Questions to Ask Before You Build a Microsite
Think about trying a microsite strategy to achieve some important organizational goals?
I’ve seen people jump into designing microsites without taking the time to think things through. That’s a big (and often costly) mistake.
Building microsites is like most everything in life — if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
So, take the time to understand why you are creating a microsite and what you hope to accomplish. As you build out your microsite plan, there a number of important questions to ask, all of which I cover below.
At minimum, a microsite plan should answer these important strategy, construction, maintenance and marketing questions:
MICRSOSITE STRATEGY QUESTIONS TO ASK
- Is the microsite supportive of organizational business goals and marketing goals? How so?
- Why are we creating a separate microsite instead of putting this into the main site?
- Who are we trying to reach?
- What messages do we want to convey to microsite visitors?
- How are we going to be competing against and what will it take to win?
- What do we want microsite visitors to do after they visit the microsite?
- What is the budget for this microsite project?
- How will we measure success for the microsite?
- Who is the internal champion for this project? Does it have the support of upper management?
- How much work (time, effort, money) will this be and is it worth the effort? Could we instead be investing in another tactic that would be more effective and cost-efficient?
MICROSITE DESIGN AND BUILD QUESTIONS TO ASK
- What is the name of the microsite? What web domain will it use?
- What is the sitemap for this microsite? At launch? Three months out? Six months out?
- Who is going to design the microsite?
- Does the design need to be consistent with the design of the main site or follow any of our branding guidelines?
- Who is going to do the copywriting for the microsite?
- Will the voice and tone of this microsite be identical to that of our corporate site, or does this microsite have a different persona?
- Will IT be involved in this project or is this a marketing-only initiative?
- How big will the microsite be?
- What images or videos will be on the microsite? Are these new or do we already have them?
- Does the microsite require a blog? Does it need any user-generated content or community-building capabilities?
- Is there any content that will be pulled from a database and fed directly into the microsite web pages?
- Should this microsite be built on a CMS for easy maintenance and updating going forward?
- Where will the microsite be hosted?
MICROSITE MAINTENANCE QUESTIONS TO ASK
- How long will this microsite exist?
- How often will we add new content?
- When and how often will we need to update existing content?
- How will the microsite tie into other marketing initiatives?
MICRSOSITE MARKETING QUESTIONS TO ASK
- What is the promotional plan for the microsite? How will people learn that it exists?
- Will there be links to or from the main site? If so, how many, and will they be text links or image links?
- Will there be a PR campaign around the microsite? Is it newsworthy in any way? Is there something that we can do to make it newsworthy?
- What is the SEO plan for the microsite?
- Will there be an email marketing campaign for the microsite?
- How will we use social media to promote the microsite?
- Will we invest in advertising (online or offline) to promote this microsite?
- Is there some viral element to the microsite that will encourage people to spread the word about the site and/or to come back to visit the microsite?