers from the microsite itself to the main company website so they can see the wider array of services you offer (apart from personal insurance consultation)

Examples Of Microsites

Let’s check out some awesome microsite examples so you know just what they are!

Inside Chanel

Inside Chanel is a microsite for the fashion giant’s main page. 

This smaller website was created to generate more awareness about Chanel as a brand, its success over the years, and how it has grown to the magnitude it has today.

Links at the bottom will allow you to navigate either within the microsite itself or bring you to the parent company website.

Ikea Life At Home

Ikea has a microsite that specifically offers an annual report on what life at home in most people’s houses is like. It talks about finding balance within your home, mental health, relationships with your loved ones, and more.

These reports on their microsite further cement their authority and standing as the leader of house furniture and everything home design and living. Subtle links within the microsite lead you back to the parent website, bringing you one step closer to making a purchase.

Now that you know what a microsite is - let’s compare it to a landing page!

What Is A Landing Page?

A landing page is a standalone web page or a single page created specifically for visitors to ‘land’ on after they click on a Facebook ad, Google ad, or even a link from an email.

You’ve probably been on numerous landing pages before - they are now one of the most popular things in the marketing world since sliced bread.

Imagine this:

You see an ad on Facebook offering a bundle of digital marketing tools such as email swipes, Canva templates, funnel templates, and the like at a great price (or for free).

You like the templates you’re seeing, so you click the ‘Learn More’ button or the ‘Download’ button to access this special offer.

These buttons bring you to a landing page where you either (depending on the nature of the advertisement)

  • Key in your name and email to access a free download/trial/ebook/templates
  • Purchase the bundle at a special price

Here’s an example from Peng Joon offering you a Black Friday deal:

Upon clicking the ‘Learn More’ button, you’ll be brought to a landing page where he sells you his latest marketing bundle of powerful tools he uses.

Everything on this landing page points to only ONE thing: having you sign up for his offer.

Features Of A Landing Page

A landing page typically talks about only a single product or topic throughout the page. It is consistently aimed at one target audience and getting them to take one particular action.

Let’s check out the main features of a landing page:

  • Has only one specific goal in mind, and that is to get the visitor to take a one particular action
  • Has the same single CTA (call to action button) throughout the page
  • Does not contain navigational links to an about page or a home page (like a traditional website does) to prevent distraction - so the focus is on the CTAs
  • Targets the visitor’s pain points and offers a solution
  • Consists of a single web page that can have its own domain or be part of the parent website
  • Places high emphasis on conversion rates
  • Does not necessarily need to reflect the company’s original brand colors and can be of a unique design
  • The CTA is visible at first glance. It is situated ‘above the fold’, meaning your visitor will not have to scroll down the page in order to take action

Advantages Of A Landing Page

A landing page, paired with ads that work - becomes a well-oiled machine that turns your visitors into leads or customers.

You are then able to improve upon the conversion rates by making tweaks to the design or the copy as well as monitoring essential elements such as the click-through rates, return on investment (ROI), bounce rates, and so on.

The visitor has no other links to navigate to. There is only one course of action left - to click on the CTA and access the promised land.

This makes having a landing page the best choice when planning to run ads for your new launch or if you’re planning to grow your email list.

Disadvantages Of A Landing Page

Copywriting skills are extremely important for a landing page. Your headlines and subheadlines have to engage and capture your visitor’s attention from the get-go.

The moment you fail to do so is when your conversion rates will drop. 

Because there are no other links to navigate to, a visitor either clicks on the CTA or just leaves the page.

A landing page also does not contain the necessary information about a brand and its journey (think traditional home page and about page). Therefore, unless the pain points on the page really hit home, a visitor will not know enough about your brand (and has not much opportunity to do so) to want to opt-in or purchase your product.

When Are Landing Pages Used?

  1. Via An Email

You’ve probably received emails from marketers or businesses that you follow. Sometimes they inform you of their latest launches - it can be a new video course, a monthly membership, or even a short-term offer (such as a Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal).

When you click on the link within the email, you’re brought to a landing page that tells you all about that specific offer and product, and encourages you to either purchase or sign up for the membership.

  1. Via Online Advertisements

You see Google advertisements and also ads on social media platforms that you sometimes click on to see what the hype is about. Examples include:

  • An upcoming blogging summit
  • A 5-day challenge to losing 10 pounds
  • A 2-day Bootcamp to having your own eCommerce website set up

When clicked on, these ads will also bring you to a landing page.

  1. From Social Media Profiles

Some entrepreneurs put links to landing pages on their social media profiles so you can click on them and sign up for their next free masterclass or webinar.

For example, Sertac Altun promotes his upcoming free masterclass on how to make money on Amazon on his Instagram bio.

Which One Should You Use - A Microsite Or A Landing Page?

Whether you use a microsite or a landing page for your next big launch or event all depends on your business goals and whether you’re co-hosting the event or supporting a cause with another company.

Supposing your goal is to create awareness and branding for a certain period of time. In that case, a microsite offering all details of the event, product, or launch will allow it to rank in terms of SEO and become an additional platform for your target audience to find you - all without affecting your company’s existing site settings and look.

If you’re running ads consistently towards ONE particular product or looking to grow your email list, a landing page will be your best bet. 

Both a microsite and a landing page serve different purposes. The comparison chart below may help you decide which suits your marketing goals the best.

(Created this chart myself for this article)

Need help with your website setup, online presence, and ranking on Google? Here’s how we can help you!

This post was guest written by Kristy.

Kristy is a pharmacist turned funnel builder. She builds funnels and copywrites for 7 figure businesses. She is also an avid blogger, loves geeking out over SEO, and writes regularly for publications on Medium.com. She shares her journey and tips for freelancing at https://kristyting.com.

Published on:

January 14, 2023