Make It Happen
My Tipsheets are chock full of ideas. They are all aimed at translating knowledge into a quick, action-oriented 60-second nugget.

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Where do you call your social home? Likely it includes LinkedIn and Facebook. Perhaps YouTube and Twitter. But what about Instagram, Pinterest, Vimeo and Flickr? Or, the 500+ other social networks that exist?

The significant challenge of social media is that you don’t know who is looking for you (or your services), nor where. What you do know is that if your target users can’t find you on these 500+ sites, then a potentially important opportunity will be lost.

But who has the resources to maintain a presence on 500+ sites, let alone 50? (Or ten?)

Enter our Anchors and Outposts model™.

Consider that every social venue can fit into one of two categories:

  1. Anchor: A heavily trafficked site that you are looking to build and curate a community on. Typically, Anchor sites include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube: the big four. If the organization’s budget is small, then the number of anchors may only be one or two: a very large budget may mean the big four, and adding perhaps a few more.
  2. Outpost: If a site isn’t an Anchor, then it is an outpost. An outpost is a “thin” profile: register, add a logo or picture, and then add a keyword-rich description. The outpost includes a line of text that mentions that you don’t frequently monitor the site, along with a link to your main website and your Anchors. Outposts are set-and-forget, Anchors (and your main website) build community.

The Anchors and Outposts strategy is surprisingly simple: users will search anywhere, and as they find you, they will be funnelled from the outposts, to the anchors, to your main website.

Beyond the benefits of efficiency and findability, the strategy yields another important benefit: improved search engine results for your organization’s main website.  Of the 200 factors that Google uses to determine ranking, the number (and strength) of inbound links is an important factor.  (An inbound link is a link from somewhere else that links to your website. An outbound link is a link from your website that goes elsewhere). An Anchors and Outposts strategy creates a viable network of inbound links.

This week’s action plan: Most organizations have figured out their Anchors, but have not intentionally built their Outposts. This week, it’s time to do so.

Marketing Insight:  Capturing your outposts is an important defensive move: what would happen if a competitor, or a “hater” decided to register themselves on all of the social sites, as you?

Productivity Tips: (1) When you register your Outposts, go into the communications preferences section to reduce the number of promo emails you would be sent. (2) If you are looking for a list of outposts, check out

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders


Are you really satisfied with the response rate of your newsletter registration form on your website?  Do you think that, just maybe, your list could be bigger?

Instead of thinking of the sign-up form as a sign-up form, think of it as a transaction.  The user – a prospective client – is paying for your newsletter with their data.  They weigh the value that they may receive from you against the value of their first name, last name, and email address.  If the transaction seems “pricey” – there is not enough value – then you have not earned the right to have them on your list.  They don’t register.

To grow your list, and improve your registration rate, you need to build trust.  Here are seven ways to do this:

  1. Provide the entire archive of past issues. This is more powerful than one old “sample” issue; it shows continuity, and lets potential subscribers try before they commit.
    • Example:  Before signing up for the Make It Happen Tipsheet, a potential subscriber can read 450+ past articles.
  2. Clearly state what they get when they sign up: frequency of communication, content, and benefits of subscribing are the basics. Potential subscribers need to understand what is in it for them: why should they care about your newsletter?  When you deliver on your promise – when they begin receiving your content – their trust in you will also increase.
    • Example:  Here’s the promise I make on the sign-up page:  “Our Tipsheets are chock full of ideas. They are all aimed at translating knowledge into action… in a quick, action-oriented 60-second nugget each week.”  While this Tipsheet might clock in at 110 seconds, consider the overall structure: a specific issue (increasing sign-ups), seven specific ideas, and This Week’s Action Plan.  Then in today’s Tipsheet, even more value through the Marketing Insight and Marketing Caveat area that follows.
  3. Provide an added incentive: Consider a more nuanced approach than a simple “sign-up and we’ll send you a free e-book”.  Part one might be free and available without sign-up. It would be designed to wow the user with value, build your brand by example, and encourage sign-up. Part two would only be available to new subscribers.
  4. Make it very easy to unsubscribe, and easy to share with friends, both via e-mail and social media.  (Look for Social sharing links, and the unsubscribe links at the bottom of the email.)
  5. Check back with them. After three months, ask them what they think of the subscription, and if they have any comments or suggestions. Not only does this begin the engagement process, but it allows you to pivot the content to better meet their needs.
  6. Move the form above the fold. The easier it is to see the sign-up form, the more likely it will be used. Having the form clearly visible as the key call-to-action on the page seems like common sense, but is so often forgotten.
  7. Match the form with relevant content: Beyond the home page, where else might a sign-up form be relevant? Look at landing pages first, and then anywhere else a call-to-action may make sense. Then use an added incentive that is relevant to the content of the page.
    • Example:  This internal page is about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services; if a user’s key interest is SEO, then using an SEO infographic will more strongly resonate as an incentive to subscribe.

This week’s action plan: What do your web subscription forms look like? This week, build more trust by implementing at least one of these ideas.

Marketing Insights: (1) More than anything else, the quality of what is actually in your newsletter will determine your success. It drives your brand, and increases the newsletter’s pass-along factor. Skip the gimmicks, and focus on being relevant: write what people will read, and the number of your sign-ups will take care of themselves. (2) These same ideas for increasing newsletter subscriptions can also be applied to sales pages and  customer support pages.

Marketing Caveat: Just because someone has signed up, doesn’t mean you have the right to send them whatever you want. Ensure that your sign-up forms are compliant with relevant legislation (CASL as an example), or your mistake may cost you – and your brand – dearly.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders


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by Randall Craig November 17, 2013

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Marketing Insight: Improving Web ROI

by Randall Craig April 25, 2013

Does this sound familiar?  You have a website (or two), a marketing budget, and more than likely, a desire to grow.  It doesn’t matter if growth is defined as more event registrations, newsletter sign-ups, leads, or transactions – the problem is that too often, a web initiative doesn’t always pull its weight. There are four […]

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Tech note: SEO – DIY (Search Engine Optimization – Do It Yourself)

by Randall Craig September 7, 2012

There is no shortage of call centers working hard to sell SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services. Some of them are small fly-by-night operators, while others work at the venerable Yellow Pages.  Sadly, many organizations (and people) succumb to these pitches, and spend significant dollars each month chasing a top ranking.  “Sadly”, because much of the […]

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Attraction and Conversion

by Randall Craig June 29, 2012

Are you one of those thousands (millions?) who build a social profile, only to find that you have very few friends? Maybe you are one of those millions (or billions?) of businesses that have built a website, but have found that no one is calling? Or no one is buying? If this sounds familiar, there […]

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