I have always been a massive fan of landing pages and have a tendency to create one for every project I am planning to launch. This has always served me well, as it has so many marketers who have wanted to showcase a specific product that is separate from the overall brand they are promoting.
Lately, a new version of this tactic has been making waves and immediately I have fallen in love. Mini-sites are like landing pages on steroids. They use the same general principle, only instead of a single landing page, they are a more interactive site (or collection of sites) that focus on a single purpose. They take the whole idea a bit further, creating a whole new content asset for your brand that can take your marketing strategy to a new level.
Here are a few creative examples to get you inspired!
Apple has been at the center of many corporate programs meant to improve health through lifestyle changes. With the launch of their Apple Watch they have increased those efforts.
Working with companies around the world they opened up their own mini-site that acts as a corporate dashboard for each business. Through it they can monitor employee health goals, office contests and even benefits and incentives. These mini-sites are customizable and easy to set up, which has made them a popular alternative to other fitness trackers like Fitbit.
Using trends to create content is one of the most effective ways to finally get noticed and go viral. Bolthouse Farms noticed something about online “food porn”: only a small fraction of it was of healthy foods. The rest were fat and sugar loaded novelty foods that aren't good for anyone's body.
They wanted to illustrate the point while tracking mentions of healthy foods and so they create URWHATUPOST. It is a visual representation of what foods are being posted and in what numbers.
If you don't mind a bit of bad language, this is probably my favorite of all of the examples on this list. Zach Golden wanted a novel way to promote his new cookbook, What The F--- Should I Make For Dinner? So he created a website of the same name, which would generate random suggestions from his recipes.
You can skip a meal if you don't like it, or choose a meatless option instead. It is a lot of fun and a pretty funny way to get people's attention. He thought outside the box and it paid off in a big way... his website is considered one of the best mini-sites on the Internet today.
Do you have an idea for a creative mini-site? Here are a few tools and resources to get you started:
It can be overwhelming to create a new site. Luckily, there are tools that use visual editors and pre-built landing page layouts to make building easy — no code required. Thankfully, there are also very clear step-by-step site building tutorials to help you out. FirstSiteGuide is my favorite one because it also comes with a handy e-book you can download for free and pass over to your marketing team.
Your end goal would be to rank your new website for important keywords to direct users effectively down your conversion funnel.
Serpstat is currently my favorite keyword research solution because it has a lot of tools integrated within one dashboard. You can find valuable keywords, evaluate competitors, research niche questions, etc.
Unless you have an in-house graphic design team, you'll have trouble with making your new site really appealing. Bannersnack is an easy tool that can help you with both on-site visuals and marketing creatives. I like playing with tools there even prior to talking to web designers because it helps me define and showcase my desired visual concepts and color palettes.
Landing pages work, but often it pays thinking smaller! Mini-sites are the latest big thing in marketing and for good reason. You have more creative license when you go with a mini-site over a landing page, not to mention more room for branding and promotion. With the right twist, you may even manage to make it to the list of the best in the genre.
Do you have an example of a mini-site you think deserves to be on the list?
Ann Smarty is the Brand and Community manager at InternetMarketingNinjas.com as well as the founder of MyBlogU.com. Ann has been into Internet Marketing for 7 years, she is the former Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Journal and contributor to prominent search and social blogs including Small Biz Trends and Mashable. Connect with Ann on Twitter: seosmarty