Posts Tagged ‘Microsites’
At least not in most cases, and not from our experience. Last summer, we launched the Open Campaign, an experiment designed to take you “behind the scenes of a marketing campaign” and show, openly and honestly, all the components that go into designing and executing a successful digital marketing campaign. We wanted to show it, track it and share it all in one place, which is why we decided this campaign should live on a microsite.
Over the course of several months, we got a substantive amount of interest in the campaign and strongly positive feedback about the concept along with some bottom line success. Most marketers would be proud of that outcome and label the project a success. However, we see the data as an opportunity to get better. The Open Campaign microsite was a tremendous amount of effort for our 14 person marketing team. Looking critically at it, I’m convinced the campaign idea is sound, however, the execution within a microsite is not efficient for our team.
Microsites = Starting Over
Launching a microsite is essentially starting over. Not only did we have to design and develop a new site from scratch, but we also had to build an audience for the site. In addition to the start up effort, now we had another property that needed ongoing content. While our corporate blog is a great vehicle for the generation of interest in our company we don’t see a greater value than our corporate blog or webtrends.com.
We invested large amounts of time and resources into designing, building and maintaining a microsite that ended up, ironically, teaching us a lot about how not to do a marketing campaign – mainly, that no matter how great the idea and how elegant the execution, isolating the campaign from your other web assets puts a strain on a small marketing team.
Next Steps for The Open Campaign
Never underestimate the importance of context. Using a microsite means starting over in terms of building an audience. You lose the de facto traffic, the current lead volume, brand recognition and customer trust that you’ve already established through your existing web assets. When factored into the resources required to maintain multiple web properties, it generally isn’t worth the investment to separate an effort from the rest of your marketing channels this way. Especially when you have the opportunity to energize a specific property with a new campaign idea.
That said, there are certain situations where microsites can be effective, namely for events. Case in point, we built a microsite for Engage 2010, our annual customer conference, and it’s working beautifully. The difference is that with events, you need to build an audience from scratch. Chances are that you’ll draw this audience from your larger marketing base, but when it comes to attendees, you are always starting at zero. You also need to manage large amounts of information in a single, accessible place. In this scenario, creating a microsite can make a lot of sense.
So we’ve learned something, and true to our word, in iterative fashion, we are using that knowledge to get better. Rather than maintain a separate microsite, we’re integrating the Open Campaign content into the corporate blog first and into webtrends.com second. The “behind the scenes” sharing will continue – in context this time. We’ll also continue to work with our partners in the Open Campaign to bring their technologies and our integrations into our core web assets and continue share our experiences with you.
What have your experiences been with microsites? Have you found them to be worth your effort?