In this article we take a brief look at chatbots.
With a view to establishing what they actually are, how they work, what they are used for and the pros and cons involved in their use.
What is a chatbot: It is essentially a piece of code placed on a webpage.
Which opens up a dialogue with visitors to that page. This dialogue normally takes the form of a chat window which opens up either when the page opens, or after a certain amount of time.
The contents of these chat boxes can vary.
The most we’ve seen is a prompt asking if the visitor needs any help.
They are designed to create an interaction with the visitor.
The depth of any interaction will depend on what the bot has been
programmed to deal with.
There are basically two types of chatbots, each of which have differing levels on complexity in what they are able to do.
The simplest one is called a Fixed Chatbot: These are programs which
are designed to deal with specific enquiires.
They are programmed to offer a limited service based on a
series of fixed information parameters. Primarily used for Customer Service applications, or to provide answers to frequently asked questions.
They are cheap to operate and fairly simple to set up and monitor.
However, due to the restricted nature of their programming base.
They can fail to deliver answers.
Which can lead to the loss of clients.
At the other end of the scale are the bots based on Artificial Intelligence (AI)
These bots learn dynamically, and are constantly being updated through interactions with customers. This helps them hold conversations in a better manner. They are intelligent, with an advanced design and offer a very positive user experience.
With a greater ability to learn from that experience.
These bots have become the preferred option of the two.
They are extremely complex to both set up and to operate. If not set up properly they can also fail to deliver answers.
These bots can only be programmed with a limited amount of information. This drawback is the main reason why it becomes very easy for them get confused while interacting with customers. The moment the customer requests information on something it is not programmed with. it fails.
However newer bots are being developed which use NLP or
Natural Language Patterns in a bid to improve their efficiency.
Customer service benefits
One advantage of using bots is that they can provide customer service on your website 24 hours a day. When online customers have questions,
all they have to do is ask the bot on your website.
With a quick accurate response to enquiries. This can lead to
increased customer satisfaction. When they get satisfactory answers and a quick service. Customers tend to return and buy again.
They are an ideal way to reduce costs, which obviously
translates in to greater profits.
Chatbots can manage multiple queries simultaneously. This is one of the main advantages of using them. The theory is that no customer is left unattended and you are solving different problems at the same time. They can process customer queries very quickly, are very precise in providing the clients with the information that they need. Which makes the communication process faster, leading to an increase in sales.
They can also reduce long term costs, however the cost of implementation can be very high in the initialisation stages, further criticisms include the limited response to queries due to programming and data restrictions. Which can lead to customer dissatisfaction.
As previously stated the set up costs can be high, however the costs required to maintain them can be higher still. AI bots require extensive hours of work and testing to ensure they run correctly. The costings involved in this process may nullify the cost benefits of installing a bot in the first place. Due to the complex nature of operation. Some businesses may find them to be totally impractical.
We have tested bots on some of our product pages. We also used cloned versions of those same product pages without the bots installed.
The bots used were simple and programmed to answer two basic questions.
They were left in situ for a month. All pages were linked up within our site model to receive roughly similar amounts of traffic.
The results we got were as follows, the pages without the bots received
a greater follow through. We tested the bots and found less than
satisfying results. There were also issues of performance,
which could have been down to our installation.
To conclude, they didn’t not work for our business model,
what worked better for us?
The simple expedient of an FAQ page on each of our websites.
Hope this article proves to be helpful.
All the best
What is it?. Put simply it’s a method of generating awareness for your brand.
It’s not a case of spamming your message to all and sundry.
It’s the selective application and utilization of resources which
can be used to deliver your message to a much wider audience
than you may command.
The basic form is a link to your website, which is hosted on another website.
The term influencer is a major buzzword these days. These are individuals or groups who have substantial followings on social media, a large customer base or web presence.
The aim is to find these people, groups or organizations. Partake of the group activities, by making viable contributions .and becoming recognized
as a valuable group member.
The aim being to leverage their size to your advantage,
by getting them to set up links to your site or pages.
The only issue here, is the amount of time spent searching out these people, then creating a credible profile whereby they feel your a worthwhile cause to be associated with.
As an entrepreneur and creative individual this was not really an option for me. Time is limited and spent primarily in product design, development and publication. Plus of course daily life, therefore the objective is to keep everything simple, and more importantly cost effective.
RMDCommerce: grew out of two separate sites,
one based around the sale of self published music.
The second site was developed initially as a vehicle to promote
positive living issues and products.
Both sites are heavily integrated promoting offers and cross referencing
material from each other.
This therefore, is the business model used as each new site was
developed and added to the stable.
There are currently six sites under the RMDCommerce banner, each of which offers products, services and in depth article features on specific subject matters. All are connected via product pages pictures links and banner adds.
The illustration below gives a visual representation of how the business model was conceived. The concept was simple. external traffic enters each site, while the internal links funnel traffic round the network to the other sites.
Via this method each site receives traffic from the others,
thus maximizing the potential of all.
The only use of social media has been the promoting of new and existing offers/content from across the sites via the RMDCommerce facebook and twitter pages. Links below
Using this method our traffic and sales volume have increased beyond initial expectations. Added to that we find ourselves being contacted with requests from other organizations to publish and link their content. To this end the our affiliate marketing site is currently getting a major overhaul in both design and the products being promoted.
This then is our model of link building, not quite the normal way.
Instead we are using the resources we have,
to support and nurture the new connections as we create them.
For parts One, Two and Three of this article
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We were recently asked by a sister publishing site to promote one of their posts
This small article acts as an introduction to the main item
Automatation and AI in online marketing
What are they?
Automation: This is the ability to get something done automatically using some form of controlling mechanism. Whether mechanical or software related, the task is accomplished when a set of predetermined conditions are met.
In it’s basic form an internet link is a controlling mechanism.
You click on it and are immediately taken to the page.
The controlling mechanism delivers access to it’s data based on a
pre-defined series of conditions which have to be met.
Say for example the secure payment and download of an
There may be several steps involved, landing page linked to a
payment page which offers a variety of payment methods.
Credit card or paypal. After payment has been received an email
is sent with a download link.
Alternatively a download page may appear after the payment has been received.
All these are a process designed to control the delivery.
In order to get the product, you have to run through a series of steps.
This is the method all e-commerce transactions are based on
AI or Artificial Intelligence: Here the context is in a controlling system which has the ability to learn when and where to place the controlling mechanism
for the maximum exposure
AI software is used by web service providers and merchants,
to learn about us through our browsing habits.
It collates data to bring us offers/information based on our browsing history.
This data is collected through a variety of methods, and is based on.
The sites we visit,
What we watch,
What we buy.
How we do these things.
The places we visit most often etc.
Which essentially means, the advert, cookie or banner add giving the link details,
can be targeted to appear in front of the right people at the right time.
AI software can also act as a reminder mechanism with regard to previous
browsing experience. The aim being to keep us informed of new
offer/products and services.
For further information press on the link/controlling mechanism below
The following article was published via Tenfold.com
How AI, Machine Learning and Automation will Impact Business
in 2018 and Beyond
We hope this small article has been of interest
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In this article we take a brief look at email and subscription list building
Firstly, why build an email or subscription list in the first place, after all, these can be purchased from companies who harvest and sell their lists to interested parties..
The main answer is about targeting your audience. Email harvesting companies are primarily interested in selling their lists,, with little or no concerns about the usage of the list beyond the sale. What this simply means is, the list may not have the quality or scope to generate a positive return on your promotion.
However, building you own list is the most effective way of generating an audience. Why, because these are people, who have directly responded in some way to your promotions either as existing customers, or people who have requested to receive information from you. You have earned a certain level of credibility and trust. They are therefore more likely to view your content in a positive light rather than dismiss it as unwanted spam.
Methods of list building
There are many methods, most of which work in many scenarios.
There are literally thousands of surveys and statistics showing percentage
this for method A against method B..
For the benefit of this article we simply illustrate a few of them, and allow you to decide which may benefit your promotion
This works in a simple manner, an article or blog is posted.
Providing some basic content. on a specific subject matter
Further in depth information can be obtained as an added extra,,
either as a freebie or purchase.
This content could be in the form of a free report, an ebook etc
To access this additional content, an email capture mechanism on the
blog/article page will be used, to get the email address in order
to send the content.
This method can be used where a single piece of content is available.
This content is not reliant on a blog, and can be marketed in a variety of ways throughout a website. The advertising focuses on that content alone. Hence the term featured content, and can come in the form of banners, side bars etc. Once again all advertising will contain an email capture mechanism to forward the content.
This strategy is essentially another form of content promotion.
Here you host a giveaway, this could be anything which relates
either to a product or service
you are selling .The format of the giveaway can be anything, from an
ebook, podcast, a free subscription etc.
The giveaway itself, has to be both relevant,
and even better free.
Advertising for the giveaway can be hosted either via a
blog page or a specific website promotion.
Once again, an email capture mechanism is required before t
he content can be sent out.
This will depend very highly upon the target market, the product and the company goals.
However coverage and awareness is the prime purpose of advertising and promotion. Here we look not at advertising on social media, but simply getting people to share and like your promotion on social media. How you do this is simply to add social media button links to your promotion ads, and ask for people to click the button. At the same time, ask them to subscribe for further updates. Once again using an email capture mechanism on the form.
Using your existing customer list to recommend your content to friends and other users. Once again this method can be aided with the addition of an incentive for those who manage to get you additional subscribers. The bonus can be anything relevant to your promotion/product and once again free. Possibly an ebook or website subscription. Anything deemed to be of worth above and beyond your normal promotion.
The one final and probably one of the most important points is keeping it simple and easy to use. Complex and pretty designs are great provided the purpose of the page is easily understood.. Try and avoid adding pop up adds and additional links to your subscription page.
These take time to load up, and can cause prospects to move on.
People don't want to wait.
Many of these methods are as can be seen, simply variations on a similar theme. With a bit of imagination and research they are quite easy to set up.
These then are examples of email and subscription list building techniques.
There are many other ways out there, but the focus for this article,
has been on those options.
we have found that work for us, .and completes this brief over view of email
and subscription list building techniques.
In the next article we take a product from our catalogue, and create the first stages of a marketing campaign..
For parts one, two and four of this article
Thanks for taking the time to read this article, and we hope it
proves to be informative and useful.
please feel free to share it.
Direct Marketing Methods
As a follow on to the previous article, we will take a brief view at product creation, and do a basic over view of the launching process. Looking at the steps of website creation. generating traffic. Targeted marketing.. Product branding.
So we have a scenario, where a developer has created a new product, and wishes to sell it as an online product. For the sake of this example we will assume the product is a simple information item. The format is a downloadable ebook. The vendor has decided to use a direct marketing approach via an existing website..
Setting up a sales page on a website can work in many ways. Influenced very much on vendor preferences or company policy. However, most consist of a single information page, which gives the product details in the form of a well written sales pitch. Here the vendor will paint a picture of the product, what it is, the way it works. How the customer benefits from owning the product. It will include customer testimonials, and above all a buy it link..
This page is vitally important, in that it is the gateway to your product. Time spent on good design, product representation and, ease of use will make the customer want to see more.
The sales page, or to use another term, the landing page. Will be linked to a purchase page. The purchase link will be a secured payment page powered by the vendors preferred online payment provider. Most readers will be familiar with sites such as Paypal, Clickbank etc.. Once the payment has gone through, the buyer will be redirected to a download page. From where the product can be downloaded.. This is more or less the standard procedure There are variations on the theme, maybe an email capture link, whereby the buyers email address is used to send an email containing the download link..
This is how the product purchase and delivery are achieved
A quick look at any of the product links on this site will show a wide variety of such pages.
This is an often mis-understood term. The brand is frequently recognized as being the product itself. As can be readily seen when reference is made to consumer items of all types. However with online marketing, the brand applies to much more than just the product. It applies to company selling the product. It is the identity the company uses to make itself stand out from the masses. It needs to be carefully considered in all marketing and advertising processes.
Once this has been accomplished, the next considerations have to be, how to get the product to the public eye
There are any number of ways that can be used to generate product awareness via advertising.
Here we will briefly cover the main ones we have used.
Website marketing,, like any advertising method this is all about getting your message or product details out there. Traffic generation via advertising works on many levels and can be as simple as a banner add, to something more complex such as full site optimization..
So simple first, banner adds, many examples of these can be found on our pages, they are simply a product banner, which links to the product sales page. They can be placed anywhere, usually for a fee. Normally placed on sites where the content is related to the product on sale. As an example, You created an e book on home electrics. Space for links to your product page can be purchase on sites which sell electrical products.
Buying traffic. This is quite simply where you use a search engine ad, to drive traffic to your product or offer. We have used Google ads, so we'll use our experience of that medium . We designed an ad, for a specific product, and started an ad campaign using google. With these kind of ads, you essentially purchase traffic in one of two formats.
PPI or PPC
PPI means Pay per insight, or cost per insight. An insight is simply where someone sees the add itself. Which simply means you pay for traffic to view your ad.
PPC Pay per Click, or cost per click, Here someone sees the ad, and clicks on the link to visit your product page.
These methods are what we term as directed traffic, Traffic is directed to your page via a web link..
Website optimization, or to give it the better known name of Search Engine Optimization. SEO. This is a model whereby you use search engine rankings to drive traffic to your pages. The object is to have your product site appear at the top of search engine listings related to your product.
This can be accomplished in several ways, the first would be to have a unique product name which will appear no where else. The chances of that are remote, but we do know of cases where this has happened.
The other option is to use what are called key words. These are simply words which relate to your product that may be regularly used in searches to find products related to yours. To use our earlier example of a electronic e book.
Keywords used in a search engine may be home electronics, electronic components, electronics made easy. DIY electronics, etc. These terms can be added to your site. pr marketing pages. Where they act as filters, which when used bring your page to the forefront of the search engine listings.
The final method we will look at in this article is that of subscription list or email marketing.
It simply means, that your are aiming your advertising at an existing list of contacts who have either, previously purchased product from you, or have shown an interest in your product by subscribing to an information or email update. This method of marketing to an already established audience is the most desirable of all the options available..
These then are examples of targeted or directed marketing methods.
and completes this brief over view of marketing options.
For parts One, Three and Four of this article
Thanks for taking the time to read this article, and we hope it proves to be informative and useful. Please fell free to share it
We have received a number of questions regarding the promotion of electronic products. ranging from how to start, what to promote. Where to promote it, and to whom these promotions should be aimed at.
This is quite a wide range of areas, all of which will have a variety of answers. So what we intend to do, is describe the process we use to promote a product. After which we will produce a series of articles, where we use some of the products themselves. to illustrate various methods used to generate product awareness.
Firstly a few basic definition explanations may be called for.
E-Commerce, what is it? Simply stated is the sale of products or services online.
You can buy virtually anything online, but for the purposes of this series of articles.
The subject will be exclusively related to E-Products
E-Products: These are classified simply as electronic products or services.
They tend to be information products or services, which are downloadable in digital format via a website, or offered as part of a membership package via an exclusive web portal.
There are basically two methods of promotion for e-commerce products.
These are what we refer to a direct marketing. This is where The individual or company that created the product, market it themselves via their own outlets, be that website, specialized web pages, email, directed advertising etc.
The second method, is called Affiliate Marketing, and works thus. The individual or company that created a product.
Uses a strategy where other people do the promotion work for them. They essentially grant a license to these promoters to showcase the product. They pay a commission to the promoter for every lead that makes a purchase.
It has two advantages to the product owner, it allows them to focus on the product development. Plus saves valuable time and resources in setting up and testing for the marketing methods which will work best for their product.
Which Method is better. Both work well, however, as a product developer the returns from Direct Marketing will be greater. If you already have a market base. Namely an email or webpage subscription list. You can plan a marketing strategy based on the goodwill contained within your list.. Thus dispensing with the need to set up an affiliate program.
Affiliate marketing, because, your promoting another persons product.. You are effectively pointing or driving traffic to another organization/individuals page. You have no control over the marketing strategy of the product owner. Also Vendor changes can have a profound effect on your promotion strategy. This makes it significantly more difficult to generate income from this style of marketing.
Why use affiliate marketing? Most uses of this method are where an affiliate product will add additional value to a content related site. As an example you run a website about a hobby interest,. This has content where the focus is on a specific fashion style.
You simply add links to your pages which point to sites with related content and offers. For passing traffic to these sites. You will receive a commission on any sales generated. It's a way to effectively and easily monetize your site or blog.
Affiliate marketing has it's advantages over direct marketing. You are promoting another persons product. You are pushing traffic in the form of leads to this persons page or site. that's it. You have no overheads in the form of promotion costs, website setup or even product generation and delivery.
Finally, by the very fact your promoting another persons product, unless it's very well known, or has a high turnover. Do not expect to generate a massive income. The pure fact is, affiliate marketing is a long, slow and difficult process to master. However, when used in conjunction with other methods. It can work, above all please do not fall for the hype of instant riches.
That covers direct and affiliate marketing
For parts two three and four of this article
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