I recently read an article that started like this, I am changing some of the language to fit the car business.
“In the beginning there was your dealerships website and it was good. But then it grew, and grew and grew, until it encompassed the heavens the earth in content and scope. There was something for everyone and everything for someone, and it ceased to be a coherent presentation to anyone in particular.”
“It became an Encyclopedia Corporatica – a massive tomb of information. It contained inventory, employment information, staff information, Green Dealer information, press releases from years gone by. An impressive body of work to be sure…but a sales tool, as a marketing vehicle it sags under its own weight.”
These two paragraphs sparked this post and / or rant. Hope that doesn’t turn you off but this is something I have been very passionate about for the last 18 months or so and in the lightening fast pace of online marketing world your website has actually become less nimble, and now more than ever before you need to be nimble, you need to be relevant to a lot of very different people. If you try to talk to the average respondent through your random access website then you will get average results.
Those who have been around me have heard me beat the Microsite Network into the ground…probably so much so they may be tired of hearing it, but I have to say it again…and again. If you're a dealership with a single website trying to talk to everyone through it then you are sorely lagging behind the rest of the online marketing world. You can break free of this paradox by separating the two; your dealership customer service focused website from your marketing and sales focused Microsite Network.
Now let me clarify a few things:
1. A Microsite is not a single landing page with a submission form. A Microsite is a 4 to 5 page singularly focused message gently leading the customer down the path to conversion with a series of choices each fulfilling the promise made that got the click in the first place.
2. You're not hurting your organic search rankings using Microsites for your online marketing purposes, in fact the back links from these microsites and conversion paths to your main website help your organic rankings at least as much as traffic.
3. A Microsite / Conversion Path DOESN'T have to match side-by-side to preserve the paradigms of you main dealership website. Each one is a clean slate if something isn’t working it’s easy to swap out, that’s the point. This creative freedom is inspiring, revitalizing the energy of your online marketing. Of course you should always work hard to maintain your brand integrity, but it is important to remember your brand is bigger than your dealership website. The internet is a broad mural and your website is only “one” canvas. Online marketing conversion paths and Microsite customer landing experiences in your post-click-marketing lets you paint a much wider world.
To me this is a “NO BRAINER” with the cost of clicks ever rising and the demands on marketing increasing exponentially, post-click-marketing with a Microsite / Conversion Path network strategy just makes sense. Create conversion focused experiences test them, find a winning formula, then keep testing to keep winning. Get results in real-time. Forget the post partum analysis and start changing the outcome of your campaigns while they are still happening.
Hope this helps and doesn't sound too much like a rant.