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How to Turn a Long Landing Page Into a Microsite – In 5 Easy Steps

Landing pages can get really long, which is totally fine, especially if you use a sticky anchor navigation to scroll people up and down to different page sections. It’s a great conversion experience and should be embraced.

However, there are times when having a small multi-page site, known as a microsite (or mini-site) can offer significant advantages.

This is not a conversation about your website (which is purely for organic traffic), I’m still talking about creating dedicated marketing-campaign-specific experiences. That’s what landing pages were designed for, and a microsite is very similar. It’s like a landing page in that it’s a standalone, controlled experience, but with a different architecture.

The sketch below shows the difference between a landing page and a microsite.

The landing page is a single page with six sections. The microsite has a homepage and 5 or 6 child pages, each with a persistent global navigation to conect the pages.

They are both “landing experiences”, just architected differently. I’ve noticed that many higher education landing experiences are four-page microsites. The pharmaceutical industry tends to create microsites for every new product campaign – especially those driven by TV ads.

What are the benefits of a microsite over a long landing page?

To reiterate, for most marketing campaign use cases, a single landing page – long or short – is your absolute best option. But there are some scenarios where you can really benefit from a microsite.

Some of the benefits of a microsite include:

  1. It allows more pages to be indexed by Google
  2. You can craft a controlled experience on each page (vs. a section where people can move up and down to other sections)
  3. You can add a lot more content to a certain page, without making your landing page a giant.
  4. You can get more advanced with your analytics research as there are many different click-pathways within a microsite that aren’t possible to track or design for on a single page.
  5. The technique I’m going to show you takes an Unbounce landing page, turns it into a 5-page microsite.

How to Create a Microsite from a Long Landing Page

The connective tissue of a microsite is the navigation. It links the pages together and defines the available options for a visitor. I’ll be using an Unbounce Sticky Bar as the shared global navigation to connect five Unbounce landing pages that we’ll create from the single long landing page. It’s really easy.

First, Choose a Landing Page to Work With

I’ve created a dummy landing page to work with. You can see from the zoomed-out thumbnail on the right-hand side how long it is: 10 page-sections long to be specific. (Click the image to view the whole page in a scrolling lightbox.)

The five-step process is then as follows:

I’ll explain it in more detail with screenshots and a quick video.

  1. Create the microsite pages, by duplicate your landing page 5 times
  2. Delete the page sections you don’t want on each microsite page
  3. Create a Sticky Bar and add five navigation buttons
  4. Set the URL targeting of the Sticky Bar to appear on the microsite pages
  5. Add the Unbounce global script to your site
  6. Click “Publish” << hardly a step.

Step 1: Create Your Microsite Pages

Choose “Duplicate Page” from the cog menu on your original landing page to create a new page (5 times). Then name each page and set the URL of each accordingly. In the screenshot below you can see I have the original landing page, and five microsite pages Home|About|Features|FAQ|Sign Up.

Step 2: Delete Page Sections on Each Microsite Page

Open each page in the Unbounce builder and click the background of any page section you don’t want and hit delete. It’s really quick. Do this for each page until they only have the content you want to be left in them. Watch the 30 sec video below to see how.

 

Pro Tip: Copy/Paste Between Pages

There is another way to do it. Instead of deleting sections, you can start with blank pages for the microsite, and copy/paste the sections you want from the landing page into the blank pages. This is one of the least-known and most powerful features of Unbounce.

The best way is to have a few browser tabs open at once (like one for each page), then just copy and paste between browser tabs. It’s epic! Watch…

 

Step 3: Create the Navigation With a Sticky Bar

Create a new Sticky Bar in Unbounce (it’s the same builder for landing pages and popups). Add buttons or links for each of your microsite pages, and set the “Target” of the link to be “Parent Frame” as shown in the lower-right of this screenshot.

Step 4: Set URL Targeting

This is where the connective tissue of the shared Sticky Bar comes together. On the Sticky Bar dashboard, you can enter any URLs on your domain that you want the bar to appear on. You can enter them one-by-one if you like, or to make it much faster, just use the same naming convention (unique to this microsite/campaign) on each of the microsite page URLS.

I used these URLs for my pages:

unbounce.com/pam-micro-home/
unbounce.com/pam-micro-about/
unbounce.com/pam-micro-features/
unbounce.com/pam-micro-faq/
unbounce.com/pam-micro-signup/

For the URL Targeting, I simply set one rule, that URLs need to contain “pmm-micro”.
For the Trigger, I selected “When a visitor arrives on the page.”
for the frequency, I selected “Show on every visit.” because the nav needs to be there always.

Step 5: Add the Unbounce Script

We have a one-line Javascript that needs to be added to your website to make the Sticky Bars work. If you use Google Tag Manager on your site, then it’s super easy, just give the code snippet to your dev to paste into GTM.

Note: As this microsite solution was 100% within Unbounce (Landing Pages and Sticky Bar), you don’t actually have to add the script to your website, you can just add it to the each of the landing pages individually. But it’s best to get it set up on your website, which will show it on your Unbounce landing pages on that domain, by default.

Click Publish on #AllTheThings!

And that’s that!


You can see the final microsite here.
(Desktop only right now I’m afraid. I’ll set up mobile responsive soon but it’s 2am and this blogging schedule is killing me :D).


I’ve also written a little script that uses cookies to change the visual state of each navigation button to show which pages you’ve visited. I’ll be sharing that in the future for another concept to illustrate how you can craft a progress bar style navigation flow to direct people where you want them to go next!

A Few Wee Caveats

  • This use of a Sticky Bar isn’t a native feature of Unbounce at this point, it’s just a cool thing you can do. As such, it’s not technically supported, although our community loves this type of thing.
  • As it’s using a shared Sticky Bar for the nav, you’ll see it re-appear on each new page load. Not perfect, but it’s not a big deal and the tradeoff is worth it if the other benefits mentioned earlier work for you.
  • The close button on the Sticky Bar needs to be hidden (I need to bug a developer for some help and will add it back in here).

Aall in all, this type of MacGyvering is great for generating new ways of thinking about your marketing experiences, and how you can guide people to a conversion.

I’ve found that thinking about a microsite from a conversion standpoint is a fantastic mental exercise.

Have fun making a microsite, and never stop experimenting – and MacGyvering!
Cheers
Oli

p.s. Don’t forget to subscribe to the weekly updates for the rest of Product Awareness Month.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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How A Best Answer Content Strategy Drives B2B Marketing Results

Best Answer Content B2B Marketing

Best Answer Content B2B Marketing

For many B2B marketers content is a numbers game, especially as the number of channels for discovery and engagement grow right along with competition for attention.

We all know how the information overload story ends: buyers disconnect, they start to ignore marketing content and they lose trust in the brands trying so desperately to reach them.

Smart voices like Ann Handley in the B2B marketing industry have called for a focus on quality and even brevity over the hamster wheel of content mediocrity. Many have listened and yet many more B2B marketers are still fighting the uphill battle of creating uninspired blog post after blog post, ebooks, white papers, case studies and who knows how many social messages - and to what end?

Is your marketing about creating content or answers? Think about what your customers really want.

The failure to communicate by B2B marketers has numerous causes ranging from flawed thinking that more is better to content quality issues to what I like to call “invisible content syndrome”, or content without visibility to the buyer.

Answering buyer questions is nothing new. While best answer content is a topic we’ve been evangelizing at TopRank Marketing since our book Optimize was published 7 years ago and since, changes in voice search and what Google shows in search results has put Q and A content marketing into the SEO spotlight.

The new SEO is optimization for answers. Along those lines you can learn about AEO (Answer Engine Optimization) which focuses on voice search.  There’s also Google’s "People Also Ask” feature which now show up for 79% of search results according to Moz. The difference between optimizing content through AEO tactics or for PAA visibility with a best answer strategy is the difference between visibility on a single channel like Google and consistently visibility across channels for a specific topic.

Being the best answer is hard, but that's the price for being in the winner's circle of consistent top visibility. While it’s more difficult to achieve best answer authority on multiple channels than just Google, in this world of information overload, self-directed business customers are searching for useful, credible information they can use to educate, evaluate and make purchasing decisions.

If buyers don't see consistent, credible and engaging "best answer" content across channels from your brand, they'll begin to trust competitors who are.

B2B buyers are using Google but they are also asking their social networks, listening to influencers, seeing some ads, consulting with peers in forums, reading industry editorial, blogs, and a variety of offline information sources.

Successful B2B marketers understand their buyers preferences for information discovery, consumption and engagement. They use customer insight and understanding of intent to create best answer content that is easy to find in search, credible and a great user experience. They also create a cycle of optimization where ongoing performance analysis is used to refine and improve.

So how do B2B marketers create best answer content?

Josh Nite from our team has outlined a few good best answer content examples here. Let's also look at some of the characteristics of best answer web pages aka “power pages”.

Power Page Layout

1. Customer Insight - Whether it’s keyword research, CRM or conversion data from your web analytics, it’s important to step beyond your own intuition about what topics to focus on and rely on data.Consider what is it that your brand should be the best answer for and what customers are looking for that best represents your solution. Metrics that give you an indication of demand like keyword research and intent like analytics and conversion data can point you in the right direction as to what topics to validate.

2. Best Answer Topic(s) - The research and insights work should help you identify the general topic to focus on for best answer content. Then you can leverage answer research tools like BuzzSumo’s Question Analyzer which pulls data from Q/A sites and forums to surface the actual questions being asked about those topics.

3. Hub and Spoke Publishing Model - I first outlined the idea of a hub with distribution channels back in 2010 and the idea has endured. At the center is a comprehensive treatment of your best answer topic. Today we call them “power pages”, more about them below. The spokes have evolved from simply being places to promote your hub content to also include other content representing variations of your main best answer topic.

accounting software hub and spoke content

15% of the daily queries used on Google have never been seen before, so it's important to surface the most important variations on your primary best answer topic. Those variations present a more comprehensive representation of your brand's dominance on the overall topic and also provide many repurposing and content promotion opportunities.

4. Power Page - The hub or Power Page provides specific and deep coverage of a Best Answer Topic in a way that appeals to search engines and buyers alike. Whether a buyer's intent is to understand the topic broadly or to start evaluating what specific solutions can mean for their problem, a Power Page provides an easily findable, deep and engaging explanation. Some common characteristics of the best performing Power Pages include:

  • Leverage keywords/topics in titles to inspire clicks
  • Include page features that increase engagement (interactive, visual)
  • Provide comprehensive content on specific topics: examples, research, models
  • Cover related topics as well

5. Distribution Channels - Power pages are often hosted on a company website or blog. But that’s not the only place buyers will look for your solution topics. It’s important to have an integrated content plan that incorporates owned, earned, paid and shared media.

Hub Spoke Promotion

Whether you partner with industry influencers and industry press to boost credibility or run paid search and social ads for ultra specific targeting, the best answer topic should be consistent across channels where buyers are looking - not just on search engines!

What it takes to be the best answer:

  • Specific, in demand topic
  • More valuable and useful than other sites
  • Credible
  • High quality
  • Engaging
  • Device friendly, accessible
  • Loads fast

By doing the homework of leveraging customer insight and validating with keyword research, you can then identify the actual questions buyers are asking about topics important to your solutions. Answering those questions through a hub and spoke content publishing model ensures a deep focus and coverage of variations on your topic across the channels where customers are seeking answers.

But that's not all. There are many ways to create even better Best Answer content experiences. Having industry experts help answer customer questions segmented by stage of the buying cycle creates and a more credible and targeted experience. In fact, showcasing industry experts in a brand context for best answer content that is more visual or interactive content can really set a B2B brand apart. Easy to find, credible content that’s also a great user experience is exactly what a Best Answer content strategy can do for B2B customers that are actively looking for solutions.

There’s a lot more to this topic and I will be digging in more deeply during an upcoming Webinar with BuzzSumo on January 23rd at 2pm EST.

B2B best answer marketing webinar
How A Best Answer Strategy Drives B2B Marketing Results

This presentation will show you:

  • The modern content marketing integration model
  • How to use SEO question data to inform credible content and influencer selection
  • What "best answer" content looks like with examples from B2B companies

Check out the details here on the BuzzSumo site and I hope to see you there!

The post How A Best Answer Content Strategy Drives B2B Marketing Results appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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