Four Reasons Why Microsites are an Essential Addition to your School PR Toolkit

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Chances are, you’ve been on a microsite before without knowing you were visiting one. Large corporations, brands and colleges like Adobe, Nike and Harvard utilize microsites when they launch new products or for a specific campaign. Microsites are basically mini websites with their own navigation that allow you to create a very specific user journey with clear messages and calls to action for your target audience. 

Let’s face it, our district and school websites are full of information for all our key stakeholders, and it is easy for users to get distracted and lost. Here are four reasons why utilizing a microsite might be the right move for your district:

1. Reach Your Target Audience Quickly

When you have specific content you need an audience to read and understand – think enrollment, a new initiative or staff recruitment – a microsite allows you to focus their attention and keep them from wandering to other parts of your website. Microsites only need to be a handful of pages that bring a visitor through a focused presentation of the key messages and information you want them to learn and calls to action you want them to take. Without all the distractions of additional pages, tabs, banners, pop-ups and links that can be part of your district and school sites, users are forced to focus on your messages.

Let’s take the example of a new family who moved into your district – they are overwhelmed with all the decisions that come along with moving and simply want information on your district to see why it might be a good fit for their child. An enrollment microsite provides them a high-level picture of all the great things happening in your district and the things they need to know most without all the clutter of the full district site. They will eventually be ready for all that information, but give them only what they need now first.

2. Bring Your Brand to Life 

It’s difficult to make every page of your website a perfect representation of your brand, but since a microsite is only a handful of pages, you can make sure your brand comes to life on all the pages plus curate the site to your target audience. 

Before you can convince a potential family to enroll, you must make them aware of what makes your district unique and what you can provide their children. A microsite with thoughtful headlines, key messages, compelling detailed information and engaging imagery of your students and staff will help you stand out from surrounding districts and schooling options by being hyper-focused on messages about why to choose your district.

3. Clear Calls to Action

Think about how many calls to action you have on your district and school websites: add money to your lunch account, order your yearbook, complete this form, add the carnival to your calendar, sign-up for the newsletter, enroll for school, sign-up for this activity and so on. Microsites allow you to focus and customize your calls to action to the specific audience, so after they engage with content, they’re more likely to take the action(s) you want them to.

Continuing with the new family example, ultimately, we want the family to review the content on the microsite, decide that your schools are a good fit for their family and complete the enrollment process. Some families may be ready to take that step and enroll immediately and others will want more information — a chance to visit the school and/or talk to a principal or staff member. For those families, we always recommend having a secondary call to action. That may be setting up a call with the principal or something as simple as signing up for a new family newsletter. Either way, it’s a way to stay connected with a family that is showing interest and get the desired outcome.

4. Tracking Campaigns and Success

As School PR professionals, we love to be able to share the effectiveness of our efforts, and microsites make it super simple to track the success of a specific campaign. By utilizing Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel and other analytic tools, you’ll be able to see how many users visit and engage with your page and how they are navigating the site.

Continuing with the new family example, ultimately, we want the family to review the content on the microsite, decide that your schools are a good fit for their family and complete the enrollment process. Some families may be ready to take that step and enroll immediately and others will want more information — a chance to visit the school and/or talk to a principal or staff member. For those families, we always recommend having a secondary call to action. That may be setting up a call with the principal or something as simple as signing up for a new family newsletter. Either way, it’s a way to stay connected with a family that is showing interest and get the desired outcome.

At CESO Communications, we love using microsites for student enrollment, staff recruitment and even for specific district initiatives like unveiling a strategic plan or community engagement. One of our favorite examples is the Brooklyn Center Community Schools enrollment microsite, where their brand shines through with meaningful language and strong values, they showcase their beautiful students and staff, and there are clear calls to action for families. Reach out if you want to preview it and other examples or are interested in strategizing how you might utilize a microsite in your district.