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Automotive Dealers Network By Ralph Paglia Dealer Micro Sites

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  1. 1. So, What's A MicroSite? SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm So, What's A MicroSite?(continued) PART 1The use of microsites should be considered as one facet of a multi- faceted and full featured digital marketing system. Microsites can have either a positive or negative impact on a dealerships overall digital marketing results depending on how they are deployed and many other factors. The key to microsite success is the role they play in achieving a balance and synergy within the other components of a dealers digital marketing strategy. The goal of this article is to provide a foundational understanding of what microsites are, how they differ from landing pages and to share a few examples of the many uses of microsites that dealers and Internet Sales Managers can consider for potential deployment within their own digital marketing strategies.During the Digital Dealer conference I was asked many questions about how microsites are used, what they were, where to get them and how much was the right price I am going to outline a few of the questions and share my opinions as to the right answers. The following questions and my answers to them have been set up within the context of a how to and why perspective for use in developing a dealerships digital marketing strategy and ongoing digital advertising campaigns. What's the difference between a landing page, a microsite and a dealers website?I get asked this question all the time, so it must be fairly relevant to many people First off, let me say that for all practical purposes every web site contains potential landing pages, but not all landing pages are part of a microsite or what I would call a full featured web site, some are just plain old single page Landing Pages. A Landing Page is whatever web page that a sponsored link, display ad, click-to-play video ad or any other type of online promotion points to Single purpose Landing Pages can be a distinctly separate tactic used in addition to a dealers primary full featured web sites and microsites. Although a dealers primary web site typically has sections devoted to each dealership department, as well as access to the dealers full vehicle inventory, a microsite typically displays a limited number of pages primarily focused on a very specific and limited topic, such as a specific model of vehicle or a component of the vehicle buying process Think of the traditional 4-square dealership worksheet and imagine a web site dedicated to each of the sections within that 4-Square. Each of them would be a microsite.Now, Ill describe microsites in terms that would be relevant to todays sales management professional at a dealership engaged in Digital Marketing activities:q A microsite index page is attached to a unique URL that is as descriptive of the microsites subject matter as possible and available to the dealership. q The index page within a microsite that is accessed by the root domain of the URL can also be used as a campaign landing page because it is where the consumer lands when they click on an advertisement, text based sponsored link or search engine listing of that unique URL. q In addition to the index page, which we call a home page when applied to a dealerships full featured primary web site, a microsite has 1 or more daughter pages that are accessible from linked text or images shown onhttp://www.automotivedealersnetwork.com/Articles/RPaglia/MicroSite.html (1 of 4)6/2/2008 3:21:21 PM
  2. 2. So, What's A MicroSite? the index page (the microsites home page). q A microsites daughter pages must be created within the same root domain structure as the index pages URL. This is far different than the use of web pages hosted within another root domain structure, as when using links to a different web sites sections, forms or pages. q Each daughter page within a microsite will contain additional content relevant to the index pages primary subject matter and is what qualifies the site as a microsite instead of a simple landing page.Obviously, from the first part of my answer you already know that a landing page is a single web page connected to a unique URL, but without any additional pages of relevant content connected to it that are hosted within the same root domain structure. A good example, and the epitome of a Microsite (its even small in size), including rich media presentations and specific vehicle component sections along with daughter pages containing vehicle information, photographs and specifications can be seen at www.SanDiegoChevySilverado.com. Conversely, a good example of a true Landing Page devoid of any other content withinthe same root domain structure is: www.ChevyPriceQuote.com. Please notethat both landing pages and microsites typically feature multiple links to other web pagesthat are part of separate and distinct URL domain structures, usually withinthe dealers primary web site, also known as Deep Links.The bottom line is that every microsite contains a landing page, along with one or more additional content pages, while the term landing page is also used to describe a single web page, usually with a form that is linked to advertisements and text based sponsored links and is distinctly separate from any other web site. Technically, any web page connected to outside links, such as banners and other forms of display advertisements shown within published web sites, as well as text based sponsored links and URL listings in SEM campaigns are Landing Pages because it is where the consumer lands when they click on the advertisement or listing However, within the car business today, the most common use of the term landing page is to describe a single web page specially created for a specific advertisement, designed to convert visitors into electronic leads. Alternatively, Microsites require more content to set up properly than solo landing pages, which typically require a limited amount of text and an online form for customers to complete and submit.When and How are Landing Pages and Microsites used? Both microsites and landing pages are used for a variety of purposes by dealers, 3rd party lead providers, SEMservices providers, dealer advertising associations, dealer groups and car companies. Compared to landingpages and depending on the richness of content they contain, automotive microsites usually show increasinglevels of effectiveness in generating leads over time.There are 3 prevalent digital marketing campaign objectives that microsites and landing pages are used for within the car business today:Generate sales leads in the form of completed online forms, incoming phone calls and showroom trafficWhen used by SEM services providers, landing pages are typically designed to generate electronic leadsand are optimized for the highest possible Visitor-to-Lead conversion rates. Attract unique visitors using highly specific and limited subject matter content that is indexed by searchengines as relevant to key word searches related to the sites subject matter. When successful, amicrosites title and description appear at the top of specific search engine queries based on richness ofrelevant content. Generate online traffic to other dealership web sites through the use of linked objects displayed within the http://www.automotivedealersnetwork.com/Articles/RPaglia/MicroSite.html (2 of 4)6/2/2008 3:21:21 PM
  3. 3. So, What's A MicroSite?microsite, or within the text based content of the site. This objective is best met through the use ofmanagedorganic content that is search engine optimized around a subject matter that is popular among a targetedaudience that will be searching for it. Otherwise, a microsite could be misconstrued as a link farm.If you are like me, seeing a few examples really helps to clarify a concept. If you visit www.Chevy-Malibu. com you will see a microsite that is focused on the all new 2008 Chevrolet Malibu and nothing else. It has lots of rich content relevant to the all new Malibu, including an interview with the dealerships New Vehicle Director, Scott Gruwell. At the bottom of the landing page are links to content within the stores primary full featured web site that supplement the forms and phone numbers within the microsite in seeking to convert visitors into leads and phone calls. 3 months after being launched, a search for 2008 Chevy Malibu returned a world wide front page listing as follows:2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid from Phoenix Arizona Chevy Dealer ... 2008 Chevy Malibu. Come and fall in love with the all new 2008 Malibu from chevrolet. Courtesy Chevrolet in Phoenix offers the best pricing and financing on ... www.chevy-malibu.com/ - 19k - Cached - Similar pages - Note thisThe model specific microsite that has outperformed any other microsite I have ever seen in generating incremental eLeads and unique visitors to the primary web site operated by the dealership, visit www. 2008ChevyCamaro.com. A Google search for 2008 Chevy Camaro returns the following listing at the very top of the world wide search results: The All New 2008 Chevrolet Camaro from Courtesy Chevy in Phoenix ... 2008 Chevy Camaro. Your Valley Chevy Camaro Dealer located in Phoenix, Arizona, The New 2008 Chevy Camaro, Courtesy Chevrolet Camaro, 2008 New Chevy Camaro. www.2008chevycamaro.com/ - 15k - Cached - Similar pagesIn July 2007 the Camaro microsite attracted over 25,000 unique visitors, of which over 1,800 of them submitted an online lead form. This microsite also generated over 2,500 unique visitors to the stores other web sites, which resulted in over 50 additional leads. Courtesy Chevrolet operates the 2008ChevyCamaro.com microsite and spends less than $100 a month hosting it. There was no paid advertising used to generate traffic, although the Transformers movie seemed to generate a big hike in Camaro related searches.One of the first microsites I created is the popular www.Tahoe-Chevrolet.com. If you Google 2007 Tahoe it shows up near the top of the search results as follows: 20