2019 has been the year of the chatbot. Businesses who have adopted the chatbot trend have been able to support and scale their business operations by offering convenient and efficient communication to their customers. Implementing chatbots has also helped businesses increase their sales, by providing 24/7 chat support to customers who need questions answered before they buy. So, what is a chatbot and how can your business benefit from one? Sit tight! We’re about to unpack everything you need to know.
What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is an automated messaging system or computer program that interacts with your customers on your behalf. Chatbots are integrated into the back end of your website and pop up as a chatbox on the front when a visitor reaches your website.
Welcome to the future!
In 2001, A.I. might have spurred images of a young Haley Joel Osment. Jump forward 18 years and A.I. (artificial intelligence) is at the heart of modern-day advertising and marketing. In marketing, the role of artificial intelligence is to anticipate the customers’ needs and provide the information or resources they need to make a purchase decision.
If you’re trying to get your head around how artificial intelligence is used in marketing today and how you can leverage it in your business, start with understanding and using your own chatbot.
How does it know what to say?
Your chatbot is prepopulated with a series of questions, answers and resources to help your customers through their purchase journey. Think of it like a smarter, more engaging FAQ channel. The prepopulated list of questions and answers is meticulously mapped out and tells your chatbot how to behave or respond when certain actions are taken, or questions are asked.
More advanced chatbots and virtual assistants can be customized to do a lot more than handle customer queries. They can be integrated with booking systems and other communication platforms enabling people to make reservations and purchases.
Chatbots for the hospitality industry (hotels and restaurants)
20 years ago, you might have found Trudy or Kenneth at a desk answering the phone and taking reservations in a dusty old reservation book. In 2019, you’ll find Trudy and Kenneth enjoying the finer things in life while their chatbot takes care of bookings and reservations for them.
Benefits of chatbots for hotels and restaurants
Here’s what you can expect from effectively implementing a chatbot on your hotel or restaurant’s website:
∙ An increase in direct bookings. Visit Skyscanner or booking.com to see their reservation tool in action.
∙ Reduction in office hours. A chatbot can handle many questions and activities that would otherwise be managed by a receptionist.
∙ A better understanding of the different profiles of guests and travelers and appropriate offers based on their profiles.
∙ Better customer experience. Guests can opt-in for information on things to see and do in the area, helping them get the most out of their stay.
∙ Better customer service. Guests can get the support they need 24/7.
∙ Better customer satisfaction. The ease of booking through a chatbot is unbeatable!
∙ An increase in reviews. Emails requesting reviews get lost in a busy inbox. A chatbot prompts reviews that are quick and easy to submit.
Simplicity makes sales. If retail brands make it easy for their customers to buy from them, they will! Chatbots help retailers make more sales by providing customer support and customized suggestions to shoppers, increasing the chance of a sale.
Benefits of chatbots for the retail industry
In retail, some of the benefits of implementing a chatbot include:
∙ Less abandoned carts. We’ve all added items to a cart and failed to check out (for whatever reason). A chatbot reminds you to checkout, encourages you to complete your purchase or offers you a discount if you check out within a certain timeframe.
∙ Enhanced and smoother customer service. Chatbots are available 24/7/365 to answer any concerns a visitor might have about a product. Knowing everything you need to know about the product increases the likelihood of you making a purchase.
∙ Customized post-sale offers. Chatbots can send custom offers and information to customers based on their previous purchases.
∙ Increase in conversion rates. Lack of sales on an Ecomm website is often as a result of a poorly designed conversion funnel. Chatbots make the purchase journey super simple helping increase conversions.
∙ Driving sales! All these benefits combined naturally drive sales.
The thing we love most about LivePerson is that it is suitable for all industries. Text messaging, Google Rich Business Messaging, Apple Business Chat, Line, FacebookMessenger, WhatsApp, and Google AdLingo can all be integrated into the chatbot.
Designed for the needs of enterprise brands Inbenta has a simplistic interface and can handle simple demands with a high level of intelligence. The best feature Inbenta has to offer is the ability to detect when the conversation needs a human to step in.
Suitable for big brands and businesses, Watson Assistant has been designed by IBM, the leader in A.I. solutions. This chatbot is a lot more advanced and recommended for larger businesses that require more extensive support and chatbot capabilities.
Regardless of your personal views on talking to a robot, customers set the demands and don’t really have a preference when it comes to dealing with a robot or a human, as long as they get what they need*. Your business could very well be a chatbot away from better customer support, happier customers and more sales. So, what have you got to lose?
Reach out to us below to set up a chatbot of your own!
Can Reviews Affect Your SEO Rankings? You already know that local SEO is the name of the game. It’s essential to send Google signals – through keyword use and other SEO techniques – that your business is local. You also want them to know who it serves and where it is.
What you might not know is this:
Your online reviews play a direct role in your business making the cut to appear in the Google local three-pack.
In case you don’t know, that’s the collection of businesses that appear at the top of Google’s SERP when someone searches a keyword. It turns out that one of the keys to landing a coveted spot in the three-pack is getting good reviews. Here’s what you need to know.
The Proof That Reviews Matter
How can we tell that reviews make a difference in SEO rankings? Google’s algorithm is proprietary and the known ranking factors (keywords, links, and Google Rankbrain, to name a few) don’t include reviews.
Local SEO experts have been saying this for a years, but it’s actually fairly easy to see that reviews are important. Google any local business category and you will get a list of results with a three-pack at the top. When you look at the businesses that made it into the three-pack, you’ll most likely see the following:
Star ratings pulled directly from online reviews of the business
Keywords in those reviews
For example, if you searched for the keyword “Spokane hair salon,” you would see reviews that related to that keyword. That’s all the proof we need to know that reviews make a difference in determining which businesses appear at the top of the SERP.
It’s also worth noting that the Local SEO Guide found that local reviews were the second most influential factor in determining search rank in their 2017 Local SEO Ranking Factors study. The influence in this study appeared to be limited to reviews that specifically included the keyword searched. Customers, however, are likely to use the most commonly searched terms naturally.
In addition, LSI keywords that are related to the search term may also play a role. Try Googling your top keyword and looking at what’s highlighted in the reviews in the three-pack. You may notice that reviews that use semantically-related words show up even if they don’t use the precise term you searched.
The Reasons Google Likes Reviews for SEO Rankings
There are some concrete reasons that Google thinks reviews matter. They’re directly related to the ways that Google’s algorithm has evolved. In the early days of the internet, it was possible to get a page to rank highly on any search engine by stuffing it with keywords.
That changed because it omitted any concern for the experience of a user who clicked through to a site. After all, if you could click on a site because it ranked for a keyword only to find that it was useless to your needs, you wouldn’t revisit it. You might even resent the search engine that directed you to it in the first place.
With that in mind, here are:
The Top Three Reasons Google Likes Reviews for SEO Rankings
It trusts outside sources more than it trusts you (at least when it comes to the relevance of your site.) This first reason is related to the ongoing importance that Google places on authority backlinks. It stands to reason that it would accept mentions and references from other sources as proof that your site is relevant to certain keywords and topics.
Google uses written content as a way of determining authenticity. When customers write reviews, they describe your business. They may even include information that’s not on your website. Even if you don’t list reviews on your site, these things can help flesh out the information on your site and give Google more context for its interpretation of your site.
Click-through rates also influence Google’s ranking algorithm. That might seem obvious, but what you need to know is that a business with lots of good reviews is, inevitably, going to get more clicks and traffic than a business with a few mediocre reviews. It’s in your best interest to encourage reviews if you want to boost your Google rank.
These three things explain why reviews matter to Google. The key takeaways here is that Google takes outside resources into account to help it determine the authenticity and usefulness of your website. Users “vote” for your site by writing reviews and describing your site. Just as web users trust peer reviews to help them make buying decisions, Google trusts them to help it make recommendations of which sites are most likely to be useful for the keyword searched.
How to Make the Most of Your Reviews
Here are some quick tips to help you make the most of your reviews:
Claim your listings on all relevant review sites. This includes Yelp and Google My Business, as well as local review sites. You want to make sure that you use keywords in your listing, link to your site, and include relevant information that will help people find you.
Link to your review pages directly from your website so customers can leave reviews if they want to.
Put a reminder about reviews on your receipts or comment cards. Remember that dissatisfied customers are often motivated to leave reviews, but happy customers will do so if you make it easy for them.
Send a note to your email list with a link to your review sites and ask them to leave a review.
Reply promptly to negative reviews to try to resolve them and get the reviewer to update their review.
These things will help you dial up the impact of your reviews and help you get into the coveted local three-pack for your most important keywords.
You know that, and now you can do something about it. Organic traffic is increasingly difficult to come by but encouraging and highlighting your reviews can help you get the biggest possible bang for your marketing bucks.
To learn more about how we can help generate more reviews that will positively impact your SEO rankings, fill out the form below and we will reach back out to you.
Advertising on Facebook has been around for a while. It’s practically a granddaddy in the world of online marketing.
And, like a lot of small business owners, you know that it’s getting harder to get the ROI you want on Facebook ads. It’s a numbers game, after all, and as of the third quarter of 2018, they had approximately 2.27 billion active monthly users.
It’s no wonder you’re having a difficult time connecting with your audience. You’re competing with millions of other advertisers! It’s a crowded space.
That said, Facebook ads can still be useful – with a twist. Instead of sticking to the same traditional ads you’ve been using, it might be time to check out Facebook’s newest ad option – Facebook Messenger Ads.
What Are Facebook Messenger Ads?
Facebook Messenger ads are ads that appear either on the newsfeed or directly in people’s Messenger inboxes.
The newsfeed ads have a call to action that directs people who click it to Messenger, where they can send you a message and get more information about your business.
53% of people say they’re willing to buy from a company they can message directly on Facebook Messenger. And, customer service is increasingly moving toward instant and direct messaging. Customers expect instantaneous responses and favor brands that provide it.
Facebook Messenger Ads allow small businesses to connect directly with potential leads. They eliminate the need for a hard selling ad and instead, open a dialogue. They provide an opportunity for you to personalize your marketing in a way that encourages people instead of putting them off.
Three Types of Facebook Messenger Ads
There are three types of Facebook Messenger Ads available for small businesses to use. They are:
Let’s break it down, starting with destination ads. These are ads that appear in your target audience’s newsfeed, very much like traditional Facebook ads. The main difference? The call to action is always going to be “Send a Message.” When a user clicks it, a Messenger window opens, and your automated message will appear. (We’ll talk more about how to use that feature later.)
Sponsored messages allow you to deliver special offers and communications directly to the user’s Messenger inbox. A key feature of sponsored messages is that you may send them only to people who have messaged you previously. They’re a form of remarketing with a personal touch.
Finally, home screen ads are ads that appear in Messenger. The difference between these ads and sponsored messages is that their intent is not to start a conversation. It’s to drive sales by encouraging users to click on the ad.
How Can Facebook Messenger Ads Benefit Your Business?
Facebook Messenger ads are a great option for small, local businesses. They allow you to personalize ads and connect directly with the people who are most likely to buy from you.
Want some examples? Here are a few ways that you can use Messenger ads to boost your profits:
1. Personalize your messages. Too much personalization can seem downright creepy, but Facebook Messenger ads allow companies to straddle the line without crossing it. Because you can only send direct messages to people who’ve already connected with you on Messenger, it doesn’t feel as intrusive as LinkedIn direct ads. And, it lets you tailor your offers in a way that’s highly likely to result in a sale.
2. Give customers the response time they want. With Messenger ads, you can automate your replies to ensure that potential customers aren’t stuck waiting for a response from you. And, in case you don’t know, people prefer messaging to any other form of customer service. Research shows that 73% of consumers prefer live chat to email, and 56% prefer it to a phone call.
3. Start a conversation. Lead nurturing is something that you can do one on one with Facebook Messenger ads. You can even customize your newsfeed ads to encourage people to chat with you about your product or service. This option allows for one-on-one contact – even if it’s largely automated – that makes potential customers feel valued.
4. Increase local awareness of your business. One of the best things about Facebook Messenger ads is that you can select “increase local awareness” as your ad objective. This is a particularly effective option for businesses that want to reconnect with existing customers. You can use Messenger to send them an offer that’s tailored to them.
Another way of looking at Facebook Messenger ads is that they’re the modern-day equivalent of going door to door. They don’t require any more effort that traditional Facebook ads, but they offer a degree of personalization and one-on-one contact that will allow your business to connect with potential leads in a meaningful way.
How to Get Started with Facebook Messenger Ads
If you’re itching to get started with Facebook Messenger ads, here are 7 easy steps to help you get going.
1. Open Facebook Business Manager.
2. Choose conversion as your marketing objective.
3. Scroll down and select Messenger. (This ensures that a click will start a conversation instead of redirecting the person to your landing page.)
4. Scroll to Edit Placements and select Messenger again. You’ll notice that with your first ad, Sponsored Messages aren’t an option – that’s because they’re only for remarketing.)
5. Fill in the content you want to appear in your ad.
6. Choose Send Message as your call to action. (This one’s a must because it lets the people who see your ad know that they’re starting a conversation with you.)
7. Finally, fill in the message (or the first few messages) you want people to see when they click your call to action. For example, you could send them a coupon or ask them a question to start the conversation.
That’s it. Once you’ve completed these steps, your very first Facebook Messenger ad will be up and running – and you’ll be able to see for yourself what a powerful marketing tool Facebook Messenger can be.
Getting a great ROI on Facebook advertising can be tough. There’s a ton of competition and as a small business owner, your marketing budget is limited. Facebook Messenger ads can help you leapfrog over the competition and connect directly with the most valuable people on social media– your customers.