Mini-sites have been around forever, but with a new report from eMarketer showing they provide the best results for viral marketing, more people are likely to give these a shot. This makes it more important than ever to know when it makes sense to use a mini-site and when it doesn’t.
The truth is that sometimes mini-sites do work, and there certainly is a time and place for them. Sometimes we need to think more like traditional marketers and less like search marketers. There are other things in life besides links.
When do mini-sites make sense?
1) Content Not Related To Your Brand Or Site
When we launched the Search Engine Smackdown game on Pronet Advertising, it was very successful. There was no point is launching the game as its own mini-site since it was so closely related to the existing theme of the site.
In contrast, would the game have had the same success if it were launched on a debt consolidation site? Probably not. In certain cases, where the viral content is not related to your existing site, it might make sense to use a mini-site.
2) Content Will Spread Better Away From Your Domain
3) Your Brand Or Industry Isn’t Sexy
Let’s say your company is XYZ Payday Loans. It doesn’t matter how clever your viral content is, chances are that when it’s directly attached to your company’s domain or brand, it won’t spread very well.
4) Reputation Management
Mini-sites are a great way to own another spot on the top ten results of a search engine for reputation management purposes.
5) Your Domain Or Brand Is Diluted
If you get enough content on one domain that goes viral through social media sites, you can start to dilute your brand in social media. Users of these social sites will begin to notice that your site continually gets popular, and they may perceive you as a spammer and start voting all of your submissions down. If this is the case, you might not have any choice but to create mini-sites to continue to leverage social media.
I am not saying that it never makes sense to put viral content on your own domain. In many cases, it does. But sometimes the content won’t go viral unless you use a mini-site. What are your experiences with mini-sites?
Cameron Olthuis is director of marketing and design for ACS and writes regularly on social media issues through the company’s blog, Pronet Advertising. The Let’s Get Social column appears Tuesdays at Search Engine Land.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.