Digital marketing best practices: Landing page or microsite?

When you’re creating and planning digital marketing, one of the simplest but most important questions is, “What, exactly, are we asking people to do? And what’s the best way to get them to do it?”

There are tons of possibilities, and the right answer depends on your goals. We’ll discuss two very different directions: landing pages and microsites.

What’s the difference?

Landing Page

A landing page is a special page you’ve created within your site with a clear path to action. You’ve got their attention and interest, so a landing page needs to quickly communicate the info they’ll need to make a decision and give them a super-clear and easy path (like a giant orange “APPLY NOW” button) to take action.


A microsite is a separate, special-purpose website with a different, but still on-brand look and interface. We usually set up a microsite on its own domain name, but it’s also possible to set these up as a section within a site using a different template. A microsite can be anything from a single page to an entire separate website.

How do I choose between a landing page and a microsite?

The right answer depends on the scale of your project, where your audience is in the decision-making process, and your overall goals.

Landing pages are easy and fast (or they should be – if this is difficult on your website, may we humbly suggest an upgrade?). They also give access via your normal navigation to the rest of your site, so they allow people in the decision-making process to get more info. Depending on how active your marketing is, you might have a dozen or more landing pages live.

The disadvantages are distraction and differentiation. With all the normal navigation, headers, footers, etc. in place, people entering your landing page might not spend much time on the message, or understand what they need to do next. You need a very clear and obvious call to action people can spot immediately, and make sure any other needed information is easy to find.

A microsite can make a lot of sense in situations where the scale is bigger and you have a specific, very important function or message that needs an added dose of differentiation. For example, maybe you want to make a big splash (like a merger, anniversary year, or a big membership drive). A snappy, easy to remember domain name and a focus on one message will make more impact.

Microsites can also be great for targeting a specific audience for a specific purpose. For example, here’s a one-page site we built for a specific audience (credit union CEOs and CFOs) with a specific message: Instead of a sell sheet or presentation, the benefits are pared to the essentials and a complex suite of services is presented in a clear, compelling way with motion, color, and video.

If your audience is still in the earlier phases of decision-making, a microsite can be a more efficient way to make sure they get the most relevant, focused information organized in the way they need it.

Get professional help

When you’re developing digital and traditional media marketing strategy, work closely with your website developers from the very beginning. That way, you can make the most of your marketing and website platforms and build compelling experiences for your members.

Brian Wringer

Brian Wringer

Former watermelon farmer Brian Wringer wears several hats for iDiz Incorporated, including Web Projects Manager, Wordsmith, and Big Idea Guy. He builds better credit unions by day and weird old ... Web: Details