Creating Free Interactive Mini Sites as a Form of Lead Generation

Marketing your products and services to customers requires a complex and often convoluted set of tools to bring in the right type of customer and get recognition for your brand.

Creating Free Interactive Mini Sites as a Form of Lead Generation

Gamification is the process of using game thinking and mechanics to engage users on a level that keeps them interested and active. Businesses that create lush mini sites can harness the power of gamification to give your users a tangible benefit before asking them to spend money on your site.

A few examples of websites that use gamification are Amazon.com, Yahoo! Answers and LinkedIn. These website have mastered the concept of introducing a system that engages users by providing much-needed value.

Benefits of a Mini Site

Marketers are drawn to mini sites because they are fairly easy to set up, manage and maintain. A free mini site typically offers information about a very specific product or service and provides options to visit the larger company website for commercial products. Mini sites have multimedia content and provide the users with a simple, engaging experience that helps build brand loyalty.

  • Mini sites typically have a graphic header and a logo for the parent company operating the site.
  • Large headlines help to broadly define the purpose of the site while a smaller sub headlines gives users additional information.
  • Mini sites address a specific problem and give solutions that matter and actually help the user.
  • Social proof, scarcity, testimonials and calls to action are typical marketing components employed on a mini site.
  • A mini site uses engaging and dramatic artwork and graphics to make the site as appealing as possible.
The Appeal of Mini Sites

Mini sites are a form of direct response marketing. This enables companies to create sites that are extremely popular and easily marketable. The goal of a mini site is to create a large niche audience that can then be directed to use the companies paid service or product. Companies that successfully employ mini sites are typically the type that promote digital products such as ebooks, software and online-based services. However, mini sites can also be a useful tool for email marketers and those that want to generate leads for other companies. For example, a paint company may have a mini site that provides a way to visualize different colors in a room using an online, virtual interface.

Additionally, mini sites provide a way for people to market successful advertising campaigns. A well-constructed mini site can target a specific set of niche keywords and encourage users to click on highly relevant advertisements while advertising a product or service. This can be an extremely lucrative form of income for many companies.

Structure of a Mini Site

Mini sites are easy to put together and typically contain a standard set of features. A mini site should have video that visually explains the product or service offered. Sales content needs to be geared toward the keyword. An order form or registration form is important to collect user information. Additionally, the structure of the page should follow a typical sales funnel pattern. The reader comes to the site and encounters a highly interesting and engaging squeeze page. The site then directs the visitor to sign up for an account to take advantage of the free services. After all, even free services require a bit of selling.

The Value of Interactive Experiences

When a user engages with your website, you create opportunity for your business. Every moment that a user spends on your website increases the potential that one day, the user will move up from the free resources and activities offered and become a paying customer. Even visitors that never pay a dime for your services increase your brand, and help to get the word out about your company.

Take Facebook as an example, the company doesn’t charge a dime for the basic free services, but it provides a community that advertisers and game manufacturers can use to sell their products and services. This provides free value for the user, while giving Facebook an easily accessible and highly targeted population of people during a time when they are most susceptible to advertising.

Choosing a Mini Site

When choosing a mini site for your company, target it to a specific keyword and create a Google ad campaign specific to the content on the site. This allows you to target users specifically and provide a very clear cut, simple website experience that provides exactly the type of resources the customers want. For example, if you run a tutoring business, a mini site could provide a tool that students can use to manage their homework, create digital copies of assignments and track their progress and goals. The key is to create a site that people want to use and that has some relevance to the bigger service or product you’re trying to sell.

Ask the Right Questions

Setting up mini sites does take a significant amount of resources, and just because the product or service is free doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the creation of the site seriously. Nothing will ruin your brand quicker than a mini site that fails to live up to expectations. Ask the right questions ahead of time to ensure that you know why and how you will set up your mini site.

  • What is the product or service you want to sell and how will a mini site direct users to your product?
  • What are the key benefits of your product or service and why should the consumer care?
  • How do you want to brand your company? Are you a group of specialists that operate in a manufacturing type of trade, or are you service professionals?
  • Identify specific key words that match your product and service. These keywords can also be used to narrow down the specific purpose and intent of your mini sites.
  • What pricing model do you intend to use? A completely free site that gives customers free rein of all products and services on the site? Or, a site that grants free admission to basic services and charges for more advanced convenience services?
Brand Your Site

Branding is extremely important. The look and feel of your mini site should match the look and feel of your main product site. The reason for this is because users become loyal to a particular look and feel as much as they become loyal to a brand. If users can’t tell instantaneously that two websites are related, you’re missing out on an opportunity to pull in users from a mini site that already trust your products and services. Mini sites are nothing if not an elaborate way to build trust in your company services and products.

Users that have taken advantage of your free mini sites and had a good experience will naturally gravitate toward your free services. The trepidation that comes with purchasing a product or service from an unknown company is virtually eliminated. Use the same logo, sales and corporate style for every one of your sites to make it very clear what company is offering the services.

Marketing Techniques and Tricks

Once you have asked the right questions and set up your mini sites, you can start marketing your services. If you have a strong social media presence that is a good place to start. Encourage your users to participate and take advantage of the free tools available on your mini site. Build a social following with contests and engage your followers. People will go to great lengths to have an experience that uplifts and changes their viewpoints on the world. Think about how your product helps people and gear your marketing toward letting people know just how your company can help people reach their goals.

Marketing Tips
  • Use Google Adwords and other advertising programs to target keywords that describe your mini site.
  • Start an email marketing campaign to engage users that may have visited your site, but forgotten about it during the course of their lives. Email marketing should include an offer or some relevant piece of information that encourages users to click outside their email program.
  • Use website portals to generate additional back links for your main site and build authority for your brand.
  • Continually evaluate your marketing strategy. If one strategy works, tweak it to make it more specific and see if you can increase your lead conversion rates.
  • Get your mini site featured on other peoples blogs, like a list based article showing the five best tools of the type you offer.
How Interactive Sites Increase Lead Generation

An interactive mini site can increase lead generation and act as a continuing source of advertising. Think about how much money your company puts into marketing and trying to get people to buy your products. If you create a free website that people visit frequently and want to use, you can market any product you desire on that website. If you don’t yet have a product to market, you can generate income for your company by selling advertising on the website.

While it may seem that the company products and services should come first, if you don’t have a product yet a simple mini site can help prepare the foundation for your product launch. A mini site is a form of free marketing. Once you have created the site, a well-designed mini site only requires occasional maintenance to keep the site running smoothly. This is the key to creating a mini site that becomes an asset and not a burden. The site has to be complete and functional from day one. If you add additional features, they shouldn’t require large amounts of money or personnel to employ.

Analyze User Statistics

A mini site does something spectacular for those that want better lead generation. It is a form of cold calling that doesn’t interfere with your readers lives, let’s them choose when and how they will interact, and gives you valuable information about your users. While some users may sign up with fake or nonsense information, the majority of users are going to use real email addresses. But, if you create the website in such a way that the user is persuaded to use their real information, you can get access to a very real and growing list of potential customers. For example, a dating service might create a mini site that allows users to edit and manipulate their photos before posting them to the main site.

If the mini site allows for integration with the main dating site, the users are more inclined to use their real information to gain access to the ability to easily modify and transfer their photos online. Another option is to offer contests for registered users. A user that signs up with fake information won’t qualify for the contest, and this encourages the user to provide real information about themselves. By providing a compelling reason for users to sign up with their real information, you create a mini site that can provide you with a continual source of leads for people who are actually interested in your type of product or service.

Using Google Website Tools and Analytics

Google Website Tools and their analytics services provides a great way to find out about the demographics and behavior of your users. When customers visit your site, you can identify the general age, interests and learn about how they interact with your website. A high bounce rate for instance can mean that you have a website that is addressing the users question and they are leaving the site, or that the website is unappealing and not addressing your readers question. If people are coming to your site and leaving before visiting any other pages, but they stay on your site for long enough to get the information they need, that is actually a good thing. If, on the other hand, you have high bounce rates and people leave within 10 seconds, you need to seriously evaluate your website’s appearance and focus.

For websites that have a high bounce rate along with a high session duration, you only need to provide something to inspire the user to navigate to other pages on your site. If a user has no reason to stay on your website, they will simple click the back button to get more information about the topic they were searching for. Bring the reader deeper into your website by giving them the option to register for more in-depth information or by providing a free tool that helps them achieve what their goals. Based on the nature of the content that brought the user to your site, you should be able to ascertain the reason that they came. Once you know why they came to your site, you can employ methods to keep them there and become a loyal follower.

Lead Generation Follow Up

Once you generate leads with your mini site, you need to follow up with your users. This is where your privacy policy, email subscription settings and advertisements on the page become very important. Make sure that any lead generation that is completed allows the user the option to opt in and is not an automatic enrollment. When users register for a site and then immediately start getting junk mail, they automatically associate that site with a bad experience. The worst fear for many people is that a website is going to start sending spam to their inbox with no end in sight. Alleviate these concerns by having a clear privacy policy, and let users know exactly what they are signing up for.

Setting Up a Newsletter

If you’re setting up a newsletter, make sure your users know how often they can expect to receive the newsletter. If you plan on offering several services, it’s best to offer more than one newsletter offering. Divide your newsletters up into specific and manageable segments that address specific concerns. Avoid sending out a newsletter more than once per week to ensure that people don’t simply click the unsubscribe button. Additionally, make sure it is very easy to unsubscribe and that you provide the option to do so. You are trying to build brand loyalty with your mini site. Brand loyalty can’t be accomplished by using unethical methods.

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