Macrosites, Microsites and Landing Pages: What Are They and Why Should You Care?

Macrosites, Microsites and Landing Pages: What Are They and Why Should You Care?

If you’ve been to a conference or two, you’ve probably heard about macrosites, microsites and landing pages. While some might use the terms interchangeably and others might not talk about them at all, it can get pretty confusing. In this three-part series, we will discuss what each of these terms mean, how effective they are and, most importantly, what the automotive industry should be looking out for in order to use these platforms to their full potential.

Part I: What Are Macrosites?

Macrosites are off-shoots of a parent site that engage users without focusing on a call-to-action (CTA). BMW, for example, has been launching macrosites for models in order to provide an interactive platform to engage with their cars. The site thebmwi3experience.com offers videos of people from all over Europe test driving the i3. Below the videos are links to the specs, pictures, and a Facebook share.
A link to the official BMW website is placed inconspicuously in the corner because the point is to push the wonders of the i3. While it’s still an advertisement, the site feels like a virtual community building platform centered around the i3 experience.

Effectiveness in Converting

Don’t be confused: this is not the same as a community created via social media. While using Facebook, Yelp or Twitter establishes a virtual community, traffic is funneled through those sites. A separate macrosites, increases ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs) of the mother site because of the backlinks and cross-referencing. (Learn about the power of backlinks here.) So when someone searches for a specific make or model, the macrosites boosts the visibility of that brand or vehicle.

The Bottom Line for Dealerships

Why isn’t everyone doing this then? Companies, dealerships included, prefer to use other digital marketing techniques like landing pages or a PPC/CPC campaign in order to get the conversions they want because, frankly, it’s easier. Macrosites take a lot of work, planning and maintenance if you’re doing it on your own. When supported with the right resources, a macrosites could be exactly the kind of campaign a dealership needs to generate organic placing on SERPs and increase their conversion rate.

Part II: What Are Microsites?

Microsites offer useful information about a product, without necessarily pushing a call-to-action (CTA), like a macrosites but smaller in scope. If they are created with the intention of pushing a product, these sites are rewarded with higher rankings because of their quality content, backlinks credibility and more. (Again… read about backlinks here.)

How about an example. Domino’s created a microsite for its new “Delivery Expert” (DXP) Chevrolet Spark car. At dominosdxp.com, users can “test drive” the DXP to learn about how it was made, Domino’s commitment to delivering hot pizzas, and so on. The call-to-action, i.e. ordering a pizza, is subtly pushed by showing a map of current DXP’s in the U.S.

Why is this hailed as a top microsite? Because it is engaging and does not feel like an overt advertisement, even though everyone knows it is. A microsite about lease returns that also presents options for new leases or purchases of vehicles on your lot could be exactly the kind of campaign to boost your SERP ranking and bring in another wave of traffic.

Effectiveness in Converting

Microsites are especially effective when the buying process of a product is lengthy and complicated. Since buyers today are constantly researching items before purchasing, it only makes sense to provide the information they desire. Though buying a pizza is not a complicated process, buying a car is. Considering that people spend between 6 months to a year researching cars before stepping onto a lot, microsites are one of the more effective ways to generate quality traffic to produce leads.

The Bottom Line for Dealerships

You might be thinking, “Well, the corporate site and review sites offer all the information anyone needs about the cars on my lot. Why do I need my own microsite?” Because corporate sites do not link makes directly to your dealership. Review and classified sites display your inventory alongside your competitors’. Plus, how often is your inventory updated on those third-party sites? A microsite featuring information about purchasing options for sub-prime buyers with a unique link to your dealer site allows for a new way to reach a huge demographic. Or if you have a lot of Spanish-speaking clientele and Spanish-speaking salespeople, a microsite in Spanish could boost your conversions immensely because of the traffic it attracts.

Part III: What Are Landing Pages?

These are the pages you’re probably the most familiar with. Remember when you had that special sale for Labor Day and created a page for it that then directed searches to your inventory? Or those third-party lead providers you’re paying so much for? Yup, those are landing pages. Basically, they are a page that has a specific message and a call-to-action (filling out a lead form, click-to-chat, etc.).

Effectiveness in Converting

Landing pages have become a popular form of advertising in the digital world, particularly in the automotive industry.
If a landing page has been created for a specific sale, it might rank high on an SERP (search engine results page), but it might not get all of the right traffic. If someone is ready to buy a car, truck or SUV that is on your lot and is close enough to you, then you’re golden. All you need is for your sales people to work their magic. But what if they are still in the researching phase? (Which lasts between 6 months to a year before anyone steps on a lot!) They’ll be on the site for a minute and leave.

What about landing pages for lead forms? Folks fill them out all the time all over the web. But, if it’s through a third-party lead provider, they sell the lead form to you and your competitors, thereby increasing the competition. If your sales team can scramble to get to that person before the competitors and offer them a good enough deal, they may or may not come into the dealership. Or, they might not even answer the phone because they have been bombarded by so many dealers.

The Bottom Line for Dealerships

We’re not saying no to landing pages. By all means, keep up those sales pages and lead forms. But, as consumer culture changes, so too the advertising tactics. Landing pages need to be more than just a call-to-action (CTA). Match it with well-written content in order to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine ranking. By partnering with a company to create a strategic plan for landing pages (as well as macrosites and microsites), it will expand your digital footprint to include a wider demographic and, therefore, a higher conversion rate.