To Sell or Not Sell From Your Outpost? That is the Question.

by | Saturday, May 18, 2013 | 0 comment(s)

Chris Brogan has been talking about online marketing and online presence for a long time. Back in 2009 he outlined a basic Presence Framework which included four concepts.  Two points I want to touch on is what he calls Outposts and Homebase. 

Essentially the point he makes is to use social networks as outposts and use your website as the homebase.

For an outpost example, awhile back he was talking about Google+ to drive home the point of an outpost, Chris said:

“Google+ is an outpost, meaning a place where you can go, communicate, use great tools to make interesting connections and learn new things.

But it's not your home base, a place that you can alter and edit and make into whatever you need it to be, a place where you can add and subtract tools and features as needed.”

Which is a good point indeed.

Since that 2009 post, Chris has refined his points a bit more. Now three points instead of his orignal four points. Now, the basic formula he recommends is:

Outposts  > Media Empire > Homebase

For a full explanation, you can check this post on Google+ where Julia rehashes what Chris said in one of his Sunday newsletters. 

My hope is this helps you get a bit of context for using social media for your marketing while also getting you caught up on a very important consideration – selling online – more specifically, selling from a social network versus selling from your website.

So, this is a long way to get to the following point.

In his opinion, Chris says we shouldn’t try to sell directly from our social networks.

What doesn’t work well is: 

* Sell at the outposts. 

Where we seem to get it wrong is that when we try to push for a sale when people are using their various social media channels, most people seem less likely to take an action. Instead, they’re out looking for engagement (chitty chat) as well as interesting content (which could sometimes be served by your media). Thus, guide them at the outposts to your media and then at your media, you have the opportunity to recommend a conversion of some kind. “

So, what do you think?

One of the things we repeatedly see is a need to sell from the outposts. This is contrary to what Chirs talks about.

Maybe Ford Motor Company, the local plumber, or a web designer selling a wordpress site design shouldn’t tweet or facebook an add-to-cart link, but what about the church bake sale fundraiser, the musician with a downloadable mp3 or a popular author with a one-day blitz on an e-book?

We see these kinds of people needing to sell from outposts all the time.  It’s one of the main reasons we have so many tools in SimpleCart to do that.

Perspectives matter – so what do you think?

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Justin McCullough is the Chief Product Officer at FSG. Head of Smart Buildings Division and Formerly VP of AmeriCommerce. He loves a challenge, big dreams, and getting stuff done. He is married with two boys, loves content marketing, ecommerce, and helping businesses succeed. You can catch him on twitter as mccJustin ( or his own personal blog.

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