The answer is rather simple the confusion is enormous!
This is a question we get asked on a daily basis, and at one point was even a topic of controversy within our own ranks.
Before I explain the differences I think it is important to understand where the confusion stems from – mis-appropriation of terminology!
The term Landing Page is not new. The original meaning defined the first page of a website that the user landed on, basically another way of saying home or homepage. As web marketing became more popular marketers began to re-purpose the term Landing Page for their campaign pages. This led to confusion.
Microsite on the other was born out of this confusion as a way to define larger campaign sites or more specifically product or service focused sites geared around lead generation. Yes, I know, even more confusing.
If only the industry had adopted a new term for these campaign pages or at the very least re-defined the term Landing Page and Homepage. Instead, we have a growing number of both professionals and end users incorrectly using these these terms as they see fit.
It’s time to set the record straight!
You can choose to disregard the following, however we feel it is in your best interest as marketer, developer, designer, publisher, client, or consumer to clearly understand the differences before you begin the work.
What is a Landing Page?
A landing page is a single page of content that focuses on one specific call-to-action. The CTA can be anything from a purchase, a download, a request for information like a whitepaper or case study, or even a Facebook page like. Whatever the offer might be, it must be simple enough to explain and convert on one page – and one page only. The key to a strong landing page and high conversions is closing the loop. Offering to much content, mixed messages, or media overload will distract the user and most likely reduce conversions.
Another key factor in distraction is “leakage”. Leakage is when a landing page sends prospects elsewhere, for example links to social networks like Facebook and Twitter. This is a common mistake. If you send your prospects off page you are less likely to convert – hence closing the loop!
What is a Microsite?
A microsite is a mini-site with 3-5 pages or sections, if it is a one page scroller, of content. Like a landing page it is also designed to convert but with a longer sales cycle. Microsites are intended to hold more information about a specific product or service when there are multiple paths to conversion and when the campaign is more complex. A good example of an industry that uses microsites to their advantage would be the auto industry. Car companies like Ford will typically build microsites for specific vehicles like the Mustang. Another great example would be contest sites.
Microsites, unlike landings pages, will have some leakage. Leakage is OK if the conversion cycle is longer and requires, for some prospects, earned trust through social networks, a blog, or tertiary information. Typical leakage on microsites include “Call us for more information”, “Download our information document”, etc – basically anything that benefits the sales cycle.
Now that you know the difference between Landing Pages and Microsites you can make better decisions for your online marketing campaigns, or give us a call 🙂