For your next big project, try thinking small. Smaller, or even single page websites, known as microsites, are a trend that isn’t going anywhere. Centered on a single product, event, or campaign, these websites often feature branding distinct from their parent company or organization, creating an intentionally separate digital presence. They’re frequently found on special subdomains or domains to further establish a discrete identity.
The inaugural microsite for the Uroboros Design-Art Festival.
These new websites often speak to a specific audience or segment of a brand’s demographic. By establishing a new visual identity and creating a landing page (or small set of pages), a brand can ensure a closer match to a target audience without undergoing a company-wide rebranding. This separation can change how the brand or campaign is perceived – enhancing appeal and giving users a better understanding of the site’s core messaging.
And aside from targeting a specific type of audience, microsites can be especially useful for location-specific campaigns. Whether the site is created to highlight an event in a specific city or a product only available to a limited region, the campaign can be as specific as possible in messaging and design. These websites or landing pages are perfect for geotargeted ad campaigns, achieving better ROI than a broader or bulkier digital presence would.
One of the most famous (and quirkiest) microsites in recent memory, Office Max's "Elf Yourself" website continues to captivate audiences with custom videos and holiday discounts.
Another key feature is the ability to focus on a single call to action. As attention spans continue to shrink, grabbing and holding the attention of a user is harder than ever. With a hyper-focused digital presence, companies can be sure that they’re getting their point across as concisely as possible. It won’t get lost in a compendium of other pages and content, and users are likely to understand exactly what they’re doing on the website.
The first step in building any kind of website is identifying the purpose, but this is especially key when developing a microsite. Whether it’s launching a product, collecting RSVPs, or generating leads, the call to action is key – the singular item around which the site revolves. What is the objective and how is the user guided to achieve this? Once you’ve nailed down the goal, the rest will follow.
Microsites are usually either hosted on subdomains of a main site, or on an entirely separate domain. Both paths require some sort of name, but you’ll want to make sure you can snag the domain name if that’s the route you’ve chosen. The same old rules of domains apply here – keep it simple, short, and memorable.
Design for a microsite is exciting in that you can develop an entirely new set of branding guidelines. Whether you’re starting fresh, branching off umbrella company guidelines, or somewhere in between, you’ll want to make sure your design is modern and appealing to the audience being targeted. Because microsites are centered on a single focal point, it’s key to develop a design, copy, and a user experience that feel intuitive to the intended demographic. And with just one (or a few) pages, it’s crucial that the design follows the same standards as that of a full-fledged website. With that in mind, it’s also a great opportunity to introduce some quirkier design and UI/UX elements to give your microsite a big personality.
CXR Agency created a microsite for the 2018 Essence Festival, one of the largest in the nation.
Microsites can serve as the central hub of information for your campaign, but they can also play a role in reaching and engaging audiences. The site may be small in size, but you’ll want to make sure your SEO is as effective as that of any other website. Make sure it all fits in with your overall marketing strategy and use it to its fullest potential. An extra tip? Keep your microsite’s personality on full display in all marketing assets. Whether it’s social media, advertising, or physical packaging, employ the same unique identity you’ve created for the site to build a unique voice and a cohesive campaign.
A simple but striking microsite for London-based event series, Run Your Mouth.
We've got a lot to say on the subject, but we’ll let our work do some of the talking. Take a look at the dynamic landing page we created for Dropbox and The Infatuation’s exclusive collaboration, The Lunch Dropbox. Working with three eateries in New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco, the custom microsite successfully highlighted the importance of lunch and encouraged support of small- and medium-sized businesses – an audience Dropbox aims to cultivate. Featuring a horizontal parallax scroll, a sweepstakes entry form, and an embedded Spotify playlist, the website was central to the campaign and saw xx orders throughout its duration. See the full case study here.
CXR Agency created a microsite for The Lunch Dropbox – a collaboration between Dropbox and The Infatuation.
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