How do I build a Microsite?

Your SmartStart Planning Guide

Things to do before you start to build.

Establish site objectives

Objectives will guide your entire website development and keep everyone focused while providing you a framework for measuring success once the site is live.

Keep in mind your objectives should be measurable to be useful. “Doing better” is not an objective. “Increasing website conversions 10% by Q4” is an objective.

To Do:

  • Create a list of all desirable objectives.
  • Determine what’s possible within timetable and budget.
  • Finalize and publish the primary objectives for the site.

Refer to objectives often when evaluating content and functionality for the site.

Example website objectives for:

Attracting more prospects

  • Increase unique visitors by X%
  • Increase repeat visitors by X%
  • Increase types of prospects by X%

Building relationships with prospects

  • Decrease bounce rate by X%
  • Increase time spent on site by X%
  • Increase user engagement on the site X%

Converting prospects into customers

  • Increase transactions from new buyers by X%
  • Increase coupon redemptions by X%

Encouraging referrals

  • Increase tell-a-friend actions by X%
  • Increase direct referrals by X%
  • Increase Net Promoter score by X%

Define how to capture leads

Turning strangers into known prospects.

When a visitor arrives at your site, her identity is likely unknown. She’s a stranger. You need to offer her something of value in exchange for her contact information.

Many sites offer newsletters, white papers or ebooks. If you’ve found these offers uninviting on other sites, it’s because their perceived value isn’t high enough for you to pay with your name, email, etc.

Your challenge is to develop an offer that your visitor is willing to pay for with her contact info.

To Do:

  • Create list of promotional concepts your visitors will find valuable.
  • Begin with common offers like white papers, ebooks, guides, survey results, webinars, sweepstakes.
  • Expand your thinking to more unique offers, specific to your industry that your target will find appealing.

You’ll add these offers throughout your site, beginning with your homepage.

Capture leads

Craft your homepage

The anatomy of a successful homepage:

A visitor arrives at your homepage with a problem to solve, e.g., she needs 2000 posters printed by the end of the week or she’s looking to increase her GMAT score.

The purpose of the homepage is to communicate quickly that you can solve her problem, provide reasons why she should believe this, and offer a clear next step towards solving her problem.

The best approach for creating this flow is to think how you make your sales pitch in person: You state you can solve the problem; you provide reasons to believe you can solve the problem; you offer a simple next step to move forward.

The homepage flow should be similar to how you sell in person:

The Hero
Reasons To Believe
Start a Relationship
Selling like your most successful sales rep

Your homepage should communicate like your best sales rep on your rep’s best day.

The Hero

State what problem you solve.

The Hero is at the top of the page, just below the navigation. It’s the first thing a visitor sees and will determine whether or not she remains on the site to learn more.

This is the most important piece of communication on the site. 

In fact, this is the only element you can guarantee the visitor will see.

It should communicate instantly what problem you solve and provide a logical next step to begin the process, such as call or fill out a form.

If the visitor has the problem you solve, then she’ll scroll down to learn more. A visitor is much more likely to scroll down than click to a new page. Hence, this is the reason for the long homepage – it converts better.

To Do:

  • Write a succinct headline, and sometimes a subhead, that explains what problem you solve. Do NOT state who you are – your site title and logo do that.
  • Find a large, quality image that reinforces the headline.
  • Develop a primary call to action the visitor can take immediately to solve her problem, e.g., call or fill out a form. This is typically your first objective.

The Hero delivers your organization’s first impression. Spend time on the words and money on the photo or video.

Microsite's Hero image

The Hero Image

  • Recommended dimensions: 1920w x 1020h pixels (the width should be at least 1680 pixels)
  • Format must be: .jpg or .png
  • Recommended composition: Blurry or nondescript if text is centered. Or image shifted left or right to allow area for type.

Reasons To Believe

Explain and prove why you can solve the problem.

Sections on the homepage

As the visitor scrolls down to learn more, you should provide sections that detail Reasons To Believe you can solve the problem you stated in The Hero. Different sections could cover:

  • More detailed explanation
  • Demonstrations of how your product or service solves the problem
  • Facts to back it up
  • Quotes from satisfied customers
  • A list or logos of impressive customers
  • Case Studies where you solved problems for customers

To Do:

  • Determine your Reasons To Believe and rank the information from most impressive to least – always lead with your strongest.
  • As a guide, think how you would present the information in person during a sales pitch. Do you always lead with your incredible customer list? Put that first. Do you normally start with an impressive fact? Then put that first.
  • Gather all the content and prepare it for the web. Text needs to be in a simple format so you can cut and paste easily. Images need to be in .jpg or .png format. You can’t use images from Word or Powerpoint – these are not web-ready.

If you have questions about format or adding content to your web page, your personal website expert can help. Message him/her from within the site Admin.

Microsite's Reasons to Believe

Start a Relationship

Ending your sales story.

You should conclude your sales story at the bottom of the page the same way you would in person. You suggest a reasonable, small next step to begin a relationship if she’s not ready to buy immediately.

This is where you use your Capture Lead offer you defined earlier. The purpose here is to turn a stranger into a known lead.

To Do:

  • Decide which Capture Lead offer you defined above to use here.
  • Make sure your organization is able to deliver on the offer. Is the white paper done and web-ready? Is the webinar scheduled?
  • Confirm the process is in place to nurture the leads as they come in.
  • Plan to connect any sales and marketing software with the site. Our software easily integrates with most popular solutions like Salesforce.com, Constant Contact, HipChat, Highrise, MailChimp. Your personal web expert can assist.

If you do not have a quality lead nurturing campaign, contact us for help setting one up.

Microsite's Reasons to Believe

Examples of sites

following this process.
That’s it. You’re ready to start building. Sign into your Admin. Your personal website expert will be their to answer questions.