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Main Site, Microsite, or Landing Page: Which Serves Your Goals Best?

When deciding how to represent parts of your organization online, consider the pros and cons of each option.

If you’re like most healthcare organizations, you’ve probably faced the question of whether your main site, a microsite, or a landing page is the best way to highlight a specific part of your organization.

Your thought process and in-house discussions might have included gems like:

“We really need this particular service line or feature to stand out.”

“This service line will just get lost on the main site!”

“Our top revenue-generating departments need their own presence on the web to keep up their performance.”

“We need this section to be more competitive. It needs to really pop.”

These are valid concerns. Especially in today’s increasingly competitive healthcare market, it can be a challenge to figure out how to get your most needed or “in-demand” services before prospective patients in the most effective way.

Healthcare Website Options: A Complicated Decision

The sticky question of whether your main site, a microsite, or a landing page works best for your organization’s specific needs gets even more complicated when we’re talking about the fast-changing world of healthcare marketing. Healthcare organizations often have:

  • Numerous locations across multiple geographic areas
  • Stakeholders that include not only executives, providers, and patients, but also donors
  • Targeted services that sometimes need extra boosts to stand out among competitors

Landing Pages: Mainly for Marketing Campaigns

Before we delve into the “microsite versus main site” question, let’s tackle landing pages.

Though the term “landing page” is often used broadly, we’re using it here to refer to a single page posted on your main site or a relevant microsite for marketing purposes. Landing pages should have a focused call to action as part of a temporary, inbound healthcare marketing campaign.

Their goal is to convert page visitors to a specific action. Landing pages feature little navigation, and use a design intended to connect the user with your temporary campaign.

We’ve provided templates for many organizations’ landing pages. One great example is the “Where Hearts Beat Strong” campaign, from UNC Rex Healthcare, that showcases the organization’s coordinated heart and vascular care options.

When Does a Microsite Work?

Microsites are larger than landing pages, and usually smaller than a full site.

Microsites are useful when you need to highlight a part of your organization that has a distinct following. Another scenario that may call for a microsite is when you have a highly specialized location – such as a fitness facility or cancer center – and need to give it a stronger presence to stay competitive.

Here’s a few examples from out clients:

  • The University of Missouri wanted to bolster the microsite for its Sinclair School of Nursing. We helped make it happen by updating the microsite’s content, making use of fresh tools and plug-ins, and creating a design that connected with both the university and its healthcare system. The microsite extended the university’s brand by using its school colors.
  • Avera Health turned to us for a redesign of their main site and worked with us on a microsite focused on its eCare telemedicine network.
  • Cone Health is another client who used our services for its main site and wanted a microsite that focused specifically on their medical group.
  • Bronson Healthcare turned to us for its Bronson Positivity microsite to highlight and receive patient testimonials.

The Downside of Microsites

While microsites have their purpose, the truth is that usually your main website is the best place for most of your service lines and content. Here’s why:

  • Your users and followers can be confused by a microsite. They may not realize or understand how a microsite fits in with the rest of your organization – and your microsite could end up being among your main site’s top competitors.
  • A separate microsite means more work for you as an organization. You’ll have two sites to update and maintain instead of a single main site. This situation can become overwhelming, and maintenance of your microsite can easily fall through the cracks over time.
  • Microsites are an added cost – not only in staff time to maintain them, but to build them. They typically require additional content strategy and navigation, and their own design or branding elements.
  • You may find that giving one part of your organization a microsite will trigger other departments to want one, too. Saying “yes” to a microsite for one section, and “no” to another, can be difficult. At minimum, you’ll need a web governance plan that clearly outlines who is making what decisions about your web presence, and for what reasons.

There you have it: a broad construct to help you approach the increasingly complex puzzle of which web presences your organization needs, when, and why.

If you want to know more, you can turn to us to help answer your questions. We have years of experience in content strategy, digital healthcare marketing, understanding your organization’s needs, and analyzing your healthcare site’s traffic and potential. We’ll help you make the most of all the tools in your reach – and maybe even help you discover new ones.

Christine Hawes

Main Site, Microsite, or Landing Page: Which Serves Your Goals Best?