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Landing Pages

by Randall Craig on September 28, 2012

Filed in: Blog, Blogging, Book, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Social Media

Tagged as: , ,

$37 Billion:  This is the amount that Google earned in 2011, 97% from advertising. Google’s keyword-savvy Pay-per-click selling machine allows any organization (or person) to specify keywords, construct an ad, and specify how much they would pay for a click.  Google then puts the ad on a web page that contains the keywords. When a user clicks, the advertiser pays, and Google benefits.

And so does the advertiser.  The user has made a commitment by clicking, and hopefully they will transact after they land on the target page.  Unfortunately, the conversion to a sale does not happen as often as it should, because many advertisers are completely unaware of a simple concept: the landing page.

A landing page is really just the other half of an advertisement.  The ad sets up the requirement and helps people with a particular problem self-identify and click through. The landing page provides the solution, and a next step.  It converts browsers into buyers.  Here are key attributes of it:

  • It is paired with a very specific advertisement.
  • The page should go through multiple rounds of A/B testing.  (Two identical ads point to two different versions of the landing page; the one that converts fewer buyers should discontinued, the other should be revised for a new test, etc.)
  • Very little navigation to the main site; the goal is for them to read/consider/act – not to meander off.
  • Simplified messaging, all designed to expose the problem and share the solution.
  • Simplified design and graphics: because there is far less content (and links) than a traditional web page, the eye will naturally focus on the remaining important information.
  • Multiple calls to action (eg Subscribe, Purchase, etc)
  • Multiple content delivery modes – but identical message: Video, Descriptive Text, Testimonials, “Trial” subscriptions, etc.  Different people respond to different stimulus
  • Consistent design beyond the landing page.  Since the site is designed to convert, a vastly different look-and-feel beyond the landing page (eg the next page in a sequence) can cause user uncertainty, and possibly abandonment.

This week’s action plan:  The concept of a landing page can be generalized: there is a metaphorical landing page after everything that we write.  What did you want people to do after they finished reading?  This week, think through the next step in any of the projects that you are working on, and start crafting the landing page.  (Hint: the landing page is merely a bridge to another decision.  Once you’ve mapped out your decisions, it is vastly easier.)

Follow-my-own-advice bonus:  The next step beyond this post is one that I wrote on attraction and conversion.  And after that, please call me.

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

Ask your CEO, and they will say that your greatest asset is your people. Ask your marketing chief, and the answer will be your brand. And ask your CFO, your value is determined by your revenue or EBITDA. But is it possible that they may all be wrong… or may soon be? (Hint: how would your CIO answer?)

The profusion of systems has led to a bumper crop of data. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and all of the other social media sites track the beginning of the journey, while marketing automation tracks the latter part of it. CRM systems track prospect and client activity, while ERP systems track both “delivery” and financials. Other systems track post-sales service activity, while the organization’s websites (internet, extranet, and intranet) generate even more data. Finally, data can be shared from suppliers, clients, and other partners, or purchased from third parties to further enrich what you already have.

While the term big data has been around for a number of years already, the reality for most organizations is that they have a big data mess.  To begin extracting value from this asset, consider your organization’s data analytics maturity:

  • Level Zero: Does not collect data.  Relies on gut to make decisions. (And sporadic market research.)
  • Level I: Collects data within separate systems; reviews data sporadically.
  • Level II: Data architecture that combines and “relates” all of the data from the disparate systems, so that it can later be used. Data is cleansed, and duplicate records removed. (The reason all this happens is that a specific person has been assigned the role of data steward/master data manager.) Unfortunately, the data is not generally accessible, except through difficult programming or special requests.
  • Level III: Specific slices of the data are exposed in real-time for better decision-making. Each user role may have a different dashboard, depending on their responsibilities, while standard reports are used throughout the organization.
  • Level IV: The data is proactively plumbed for insights, risks, and opportunities, possibly with machine learning and artificial intelligence.  Internal and external data are married to provide higher order insights and competitive advantage.

Most organizations are at Level zero or I, yet aspire to Level IV without doing the heavy lifting required of Levels II and III. Building competitive advantage through data is just not possible without an investment in systems, an ongoing investment in data quality, and data analytics.

This week’s action plan:  What level are you at?  This week, begin the process of moving to the next level by socializing these concepts with your colleagues: share this Tipsheet to begin the conversation.

This year’s action plan: Systems and data quality are easy, but proactive data analytics is a skill most organizations do not have, and often, do not understand.  Over the next year, identify a person or group that can do this, either internally or externally.

Related post:  Data/Information/Intelligence.

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

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)



Re-looking at the rush to digital

by Randall Craig May 5, 2017

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by Randall Craig April 21, 2017

Have you ever slipped into the assumption that just about everything (and everyone) is fully connected over the social web?  That a connection is one click away on the latest smartphone? Recently I had a stark reminder, in the most unlikely of places, that this is absolutely not the case.  For several hours, I spent sorting […]

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by Randall Craig April 14, 2017

We spend hours reading books, attending seminars, and taking courses, but too often, the knowledge is lost, and virtually no change takes place. Must this always be the case? Instead, after you read, what can you do? Here are eight specific ideas… Summarize for colleagues Make reference notes Create an action plan – do something […]

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Insight: Improving Creative Potential

by Randall Craig April 7, 2017

  What is the one rubbish statement that single-handedly limits our creative potential? “Some people are incredibly creative, and others are not.  I am more analytical than creative.”  Rubbish! Creativity is a skill to be mastered – not an endpoint of a so-called creative-analytical continuum. In the interest of providing practical ideas to improve creative […]

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Always-on Social Media Society

by Randall Craig March 31, 2017

One of the major downsides of social media is the addictive nature of it: even when we are on vacation, we feel the need to post photos, check others’ Facebook walls, see who has viewed our LinkedIn profiles, and Tweet about what is important to us.  (We train ourselves for this by constantly checking our […]

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Blog and Social Media Errors [updated]

by Randall Craig March 24, 2017

Have you ever seen a mistake in someone else’s blog or social media post?  Or maybe you’ve been a victim of this yourself?  It could be a simple typographical or grammatical error, a case of misattribution, or a more serious case of factual error. Unfortunately, it happens far too often, for some very obvious reasons: […]

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Agile Methodology

by Randall Craig March 17, 2017

Project managers the world over build Gantt charts, PERT charts, Work Breakdown Structures.  They focus on delivering on-time, on-budget. No matter your role, is there something that can be learned from the profession of project management? In the olden days – and sadly, “today” for many organizations – the most common project management approach is […]

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Trust, Website Security, and SEO

by Randall Craig March 10, 2017

Whether real world or on the web, trust is a powerful factor. For users of the popular Chrome browser, Google recently made a change that is sure to give many people pause.  Consider the image below: for the first time, the word “secure” appears within the URL bar. Contrast this, with this next screen shot, […]

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Insight: The Business of Risk

by Randall Craig March 7, 2017

What if something goes wrong? Most people are not keen on taking risks. A small faction of people are definitely risk–takers. Whether you are one or the other, the decisions you make often boil down to one ratio: The Risk-return equation. We spend a lot of time on Return, and a lot of time on […]

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Six Tests for Testing Trends

by Randall Craig March 3, 2017

How often have you read a prediction, statement, or about a trend, and began to wonder if it were true?  Sadly, with so many instant experts, pundits, and self-serving gurus, it is sometimes difficult to tell fact from fiction. Here are six tests that can help you improve your signal-to-noise ratio: A trend is defined to be a projection from a known state in […]

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Becoming an Efficient Thought Leader

by Randall Craig February 24, 2017

One of the more popular thought leadership “strategies” is to create relevant, provoking, leading-edge content.  Not only does this provide evidence of the thought leader’s special knowledge, but it also helps attract new followers, through sharing (social and real-world), and through discovery (Google, conference speeches, and publicity.) The most successful thought leaders recognize that this […]

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Six Top Thought Leadership Articles

by Randall Craig February 17, 2017

For most people in senior roles, the holy grail of recognition is embodied in two terms: Thought Leadership and Trusted Advisor.  Yet too often, these very terms are thrown around, overused, and just perhaps, may be losing their value. Notwithstanding this, the underlying concepts are powerful – with a matching value in the marketplace.  Here are six posts that explore […]

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Bloated Websites: Transparency vs. Accessibility

by Randall Craig February 10, 2017

How often are you frustrated by websites that have so many pages, it is impossible to actually find anything? Unfortunately, this is all to common of a complaint.  Websites are often used as corporate dumping grounds for every bit of information from every new initiative, often spanning backwards into the decades.  And every time the website is […]

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Customer Service: Automated, Templated, or Customized

by Randall Craig February 3, 2017

Many organizations struggle with setting up a social media (or email) response strategy.  How do you trust front line staff to answer properly, if they don’t know the policies?  How do you have a consistent response, no matter who responds, or when?  And how do you minimize service costs, while maintaining service quality? One thing is certain: […]

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Seven Disruptive Business Models

by Randall Craig January 27, 2017

Do you see your website, CRM, social media, and other digital initiatives as a way to improve service levels, market your organization, or be a central part of your thought leadership strategy?  While important, at best these are tactical approaches:  too often the bigger opportunity of digital transformation is ignored. This isn’t surprising, as digital initiatives are often driven from […]

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Insight: Software Costs in the Age of the Cloud

by Randall Craig January 20, 2017

Software has a cost, but it may not be as clear as you may think.  Yes, purchasing Excel may be straightforward, but what about CRM, Marketing Automation, a new financial system, or any other core database that requires collaboration across the organization? In the olden days, it was relatively simple:  the application was usually custom-written, and […]

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by Randall Craig January 13, 2017

Are you keen on risk?  Do you seek it out?  Most people and organizations don’t – and for good reason.  Yet risk is not necessarily bad: it is part of the risk-return equation; it identifies potential opportunity… and exposure. What is bad is unnecessary risk.  This simple framework can help: Step One: Identify all of […]

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by Randall Craig January 6, 2017

While the new year may in fact be refreshing, have you ever considered that your approach to marketing might be, at best, dated? That you might be following a strategy of incremental improvement, when a completely new approach might be what is really called for?  If so, you’re not alone.  But why? It is much easier […]

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