Clearly establishing and promoting a company’s brand is the key to having a successful and growing business. The promotion of a consistent and worthy brand image, through a company’s logo and series of marketing materials drives business name recognition. Consistent branding should communicate a company’s message that drives the recognition of their products or services, and in the long run establishes a positive brand equity for existing and new customers.

After having successfully established a company brand in a non digital world, many companies often struggle to transition or properly represent that same brand image online , both accurately and positively. This is a flaw that can and does lead not only to a lack of new leads and sales but also a loss of existing customers.

Way too often our customers get approached by various advertisers offering them some sort of low-budget online product that is sold as a way to generate more leads and sales. This idea, which doesn’t sound bad from a bird’s eye view, can have negative ramifications. Way too often these quick online lead generation services not only fail to deliver on their promise, but what’s worse, they often end up hurting the company’s reputation and brand.

One of the most popular low-budget techniques we’ve noticed is the sale of “micro-sites.” These are usually done by organizations we would classify as non-design and non-website focused. These are companies that are in the business of making a quick buck by promising the creation of a mini website that is suppose to generate leads and promote the company’s brand image online. Unfortunately, in most cases, these sites fail to deliver any quality leads or sales, and, in fact, end up hurting the company’s reputation and even costing them in a loss of existing customers.

Why, you may ask? For several major reasons; first of all, by the mere business structure of these companies, the design and development process of these micro-sites must be nearly completely automated, take no time, and unfortunately no real effort. The companies end up with cheap, generic looking template sites that feel straight out of the 1990’s era, and lack any insight into the company’s brand image and message. Not only does it not communicate the company’s proper brand message, it actually makes them look cheap and degrading.

Secondly, with the lack of marketing insight by the development team and lack of any creative development process for a marketing message, these sites often fail to convert visitors into actual customers, sales or leads, yet again hurting the company’s image and reputation. The potential sales go instead to their competition, with their better and more thought out website presence.

Finally, stemming again from the business structure of these companies, the design and development process of these micro-sites is done without proper Search Engine Optimization techniques. Not only does this cause a lack of any real Google or other search engine rankings for company’s micro-site, but also dilutes the ranking of the company’s real website.

Is it possible for a micro-site to be beneficial in some way? Yes, but only under the right circumstances, and with proper design and development. A proper understanding and incorporation of the company’s mission and brand image, with specific goals could generate and convert leads. Otherwise, buying a cheap, un-thought-out micro-site is much like throwing rocks into an empty wishing well hopping for a miracle.

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