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There is an old article on problogger.com that talks about a blog mentoring program created by Yaro Starak, a well-known Australian blogger and internet marketer.
To tell you the truth, I found nothing special in the post. It was just another post with the lone purpose of promoting Yaro’s mentoring program. However, when I scrolled down I found interesting and rather nasty discussions in the comments section.
The discussion starts when one of the readers mentioned that there were some credibility issues with the design of the site because it looks like a quick, get-rich scheme.
Things didn’t stop there. More people came forward and started arguing that there are existing credibility issues with that long landing page.
Yet, Yaro explained the need of such a long landing page. He says the length mattered especially because the mentoring program covered internet marketing. Obviously, while launching a product, decisions are critical – in this case using either a landing page or microsite.
This article is a head-to-head comparison between a landing page and a microsite.
Landing Page and Microsites – Explained
In online marketing a landing page is referred to as a single web page that appears in response to clicking on a search engine optimized search result or an online advertisement.
In simple terms, a landing page is a single page where the user lands from search engine results page or from an online advertisement.
A microsite is an individual web page or a small cluster of pages which are meant to function as a discrete entity within an existing website or to complement an offline activity.
A microsite is a multi-page site to sell or promote a product, which can exist within a website or as a separate website. Think about a targeted multi-page brochure inside digital steroids.
Landing Page Example: CrazyEgg.com
Product description: Crazy Egg is a tool that analyzes how visitors are engaging with a website and provides heat maps and scroll maps of how they use the site.
Why Crazy Egg prefers long landing as homepage?
As there are many SaaS tools available on the web, one of the biggest challenges the Crazy Egg team faces is to explain how Crazy Egg differs from other popular tools, including Google Analytics.
For this purpose, Crazy Egg uses a long sales page as its homepage. Here are some reasons why Crazy Egg prefers long landing page.
- 1. The product needs more explanation
Crazy Egg is a product that is somewhat harder to explain. Because of its complex nature, visitors are not going to be a customer without a lengthier description.
It is true that a video has been embedded above the fold of the landing page. However, not everyone is going to watch it. And, even if they do, they still need to be convinced to create an account.
- 2. Convincing is a lot more harder
It doesn’t matter how much you explain your product, convincing people to trust you is vastly harder. Visitors are not going to use your product unless you make them understand how using it can change and improve their lives.
Nonetheless, explaining and convincing are entirely different processes.
In addition, web users are lazy. So, if you could not instantly convince your users to take a specific action, they will likely leave your website before opening extra pages to learn more about it. This means you are losing a potential customer!
Crazy Egg does a good job here. They strike while the iron is hot.
On the landing page, right after explaining the product concept and how it works, Crazy Egg shows how the product can have an impact on the user’s website by optimizing their conversion rate during a 30-day free trial. This makes the visitor feel like the product is worth trying. There is also no downside, as the tool is free for 30 days.
What if Crazy Egg uses a microsite instead?
For microsites, learning more is optional. Since there are several pages, users can decide whether to read them. This may be good for those who don’t want to read a lot of content at that moment.
Yet, as said before, the downside is that it may have an adverse effect in their conversion rate. It has been reported that Crazy Egg’s longer homepage converted 30 percent higher than the shorter version.
Why AdWords Prefers Microsites for its ad campaigns?
After clicking on an AdWords ad in Google, the user is redirected to a microsite that promotes AdWords advertising.
Here are some of the possible reasons why AdWords prefers microsites to single landing pages.
- 1. Easy to convey the main point and underlying points: Pages are easily digestible due to short page length. Images are used effectively and users do not need to read complete paragraphs or long pages of text to understand the idea behind it.
- 2. Users can decide if they wanted to read more: One of the best things about this microsite is that users can choose if they wanted to read more. This seems to be great for visitors who hate to read a lot of content.
- 3. Stronger call to action (CTA): Another great point about this microsite example is that the CTA buttons are placed above the fold on every page, so that it gains maximum attention of the visitors.
What if they used a single landing page instead of a microsite?
“How to promote my product” is one of the toughest questions every product manager or marketer faces. Another tough decision they have to make is determining whether to spend money on advertising. AdWords wants to help them make a better decision and encourage them to test drive AdWords advertising.
It would be difficult to provide valuable information on a single landing page.
How these lessons can work for you?
If you have launched a product or created an ad campaign before, you most likely have asked yourself whether you need a microsite or a landing page. The answer depends on many factors. Here are some of them:
- 1. Product complexity
If you find it harder to convince a visitor to use your products or services, you may want to use a long landing page. You may want to create a longer landing page if the product you offer needs more explanation.
- 2. Length of the copy
From various case studies, it has been found that the longer version of the homepage converts better. Similar to Crazy Egg’s case, Marketing Experiments reported that its longer variations convert 40 to 50 percent more than its shorter variations. Please note that one option may work for one company, but may not work as effectively for your company. You must have a test run first.
- 3. The niche
Some niches will need a long landing page, while others can work with any kind of pages.
For example, if you are promoting a product on the health niche apart from explaining the product, you’ll have to persuade the reader to buy. Also, you will need to effectively explain things like if it is safer or if it has any side effects and have to show that you are a person who can be trusted. In this scenario, a long landing page may work better.
After all is said and done, there is no right answer, nor a best practices example that you can put in place as a cookie cutter for your business. The end result stems from good customer research, the right persona development and a lot of a/b testing to find out what works. Whether you are a B2B Company or B2C e-commerce site, your landing pages and microsites will only succeed with great content and a lot of testing.