Posted on September 30, 2016 by Charlie Galaviz
Welcome to Edition 9.0 of The VirtualPBX 5! It’s that time of the month when we share our favorite topics, gadgets, and apps. Halloween is just around the corner, so get ready for a chilling spin on the traditional. Here is a sneak peak of the horror to come!
Jack-o-lanterns, sweets, and the unearthly — it’s an unnerving time of year for marketers to wave their magic wands. Creating wickedly successfully Halloween campaigns means thinking outside the box. You might not know it, but one of the most effective marketing tools is already at your fingertips.
Here are 5 ways your business can use VoIP in your Halloween marketing campaigns:
1. Spine-Chilling Greetings
Recording a custom greeting for your business is a great way to advertise seasonal specials and features. Send chills down your customers spines with how spooky your best promotions are. Delivering a strong call to action will get customers literally running through the door, even if they are not being chased by the walking dead.
2. Spooky Numbers
One of the biggest skull scratchers for marketers is tracking incoming call leads to various marketing campaigns. Setting a unique toll-free number to a specific Halloween campaign will allow you to track where your leads are coming from. For example, if you are running a sponsored Oktoberfest campaign on Instagram, you will now be able to track the lead via the Contact button on your business profile.
3. Grim Softphone
Whether the grim reaper or the boogeyman are going to be featured in your next influencer campaign, it is crucial to maintaining excellent communication. Influential people are always on-the-go, so you will need a softphone app to make calls anytime and anywhere.
4. Frightening Hotline
Customer-centric marketing campaigns are about as rare as a white pumpkin. A frightening hotline can be a fun and affordable way for small businesses to show their Halloween festivity while engaging potential customers. The key to a successful campaign is tieing the hotline back to your company’s product solution. For a hotline reference, you can check out our Zombie Apocalypse Survival Hotline by calling 1-855-402-1969.
5. Eerie Customer Service
Is your entire customer service team going to be dressing as robots for Halloween? If not, they shouldn’t be regurgitating the same cobwebbed lines all year long. While the message should stay the same, don’t be afraid to have some fun with the delivery. After all, the experience of talking to a human being is great marketing.
Posted on September 29, 2016 by Dan Quick
Congratulations to the Back to Work Makeover Sweepstakes winner, Jacob M. from Wilmington, North Carolina! While we had thousands of entries, Jacob M. proved it only takes one to win it all and now he’s the recipient of the grand prize, $250 in VirtualPBX products and services along with another $100 in Amazon gift credits to round it out. We couldn’t be happier for him and his family but also we’re grateful to all of you who entered and shared your participation with your friends and family all over the world.
Today’s Sweepstakes Winner is Tomorrow’s Telephony Guru
While all of our entrants would have been worthy winners, Jacob and his family of wife and two daughters is the perfect candidate for a total work phone makeover. A professional carpenter and avid farm-to-table Lemonadist (yes I just made that word up), Jacob often juggles work and personal phone calls from the field. He said he’s likely to invest his winnings into a new phone to accommodate the mobile nature of his work. With the back to work theme being addressed with the $250 in VirtualPBX credit, there’s a good chance that back to school is going to have a new look for his little ladies, too, thanks to the $100 Amazon gift card. Between the boosted business communications and promise of new school supplies for the kiddos, it’s safe to say that Jacob and his family will be more than satisfied with being our sweepstakes winner.
More Fun on the Way
If you enjoyed the Back to Work Makeover Sweepstakes, you’re in luck because we’re not done yet with all of our shenanigans, not by a long shot! Stay tuned to our Twitter and Facebook feeds to learn about what we have cooking down the road. Between fun Halloween antics and exciting product news and information, we’re always sure to keep it fresh. So in the meanwhile, thank you again to all of the entrants and congratulations again to our sweepstakes winner, Jacob!
Posted on September 27, 2016 by Dan Quick
Normally, talking about the two powerful foes who duked it out on national television makes you think about Monday Night Football. Not this time. Unless you have been living under a rock for the past year, you probably know that Monday night was the first presidential debate between the two major-party candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The popularity that both of these candidates have is historically low and a lot of that is based on the public’s general mistrust of what they have to say. This has led to a bevy of debate fact-checking services across the web and, unsurprisingly, that is creeping its way into the office today more than ever. That’s why we figured we’d go over how to talk politics at work without getting fired.
Fact Checking at Work
The problem with deciding to take your debate fact checking to work is that politics it right up there with favorite pizza toppings and sports teams as topics most likely to cause a disagreement. Obviously, disagreements are fine and often encouraged in the office as they are typically responsible for an improved final product when moving from project to project. Disagreeing over politics in the workplace is a good way to flirt with disaster at the office, especially when it concerns the two least-liked major party presidential candidates in history. Seeing as how we’re the hosted business communications ally for distributed and remote workforces, we thought we’d make this how-to guide on discussing politics for the times that you are in the office, as well.
Debate the Debates and Keep Your Job
Remember, just like the candidates, by sticking to your game plan and not getting lured or baited into deviating from your path, you can make it through this political cycle unscathed. Use these tips to make sure your paychecks aren’t tied to the success of your favorite candidate.
1. Know Your Stuff
The biggest challenge facing a lot of the world today has nothing to do with politics, and that is that we have access to an indigestible amount of information out there and no clear guideline on how to use it. For starters, never use a headline to frame your argument. Instead, read whatever headlines trigger a reaction to gain a better understanding of the context. Better yet, follow-up with some related reading to make sure your facts are accurate. For extra credit you can always go to Snopes or Politico to lock in the facts with their research.
2. Know Your Audience
I get it, emotions run high in a political debate and you may be keen to jump into discussing your favorite ups and downs. Settle down there, trigger. Are you about to engage with people who are open and receptive to that conversation, or are they just in line to toast their bagels? A little self-awareness will be key to not pressing coworkers into uncomfortable situations.
3. Know Your Limits
Trolling on the internet is something that no topic, culture, interest, or hobby has been unaffected by. Do you know why that is? Because people like to stir the pot and they sure don’t need the internet to do it. If you have a coworker who is looking to troll you, beware and better yet, back off. This should go for anything, but I like to quote Mark Twain to help remember how to deal with trolls, “Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”
4. Know The Risks
I file this one under the category of weighing the risks against the rewards. Sure, everyone from the top of the corporate food chain to the newest hire fresh out of college will be affected by the course of the country over the next four years, but not all of them will be your best debate conversation buddy. If you happen to come across a conversation that finds your boss or CEO on the opposite side of the political spectrum to yourself, it’s time to really consider if now is the time to hop in to correct his or her facts. Look, I’m the last one in the world to tell anyone to roll over and be disingenuous to their beliefs, but that is not the same thing as refraining from fighting every battle. Because, discretion is the finer part of valor, after all.
5. Know Where You Stand (or don’t!)
Okay, maybe this doesn’t apply to most, but for the folks out there who aren’t clear on the topics, issues, candidates, or on even if there is an election going on at all, there exists a special set of rules. The first and most important thing to remember is that there is no shame whatsoever in not being the most well-read political wonk in the room. Frankly, that’s a dubious honor, anyway. Having a legitimate academic curiosity on the topics is enviable and something to be encouraged. If you find yourself just starting out on the subject, try to focus on asking more questions than not. Conversely, if you are in the debates pretty deep and you encounter someone seeking information, be patient, be kind, and try to make sure they understand what they want to know, not how you want them to vote.
Is Today the Company’s Last Day?
Hopefully not. In the highly likely event that you plan to return to the office at a later date, it would be in your best interest to make sure the political discussions go as smoothly as possible. Remember, while losing your job over a political discussion is a distant and worst-case scenario, it is possible to have a bad conversation that could have been avoided by following these steps.
Have you seen or been a part of a political dust-up at work before? Tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to hear if these steps could have helped avoid it. Also, let us know if you’d add anything to the list and maybe we’ll include it following the next debate!
Posted on September 22, 2016 by Dan Quick
Maybe you already heard, but it’s about to get real. That’s right, it’s time again for KazoonCon! The folks over at 2600Hz have once again been hard at work putting together the line for two days of some of the telecommunications industry’s biggest players, movers, and shakers. And coming as no surprise to anyone, we’re going to be all over KazooCon 2016!
What You Need To Know
With an event that pulls in hosted telecom visionaries from all over the world the way that KazooCon 2016 will, it’s important to do some recon and make sure you know how to make the most of attending. Fortunately for you, we’re back as Gold Sponsors of the event so we have the low down for you on KazooCon 2016. Back, of course, are the keynote speeches from founders and moguls ranging from 2600Hz engineers to other leaders in the use of the Kazoo platform. You’ll also be in familiar settings because, back by popular demand, the event will take place once again in the historic Broadway Studios of San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. Plus, if being smack dab in the center of the VoIP community’s most active event isn’t enough, you’ll also be thrilled to learn that being in the center of the culinary heart of the Bay Area has its perks, too. This year the event will be catered by several of the area’s most popular food trucks, making it all but a guarantee that I will be first out and last back for lunch each day. Well, okay, I guess that means some things are exactly the same this year at KazooCon 2016, but I digress.
New for KazooCon 2016
In probably the most remarkable change in the strategy for KazooCon 2016 over previous years is that there will be a much higher focus on monetizing products and services built off of the Kazoo platform. While the event has always been known for its tremendously thorough technology breakouts for engineers, recent spikes in attendance of non-technical professionals have sparked a change. This year, KazooCon 2016 will still host those same breakouts but will now be offering concurrent, non-technical, business-oriented workshops to accommodate this new crowd. Now, attendees will be able to share best practices, learn from experts, and discover new strategies for both building gorgeous, effective telecom products as well as the operations to make them as successful as possible.
Something Old, Something New
Because it wouldn’t really feel like KazooCon without a little intrigue, however, there is one more thing to note- The After Party! Again, what is the world’s premier hosted telecom event without the world’s premier social event? I’m not sure, but it sure as heck wouldn’t be KazooCon! The kicker is that this year, in spite of being a returning Gold Sponsor, not even we can get any info on what the plan is! All we can say for certain is that they’ve been hard at work to make sure that KazooCon 2016 blows away the past year’s event both during and after hours. And if last year’s success was any indication, they must be working pretty darn hard.
No Time to Lose
Will we see you there? I hope so, but if your answer wasn’t already an emphatic and confident yes as you waved your ticket above your head with excitement, let’s change that, shall we? Stop what you’re doing and go register for one of the last few remaining tickets now and we’ll see you on October 17 & 18 in San Francisco.
Want to make it but simply can’t? No sweat, you can be sure that we’ll be getting knee-deep in the event each day and you can follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook for updates on KazooCon 2016. Either way, though, we hope to see you there!
Posted on September 15, 2016 by Dan Quick
As is often said in reference to sports stars and their careers, Father Time is still undefeated. Plainly stated, it doesn’t matter how good you are or how hard you train, eventually, the clock will run out on even the best of times. Coincidentally, the same can be said for the VirtualPBX Back to Work Makeover Sweepstakes. If you haven’t entered yet, you better act fast.
What’s All the Commotion About?
To refresh your memory, the VirtualPBX Back to Work Makeover Sweepstakes is the best thing to hit your office since that upgrade to the coffee maker. With a chance to win $250 in VirtualPBX products and services plus an additional $100 Amazon Gift Card, one lucky winner will be the talk of the town, er, office, by the end of the week. And that’s the big thing to remember, the contest ends tomorrow, Friday, September 16, 2016.
So What Are You Waiting For?
Just like they always say, nothing ventured, nothing gained, so you have to act fast in order to have a chance for winning. The good thing is that even if you are just now getting into the running, your chances are just as good as the folks who entered on the day the sweepstakes began. And to boost your chances of winning, all you have to do is share the link that you’ll be mailed after you enter with all of your coworkers and colleagues. For every person you refer who enters, you’ll receive added entries to win. So go ahead! Sign up now and share it with your friends, family, mailman, butcher, baker, and candlestick maker! In fact, if you actually have a candlestick maker, you’re probably more in need of an update to your phone system than most, so I really hope you win.
No Time to Lose
Remember, the drawing is being held tomorrow, Friday, September 16, 2016, so you don’t have any time to waste. Sign up now and make sure to follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook for updates on this fantastic sweepstakes!