In the beginning, your company created a Web site. And it was good.

But then it grew. And grew. And grew. Until it encompassed the heavens and the earth in content. Something for everyone. Everything for someone. And it ceased to be a coherent presentation to anyone.

It became Encyclopedia Corporatica—a massive tome of information that includes press releases from five years ago. An impressive body of work, to be sure. But as a sales tool, as a marketing vehicle, it sags under its own weight.

In the lightening-paced world of online marketing, your Web site has actually become less nimble. Before you can run with a daring new idea, you now have to make sure it fits with your existing information architecture, look-and-feel, and IT feature set. While those constraints are important for your corporate site, they severely restrict more tactical Web marketing campaigns.

You can break free of this paradox by separating the two: maintain a full, rich corporate Web site, but also use independent Web marketing paths—small sequences of Web pages that make a focused pitch—to target key product and field marketing opportunities.

Compared to working inside the box of your corporate Web site, these lightweight Web marketing paths are faster to produce and easier to change, increasing your agility and reaction speed.

Such paths are often an ideal next step for respondents to online advertising and email marketing. As "landing experiences," they are more than a landing page but less than a full-scale Web site. At the critical post-click marketing stage, where a prospect has given you one click but is still skeptical of your relevance, this clarity of purpose and message can be just the right size.

A Web marketing path starts with a landing page, but instead of trying to cram an entire pitch and offer into one screen, a good path will use that first page to gently segment the respondent. It gives them 2-3 choices of what to click next—a branch in the path—to identify what's most relevant to them. The second page of the path then delivers on that promise, providing a deeper and more targeted presentation.

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image of Scott Brinker

Scott Brinker is co-founder and CTO of ion interactive, a provider of landing-page management software and conversion-optimization services. He also writes a blog on marketing technology called Chief Marketing Technologist.

Twitter: @chiefmartec.