Book Review: Call to Action by Bryan Eisenberg

March 14, 2007 - Get free updates of new posts here

There was a point after working at Facebook that I figured I am the web business god. I could create any web business and all my judgments were spot on. Damn, I was so wrong. I lacked a key thing that I am sure so many people over look. Measuring and testing! I recently started getting heavily interested in this field and my whole perspective on things have changed.

I started reading Call to Action and realized it was a great muse for inspiring me to think more about testing in web development. I have learned no matter what I think, nothing is stronger than facts.

Call to Action: Secret Formulas to Improve Online Results
Key Points:

* Usability studies are great but also having hard data can show you a different story. Saying and doing are two separate things. A usability study said font did not affect a certain behavior whereas an A/B test on font and font-size in an email campaign produced dramatic results.

* Make your communication personal and relevant to your audience. Go to their forums, drain brains from everyone who interacts with your customers and look into keywords your ideal users type into their browsers.

* Interesting metrics to consider:
1) Single-Page Access: % of people who land on a page and made it their first and last page. How can you remedy it?
2) Scenario Analysis: Follow your visitor’s path through your website. Look at the pages they reject

* If you require registration try to shift that to the last moment possible. [Noah’s note: A great example of this is geni.com]

* A search engine is not always the best way for your customers to find the right thing. Also, spend the time to evalute what people are searching for the most and make those easier to find.

* Shopping cart notes:
a) Allow shoppers to call with an order # to reference what they have in their cart.
b) Give meaningful and descriptive error messages [Noah’s Note: preferably in real time using Ajax]
c) Add pictures inside the basket
d) Show stock availability on page, scarcity sales
e) Include a progress indicator and a back link
f) When all else fails, survey. Do This!

Bottom line: Get Call to Action from the library for free. The book has some great content but you can get the majority of it online. I did enjoy a few of the case studies but would have preferred more of those and more exact take-aways.

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7 responses to “Book Review: Call to Action by Bryan Eisenberg

  1. Boris Reply

    Thanks for these tips.

    It’s easy to be a critic of other people’s sites, but much harder to criticize one’s own endeavors objectively. On your own projects you’re always weighing how much work it would take to do something when considering changing something, while feeling free to offer advice on major architectural changes to someone else’s site 🙂

    geni.com is a great recommendation btw.

  2. Will Kern Reply

    Noah,
    Great tip on the book, I will have to check it out. It is amazing at how many products get launched with little to no testing done. BTW, I like how you opened the blog up to other posters, does that eliminate user generated Tuesdays?
    BTW, BTW, SxSW was a blast, I made it back in one piece. Wish you could have been there!

    Will

  3. noah kagan Reply

    Thanks Dave McClure for lending me the book. He is a great mentor and someone who knows a lot about testing.

    Will, I love how you continually rub in that I did not go to SXSW, haha. I will try my best to be there next year. UGT is still available.

    I am debating removing the Okdork public posts from the feed. I expect more and more posts in the future so I would prefer it did not. I wonder if people mind, do you?

  4. Boris Reply

    I don’t hate, I appreciate (as my 5th grade teacher taught me). I’ve recently been realizing that the most important lesson I’ve learned were in elementary school, and all the other crap that I’ve learned and done since is build upon those core ideas.

    spooning? yes! we’re talkin ice cream, right? yea, I’d love a scoop! yay, ice cream!

  5. Will Kern Reply

    I think you should see how the public posts do in the feed, and then go from there. I suspect that if you get a huge influx of public posts then yours may get drowned out. Can you set up a separate feed for the public posts?

    Spooning, that makes me giggle!

    WK

  6. Dave McClure Reply

    & btw, Waiting for your Cat to Bark? is a great followup to the first book (same authors, focuses on “persuasion architecture” and behavioral profiles as ways to identify what [different] types of users come to your site, and the [different] ways in which they perceive & engage with various copy / images / features.