Getting Back to Basics with Your Marketing
In its purest sense, marketing is defined by The Chartered Institute of Marketing as “the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably”. It’s important to remember this in every activity you undertake, as in the end, however innovative your product is or however modern your operational processes are, if they don’t identify, anticipate and satisfy customer requirements, then your business will not succeed. We’re looking at you Google Glass.
As such, your primary objective in marketing should be to act as the customer champion within the organisation. No matter the decision, it’s important to ensure that it has been made with the customer in mind. When this doesn’t occur, there can be consequences. A recent example of this is Snapchat’s redesign. Whilst it was intended to make the user experience simpler, the majority of users found it be a confusing mess, with 1,200,000 people signing a Change.org petition asking parent company, Snap, to revert the app to the previous version. Whilst we’re yet to see how the changes and backlash have affected the company’s profits, it’s clear to see that Snapchat have failed to identify, anticipate and satisfy its customer’s requirements.
The Additional Ps in the Marketing Mix
Whilst of course you are familiar with the four Ps of marketing mix; price, promotion, product and place, there are three additional elements that are often forgotten:
Long gone are the days where customers would simply buy a product or service. Customers now expect every experience – from the moment they discover your business to the time they make their purchase and beyond – to be delivered to a high standard.
An excellent example of this is the Domino’s Pizza app. Easy orders can be configured to make a purchase with one touch, you can track your pizza from order to delivery, and the app has been designed to be as user friendly as possible. From the moment customers pick up the phone, Dominos have ensured that the process of ordering a pizza from them is an easy and hassle free as possible.
Customers do not often separate the product or service from the staff member who provides it, so whether it’s your front of house team of Managing Director, it’s essential to that your staff are appropriately trained, well-motivated and have the right attitude. As the only Creative Agency to be awarded a Customer Service Excellence accreditation, we understand the importance that staff play in the customer experience.
Due to the intangible nature of a service, it’s important to provide consumers with the opportunity to see what they are buying. The idea should always be to show, rather than tell. Whilst we, as an agency, can tell potential customers that we can improve their SEO performance or assist them in creating a stronger and more professional brand, we are more inclined to show them through our case studies.
Communication Is Key
From TV and radio to print advertising and social media, there are an array of channels that you can use to communicate with your customers. However, not every channel will be relevant to your target audience, and thus time should not be spent trying to utilise each one. For example, whilst you would expect a music and events company to have a strong social presence, you would not expect it from a car parts manufacturer. This is not to say that you should actively avoid certain communication channels, however, it’s important to prioritise the channels that provide an active return on investment.
Communication should not be a one-way street with your customers, opening your business up to feedback not only helps to build trust but can also help you to address customer requirements that you had not previously identified.
How Can We Help You
We believe that successful marketing starts with a good understanding of your business and market insights. We spend time immersing ourselves in your business and data in order to understand your product, service, target audience, competitors and market place. This provides you with the insight and support to identify, anticipate and satisfy customer requirements profitably.
For more information about any of our marketing services, get in touch with one of our expert marketing consultants today!
How Do I Add Value for My Customers Through My Marketing Channels?
After all, customers do most to all of their research online prior to their purchase. It is important to let your customers know that you are the fountain of all knowledge in your field, an expert about your product, service or industry inside and out where they can come to with any queries.
We have put together a few ideas below that we feel would help add value to your marketing channels and boost engagement for your business.
Know your audience – Consider your customers perspective, what problems they face and how you can help solve them through your product or service. Ensure you set your tone of voice to one that will suit your brand and get the best response from your audience, this may differ slightly for each platform. Ensuring you are on as many platforms as your audiences are on is key, different groups of your audiences will be on different platforms, this being said, it is important that you change your content and tone of voice slightly depending on platform to fit the different demographics. For example, Facebook is informal, interactive and friendly with frequent shorter posts, whereas LinkedIn is more formal and professional with longer, content rich, less frequent posts.
Valuable content – Give your audience a reason to want to follow you on social media and look at your website – they want to gain information and advice from you. (This can be anything from downloadable PDFs of guides, tips and advice about your industry, to a calendar of important dates and events not to be missed out on, or even infographics of important stats relevant to your industry.)
User Generated content – Future customers will trust the opinions of other consumers. So, ask your audience to share content (images, tweets, videos etc.) relevant to your business, leave their reviews and testimonials, share how they use your product or service. Also case studies showing a client’s problem before finding your business, solution (YOU!) and the results by using your product or service.
Engage with your audience – This can be done by using polls, questionnaires (when you ask users their opinion – it makes great market research too!). Question and answer sessions on social media can also be a very effective way of increasing brand awareness, authority and engagement. Create a #hashtag so everyone can follow and get involved, give their opinions as well as get their questions answered. This can be a great way of finding out what your audience wants and how you can develop your business plan and strategy to better fit your audience and in return gain higher customer satisfaction.
Be personable – Humanise your brand by sharing ‘behind the scenes’ information. For example, products and services before, during and after they have been created. Share throwbacks showing how far your business has come – this can be anything from growth in employee numbers to old office buildings compared to new. Encouraging staff and team members to share news, quotes and an insight into the business – teasing what’s to come without revealing all – is a good way of keeping things personable and relatable, making you far more than a faceless corporation. Share internal news like new employees and employee of the month, explaining why they have been awarded this title. This keeps your audience familiar with your company on a personal level making it more relatable for them.
Create demonstrations – How to videos and images are great, share with your audience how you use your products or service. Think about any questions or issues your audience might face and answer these for them.
Be inspirational – Sharing humorous and inspiring images or quotes relating to your industry. If you motivate your audience and make them laugh, they are more likely going to engage with you and listen to what you have to say. This also helps to break up your more serious, promotional posts with a more light-hearted personal approach.
Stay current – Offering your brands opinion on recent news and current affairs is an interesting way of keeping up to date with social trends. Staying current may be sharing internal, company news or external, industry articles. Both give a sense of community and position your brand as a thought leader. Give your brands’s take on these issues, help give your audience opinions and thoughts on these news articles, allowing them to shape their open opinions. Staying on top of current trend also means sharing content from your influencers within the industry, engage in conversation and discussion. Tag these people in your images, if they find of value they might share to their followers, gaining you further engagement.
If you’d like more advice and support on organic social media management or social media advertising, contact us today, or click to find out more about our social media marketing services.
7 Steps for SMEs To Build a Big Brand on Social Media
If you’re worried about getting left behind where social media is concerned, take a look at these seven easy steps to build a big brand social presence for your SME.
Step 1: Choosing Your Channels
With nearly 5 billion collective users between them, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat may all look like promising social channels for your business, at first glance. But which platforms are really best for your business?
Generally speaking, Twitter is a solid choice for most organisations, as you can make your profile and presence as formal or informal as you like. Conversely, professional social networking site, LinkedIn, is far better suited to B2B organisations. Similarly, the informal nature of Facebook and Snapchat suit B2C companies looking to portray a fun and conversational, brand voice. While visually-led platforms, Pinterest and Instagram, tend to be favoured more by B2C companies, they can be effective – if utilised strategically – for any business that can utilise the visual though-leadership in a manner that is in-keeping with their brand.
Step 2: Find Your Voice
Before identifying the right ‘voice’ for your brand, you need to identify your audience, who are you looking to reach? How do you want them to view your brand?
Millennials and Generation Z (link to G Z blog) in particular are not satisfied with faceless businesses with no personality. Given that these younger users make up the majority of social media users, it is important that your social media presence makes people feel closer to your brand, so try to create a culture and thought leadership. Rather than just promoting your products and services, make your brand more human – share external articles relevant to your industry and position your brand’s take on this.
Step 3: Look Pretty
When it comes to social media, looks definitely count. As well as having a branded profile picture and banner image, it is important to share all of your posts with a variety of engaging images. It is easy to scroll past posts sharing nothing but text, but alongside the relevant URL, images and video content are a must for getting your content noticed and engaged with.
Step 4: Create a Social Calendar
On a busy day, sometimes posting on social media slips your mind. Creating a social calendar makes it easy to strategically plan what you want to post and when you want to post it, saving you time while maximising the effectiveness of your social posts. Make a note of any relevant National or World Days that your brand can join the conversation on. From pizza to popcorn, learn an instrument to save a spider, there’s a National Day for just about everything. Use relevant days as an opportunity to engage and be seen by using the correct hashtags.
Different works best on different channels – LinkedIn is more formal, Facebook is casual and Twitter is short and snappy. However, before you go creating different social calendars for your different social channels, here’s how to recycle and repurpose the same content by tailoring it to each channel appropriately:
Looking to take the next step with #PPC? Discover our helpful tips to make the most of your #AdWords campaign’s performance! https://t.co/lZAtyd4Eqx pic.twitter.com/Zv9BPF7FDz
— Generate UK (@GenerateUK) March 9, 2018
Don’t stick to your calendar religiously – while proactivity is key – it can be just as key as engage and react. What’s trending? Focus on how you get yourself involved in the relevant conversations and hot topics.
Step 5: Look & Listen
Social listening, that is, staying abreast of social media conversations relevant to your brand and industry, is an integral part of a strong and effective social media strategy. If you’re not using social listening tools, like Hootsuite, you can manually search for relevant terms on social, to see what users are discussing. Using Twitter lists is a great way to monitor the accounts most relevant to you, whether that’s competitors, current customers, influencers or employees, these lists provide you with a stream dedicated to only these tweets.
Step 6: Engagement is Key
Many brands neglect an integral part of social media – socialising. Engaging with customers, prospects, industry influencers and other relevant accounts will help you build relationships and nurture a strong, brand personality. You don’t have to spend hours scrolling through social media to up your engagement rate, here are some of Generate UK’s tips for building relationships on Twitter:
If you share an external article on social media, always mention (tag) the sources Twitter handle.
Similarly, take the time to reply when people share your content.
Respond to questions and take part in relevant industry discussions.
The bottom line is, engagement is so much more that constant retweets and serial likes; reply to tweets and invite conversation; quote tweet content from other accounts to add your own brand message.
Step 7: Enhance Organic Posts with Social Media Ads
Though organic social media is a great way to for SMEs to grow brand awareness, increase brand authority and position themselves as a thought leader – all on a low-budget – running social media ads can really bolster your organic efforts boost your reach even further.
While you have limited control of who sees your organic posts, the targeting options on social media mean that your ads can be well-optimised to appear in front of exactly who you want them to.
If you’d like more advice and support on organic social media management or social media advertising, contact us today, or click to find out more about our social media marketing services.
Generate UK Become First Creative Agency Awarded With Customer Service Excellence
Customer Service Excellence (previously the ‘Charter Mark’) is part of the government’s movement to promote businesses that are efficient, effective, excellent and empowering – putting the customer at the heart of what they do. The accreditation is awarded to organisations who are consistently achieving the national standard for excellence in customer service.
During an all-day, on-site evaluation process, our CSE assessor interviewed our customers and members of our team in order to examine areas of customer priority (delivery, timeliness, information, professionalism and staff attitude), as well as an emphasis on understanding customer experience and service satisfaction.
Two weeks after our evaluation, we received the great news and a certificate that is now proudly mounted on our wall.
The Customer Service Excellence accreditation also considers leadership an integral component in meeting the excellence standard, supporting management’s commitment to the customer, as well as the organisation itself.
‘The management approach is progressive, collaborative and inclusive. Senior management engage effectively with their team members using support, collaboration, consultation, learning and development to reinforce an excellent customer focused culture.’
Here at Generate UK, we pride ourselves on recognising the needs of our clients and ensuring that complex requirements can be delivered seamlessly, on-time and on-budget:
‘It was apparent from talking to customers that they valued the approach taken by Generate UK Ltd and the provision of service. Customers stated that they trusted there was always open communication, honesty and transparency in all dealings.’
Want to know more about what we do? Browse our services or see our client case studies.
Changing the Fabric of Exhibition Solutions
A standard, rigid panel system stand would have been too large and awkward for NGD’s requirements, so Generate UK suggested using a new, fabric style stand that was far better suited to the job.
A fabric stand offers many advantages over stands that use rigid panels. Fabric graphics can be printed as one piece at huge sizes, yet – despite their size – can be transported easily, as the graphics can be folded. They’re lightweight, durable and packs into a bag that can be transported conveniently, even by hand. Conversely, transporting rigid graphics comes hand in hand with the risk of creasing or getting marked or damaged.
Fabric graphics are seamless, meaning that large, stunning graphics can be displayed without interruption and illuminated with a light-stop sock. Conversely, the panels of rigid stands must be lined up precisely, though even when the graphics designed accordingly, seams and joins often remain visible.
The fabric stand employs a lightweight, tubular, aluminium frame to support the stretch fabric print. The curved stand can also be customised with the addition of a flat-screen, iPad, literature or shelves and can also accommodate LED lights to make your graphic even more eye-catching.In today’s climate, it’s worth noting that a fabric stand is far more eco-friendly than a rigid stand (which is made from plastics). The graphic can even be recycled with other textiles once it is finished with. Alternatively, the print can even be washed if it gets dirty.
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly, flexible and versatile exhibition stand for your next event, speak to Generate UK about our range of fabric stands and optional extras.
How To Improve Your AdWords Campaign’s Performance
Get your match type right
There are three main keyword match types that can be used to either broaden or tighten your campaign’s targeting, they are; broad match, phrase match and exact match. Here’s what each one means:
The default match type. A keyword that has been set to broad match will show if the keywords are used in the search, regardless of the order. Whilst this can be useful for building brand awareness, broad match keywords can lead to quickly exhausted budgets as your keywords are seen more frequently, and not always for relevant searches. An example for this is men’s shirts. As a retailer you may specialise in collared and button shirts, however, as ads will show regardless of the order, your ads may be shown for searches such as “men’s football shirts”, which may lead to you spending money for irrelevant traffic to your website.
Phrase match ads show for searches that match a phrase, or are close variations of that phrase. This leads to stronger targeting, and provides more control that may be afforded from solely using broad match. To add a phrase match keyword, simply add “ and ” to either side of your keyword, for example “men’s hats” would show your adverts for searches such as “cool men’s hats” and “buy men’s hats”.
Exact match type shows your ad on searches that match the exact term or are close variations of that exact term. This leads to even stronger targeting, however, you may see a drop in the number of clicks and impressions your AdWords campaign receives. . To add an exact match keyword, add [ and ] to either side of your keyword. For example, [men’s hats] will only show for the search term “men’s hats”. This will ensure that you are only showing your advertising to relevant searchers, which whilst it should result in a decrease in traffic, your business may see an increase in engagement from Paid Search.
Make use of negative keywords
Negative keywords let you exclude keywords from your campaigns, so that you can ensure that your advertising is not showing for irrelevant searches. When creating a highly targeted campaign it is just as vital to focus on the keywords you don’t want to show for as well as the ones that you do. Below is a suggested list of negative keywords that you could use within your campaign!
Of course, the above negative keywords will not be relevant for every campaign, however it provides a good indication of what type of keywords you should be looking to add in your negative keyword lists. The key is to ensure that your ads are only being shown to relevant, engaged users.
Quality is key
A key component of your advert’s position in search is the Quality Score. Google uses their quality score as an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords and landing pages. Keywords that possess higher Quality Scores can lead to lower cost per click and a higher avg. ad position – increasing the chance of your ad being clicked. The more relevant your ads and landing pages are to the user, the more likely it is that you’ll see a higher Quality Score.
To increase your Quality Score ensure:
your campaigns contain multiple, targeted ad groups.
create adverts that contain your targeted keywords.
create adverts which are relevant to your audience’s search.
your landing page is relevant to your targeted keywords.
Create multi-channel campaigns
Some visitors may not convert on their first visit to your website from AdWords. This could be due to their position in the buying cycle, or due to the nature of the product. As such, it’s important to make sure that your business remains in their brand thinking.
A positive way to achieve this is through remarketing. Remarketing shows ads to people who’ve visited your website. When visitors leave your website without buying a product or enquiring about a service, remarketing helps you reconnect with them by showing relevant ads across their different devices. There are many options for remarketing with Google AdWords, ensuring that your business can target its audience with the right medium. These include:
Standard remarketing: This campaign type will show your advertisements to your past visitors as they browse sites and apps on the Google Display Network.
Search remarketing: Show your advertisements to previous visitors as they carry out follow-up searches within Google after leaving your website.
Dynamic remarketing: Perfect for e-commerce websites, dynamic remarketing allows you to include products or services that people viewed on your website or app to create personalised ads for each individual previous visitor.
For more information about how you can take your Google AdWords performance to the next level, speak to one of our expert consultants regarding our range of PPC management solutions. Get in touch today!
How to Market to Generation Z
Generation Z, Gen Z, iGeneration or even Post-Millennials, as they are also known, are currently the youngest generation in UK’s (born in or after 1996). Using an average of five screens to a millennial’s three, these digitally-savvy, young prospects have grown up in an age of constant technological advancement. Having never known life without smart phones or social media, this generation will have seen approximately 200,000 marketing messages before they reach the age of 15, so marketers need to carefully consider how to cut through the noise that Gen Z are becoming ever-immune to.
In today’s digital climate, it’s no surprise that Generation Z is a mobile-first segment. Of their five screens (smart phone, tablet, TV, desktop and laptop), Gen Zers spend most of their time on their smart phones, meaning that marketers need to be red hot on ensuring that all content – website, social media, etc. – is optimised for smartphone screens. This new, ever-digital generation access anything and everything on their mobiles, meaning that companies should be thinking about moving towards generating mobile-first content before optimising for desktop and laptop.
We strongly recommend keeping video central to your Gen Z marketing strategy. 70% of Gen Zers would rather stream content than watch television, with more than one in four regularly posting their own content on YouTube. Video and animation marketing is also a great way of cutting through competitor collateral and communicating your message succinctly and without ambiguity, so if you’re aiming to connect with younger prospects, ensure that you create content that they find engaging, entertaining and relatable.
Even more so then the millennials that proceeded them, Generation Z prefer brands that are honest and authentic. Keep your brand personality strong – without distracting from the clear message of your activities, ensure you add value to communication with your prospects. Whether this is to entertain, to inspire or to add brand purpose, be sure to humanise your brand – more than ever before, prospects don’t want to interact or engage with a faceless company with no personality, instead, they seek brands that share an affinity with their beliefs and reflect real life (McCain, Samsung) rather than unrealistic ads portraying apparent ‘perfection’ (Hollister, Dior).
Rethink Your Social Media Strategy
While millennials let their digital lives play out on Facebook and Instagram, Generation Z favours younger social media channels like Snapchat, Whisper and Secret. Conversely to millennial preferences, this may well be a matter of privacy, as while Secret and Whisper posts are anonymous, media sent on Snapchat disappears after a matter of seconds. Nevertheless, Generation Z still has a huge presence on social media, use this to your advantage by listening to what Gen Z has to say. What are their interests? Their hobbies? Their ambitions? Collect these insights for a new input – from your audience, about your audience – on your marketing strategy and activities.
With 40% of all consumers expected to be Gen Z by 2020, this new generation of prospects brings marketers a whole, new opportunity. In order to ensure this doesn’t pass your organisation by, audience segmentation is vital. Lazily grouping Gen Zers and millennials together will cost you. Instead of trying to repurpose what you’ve learnt about marketing to millennials, take the time to understand these new, tech-savvy consumers and reshape your marketing strategy for this younger, digital audience.
If you need assistance restructuring your marketing activities, help with mastering social media or adopting a mobile-first strategy, get in touch with Generate UK today. Alternatively, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01635 88711.
A Beginners Guide to Facebook Marketplace
What Is Facebook Marketplace?
Facebook Marketplace is essentially a social Craigslist or Gumtree where users can list everything from furniture and clothing, to cars and housing. Facebook does not facilitate transactions, but instead acts a venue for sellers to advertise their goods, leaving the details of any sales such as price, shipping and other logistics between the buyer and seller.
Why Use Facebook Marketplace?
1) A new channel for your product or service
Facebook has over two billion active monthly users, even if only 10% of these use Facebook Marketplace, your business has an audience of 200 million people to market and sell to.
This is especially beneficial to SMEs who may only be receiving as little as 1,000 to 2,000 Sessions a month through traditional digital marketing methods.
2) Conduct market research
With such a large audience to take advantage of, Facebook Marketplace offers an excellent location to perform market research. You can select a few different products and test out different advert headlines, descriptions and prices to understand what garners the most demand for your product.
You may find that a different adjective or phrase, which your business was not previously using, has more success than what you currently use in your marketing communications?
3) Test marketing automation
Two words that spread fear through many marketing managers, marketing automation, does not have to be the big scary creature lurking in the dark. Facebook can provide a platform outside of your business from which to test marketing automation methods to understand how to best use them within your company.
This could be as simple as creating an automatic reply for any buyer enquiring about your products, or you could test yourself by creating a chat bot (link to chat bot blog) to answer frequently asked questions. Facebook Marketplace offers a unique opportunity to further your business’ marketing activities.
How Do I List Items on Facebook Marketplace?
Selling an item on Facebook Marketplace is an easy process, and can be achieved in four steps:
Click Marketplace in the left column of News Feed.
Click + Sell Something.
Enter your item info.
Click Add Photos to upload a photo of your item from your computer and then click Post.
And voila, you have successfully listed your first item!
Facebook Marketplace Selling Tips
Upload quality images – Ensure that buyers know exactly what they’re purchasing, don’t leave any room for doubt or hesitation, and be upfront and honest.
Be contactable – You do not need to be available 24 hours a day, but give buyers the opportunity to contact your business with any questions they may have about an item.
Search for wanted items to find waiting buyers – Facebook Marketplace is unique, as it presents an environment where buyers want sellers to come to them, search in the wanted items section for your products or service and see if there are any potential customers waiting for what you’re offering!
Facebook Marketplace provides a unique opportunity for your business to extend its footprint in the marketing environment and to test things which you previously may not have been able to experiment with before. To find out more about listing products on Facebook Marketplace, get in touch today!
SEMrush Ranking Factors Study – What You Need To Know
Direct Traffic is a large contributor to your ranking position
Direct traffic is most often the result of a user entering a URL into their browser or using a bookmark to directly access the site. Essentially, direct sessions occur any time Google Analytics cannot determine another referring source or channel. As such, direct traffic is often seen as an indicator of brand awareness as it suggests the more that visitors are directly entering the URL for your website, the stronger your brand awareness. As well as a sign of a strong brand, Google can attribute it as an indicator that your website has high authority and value for users, and thus should be placed higher in SERP’s.
How do you increase Direct Traffic?
Social Media: whilst at first you would believe that using platforms such as Twitter and Facebook would only boost your Social sessions, Social Media is a fantastic channel for increasing visibility for your product or service. Facebook itself has over one billion active monthly users, meaning that your business has a unique opportunity to increase awareness amongst a worldwide audience. As the saying goes… “content is king”, create great shareable content that would in turn enable you to reach more people.
Go Offline: the strongest marketing strategies take a multi-channel approach. Have you recently created a great piece of content? Or, have you recently launched a new offer? Share this with your audience through an offline channel such as a direct mailing campaign or print advert to encourage users to actively search for your website’s URL.
Advertise: this may not be feasible for everybody, but advertising can be as expensive as you want it to be. Print small paper ads and put them in local shops, get an advertisement on the radio or you could consider AdWords to have a larger level of control over your budgets.
Focus on the User Experience
User behaviour signals such as Average Session Duration, Pages per Session and Bounce Rate have also been found to be a big influence on website rankings, as they can indicate a quality website user experience and relevant content for users.
49% – the average Bounce Rate for websites ranking in the top three.
3 – 3.5 – pages are visited per one session when a user lands on the website from search.
x3.5 – users spent 3.5 times more time on the first-ranking pages.
These results indicate that if you can influence users to spend more time on your website, you could rank higher in SERPs. Whilst this could also be explained by the fact that users trust top-ranking pages more than lower-ranking ones, it’s important to ensure that your website is well optimised to provide a quality user experience.
How do you Improve User Behaviour?
Increase the number of internal links within each page – make it as easy as possible for your visitors to navigate your website, this will also help search engines to crawl your website.
Create clear user journeys across the website – help visitors navigate the website easily. This will encourage them to view more pages related to what they’re searching for.
Add more video content to the website – video provides an excellent (and varied) format to engage your audience.
Ensure your pages are relevant to your ranking keywords – it’s important that your page isn’t gaining traffic from keywords that are not relevant to your content, as this can lead to a poor user experience. Take time to review your keyword rankings, and navigate away from less relevant keywords.
If you need assistance in increasing Direct Traffic to your website or improving your site’s user experience , get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to support you in your SEO activities. Get in touch today or contact us at email@example.com or call 01635 88711.
Should your Business Employ a Chatbot?
What is a Chatbot?
Ok, let’s get this out the way up front. Yes, they are that little annoying window that pops up when you visit many websites – which you likely just close (unless you are actually looking to talk to someone there and then).
But a bit more specifically, a chatbot is a program which attempts to simulate conversations with a human – often through text, but also voice (Siri, Alexa etc). They are powered by artificial intelligence with the main aim of helping you find what you need quicker than navigating around a website.
What can they really do?
There are varying levels of chatbots, some are more intelligent than others – some learn as they go and improve interactions and responses – some require more programmed rules by a human.
There are four main things a chatbot can do:
Engage – in a conversation tone, at any time of the day!
Understand – using questions and tagging, understand the person’s needs.
Deliver – some form of answer or solution without the person needing to go elsewhere.
Refine – their engagement based on more and more interactions and data collection.
At the end of the day, we want the chatbot to be useful for the end user, but also for us.
One such chat bot to be delivering the above is Casper’s brilliantly named Insomnobot 3000, which provides relief for those suffering from the loneliness of insomnia. As the company describe; the Insomnobot 3000 is a “friendly, easily distracted bot designed to keep you company when you just can’t fall asleep”, replying to your text messages, providing a friend when everyone else is asleep.
What are the opportunities?
Basically, the opportunity is to nail the messaging and communications with a potential customer much quicker and simpler.
Chatbots could answer those small questions that people have on a regular basis which they would normally just Google – we could help answer and give them exactly what they are looking for.
Imagine if a Chatbot had access to every single blog, whitepaper, video and guide you had ever produced?
Yes, we can also sprinkle in some fun – add sarcastic responses to sarcastic questions for example or an upset reaction to the use of banned words.
This will all help engagement, but much like a search function on a website, we can also analyse the questions and discussions people are having with your chatbots. This helps the bot, but also helps us learn about our consumers’ needs and wants.
And the costs/risks?
At the end of the day, the chatbot still heavily relies on us. Chatbots are no longer a technical challenge (some extremely smart people have solved that one) it’s a communications challenge.
A detailed conversation flow will need to be developed – but also ongoing improvement over months and years is what will make a great bot! A chatbot is like a baby, it requires input and teaching for it to learn and develop into an adult.
We need to understand what questions and needs are currently niggling away at the back of a person’s mind when interacting with our brand online. The chatbot can then be set up to answer those questions in a clever and efficient way.
How do I start?
There are many things to consider when developing your chatbot. There are a number of tools out there, and each
one will have their pros and cons. A good digital marketing agency will be able to support you in putting one in place.
Here’s a few tips to get started in understanding your customer’s needs and what questions they may ask a chatbot:
Speak to customer facing staff – these are the people that interact with customers on a daily basis, they hear an array of questions throughout their interactions and should be a first point of call to identify FAQs.
Utilise the internet – a fantastic tool to find out what questions your chatbot will need to answer is Answer The Public. Answer The Public is a free tool that crawls search engines to analyse what are the most frequently searched queries related to a keyword. This could be used to search for the products and services that your business offers and discover what questions your audience are asking.
Questionnaires – there’s no better source for information than directly from your consumers. Ask them what made them purchase your product or service, understand their pain points that led to them to your business, and ensure that your chatbot can help those that could be in a similar position.
Chatbots are likely to be increasingly used across the web. If they can be set up and managed correctly, perhaps even use some machine learning… they could be potent customer service tools and improve the overall user experience of your website/app.
If you are looking to explore the use of chatbots in your marketing, get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to support you in finding the best solution for your website. Get in touch with your account manager or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01635 88711.