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Microsites are Red Hot!

According to a study released this month by The Strategy Group and eWEEK.com (a Ziff Davis Web site), microsites are now the leading online information resource sought out by technology buyers when researching their purchases. 64% of eWEEK readers who were polled access topic-focused microsites at least once per month when utilizing the Web to gather information for business purposes. (Source: "Interactive Information Sources: Quick Poll," from The Strategy Group). For IT-related job functions, that figure jumps to 70%. Microsites are now more sought out than individual efforts to find white papers and product reviews.

What are Microsites?

Microsites (at the WBG we call these "Landing Zones") are dedicated Web sites, or targeted content environments on an existing Web site, that house critical marketing content, typically about a micro-topic, such as a product or technology. If designed correctly, these zones should allow researchers to navigate your solutions thoroughly - and prepare them for the sale. Tracking the behavior from one content asset to another (and encouraging it) is essential to this strategy.

I've got three white boards going on this concept right now as I try to develop the ideal navigational paths.

The popularity of microsites makes sense. Rather than focus research by content type (white papers, case studies, etc.), microsites allow you to organize all your content assets about a micro-topic in a single, easy-to-navigate 'zone.' This can reside either on your corporate site, or you can partner with a media company to develop a site for you.

Sounds easy right?

Next time you go to your favorite software company Web site, notice how it has organized the taxonomy for its solutions vs. its content assets. Many have developed a taxonomy by content type. For example, look for tabs that direct you to white papers, case studies or webinars. This approach is fine for directory sites - after all, that taxonomy is what has made the Ziff Davis Web Buyer's Guide so successful and draws millions of users to the site. But, the WBG is also organized by more than 1,000 product categories, which actually creates natural microsites that thoroughly organize all the various asset types.

Consider that same approach - brand a Landing Zone and organize your content to allow the researcher to move through the buying process.

BH

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