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

Allow me to reintroduce myself…

I’m a Dad now.

Life is busy.

I haven’t posted much.

I am sorry.

But,

I’m a Dad now.

More posts coming soon. :)

Meet Branch.

branch_moody

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!