The Coffey Blog

When do I need a microsite?

Posted on: Monday, March 4, 2019

By the Coffey team

When it comes to healthcare website design, bigger is typically better. You want your site to contain a robust amount of information so that your patients or members know all about the services and benefits you offer—and why you're the best choice.

But sometimes, thinking small can come with benefits too. Consider microsites.

A microsite (sometimes called a "minisite") is a small site that lives outside of your main home page or brand URL. It usually has its own domain, navigation and design—and typically, it contains only a few pages.
Microsites can help you share focused content about a specific topic. They can also help you connect with an audience that's passionate about something very specific. And they can be a good resource when you need to shine the spotlight on one aspect of your organization.

But microsites aren't right for every organization, campaign or department. Let's dive into when a microsite is—and isn't—a good solution.

When smaller is better

These are a few common healthcare marketing initiatives that might benefit from the use of a microsite:

  • Highlighting your foundation's work. Your hospital website might already have a section dedicated to your foundation. But a microsite can help set it apart. Users coming to the foundation microsite will be fully immersed in the branding and message of the foundation, and they'll be able to find what they're looking for quickly. This can be especially useful for encouraging donations, generating support or getting people to sign up for an event.
  • Driving traffic to your specialty centers. Does your facility have a specialty care center with its own providers, services and locations? A microsite can help highlight what this center has to offer. Visitors will be able to quickly find the center's services, providers, locations and contact information. You can even share health education materials that relate to that service line so that your readers can dig deeper into the conditions treated in the center.
  • Creating buzz about a marketing campaign. If your hospital is starting a campaign—like a community-wide fitness challenge—a microsite is a great option. You can create an experience for users with campaign-specific, branded content. You can drive traffic to this site and measure its results. And once the campaign is complete, you can take the microsite offline or use it again for a different campaign.

Where to draw the line

Microsites are flexible, and once you've put one to good use, you might be tempted to create another… and another! But not every marketing challenge will benefit from a microsite solution.

For example: Your hospital has 10 clinics, but just one of them wants a microsite. Or one of your doctors wants his or her own site. These are challenges our clients have faced in the past—and they've been tempted to deploy microsites to fix the issue fast.

But remember: A microsite takes your reader out of your main site. And that interrupts the user experience. The break should seem natural—the content must deserve to be set apart. Ask yourself: Is there other, similar content on my site that this information belongs with? If the answer is yes, a microsite might not be the best option.

And don't forget about search. Your microsites will compete for attention in search results with your main site. Before you break content apart, be sure that the traffic you lose from your corporate site isn't traffic you'd rather keep. For example, if everyone interested in orthopedic solutions heads to a microsite, will that shrink related traffic to your imaging center on your main site?

Bring your stakeholders into the decision, and make sure everyone is on board with the plan before you deploy it. Open communication will help you avoid problems down the line.

What makes a good microsite

The word micro is key when building a microsite. Remember that you're delivering a small amount of concentrated information, so keep your page count to a minimum. Users should be able to find exactly what they're looking for very quickly, so clear navigation is key.

The design elements are also important to consider. Generally, a microsite has its own look and feel that distinguishes it from your main site. The content shouldn't need to adhere strictly to your main brand. If that's a non-starter at your organization, consider keeping the content on your main site.

Lastly, be sure your microsite has a clear call to action (CTA) that relates to your overall goal for your marketing initiative. Think about why you're building the site, and distill that down to one action you want readers to take. Repeat that action on every page of your site, perhaps in place of a traditional website footer.

Microsite managed!

Trying to manage your website and multiple microsites through different content management accounts can be a headache. Our content management system makes it easy to maintain them all from one dashboard, with one easy login. Our expert team of healthcare website designers and developers would love to work with you. Give us a call at 888.805.9101 or email us to get started.

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