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Questions to Ask Before You Build a Microsite

Questions to Ask - Microsite Strategy and Design
Answer these microsite strategy, construction, maintenanance and marketing questions and use your responses to create an effective microsite plan.

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?