After several great years at Phonebooth, I’m saying goodbye

Time flies when you’re having fun. After several fast-paced, exciting years at Phonebooth, I’m stepping out of the booth on December 1st. We’ve accomplished some incredible things together though! We’ve experienced great growth, significantly improved the product & marketing and been featured on almost every major press outlet.

I’m leaving a great team, some incredibly smart and talented folks and a growing business. While it is a difficult decision, I’m taking my talents (thanks Lebron) to Red Hat to tackle new, incredible challenges and continue growing their business that is changing the world through open source.

It is a challenge I’m excited to be a part of and I look forward to joining another stellar team. I’ll still be in Raleigh and will see everyone around. On December 5th, I’ll start a new journey with a slightly different shade of red.

Thanks everyone for the support and all the help along the way!

phonebooth-team-small

Marketers who aren’t A/B testing will be left behind

I’m passionate about testing. So much so, that I wrote a guest post for SocialFresh.com with a case study from our testing at Phonebooth.com. An excerpt is below, but check out the full post, “You are not marketing unless you are testing.”

An excerpt from SocialFresh.com

testingAhhhh, metrics and analytics. For those of us that aren’t deeply involved in conversion (cough cough making money), we resort to labels for the “numbers people.” Some call them analysts, technical folks or SEO / analytics gurus and tend to think that this isn’t our job as marketers.

Friends, you are mistaken. Marketing without data is like diving into a pool with no water – it ain’t pretty. Gone are the days of creating messaging with a finger in the wind or creating ideas in your fancy ivory tower.

Good marketers cater to potential customers by learning. What works? What do they want to hear? What do they do with your product? Where do they go on your site? When do they buy? How do they buy? Where do they buy?

If you can’t answer a few of those questions, do a Google search for your local unemployment office and save that in your GPS.

An A/B testing case study

At Phonebooth, we launched a new website late last month after months of research, analysis, content creation, planning, stakeholder meetings and other things you do to try to make sure everyone is on board. One major element of our redesign was to become masters of testing. We hadn’t entirely neglected it in the past, but decided to make testing a focus.

Our first test was the main hero image (an elegant title for the stuff below the top nav / header). We had research telling us that customers buy our business phone solution because of value. Saving money makes people happy and we had data to confirm that.

We established five different messages with similar styles, colors, fonts, etc. The main variance was the actual copy.

  • Control: $20 per user / month
  • Variation B: Save up to 60%
  • Variation C: A usability version better explaining our product with a few key bullet points
  • Variation D: Save up to $2500 per year
  • Variation E: Free Your Voice – a creative concept

Visual Website Optimizer was our tool of choice and we built out the different variations. Each website visitor was randomly assigned one of the variations and that became their homepage thanks to a cookie. Every visit to the homepage would give each user their “unique” homepage and we had several goals to track.

Testing is nothing without goals

Metrics are great. Measuring the correct metrics is even better. It is critical to have a thorough understanding of what you are measuring and what it truly means. We created three distinct goals to track for this test.

  1. Engagement – this is defined as clicking anything on the website. What this means is clearly debatable and it may be completely irrelevant, but I wanted to see how many folks clicked something on the page in a digestable way.
  2. Enters the Store – we sell our business phone solution online. Tracking the funnel is extremely important and we wanted to see how many folks clicked into the store.
  3. Buys Phonebooth – does this need an explanation? This is the most important metric for us. While entering the store and engagement are both important… frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. I want money. It helps to keep a roof over my head

Pretty simple, huh? Now, we’re ready to see what happens. From here, we start our test early on a Monday morning – a clean week.

Have some fun and test for yourself

Before you run a test, I highly encourage you to make an assumption. Guess what you think will perform the best and why. Heck, create a contest amongst your team and have everyone pick their favorite. Give a prize to the winners!

Leveling the playing field for testing will help everyone understand that a website isn’t a symphony of dorks and geeks coding and designing away to make something that they think looks good. It is science. Well, if done correctly that is.

While my opinion is arguably worth two cents, I thought that our control would perform the best. $20 is a really low number. It is inexpensive for a business phone solution. Plus, I had stared at this version for two months. It was stuck in my head, but I thought that folks would gravitate to a killer price and buy our product.

Click to view the Results!

Facebook for business – surely you have questions

Thursday (7/21/11) I’ll be rocking the mic at Triangle AMA’s Facebook Training Camp for Marketers. One of my favorite former J. Crew models happens to be keynoting – Marcus Nelson (@marcusnelson).

Whether you are attending or joining us in heart, what questions do you have about using Facebook for business?

I’ll be more than happy to ask them for you and give you credit of course!

What do you want to know about using Facebook for business?

A recap of Mashable Connect 2011 – an awesome event

Mashable Connect was a great experience

Everyone knows Mashable.

It is even pretty trendy to make fun of folks that retweet and repost Mashable articles all day. A quick search online will find plenty of social media douchebag posts that mock these folks.

Mashable kills it though. They have great people. They produce quality content (and tons of it). They are friendly. They are really smart.

I was honored to be among the almost 300 folks invited to join the Mashable team for Mashable Connect in Walt Disney World.

Great speakers galore

I’ve been to quite a few events and MashCon had one of the best speaking lineups I’ve seen. A great mix of leading agency folks, brand leaders, founders and ultra-successful entrepreneurs. A few of my favorites were Rohit Bhargava of Ogilvy, Craig Engler of Syfy, Scott Heiferman of Meetup, David Jones of Havas, David Karp of Tumblr, Josh Williams of Gowalla and Steve Rubel of Edelman Digital.

An incredible venue

Having a conference in Disney World is pretty darn smart.

There was always an energy and sense of excitement because we were in the happiest place on Earth. One of the evening events was held in Epcot and we had a private viewing area of the Celebration fireworks. The final afternoon led us to Magic Kingdom for a Gowalla Race where we had to get group photos at various venues throughout Disney.

Awesome job by the Mashable staff for putting all of this together. It was pretty incredible.

Lots of really smart people

I was amazed by how smart and engaging all of the conference attendees were. There were tons of new connections formed and great conversations had by all. I’m partial to the bond I formed with other #team26 members: Josh Williams of Gowalla (@jw), Marcus Nelson of Salesforce.com (@marcusnelson), Jeff Rohrs (@jkrohrs) and Jesse Engle (@engle) of Exacttarget/Cotweet, Robert Michael Murray of National Geographic (@rmmdc), Laura Fitton of oneforty (@pistachio) and Pia Erkinheimo of Nokia (@piaerkinheimo).

Phonebooth aims to help SMBs

One of our goals at Phonebooth is to help small and medium businesses. We’re trying to start gathering content across various topics to provide as a resource for business decision makers.

Several conference attendees took the time to share tips for other SMBs and they can all be found at Phonebooth’s Pay It Forward page.

Check out what Ramon De Leon had to say.

Kudos Mashable Event Staff

Well done Karen, Kate and crew. This was an awesome event and I hope to be a part of future Mashable events. Keep up the great work!

Making Social Media Work for Business (a presentation)

Some of you may remember that I led a three hour session at Meredith College on using social media to get results for your business.

I wasn’t able to record the session with my (hopefully) knowledge filled rambling, but I did finally convert the HUGE file into a Quicktime movie – which didn’t successfully embed.

You can find a stripped down version of the slides below and I’ll be more than happy to discuss the details you missed.

Check out the presentation

Need me as a speaker or presenter?

Drop me an email at cm AT chris-moody.com or tweet me @cnmoody. I travel well and guarantee at least two laughs and one awkward moment per presentation or lecture.

Jay Baer and Amber Naslund in Raleigh on May 19 – register now!

If you do anything with social media, there is a good chance that you follow Jay Baer (@jaybaer) and Amber Naslund (@ambercadabra) pretty closely.

Thank to Triangle AMA, we’ve landed both of them to come and speak on May 19 at 11:30AM at the Brier Creek Country Club.

Why Register Now?

  1. This will be awesome.
  2. The event includes lunch.
  3. Jay and Amber are both consistently in top 10 speaker, author and blogger lists for marketing and social media.
  4. The first 100 registrants get a free copy of their new book, The NOW Revolution.
  5. I’ll be there if you are one of the two people that follow this blog and haven’t met me in real life.

Event Info

Exclusive Offer: a free copy of the speakers’ book The NOW Revolution to the first 100 registered attenders for Triangle AMA’s May luncheon. Tell all your marketing friends!

The social media evolution has begun, yet so many companies have yet to adapt. Learn how to retool your organization to apply real-time social media marketing and make it work for you rather than against.

Two leaders in social media strategies, Jay Baer and Amber Naslund, discuss the principles in their book The NOW Revolution, and show you how your company or organization membership can add more speed, smarts and sociability.

Don’t miss out: be one of the first 100 to register for the Triangle AMA May luncheon and receive your own copy of The NOW Revolution at the luncheon.

About the book:

Every customer is a potential reporter, and every employee is a potential spokesperson. Business has changed more in the past three years than in the prior 30. But it’s not a threat, it’s an opportunity. The NOW Revolution shows you how. This book isn’t about how to “do” social media. Instead, it outlines how you can retool your organization to capitalize on real-time business. Learn the seven shifts that make your company faster, smarter, and more social, each explained with case studies, useful tips, and actionable implementation advice. The NOW Revolution is the #3 business book in this April’s Inc. Magazine. (http://nowrevolutionbook.com/)

About the authors:

Amber Naslund is a communication and business strategist and the VP of Social Strategy for Radian6. She’s worked with businesses of all sizes to solve business problems through better communication. (http://twitter.com/ambercadabra)

Jay Baer is a tequila-loving, hype-free social media strategy consultant, speaker, and author that works with major corporations and PR firms to harness the awesome power of the social Web. (http://twitter.com/jaybaer)

 

I need your help. Jeremy lost his house…

Update: Greg’s initial goal was $1,000. It is 3:54pm EST and $1,385 has been raised. Thanks to everyone who is and has been sharing this and helping Jeremy.

Update 2: Nationwide has contacted Jeremy and added lots of details in the comments (please read).

Nationwide and Jeremy Smith

Most of you know Jeremy Smith or @jeremysaid on Twitter. I’ve known Jeremy for a while, but we currently serve on the Triangle AMA Board together.

While most were lucky enough to be out of the recent NC tornado’s path… Jeremy’s house was not.

Jeremy's house

Jeremy’s house was condemned and is being demolished.

To add to that, his Nationwide Insurance (@nationwide) had recently expired. Full details in the comments, but this was not a malicious act by Nationwide.

Please help Jeremy

Greg de Lima started a ChipIn widget that I’ve embedded below (his original post, but not so original blog theme :). Any penny will help. Please keep Jeremy in your thoughts and prayers.

The Now Revolution by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund – Book Review and Giveaway

In case you’ve been living in a cave, Jay Baer and Amber Naslund have teamed up and published The NOW Revolution – 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter, and More Social (affiliate link).

Their new book has been receiving rave reviews and I received a copy with the understanding that I would share my thoughts after reading it…

There is a high probability that this book will frustrate you.

Yes… frustrate you, but follow me here. Jay and Amber have decided to tackle the challenge businesses are facing to adjust to being social and not just doing social. For those of us in or around the “social” industry, we completely grasp this concept.

The NOW Revolution is organized into seven sections – the 7 shifts mentioned in the title. Each shift walks us through the process of becoming social, scalable and sustainable. There are action items, questions, summaries and plenty of additional documents linked via Microsoft Tag technology.

But, you’re wondering why this book may frustrate you.

Most companies are not social.

Even the companies that do social.

Most companies have processes and organizational hierarchies that inhibit being social.

If you have a finger on the pulse of where you work… there is a good chance that reading an actionable guide of what you should or can do to infuse social into your business will lead you to the conclusion How the *$&^ am I going to make this happen?

Being a social company is not a fluffy thing. It isn’t a trendy thing. It isn’t creating cool content that is sharable. It is changing the entire culture of your organization and embracing the fact that there are TONS of things out of your control.

If this was an easy thing to do, we wouldn’t need a book, guide, agency or consultant to help.

What will you get out of The NOW Revolution?

  • Lots of ideas for things to do within the workplace
  • A better understanding of scaling social
  • What to look for and cultivate in employees to become more social
  • How to handle real-time crises
  • A more in-depth knowledge of what listening and monitoring really means
  • Potentially frustrated, depressed or overwhelmed trying to make this happen

Again, I’d like to reinforce the fact that if this was easy… every company would be social. This book when read, understood and placed in the correct hands can be a catalyst to help you start the process of becoming social.

Who should read this?

  • Ambitious, social savvy folks that don’t mind overcoming adversity
  • Executives who don’t want to be years behind the curve (hint: you’re already a few behind)
  • Agencies and consultants that are tasked with improving or creating social strategies and business units

This book isn’t a get rich quick scheme. It isn’t a guide to monetize your blog. It isn’t a direct aide to your personal brand. It isn’t something one person can read and do themselves. However, this book is one that can be passed around to a few key folks and used as a guide to restructure, revamp, create or destroy business practices and processes.

The NOW Revolution is one of the better books I’ve seen to tackle the business and organizational challenges of social media and give you a roadmap to improve things.

What one thing is missing?

Jay and Amber are both extremely smart, engaging and funny folks. I never quite heard their voice in this book. This is something nitpicky and probably comes from the fact that I enjoy talking to each of them, but I wish there was a little more of their personalities here. Granted, the goal of this book isn’t entertainment… it is about empowering you to change your business and teaching you how to do that. But, I would have liked a little of the sarcasm and humor I know and love about each of them. 🙂

Ready to get your copy and start changing your business?

I have three copies of The NOW Revolution to give away to folks who need and want one.

Here is how to win a copy:

  • Tell me why you want this book and what you plan to do with it.
  • 1 Entry: Leave your explanation in the comments section.
  • 3 Entries: Write a blog post telling me why you want this book and what you plan to do with it and link to this blog post. Notify me and link to your post in the comments.
  • One book will go to the best answer and the other two will be randomly chosen (which means you have a 3x better chance to win by writing a blog post).
  • I’ll announce the three winners February 25, 2011!

the-now-revolution-jay-baer-amber-naslund

Disclaimer: All four books were received free of charge with the understanding I would write a review (good, bad, or ugly) and give away the extra books. 🙂

PS. Jay and Amber are coming to Raleigh in May for a Triangle AMA luncheon. Stay tuned for more details!