Before I get started, I should clarify this is Alex writing – not Jeff – so if you have any issues with my opinions see me.
I’m not convinced Micro-sites are the way to go. Maybe I haven’t spent enough time talking to Ralph Paglia, maybe I just don’t want to throw another set of responsibilities on my already loaded plate, or maybe I think there is another way to do them without the extra hassles, customer confusion, and expense.
Micro-sites make sense! No doubt about it, they are a fantastic way to funnel precise information to a customer. They are awesome for campaign tracking, and they absolutely rock for SEO! However, I think they add confusion for a customer and more things to watch to your Internet department’s to-do list…..as if we don’t have enough websites to keep an eye on already.
I know I’m speaking to the more advanced eCommerce crowd here, so I’m going to assume you guys are putting a lot of time and effort into your main dealer website. You’ve got your value-added programs on your site, all your new & used inventory there, the right phone numbers, all kinds of forms, and maybe some other things that set you apart. Why build more sites that only convey one message when you can build a single page, under your own domain, that can do the exact same thing? Let’s call it a “landing page” and direct our campaigning efforts to that page. If you know how to use your site metrics, you can watch to see how effective the campaign is. On top of that, the people who come to your main site can also see your “landing page” ….win-win! Yes, you’re going to lose out on phone call tracking (if you’re assigning a special 1-800 number to the campaign), but you’re not confusing your customers with 500 different phone numbers (this is another beef I have). Speaking of customer confusion, what happens when all your micro-sites are indexed – how do they know which site is the one they should be clicking on when they’re coming through the organic side? Is precise tracking worth more than customer frustration?
The part of micro-sites I absolutely love is the SEO benefits of having multiple, relevant, sites pointing back at you. I can’t come up with a decent argument on this part, but I can tell you I’d rather spend my money on press releases instead of micro-sites. They’re relatively inexpensive and don’t have to be managed. If your customers find the release, then it just makes you look better (if written well), and it can be somewhat timeless (again, if written well).
Now you know my take on dealer micro-sites, and I’m interested to hear what you think – GET TO COMMENTING!!!