WebProNews ran a great article a couple of days ago on microsites. One paragraph struck me particularly and points to the success of such sites:
Viral marketers know that having a separate presence for campaigns can return good results. The most preferred tactic used by marketers is “Creating cool microsites” with 37 percent saying they produced excellent results. One-third said that online games brought good results.
What Is A Microsite?
A microsite is a one-page website used as a sales letter for a product or service. They’re quite popular and always have been. As early as 1995 there were people online building these small websites offering some kind of product for sale. Some have done well, some have not. But the ones that have done well – a great many of them – have done really well. I mean, some folks have put up microsites and made hundreds of thousands of dollars in just a few months. It is possible. But you have to have a good plan and work that plan well. Don’t go into pie-in-the-sky. Let me offer a few tips.
Viral Marketing At Its Best
In order for microsites to succeed, you have to have a viral marketing campaign. There are tools that you can use to do this. I will go over them in a minute. For now, just know that you have to go viral. Otherwise, all you’ve got is a microsite that just sits there.
Why Is That? What’s The Big Deal About Microsites?
Search engines like big sites. That’s because they count links – the search engines, I mean. If you have a 100 page website where all the pages are interlinked, you’ve got a much better chance of ranking organically because the links help boost your ranking for each page, they serve to drive traffic from one page to the next, and you have 100 chances to get indexed and ranked highly. Of course, you have to have each page optimized correctly.
Assuming you do your SEO work properly, a 100 page website is a ticket to winning Google’s love forever. But with a microsite, you have one chance. Just one. Uno. That’s it. You flunk, you’re sunk. No questions asked. Harsh, but true.
Then Why Would I Want A Microsite?
Good question. If you have a product to sell and you don’t want to build a huge website with information after information just for that one product then you might be interested in a microsite. You can put up a one-page sales letter and sell your product through that website. Thousands of people have done it with great success. You can too. But how?
How Do I Market A Microsite?
Let’s say you have a unique product to sell. An e-book, for example. You wrote a book on how to shoot skeet. Of course, you wrote a helluva sales letter, optimized it like crazy and put it up on the web. Let’s say you got lucky and ended up on Page 1 at all the search engines for the keyword “skeet shooting.” Congratulations! Now what?
Well, you know that you might get some traffic on skeet shooting. But how many people are actually looking for a book that teaches them how to shoot skeet. Chances are some of the organic search traffic you get might be interested, but that’s really drive by traffic. Does everyone in your town stop at McDonald’s when they drive by? Even if they’re looking for a place to eat? Likely not, unless McDonald’s is the only place in town where they can eat out, a good portion of the traffic will head somewhere else.
A lot of that organic traffic is not looking to buy something. They’re just looking for information. You don’t have that, unless they buy your book. But that’s not to say you can’t market your e-book in other ways and make a decent income. Here’s what you do:
Articles work. Write an article a day and distribute it to 20 article directories by manual submission. You could also send it to iSnare who distributes to 40,000 websites and directories. Not all of those will publish your article but a lot of them will. When you write articles, write information only – no sales pitches. Information that is relevant to your topic, skeet shooting. Use keywords just like you would in a website. At the bottom of your article you will write a short bio, called a resource box, that includes your name, a little bit of information about yourself with a teaser for your e-book and a link to the website. Bingo bango, targeted traffic.
Start a blog
Blogging has many benefits. All of them are awesome. I recommend with microsites that you put your blog on another standalone website. Not on blogger.com. Buy a domain name and install WordPress. Then blog every day. Link each blog post back to your microsite. Be sure that each blog post is keyword optimized and covers a variety of topics on skeet shooting. Like article marketing, you’re not selling; you’re providing free information. But don’t give away so much that people who buy your e-book will be disappointed to find that you’ve already given away the farm on your blog. Just tease them a little. Include a teaser about your e-book and a link to your microsite at the bottom of every post. Don’t have any other outgoing links. You’re selling your e-book, not AdSense, not other people’s products, you’re product. Remember that.
Here are a few of the primary benefits:
- Every link back to your site is an inbound link and counts for page rank and search engine position
- Each blog post is an optimized web page with its own search engine page rank
- Traffic, traffic, traffic
- A blog will get your website crawled faster (and I do mean a lot faster!)
Put an Add This button on your blog. Put one in the sidebar and put one on every blog entry. Make it easy for your visitors to bookmark you. Even if they don’t visit your microsite or buy your e-book, if they like the free information you provide on your blog they may still bookmark you. Be sure you provide more than one bookmarking option:
There are a ton of bookmarking sites out there. The more options you provide for your visitors the more widely distributed your blog is likely to become. Also, be sure to submit your blog to the free blog directories. There are several of those as well.
Here’s one that is often overlooked. Make a short video. Not too long. You can do this yourself for free using software like Camtasia. Get creative. Make it something that people will watch. Something interesting. Maybe you have some great footage of your grandfather shooting skeet and makes history with the fastest time ever recorded. That would be awesome footage, wouldn’t it?
Once you get your video made send it to YouTube and Google Video. Put it on your microsite even. Your blog. Include code that allows others to put it on their websites and blogs. At the end of the video be sure to promote your microsite. The idea, after all, is to drive traffic to your microsite so people will buy your e-book.
Another method of targeted traffic is pay-per-click. Pick your keywords, bid on them, and start advertising. Drive targeted traffic to your website that you pay for only after they have clicked on your ad. Since your ad will appear all over the web on sites related to yours then you have a very good chance of sending targeted traffic to your microsite.
Finally, start an affiliate program. Put a link at the bottom of your microsite that invites people to join your affiliate program. Pay your affiliates generous commissions. Generous. 50% is good. If you get one good affiliate who sends you a lot of sales then it is well worth the loss of 50% of would-be revenues to pay that affiliate for his work. Think about it this way: Would you rather have 50% of $10,000 or 100% of 2,000%?
Of course, there are no guarantees, but your affiliates know people you don’t. They may have huge websites with thousands of visitors per week. If a skeet shooting magazine has a website that receives 10,000 visitors per month, that’s 10,000 targeted visitors. All of them are your potential customers. Let’s say the magazine joins your affiliate program. 10,000 site visitors will see your ad every month and you don’t even have to pay for advertising. If you get just 1% of that traffic, that’s 1,000 unique visitors to your microsite every month. If you convert 10% of that targeted traffic into sales then you will sell 100 copies of your e-book every month. If your e-book is priced at $19.95, that’s $1,000 extra income for you each month. Do you think you can handle that?
OK, Nick, Are You Putting Me On?
Not on your life. This is a very realistic scenario. Of course, there are no guarantees, but there are thousands of success stories on the Internet – people who have built microsites and turned them into cash machines. You can too!