Small Changes, Conversion Rate Maximization

 My latest project in the business world has been to learn everything I can about Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). The two programs I’m using at the moment are Optimizely and CrazyEgg. Of course, I’ll also be using Google Analytics (GA) and our own results.
 These tools are incredibly powerful for any website owner with existing traffic looking to fine tune the user experience (UX), as well as increase the flow through their conversion funnel.
 But they have also taught me a life lesson. It’s all about life lessons with me, isn’t it? Imagine this; I’ve had a test running this week, I made 5 changes to the website I’m working on. If you’ve seen the site, you know that they aren’t very big, a little text, a number, slight variation in positioning.
 These variations I’m running against the original. I’m measuring engagement and conversions. These changes really aren’t that big, but the differences that they create in a traffic stream are huge!

 As you can see, the statistical significance measurement hasn’t yet given me the green light to make permanent changes to our site… but it appears that it is moving that way. But… I stress… the changes I am testing are tiny. And yet, one of them has a 35% difference against the original.
 It makes me think about our interactions and behaviors in the world around us. Consider this, our behavior and personality is exposed to tons of people every day. I like to make sure to go out everyday into the public. I go for a coffee every morning, work during the day, and go climbing in the evening. I’ll go to church on the weekends, and go out with friends at night. Add in driving to all of those places.  I see, and am seen a myriad of faces. That’s about, this is a guess, 200-300 faces on a slow day.
Don't make me make you Smile In the parlance of Internet marketing, simply being seen is an impression. If a phrase or number change can create a huge variance in the rate of engagement on a web page, what does that say about the way we present ourselves?
 I think about the image I present to those around me and the way that it affects them. What happens if I smile more?

As a server in a restaurant, my ability to look a person in the eye while conveying value allowed me to make sales. In a closed environment like that I could see quick results to my interactions. But with a larger group of people, small changes would take time to be noticed.

Who knows what sort of changes a group of people could make in a community. I see my boss Vitaly push ahead with his idea with transparency, and I think to myself, “Hey! That’s a great idea!”

I get a few people to read my post, and then they go back to his post and read his comments. They move to be more transparent in their lives about the things they are working on; without “the fear of other people copying them.”

Maybe they decide, hey this Dimitry guy is interesting. I’ll work with him! 😀

That’s my hope. 

Learning Curve

 Week three. 
 Today, we shot a bit of a commercial. A bottle of scotch may have been used as a form of payment for one of my ‘actors’. We are working hard to be able to push this thing to TV.
 Who would have thought, even a month ago, that I would be shooting a commercial with a really good friend of mine? And the person doing the shooting, another friend!

 It’s a small world, and I love it.
 As I wade through the world of online marketing, I am learning a whole new language. I am learning about industries that I vaguely knew existed. I’m dealing with people several levels over my pay grade.
 It is intimidating, and yet invigorating.
 The conference was fun as much fun as can be expected when you are frantically trying to meet everyone in the room, establish a business relationship, while being aware of how much money you’ve spent to get and stay there for the few days of the event. This is a bit of work.

 And that being said, I appreciate the people that have stepped out, and given me some of the time from their busy days to educate me.
 Also, Google. Thank  you Google.

 Wikipedia. And a few other web resources.

First Day, Carlsbad

 Today wasn’t my first day at Yosto, but it was my first day as fully dedicated to it. Vlad and I are in Carlsbad California at the CFSA (Community Financial Services Association) conference. What a beautiful little city, and what a beautiful day. It is always fun to jump into a new project. I love learning about how my industry’s business flows day to day, its practices and common procedures.

 Since starting with the company I’ve spent the last two weeks doing nothing but gearing up for this conference. On the CFSA’s website, it describes itself and its mission as “a national organization dedicated to advancing financial empowerment for consumers through small dollar, short-term loans. It was established to promote laws and regulations that protect consumers, while preserving their access to credit options, and to support and encourage responsible payday advance industry practices.” The industry is highly controversial, and yet it is a creation of economic pressures. Something like 12 million people used payday loans in 2010, according to the Pew Charitable Trust’s paper on payday lending. (Payday Lending in America, Who Borrows, Where They Borrow, and Why.) 

I found the following video quite interesting. Dennis Shaul, CEO of the CFSA on C-SPAN talking about CFPB’s efforts to regulate Payday Lending.

 The CFSA is doing good work. There is a large population of Americans that suffers from a lack of access to credit, and payday loans are one of the very few options available. Our current  banking models do not fill the need, and self regulation of this young industry is incredibly clever. I love seeing an industry that is as… controversial as this one having a introspective direction. Understanding that the consumer’s welfare ultimately makes them more profitable.
 A strange experience.
 I met some great people. Had some fun conversations. Ate some good food. Ran around. It’s been a good day. Here’s a photo to make you jealous. Sorry, not sorry.

New Job

 Integrating into a new environment is one of the fascinating things about getting a new job, especially after an extended period in an entirely different industry. Beyond all of the new faces and names, I get the pleasure of exploring a whole new social order and interactive protocols.

 At my old job I had reached what I felt was the pinnacle of the social pecking order, a position of tacit leadership. Without ever being given the express permission from my employer I established lasting relationships with our best customers. I set norms for our professional behavior that my colleagues sought to mimic and uphold.

But I started all of it from scratch. Going in I knew nothing about the food service industry. I remember what it felt like to be new, and trying to integrate into the common culture. Learning the products, procedures, lingo, and taboos. As I learned, I took my position from simply food service to something else entirely.  

 And now, I get to do it all over again and feel all of those feelings anew, a whole new adventure. (And do again shortly after. Check out Check in from Volkswagen)
 My new colleagues are intimidating. I have so much respect for their experience and know-how. Most have run their own companies, successfully.  Fortunately, I’ve never been known to be a timid person, and challenges tend to fill me with excitement rather than dread. I bring the experience of what feels like a million person-to-person sales interactions with people of every social standing and industry to the table.
 I’ve served probably the widest demographic ever. It ranged from homeless people to the some of the richest industry leaders, from students to post-doctorates, people who dream of politics to US Congress persons. From children to people celebrating their 103rd birthday. I’ve shared stories, listened, argued, and even taught.
  I remember a pretty awesome conversation with former Defense Secretary Robert Gates about my country of origin.
 I am hopeful. I am chomping at the bit to learn more, and contribute.  A week and a half in, I continue to see new things in which I can become a contributor. If you have come to this blog for insights into the beautiful world of Parallel Kingdoms, the industry I am now entering is… well… remarkably similar. I’m going to be managing relationships to maximize profit.
 I’ll be looking for new industries and partners to create new cash streams for my company. I’ll be involved with spamming, actually and figuratively.

 My company is remarkable. They are growing, effective, and looking to expand. If you found this blog because you are one of the people I’ve tried to connect with on Linkedin, please connect.  I’m sure I’ll have something great to offer you!






 I look forward to blogging my new insights into this new industry, so stay tuned. Maybe we can learn together.