An effective website strategy is an important part of a business’s marketing toolbox.

It is the de facto face of the business and is often key to long term health. Even for a traditional business, a business that has locations or sells through traditional distribution channels, an effective website strategy is vital.

Website Planning

There are three broad categories of websites: brand sites, micro sites and landing pages. Each has a distinct role and none does the other’s job well.

The Brand Site

This is the brand or business’s home base. It’s where consumers find all the information they want or need about the business. It’s where the business interacts with its customers and prospects. Ideally, a brand site is more than a brochure site, it should create incremental value for the business’s primary audience, value that goes beyond product benefits.

Brand Sites tend to be relatively large and long lived. Consumers actively choose to go there, often as a result of Organic or Natural Search. A brand site’s primary focus should be relationship building.

The Micro Site

This is a small website focused on a single marketing or business initiative. If you are launching a new product a micro site is the program’s home base, it’s where consumers can learn about the new product. Are you promoting a grand opening? A micro site tells prospective consumers all about your new store and its role in their neighborhood. Do you have a high value, long purchase cycle product like real estate? A micro site is a good solution for you.

Micro sites generally have a moderate size and lifetime. Consumers usually come to the micro site as a result of marketing activity such as advertising and/or PR. A micro site’s primary focus should be preference building.

The Landing Page

A landing page is the work horse of marketing. It’s where shoppers, consumers who’ve respond to advertising, should be taken. It’s a site where they can do something. This might be a sale, or a lead, or a request for information, but it will be specific, and there should only be one desired action. Following landing page best practices is important to maximize the success of your marketing effort.

Tablet with Landing Page

Landing page sites are small, often just one page, and live only as long as the marketing program they are designed to support is alive. This can be a few weeks or months, it’s dependent on marketing activity. A landing page can also be a sub set of the brand site or the micro site. Generally, a landing page’s primary focus is sales.

Take Away

An effective website strategy is selected by understand the role of each type of site, what they do well, and what they don’t do well. Keep the site focused on the needs of your primary audience and your business. Don’t ask your site to do what it’s not designed for.

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