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Marketing with a Microsite

Looking for new markets? A microsite could help you reach them.

By Melissa Campanelli
Entrepreneur Magazine - August 2006


Branching Out

Gerald Prolman launched OrganicBouquet.com in 2003 to sell sustainably grown flowers that are freshly picked and then gift-wrapped. But as the company grew, he needed a better way to meet the increasing demand from florists, event planners and other whole-salers. So in June, Prolman launched a microsite (www.organicbouquetwholesale.com) to make it easier for these customers to place orders.

A microsite lets you focus on a specific purpose, such as selling clearance or discounted items, selling products to businesses (vs. consumers), promoting new merchandise, or trying out a new product line. Sometimes the design and navigation of a microsite differs from its parent site. "[Unlike consumers], florists shop by variety and color, so the site is set up to help florists find what they need quickly," says Prolman, 46, who projects 2006 sales of up to $5 million for his San Rafael, California, company.

So why didn't Prolman just launch a separate section on his existing website to focus on wholesalers? Simple: to prevent consumers or future competitors from having easy access to the customized pricing available to wholesale customers. "The pricing is tailor-made for each customer based on volume," says Prolman. "Once approved as a wholesale account, they will be given access to the site."

Michael Parker, co-founder and director of marketing at Gravitate Design Studio, a web development and marketing company in Vancouver, Washington, offers the following advice for entrepreneurs thinking of launching a microsite:
• Consider the costs. Building a microsite costs essentially the same amount as setting up a traditional website--from $2,500 to $50,000 or more. Keep in mind, though, that a microsite may require additional employees. (To date, Prolman has added six.) "Maintaining another site--even a microsite--takes a lot of work," says Parker, who suggests evaluating whether the same results could be achieved using your current web infrastructure.
• Take your brand strategy into account. If you sell products with two totally different focuses or brand identities, "then you're a good candidate for a microsite," says Parker.
• Know your search strategy. Some companies create many microsites that point to the main site in an effort to rank high on search engines, says Parker. Others prefer to have a larger site with a lot of updated content. Before moving forward, check with your marketing department or the company handling your search marketing programs.
URL:
http://www.entrepreneur.com/ebusiness/ebusinessideas/article160092.html

Melissa Campanelli is a marketing and technology writer in New York City.
Originally published in the August 2006 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine



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Sustainable Flowers Make The Perfect Gift For All Occasions

Organic Bouquet is the largest online provider of eco-friendly and organic floral gifts. All of our flowers are grown in a manner that is not only environmentally friendly but also provides outstanding resources for farm workers and artisans. Organic Bouquet partners with select flower farms in California, Ecuador and Colombia. All of our flower farms follow stringent growing practices which are monitored by multiple certification agencies and associations. When you purchase flowers from Organic Bouquet, you are helping to improve the life of a flower farm worker, their family and the local floral community.

Our eco-friendly flower arrangements include roses, calla lilies, tulips, gerbera daisies, hyacinths, sunflowers, alstromeria lilies and blue iris. In addition to a complete line of flower arrangements, we offer gift baskets, fruit baskets, nut baskets, gourmet chocolates, gourmet cookies, plants and  wreaths. All of these products are certified eco-friendly and/or provide for environmental benefits through our participation in Carbon Offset programs.

Whatever the occasion, our flowers make the perfect gift- birthday celebration flowers, anniversary flowers, holiday flowers, or floral arrangements simply to say thank you. Sending flowers from Organic Bouquet says that you care not only about the person receiving the flowers, but also about the environment. All of our gift items are shipped nationwide to all 50 states. So whether you need to send flowers to Florida, New York, California, or Colorado, we can guarantee overnight delivery to ensure they arrive fresh and ready to put a smile on someone’s face.

Whether you are purchasing online, or through one of our customer service specialists, you can be assured you are ordering the freshest quality of flowers and environmentally friendly gifts.