Article

The Little Automotive Microsite That Could: Four Reasons Why a Microsite Can Drive Major Marketing Results for Your Dealership

August 2008, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Michael Teitelbaum - Also by this author

When Burger King® unveiled the Tendercrisp® sandwich in 2004, they opted to reach potential customers through a relatively new online marketing tactic: They launched SubservientChicken.com, a small Web site dedicated solely to the new sandwich, which lived independent of Burger King’s primary Web site at its own unique URL.
With that single effort, the viral marketing phenomenon known as the microsite was born. A microsite is a multi-page, mini-Web site with content geared toward a specific subset of a company’s main audience. A microsite has a distinct URL that can be accessed directly rather than through a company’s main Web site. Although content varies, microsites are typically designed to capture leads by driving visitors to complete forms or request additional information.
Today, microsites are ubiquitous in nearly every industry, including automotive. Almost every manufacturer uses microsites to present their model lineups; Volkswagen and Mercedes, in particular, have well-developed microsites for their models. But microsites aren’t just for the manufacturers. Dealers can leverage microsites in several ways to drive increased Web traffic and sales leads.

Singular Focus
Whereas your dealership’s main Web site has to encompass every aspect of your business, a microsite allows you to put a full-scale promotion behind a single product, service, event or partnership. The microsite needs to create a logical journey that is clearly crafted based on customer profiles, customer expectations and the end goal of the microsite. By providing interactive touch points such as payment calculators, search tools, an interactive demo, or a means to supply feedback, the site is leading the visitor along a path.

Search-Engine Friendly
A properly-designed microsite offers built-in search engine optimization as it’s typically focused on a single product or service. Therefore, it is much easier to optimize the site for a specific keyword or phrase. Given a little bit of time and a few pages of keyword-rich content, you can come to own that keyword or phrase in natural searches.

Search on the term “Honda Dealer Baltimore Maryland” in Google, for example. A local dealer, Northwest Honda, has a microsite at www.marylandhonda.net that appears on the first page of results, and several pages before you find their main Web site.

Extends Your Brand in Fun, Engaging Way
Your dealership’s site is probably all business. Microsites are one of the few areas of marketing where you’re allowed, even encouraged, to get wildly creative with your brand identity. So feel free to ditch the tone and style of your existing site as you craft a microsite aimed at a niche audience.

Getting creative can garner you a lot of attention, but it’s important that you don’t lose sight of your store’s objectives amidst all the fun and games. Be sure to include a prominent call to action on each page. Provide plenty of opportunities for visitors to stick around, see what you have to offer and get in touch with you to take the next step.

Budget Friendly
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need animation and cutting-edge graphics for your microsite to be effective. As long as the content is good, the microsite is focused, and your marketing objectives are clear, you can build a valuable microsite for a fraction of the cost of a typical company Web site.

The return on investment with microsites can be extraordinary because of the highly-effective measurement capabilities available. Visitors can be tracked from origination source, various types of data can be collected if required, and final sales can be measured depending on the nature of the campaign and product or service being sold.  If you’ve created a microsite as a component of a larger marketing campaign, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to disappear once that campaign ends. Microsites can serve as effective landing spots for paid search marketing campaigns. When visitors go to your site, they will find information tailored specifically to meet their search criteria, making your site immediately relevant and helping convert more of those paid clicks into customers.

If you build a microsite, car buyers will come, they will engage, and you can get the data to prove it.

Vol 5, Issue 6

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