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The Bottom Liine Ep. 14

When to build a microsite for your practice​, with Joshua Lott-Suchanek

When is it appropriate to build separate microsites for specific services or locations? We talked with Joshua Lott-Suchanek, a fractional CMO with nearly a decade of healthcare marketing experience, to learn the pros and cons of splitting content off of your main website.



Ken: All right, we’re back on the bottom line, and today we’ve got a special guest, Joshua Lott-Suchanek, and we are going to talk about microsites today. We’re going to talk about When it’s appropriate to build perhaps a location specific or services specific microsite for your practice. But without further ado, let’s let our guest introduce himself.

Josh, you want to say hello?

Josh: Yeah. Hey, Ken. Hey, Charlie. Thanks for having me on. looking forward to, you know, kicking around information with you

Charlie: up. Let’s cut up, man.

Josh: yeah, long, long time listener, first time caller. So, my name is, yes, as Ken mentioned, my name is Joshua Lott-Suchanek. I’m a marketing consultant. who provides fractional chief marketing officer services for medical practices, primarily in, aesthetics and dentistry.

So, I partner with, plastic surgeons, medical spas, dermatology clinics, oral surgery, periodontology, and, even general dentistry practices, really just trying to help them, Focus their marketing efforts and take their practice to the next level. That’s probably the simplest way to put that.

Charlie: Me and Josh have two, true or false, Me and you have two matching, Peter Millar shirts.

Josh: true.

Charlie: There’s only one matching, but two of the same genre. Maybe two.

Josh: no, we’ve got, we’ve got to, we’ve got, I think we’ve got a. PGA West, Peter Millar, and we’ve got an, an ocean course,

Charlie: Oh, Kiwa, that’s right. Okay, two and counting.

Josh: Yeah, two and counting. So

Charlie: you ever see us out and about, we might, we might be dressed alike. be forewarned, right?

Josh: Yeah. Charlie, like, brought me into the world of, of luxury golf resort polos. Like, and, and, and so far I’ve been a, I’ve been a hit in the southeast ever since.

Charlie: It’s a, it’s a nice place to be for sure. Dude, pumped to have you, have you on, on the potty, the cast. I’ll just get as kicked off as that cool kid.

Ken: That is wonderful.

Charlie: Okay. So the reason I wanted to, go through this topic personally is because I’ve had a lot of, practice owners recently ask me. if they should have a separate website, like for whether it’s like branding, a service line in their business.

So like an easy example would be if it’s a plastic surgeon who has a med spa, very common, should that be presented to people on the internet as an entirely different business? Or if you’re like oral surgery, dental implants, or if you’re ophthalmology, LASIK, whatever it is. And interesting question. I didn’t know what the answer was.

And when we were talking about this, it seems like there’s a couple of scenarios where that could make sense. So the first answer is, are you in one of these scenarios? And then if you are going to do that, then you have to understand a few things about doing it properly. So it doesn’t screw up. Your current website and basically have you, you know, managing multiple online assets in a, in a poor way that just messes up the whole thing.

So kind of a lot there and a big topic, but I think a lot of people are wondering this because people that they know are doing it or like their agency suggesting it. and so I’m excited to dive in, to, you know, what you think about it. And I think maybe the first thing that’d be good to kick us off is. Defining the terms in this world, right? So main website, microsite, landing pages, et cetera. Let’s talk a little bit about what that actually means before we go through when it’s time to consider using, using those things.

Josh: When examining the difference between a website and a microsite or a landing page, it’s important to remember that websites are really the anchor of a practice’s online presence. It’s an ecosystem that’s designed to leverage and leverage. Bye. All of the information that a practice has to offer all of its KPIs, the training, the facilities, the team, the services, the reviews, it’s just a robust marketing asset that is really designed to tell you everything you need to know about what you can experience with this practice. On the other hand, where you’ve run into a microsite or a landing page, these really are going to be sharply focused assets. They are going to be educational. and really about one specific thing and try to channel all of the things you might need to learn rather than about the practice as a whole, about one particular piece of a practice’s marketing strategy.


And so I always think, depending on the type of advertising that you’re doing, sometimes Wrangling an existing site that could have hundreds of pages is considerably more difficult than wrangling the messaging on something that has one or two pages. Does that make sense?


And you can define it further now when you say, well, what’s the difference between a microsite and a landing page? essence, they are ridiculously similar, right? Like, you know, we’re kind of apples and oranges if you will, but micro sites generally have more than one page. They’re generally smaller websites that might have five or six pages and they could be published on or outside of a main website. They could definitely just be like a own mini website, micro, right?

Now a landing page is generally one page generally can be published on a sub domain or a separate domain, depending on the strategy, but both of them are designed. To target specific campaigns, they’re smaller than the specific website and generally can be temporary though. We’ll talk probably later today about ideas when having a micro site that builds into a bigger long term strategy, which does happen as possible.

Charlie: Super helpful to know. I mean, look, that’s one of those things where if you ask people, if they know what a microcenter is like, yeah, right. Cause they don’t want to sound dumb, but they probably don’t know what the difference is. So I think that was, I mean, that’s helpful for me,

Ken: Yeah. Should we give maybe like an example? so like say you have vision as your main site. You would then build LASIK XYZ, just about LASIK. It’s a different domain. It’s a microsite. That’s kind of what we’re talking about as an example.

Josh: Yeah. I mean, like, I think that’s really. Again, the way you’re asking the question is I think the way that most people process that information like I and I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong. I think where you kind of get into the decision making about how and when to deploy a microsite strategy is just really about, like, what is the goal?

Like, that’s really the first question, right? Of like, what is the goal? Of creating this asset. And so now if you say, Hey, I have vision x, y, z. com, right? I have a very successful sort of ophthalmology clinic. And I think that having LASIK x, y, z. com is going to provide me more available online real estate to take up in Google organic search.

That’s probably an impractical goal. depending on the competitiveness of the market, obviously we know there’s only a certain amount of pages on the map placements on the map pack and a certain amount of placements on the first page of Google everyone that’s within those first 10, 15 positions.

Is is working on being at the top like that is the purpose of that. They’re that’s their intention, right? And so simply having more domains and more miniature websites about your practice online will not generally result in more page 1 placement. Can happen in more rural markets for less competitive phrases, so I don’t want to ever say it’s impossible, but it’s not generally attainable in a major market for, especially for a procedure such like LASIK, which is such a competitive, obviously, market.

And so I think, really understanding what I usually start with is obviously, what is the goal of marketing this separate thing? And what is the long term vision? For this, like this branded asset, like meaning like, Hey, are we simply looking to, brand away from our name? So we have some more attractive sales asset for future, M and a considerations.


Are we looking at branding away just because we really want to leverage this new laser piece of technology that we’re bringing into the practice and we think it’s neat. You know, those are kind of the considerations that we’re making is what is the long term growth potential and what is the goal or purpose of, of this kind of thought process.


And once you kind of better understand where a doctor is coming from, in that line of thinking, you can generally provide them a more educated pathway to success because there is not 1 correct answer. It is definitely highly variable on the information.

Charlie: the, I remember when we were kicking this around earlier, it seemed like there was four. Main scenarios where like, it could make sense. One of them is like some practices have a legacy domain that might be their last name or something that’s like not super easy to remember or say. And so then they want to buy other domains that are, that are easy and just like more marketable.

Right. So there could be a reason why you would want to do that. I’m just, I’m going to count through the four and I want to hear which ones are, which one you want to dive into. That’s one of like, Hey, maybe this makes sense. Two, maybe you have, different services that are, what is it like, could be experimental or like if you need to have before and after that have nudity or something like that, you have to be careful about how Google treats those things, especially if the core of your main site doesn’t have that stuff.

Right? So that’s one thing to another, scenario to consider. the third one is. If like you said, you’re trying to make your business more valuable, meaning you have, a, a line of services. That you want to brand so that can like become its own business in a sense and grow that.

And then that’s like even disassociated from you if you’re a provider or it’s like it’s another business that could even possibly be expanded beyond what you’re doing in your local market. fourth one vanity domains. having a, trying to build another brand that like becomes its own business almost to make your overall business more valuable. So you sort of have multiple, that’s one reason to do it.

The experimental or nudity stuff that you don’t want to have your main website have negative implications of. and then if you are adding a. Treat, service line or treatment types or whatever that don’t necessarily, mesh in a lot of the minds of patients. You might want to separate it. So like maybe you’re an oral surgeon.

And you’re like, Oh, well, I’m going to just do like Botox and facial stuff because like it’s related. Right? But if I’m on the internet trying to find someone to do dental implants and I see that I’m like, why the hell would that be on the same website? Something like that. You may want to consider doing this thing where you have microsites or separate websites.,

Josh: I think that overall, like you cover a lot of really like valuable things. Cause like even, one of those topics you presented, was the concept of having a vanity domain, which is, which is still actually an entirely. Separate concept of having a microsite or having a landing page. So you’ve even presented a new line of thinking, you know, I’m sure every doctor here can, like, you know, sympathize with the idea of, like, owning dozens of domains that they’ve never used, but they didn’t want anybody else to have, you know, and we hold on to them tightly like, and.

You know, inevitably, as you’re working with practices long enough, they go, Hey, should I keep this domain? Should I renew it? And I usually just ask, well, what are we using it for? Right? Like, has it ever been live? Have we ever directed content there? Has it ever been used in sort of TV, branding, advertising, radio, anything?


And they’re like, no, I just have it. Owning the domain doesn’t have any value. Like, like a domain without any sort of content strategy or marketing behind it is worthless. Like it’s just a piece of, you know, it’s a piece of real estate that you’re sitting on. And so one of the things that I always tell people, it’s like a beanie baby.


Yeah. Hey man,


Charlie: I mean, those were valuable for a period of time. Yeah,

Josh: For a period of time, the princess Diana one, man, it’s somewhere. So, but no, where, where we get to is like the idea is like, you can, have a vanity domain strategy, you know, maybe you’re trying to introduce a rebrand, but a soft rebrand, and you have something that’s maybe quite difficult to say.

Like I could have, Dr. Joshua, which would obviously be very long, difficult to spell. Obviously it would really be kind of crummy to put on a billboard and

Charlie: silent C dude, people would be, you know, it’s just too hard.

Josh: Yeah, it’s too hard, but where we get to, if I have, a more friendly domain, like, right, like I’m here in Los Angeles and I happened to land on, you know, la XYZ LASIK.

com and that’s really short and simple and easy to put on a billboard. But when I go there, it simply just redirects to the landing page website or microsite of my choice. That would be just a redirect, like a vanity placement. And a lot of people, times you see vanity URLs on billboards, postcard mailers, you know, you know, not really sure, not many people doing bus ads these days, but you kind of get the picture.

It’s just meant to, when I’m driving by, have something easier to remember. And so I think that that’s obviously one, one thing that people think of as having a redirects or vanity URLs, and that’s totally viable. It happens all the time. but I do think that. Overall, it’s important to remember, you know, when you’re making the decision to have a landing page or a micro site, the advantages are really, you know, when you’re trying to, I mentioned like trying to wrangle someone into a specific funnel of traffic or education when you have dozens of other things to educate on, that can be very, very difficult.

But you can, a lot of times, if you deploy a landing page or a microsite for specific campaigns, whether you’re looking at things like PPC advertising or email marketing or text marketing, we generally will see higher conversion rate, driving that traffic to a landing page because the landing page it’s really built around the concept that it has a specific action.


We are trying to spark enthusiasm, education and buy in around a specific product idea. Rather than a whole brand, but it doesn’t mean that every single metric is better. Just because, you know, a better user experience and a better conversion rate is one side of the coin. You also are at times going to have higher bounce rate.


You’re maybe going to have a lower page quality score, especially when comparing it to your main website, which probably has considerably more authority or domain history.


Charlie:  Let’s do the example of we are going to build. another brand that we want to like have, have its own asset and continue to, grow and make the business overall more valuable.

What do you have to make sure you do or mistakes that you don’t want to make that would make that, that would cause you to, to really have that strategy backfire, like what are the biggest things to watch out for? And actually doing that.

Josh: So I don’t necessarily think that there’s anything at least that. Outright like stands out of things that could like, quote unquote, like harm your brand or website, but there are like considerations. so. It’s situational, but my thought process is that landing pages should always not be indexable for search engines.

they are, they generally are gonna serve, some support of, like, sorry. Although it’s situational, my personal feeling is that landing pages should not be indexable for search engines. they generally are designed to just serve that specific actionable purpose, right? So their content strategy is generally kind of weak, and they generally won’t rank, but having things that rank that are suboptimal, so they get found on accident, like someone searches a doctor’s name, and they were really interested in a set of XYZ services, but they see a landing page about a service.

That could create sort of brand fragmentation and confusion. So that’s something that I usually recommend is having our landing pages be non indexed pieces of content. They will show up in ads, they will show up in emails, they will show up on social posts. But we don’t want people stumbling upon them by happenstance.

Does that make sense? And the other kind of thing is when we are making sure about launching landing pages, just because they can be about unique things, right? Like they can be about pieces of content that are important. a lot of times people will sometimes get, Lazy is probably the best way to put it right, because they are about one specific idea.

Sometimes user experience on landing pages can be a little wonky. They could be, you know, they’re single page traction, but they’re a little difficult to navigate. Sizing and spacing generally becomes an issue. sometimes they throw the logo on it and change the color of a button because they have a landing page template and we lose sight of things like fonts and overall model selection that might not be brand consistent.

So I always say to make sure like, Hey. They should be non indexable, they should be user friendly, and they should be brand consistent. And then also, we should make sure that we have tracking in play to measure the success of whatever that campaign is. Like, if we are saying we are doing this to launch and achieve a specific result, we have to make sure that we have metrics to support those decisions.


Charlie: Totally. I mean, that’s what we do, man. You know that. Just kidding. Ken,

Josh: Well, and that’s, and that brings a,

Charlie: Yeah.

Josh: a valuable, valuable point to about what we talked about in this. A lot of times people get into separating these URLs or having different sort of trackings in play because they’re like concerned about being able to get to the true return on ad spend.

I would say that’s like the number one thing that I get brought in for, right. As I’m throwing a ton of money at my marketing, I don’t really know how to make heads or tails of what’s working. Help me get to the bottom of it. And you meet people who inevitably have been conned into, like, buying tons of microsite or landing pages or crazy backlinking campaigns and they’re dumping tens of thousands of dollars on pay per click. And they just, like, they don’t necessarily even mind spending the money. They just want to know that it’s producing something, right? Like, hey, I’m putting this dollar in a bucket and I’m getting to take five dollars out. Like, that is what I want. And so, I think, yeah, you could try to segment everything by website and you could have its own little like sort of data studio to go tap into and look at, but one of the beautiful parts of, like, one of the reasons that I believe in partnering with a software company like Line is you don’t really need to jump through all those hoops to get to the bottom of tracking, like, right, like having a micro site or a landing page or 10 websites, it doesn’t really matter.

If you have internal systems like line to help you process through the data and attribute where your leads are coming from, in a more, convenient way.

Charlie: We make it easy, man. Yeah.

Josh: I think the biggest decision that you have to make when choosing whether to have a microsite or landing page, or just developed in a whole separate website to launch, whatever it is that we’re trying to launch product service, new brand, whatever it is.

It really comes down to. What is the goal of that? And then once you know the goal, managing your expectations, having a microsite or a landing page and expect it to be like an SEO behemoth and compete with other, you know, more robust websites in your area, that’s a losing mindset and it’s really, it’s just really going to cause you to be frustrated.


Ken: Well said.

Josh: that you can have that micro side of that landing page provide, a more, narrowed focus to maybe increase our conversion opportunities using specific advertising tactics, like pay per click, like email marketing, like social ads. Winning mindset, definitely something to definitely take a, take a stab at and determine whether that’s going to work.

I think one of the things that Charlie had mentioned earlier that I really do appreciate is sometimes we have other service offerings that can get added. To a practice that maybe are not intuitive or necessarily in alignment with things we’ve always done. You know, I will be working with a facial plastic surgeon and very natural synergy would be jumping into things like Botox and fillers and Hydra facials and Morpheus eight, right?

Like all these things that could really enhance sort of like beauty and wellness in the facial region, along with the surgical services, adding that content strategy into his ecosystem, his, his main website anchor. It’s super intuitive, but let’s say that all of a sudden he wanted to get into spider vein there to be treatment, throwing that in there, like not really a home for that, right?

Like we’re treating, you know, varicose veins on our legs. Doesn’t really have anything to do with facial plastic surgery. Doesn’t really have anything to do with rejuvenation or aesthetics. It’s an interesting choice. But also I’m using, giving you that example because I’m seeing it happen. And so you, they’ll come to me and they’ll go, Hey, where should we put this?

Should we have our SEO team throw this on the website? And I’m usually like, Hey, you know what? Maybe before we dive into a more, you know, a larger, more detailed content strategy around this, we start running some pay per click ads, drive that traffic to, to a landing page and just see if this has any traction.

Before we go jump down a bunch of rabbit holes trying to make this work for our SEO marketing.

Charlie: It’s sort of like chick, chick fil a comes out with Mac and cheese. You’re kind of like, huh, it’s a little interesting. You taste it fricking fire. Right now, if chick fil a is like, here’s our shrimp scampi, that’s whack.

Josh: Yeah, yeah, definitely like the moment the moment that we’re having a

Charlie: chicken of the sea.

Josh: Yeah chicken of the sea, we’re on our tuna melt

Ken: Yeah. And you mentioned your SEO team. Obviously, if someone listening to this has an SEO team, they should be able to help you with this if they’re worth their salt, right? Making decisions like this. Right

Josh: of the beautiful Parts of what I do is, you know, I’m generally brought in, let’s put it this way. No one calls me cause they’re like, man, Josh, my marketing is so great. I would love to talk to you about it. Like that, that’s not like a talking point. Right. And so I generally am only talking to web teams when doctor feels like there’s a fragmentation or like a disconnect between what he’s been investing and what he’s being told and the results that are coming out.

Right. So they generally just want someone that has a little more know how than them. shocking a little more know how than men to get to the bottom of what’s going on with their marketing and then maybe create a playbook like an actionable like playbook for them to follow and then get to that intended result.

the beautiful parts of my job is, I get to look at things from the 30, 000 foot overview.

Like I’m not immersed in like the day to day operations of the practice where judgment can sort of get cloudy. I can. Look at their line dashboard. I can look at Google Analytics. I can look at their Google ads account, and I can speak to the technicians working on it. And generally, within a pretty short period of time, you can discern where the problems lie, whether they’re provider specific, whether it’s the talent, whether it’s the strategy, you can generally pick those things out.

And I would say that. You know, there was a time and place where like a microsite strategy was definitely more of a sales gimmick. Like, Oh, if you have a blog, like a separate blog and we put a bunch of content, it’s going to rank right. Like these are all like a snake oil strategies, if you will, for marketing.

I would say that most of the reputable players in the industries that I work in, like, you know, aesthetics, oral surgery. I don’t think any of the major players are really doing that, doesn’t mean none of them are doing that, but I would say that if you’re spending good money with a reputable agency with a good reputation, this isn’t like a big problem that you have on a day to day basis, but they are generally still just trying to figure out, doctors really want to know how do I just leverage and get the most opportunities into my practice, and that right there is the ticket, man.

It doesn’t matter what the problem is when the problem is like what they could say. I think my website stinks. I’m concerned about my rankings. I’m getting I’m putting a lot of the paper click and I don’t know what I’m getting out of it by the time that I’m talking with a practice. What they’re really saying is I want more opportunities in my funnel like that.

That is like what they want to solve by fixing any of those things. And so when someone’s asking you, Charlie, like, Hey, should I have a microsite or a landing page for this? They’re really just asking like, Hey, well, having a separate asset put the right leads in my funnel and put me in a better position to convert.

And sometimes, sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes the answer is no, right? Like, I wish there was like a really black and white, like, Hey, never do this, but it’s just really that simple


Charlie: well, but at least today we covered the, the situations where it could make sense. And then some things that you got to watch out for. Yeah, you’re right. I mean, that should be the first question is like, why it’s why, and it’s just like, are you, are you getting the patients you need right now? And if they’re like, yeah, we’re booked out, I mean, I wouldn’t.

I wouldn’t, create another website, right? Unless you have a specific growth plan of, I am about to add another surgeon, or we’re trying to open a location or whatever. Right. But, totally makes sense.

Josh: I think you raised a really great point, Charlie earlier about basically trying to, when, when you could separate like content from marketing, because you might have other content on your website that violates Google ad like policy guidelines.

So for instance, like in aesthetics, it’s really common to have, get flagged for things like. Nudity, which are readily available in before and after galleries, within med spas, a lot of times we see you can get flagged for having things that could be deemed experimental, like PRP treatment. So I want, I have a med spa.

I want to go market cool sculpting in my city. I’m going to have a PPC, landing page. I don’t want to have a PPC landing page. I just want to use my website because I don’t have any nudity on it. I go launch the campaign. It gets rejected because it violates Google’s ad policy guidelines. We’ll come to find out that 600 word PRP page that you have on there is, is getting flagged because Google can’t let you market experimental treatments using their ads.


So then you have to go through the legwork of creating a micro site or a landing page to run the ads because you have to be able to separate and get those ads approved and drive the traction that you want. So there are times when. Very good, honest, intentioned, ethical people just want to be able to promote their website and they run into roadblocks that require landing pages and microsites and that, and that happens every single day.


Ken: Joshua, very glad to have you on. Your expertise is evident and we’ve got to have you back sometime. but real quick before we wrap, do you mind, do you have anything you want to share or where can people find you or website or anything like that you want to plug?

Josh: you know, Ken, honestly, I would say that most people connect with me on LinkedIn, people looking, for just. general marketing, marketing advice and wanting to know, how, how and why they can change things. honestly, I’d encourage people to find me on LinkedIn, shoot me a message. again, Joshua lots to haunt.

I don’t forget that silent C when typing it in. also if you’re watching this episode, you’ll probably find me sharing and commenting on it. So I try to make myself, you know, pretty easy to find.

Ken: Awesome. Well, thanks for coming on, man. And we’ll see you guys on the next episode.

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