I was inspired by an article that I read today called "What Vegas Can Teach You About Marketing." And the answer it "plenty!"
"Create lots of entry points. The one thing that is immediately obvious about Las Vegas is just how many entrances most places have. You can go in through the front, the side, the back, underneath, above and (it seems) any way in between as well. Parking is usually free, and escalators always lead into a casino and only go the opposite direction in some places. The end result is that no place has only one front door. Whether you are talking about a physical location, or an online destination, the lesson in this is clear: invite people into your experience in as many places as you can."
I've been asked in clients meetings – "What are your thoughts on microsites?" Well it's interesting how microsites, banners, external sites, URL clustering and social media all play a role in what I call "Front Doors." When's the last time you went to a SUPER store and had to find a door? Went to the mall and had to decide where to park so you could get inside? Never. Right.
So jump ahead now to your website. Getting your audience to interact with you story, brand and messaging still follow the exact same rules. You being by teeing up (usually within a traditional advertorial process like TV, radio or print) your messaging that get your 'story seed' planted in the minds of the consumer. This leads them to the microsite, continues the where to story left off and offers even more payoff should you go into the 'main' site. What the microsite does as well is play the dual role of entry point for your online banners, social media efforts and buzz tactics. The construction of these front doors are up to you, how many, where and so on. It's also extremely important to pay off the content the deeper you user goes into the rabbit hold. It's also important to know when to stop. If your microsite has little to do with you main site, such as a contest or event, it might not be condusive for your to push your user any further than where they are now.
This leads us to teleportation. Marketers forget that just because you have a user on your 'main website' does not mean that they know where to go. It's important to study the way your user flows through your site and more importantly that you give me the ability to jump (or teleport) around you content. Internal ads, call outs, hyper links in content, search functionality, breadcrumb and intuitive navigation are all quintessential to the success of any large website.
This teleportation is also important if you have unique divisions within your content such as, men's, women's and children's clothing – same site, totally unique experience. So as your informational architecture starts to take on area's of visual and contextual differentiation you can get your user there from one of many 'front doors.'
The future of websites is modularity. Allowing you the brand to snap on and off directives as you see fit allowing you a greater ability to optimize your online without having to start over each time. So this metaphore of teleportation is important to remember both while building up and tearing down.