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The 5 Most Commonly Asked User Experience (UX) Questions

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What is UX in a website?
UX stands for “User eXperience.” User experience is centered on design elements and how a user interacts with those features on a website. Having a website that is easy-to-use, accessible, and that provides the right information, is the goal and purpose of UX design.

What makes a successful website?
A website that has excellent organization is the key to its success. For a site to have exceptional organization, it needs to be tailored to those who are navigating it. And to take it a step further, integrating proper SEO strategies are necessary for your website to be found and populate in a search result. And that’s why a superior user experience (UX) model is more important than ever to succeed online.

Why is it essential to have a user-friendly website?
Websites that allow users to navigate and find information quickly and easily increase the chance that they will return to the site, but that they will also complete an action, such as purchasing a product or service or directing others to your site by sharing. According to SOASTA, a digital performance management platform, 88% of Americans feel negative about brands with poor websites and mobile apps, which is why it’s essential to have a user-friendly site to avoid frustrating customers.

Why is UX important to marketing?
Having a great user experience that’s created for your target customers ensures satisfaction and boosts conversion. It’s also a way to stay ahead of your competition by offering a smooth, seamless experience that encourages people to come back. Your website is likely the first interaction a customer will have with your business. First impressions are the difference between converting a sale or losing a sale, so you want to verify that yours is a good and lasting one.

Will a better user experience improve my website’s search rankings?
Search engine optimization (SEO) and UX are both essential to improve your website rankings. They go hand-in-hand when a user visits your website. When someone frequently spends time on your site, visits it often, and operates it with ease, that lets Google know that you’re providing good UX and will improve your ranking.

Take a look at these TOTAL transformation websites that exemplify excellent UX design. Then, contact us for a free evaluation and let us get to work for you.

WanderWise Travel Advisors

Cuff Farm Services

Datarithm

We’ve also found 8 surefire signs that you need a new website. Discover what they are here.

A New Business World After Coronavirus

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The world is changing and businesses will need to adapt to the post-coronavirus world. With many businesses likely to be re-opening in the coming months, many brands will need to be reenergized. It’s time to take a future-forward look at our new normal. Here’s how to plan now for post-coronavirus revitalization.

Everything is digital

What will make a brand relevant tomorrow will likely change. People will be more comfortable with communicating and working in a virtual world. Business travel may decline as virtual meetings become common. The impact of living in a digital world will not disappear once the quarantine is over and people will continue to adopt digital practices. Consumer appetite for digital services is going to continue after the crisis is over and brands need to adapt. Now is the time to increase, not decrease, your marketing spend. The last thing you want is to be caught flat-footed and find yourself lagging your competitors when the economy revs up again.

For the most part, consumers are receptive to some marketing at this time. A recent study from the American Association of Advertising Agencies found that 43% of consumers find it reassuring to hear from brands. In addition, 56% said they like learning how brands are helping their communities during the pandemic. Only 15% said they’d rather not hear from companies.

Remember, remaining relevant is critical to a brand’s health. Relevance is a key driver of purchase intent. A brand remains relevant if it is perceived to be addressing current customer needs and problems. How can you do this? Restoring relevance requires allocating resources with a thorough knowledge of the current marketplace, understanding needs-based occasion-driven market segmentation, and revitalizing the brand’s promise.

Regardless of how long the crisis actually lasts, COVID-19 will forever change the consumer landscape. After this comes to pass, companies can’t go back to their old playbooks. Personas, messaging and even your product strategy may need to significantly evolve for the realities of the post-COVID-19 world.

Advertising is the tool that invites consumers and clients to consider your products and services before they go to your competitors. Advertising, coupled with powerful branding, enables your business to effectively communicate how you operate and the clients you are looking to serve. Marketing your business is far more than art and design. To do it effectively, communication, accounting, analytics, and psychology must all be integrated into your plan. Strategy and experimentation provide a comprehensive campaign—getting businesses and organizations world-class recognition and aggressive revenue growth.

Whether you’re in need of a new website, refreshed graphic design materials, or a well-crafted SEO/SEM plan, at TOTAL, we’re focused on giving our clients the most compelling marketing. So, where does that start? Your story. At TOTAL, we take the time to understand our clients and their companies. Your story is unique, and we want to share it. Clear and effective marketing starts with a thorough knowledge of a company’s values and goals. The bottom line is that fresh data and accurate insights have never been more important. In these uncharted territories, relying on instincts alone is dangerous. If you haven’t reached out to your customers in the past month, now’s the time to do so.

Contact us to get your company marketing and advertising that will deliver real results.

8 Signs That You Need A New Website

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It’s not too difficult to determine when it’s time for a new website. Here are 8 sure-fire signs that you need to say goodbye to your current website.

1. HIGH BOUNCE RATE

What’s a bounce rate? It’s a percentage of single-page visitors or web sessions to your site. Visitors that bounce either didn’t find what they were looking for weren’t interested in learning more or found your webpage too slow or complicated to use. If your bounce rate is consistently over 75% or more, it’s safe to say you need a new website.

2. SLOW DOWNLOAD SPEED

A website’s load speed is determined by media file sizes, your hosting service and server set up, and how it’s coded. Google prioritizes load speeds when determining a website’s search ranking. With 94% of organic search traffic coming from Google, excessive load times will contribute to higher bounce rates as wells keeping your page off page 1! And that is reason enough to getting moving on a new website!

3. POOR BRAND MESSAGING

Does your product and messaging reflect your brand? The first impression you give a visitor can often be the difference in earning a potential customer or yet another bounce. So, make sure your website is well-designed, aligns with your message, and speaks to your customers’ expectations.

4. DESIGN LOOKS OUT-OF-DATE

Times change, and so does fashion and approach. Your website needs to stay and look current! Since maintaining a healthy online presence should be a top priority for any business, brands with shabby “old-looking” websites will have a difficult time with consumer outreach, and maintaining brand loyalty. If your site isn’t looking fresh right now, a brand new design is exactly what you need.

5. CONFUSING WEBSITE NAVIGATION

We see it a lot. Too many options in the navigation bar that create an overwhelming and negative user experience (UX). When prospects visit your website, they should naturally understand where to click, how to learn about your products or services, and intuitively navigate to the information they’re looking for. If this sounds like your website, you know its time for it to get a complete overhaul!

6. NOT A MOBILE FIRST UX

With over 50% of worldwide internet traffic coming from mobile phones, not having a mobile-first user experience produces less than acceptable results. Mobile-first indexing is how Google crawls and indexes the web on a mobile phone versus a desktop computer based on how it renders. If you’re not currently meeting mobile user expectations, its time to provide a better user experience for sophisticated mobile consumers.

7. NO INBOUND MARKETING

A true inbound site educates and informs your audience, with multiple lead conversion opportunities, that assist the lead nurturing process. Take a look at your site and determine the purpose of your content and know your audience’s buyer’s journey to identify the topics you want to be known for and build authority around. If your current website isn’t built for this task, you know its time for a new website.

8. YOUR TEAM TELLS YOU ITS TIME FOR A NEW WEBSITE

We get it. Most business owners and CEO’s don’t want to invest in properly built websites. But, when every member of your team (especially sales) complain about your current website. Its time you listen. A properly built website will pay dividends in new business, improved recruitment, and customer retention!

SO, DO YOU NEED A NEW WEBSITE?

Hopefully, now you have a better idea of whether you need a new website. Aside from improving your business’s online presence, launching a new website is an excellent opportunity to add new online capabilities, making sure you stay ahead of the competition. Of course, if you need some help, the TOTAL Team is here to build you a website that generates excitement that earns new customers. To request a free website evaluation, click here.

Take a look at these TOTAL website transformations. Then, contact us so we can get to work for you.

SYNTELA
Before
After TOTAL transformation

KITCHEN EXPRESS
Before
After TOTAL transformation

HARBEC
Before
After TOTAL transformation

Smart Digital Marketing In The Midst of Coronavirus

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As government and public health officials take aggressive action to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, nearly every individual and organization are grappling with the impact. There is a lot of uncertainty regarding the potential economic effects of COVID-19, and that is certainly scary. But what is certain? We will recover.

Although it may be tempting to tighten the reins on your marketing budget, halting spending now could have an even more detrimental impact on your future opportunities. Instead, businesses should determine how to pivot their marketing strategy to ensure that they remain at the forefront for consumers, whether they plan on speeding up their timetable or pushing it back. Luckily, the advantage of digital marketing besides the fact that it does not require face-to-face interaction, is that it’s measurable.

At Total Advertising, we’ve been working closely with our clients to respond appropriately to coronavirus concerns and make strategic adjustments in their marketing messages and tactics. Here are a few things your organization should consider doing.

Adjusting Your Business Delivery Model

With CDC’s recommendations to postpone or cancel mass gatherings of more than 10 people for at least the next eight weeks, individuals are heavily encouraged to practice social distancing. Minimizing all face-to-face meetings, many companies have been forced to rethink the way they do business. More people are on social media, now than ever, refreshing their feeds while stuck at home. Smart retailers and businesses can take proactive steps to boost their online presence and drive more people to their website, including:

•Ensuring their website content is well-optimized for search
•Editing their Google My Business page with the most accurate, up-to-date information
•Improving their website user experience to increase online conversions and sales
•Exploring new paid advertising opportunities
•Developing more engaging email marketing campaigns and workflows
•Adding video and audio chat to their website to stand out from the competition

Total Advertising has expertise in all these strategies and can help give your clients a compelling and consistent experience, no matter where they interact with your brand.

Creative Alternatives to Live Events

While trade shows and conferences around the globe have been postponed or canceled altogether, there are still plenty of opportunities to connect with prospects if you’re willing to think outside the booth.

Here are a few ideas to consider:

•Host a virtual trade show or landing page featuring resources such as product demos
•Present an online webinar offering tips and advice on helpful, relevant, and engaging topics
•Record your keynote speech as a video and share it with the attendee list
•Invite conference speakers to repurpose their presentation as a video or guest blog post
•Reach out to your media contacts with exclusive announcements
•Share educational content with social media influencers that resonate to their audiences

While many brands are already seeing success with these digital marketing strategies, the planning phases on how and where you will promote, whom you will target, and how you will measure success can make or break its value and return on investment.

Remember, even if your clients aren’t buying right now, you can remain at the top of their minds, by understanding their current and future needs, and delivering value through challenging times. Inspiring videos, creative designs, and innovative ideas should be at the foreground of your business’s online presence through all your channels, including your website, email, blog, and social media. And we’re here to help. The branding experts at TOTAL are here and ready to plan your next move or revisit your existing marketing strategy.

Here’s Why Viral Content Goes Viral

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Viral content is a magical thing. Often filled with humor, stupidity, amusement, or a combination of the sorts, we’ve all shared an article, meme, photo, or gif online with our friends, family, and coworkers. When breaking down the special “formula” of what makes content go viral, stop and think about why you want your audience members to see it.

In truth, viral posts are not the norm but rather an online sensation. There’s no universal recipe. It’s nearly impossible to predict what’s going to go viral as every piece of content that goes viral does so because of a different combination of factors. Viral content is about the impact and getting people to connect to have a conversation. And, when viral posts fall flat, it can backfire catastrophically.

Just ask Pepsi who faced a huge backlash to an advert featuring celebrity, Kendall Jenner, where she was seen giving police a can of Pepsi on the front line of a protest. While the messaging was meant to portray peace, unity, and understanding, it was instead criticized for trivializing social justice demonstrations. Pepsi eventually withdrew the advert, despite their efforts of defending their intent, and issued a public apology.

That said, there are “ingredients” that will help increase the shareability of your content, the right way. Ask yourself the following questions when developing content:

• Are you making people laugh? (Funny content)
• Helping them do a job? (Useful content)
• Inspiring them? (Stories)
• Trying to educate them? (Educational content)
• Helping them discover, reinforce or share their identity? (Emotional content)
• Restoring their faith in humanity? (“Feel good” content)

Although you can’t predict what content will go viral, you can make your content as viral-ready as possible. Focus your content creation efforts on high-stimulus topics that make people want to have a conversation. People share content because they expect others to react and to interact with it on social networks (and let’s be honest — they want the social credits that come with being the source).

People share to:

• Give – offers, or discounts
• Advise – tips, helpful hints
• Warn – potential dangers
• Amuse – entertaining content
• Inspire – images and quotes
• Amaze – pictures and facts
• Unite – be part of the group

Bottom line, the more great content you produce, the more chances you give yourself the likelihood of going viral. Even if your content doesn’t go viral, the creative experts at Total will help produce content that is as viral-ready as possible, and more importantly, resonates with your target audience, so that you don’t have a public relations disaster as Pepsi did. Remember, great content will only reflect positively on your brand.

Contact us today and let’s get to work on the next chapter of your organization’s story.

Why Keyword Stuffing Can Kill Your SEO

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It can be tempting to take shortcuts when trying to optimize your website for search engines. You may want to try black hat tactics to speed up the process and help you start ranking higher faster. But using short cut methods like ‘keyword stuffing’ won’t help you and will likely hurt you.

What Is Keyword Stuffing?

Keyword stuffing is when a brand “stuffs” or fills a webpage with the same target term in hopes of ranking higher for that term in search engines. Although keyword stuffing is not as popular as it was a few years ago, it’s still used by some brands to try to boost their search visibility.

Types of visible keyword stuffing include:

• Unnatural repeating of words or phrases
• Adding words that are out of context
• Duplicating blocks of the same keyword
• Unnecessarily using keywords that are not relevant to the topic of the page

Let’s talk about a keyword stuffing example. A page that is trying to rank for the term “best water bottle” and using the following copy:

“If you’re looking for the best water bottle, look no further. Our brand offers the best water bottle that you could want for running errands or working out. With unique double-wall vacuum insulation, this is the best water bottle for everyday use.”

In this example, the copy is excessively using the same keyword phrase more than the suggested amount of times to match SEO best practices for keyword density.

What is Keyword Density?

Keyword density in SEO is the percentage of times a keyword is used in the copy — and while there is no exact number for proper keyword density, it is a best practice to stay within a 2% keyword density.

While there are blatant keyword stuffing tactics, there is also a type of keyword stuffing that isn’t visible to audiences. This tactic stuffs terms and phrases that are hidden from readers by using methods such as:

• Using text that is the same color as the background, hidden from readers but displayed to search engine crawlers
• Repeating text in the page’s meta tags, comment tags, and alt attributes

Why is Keyword Stuffing Bad For Your Website?

Simply put,  it creates an awful experience for users. Website content should be aimed to educate, inform, or engage your readers. When you start to stuff your pages with keywords, you stop writing for readers and start writing for search engines. This will ultimately create a poor user experience for your audience, thus, sending users away from your page, increasing bounce rates, and driving potential customers from your business.

Keyword stuffing is widely condemned by search engines and the activity could even lead to a search penalty. You could even get hit with a Google penalty that removes your page from search engine results pages altogether!

So, How Do You Use Keywords The Right Way?

If you’re guilty of keyword stuffing or need new strategies to optimize your content and give your pages what they need to rank above your competitors — contact the SEO experts at TOTAL Advertising and we’ll help you improve your SEO strategy in the right ways. We have the keyword research tools and knowledge that will help you get the data and insights you need to top your competitors on SERPs.

How to Reach Your Business’ 2020 Goals

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The new year is here, and with it comes something every business looks forward to… opportunity. But harnessing this momentum and taking last year’s lessons with you is only a fraction of what it takes to truly grow a business. Companies that are relevant, competitive, and cutting-edge put in the time, effort, and resources to become a major player—regardless of the industry.

So, let’s talk about how to help your company reach its 2020 goals!

Digital Transformation
The Internet, I know. We’re all sick of hearing about it, but the digital world has the power to make or break a business. Websites are at the battlefront in the war for customers’ attention. A polished and informative website will propel your company forward and improve customer experience. A modern website is also useful for collecting data that enables you to see where you’re excelling, but also where you’re coming up short. Digital also includes Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. These are all assets that promote your business, but more importantly, help you understand your customer base. Syncing accounts and incorporating Google Analytics into your website are major components in growing business and increasing revenue.

Sales & Marketing
Sales & Marketing are meant to promote your business, but they’re often separate entities. Separating Sales from Marketing can be detrimental to your company’s growth and optimization. When Sales and Marketing align, the results can be stunning. These two facets of business excel when each understands the other’s needs. Sales materials will be far more effective when the Marketing team knows exactly what they do and how to get customers interested. When these two align, companies can expect higher revenue, a higher win rate, and more customer retention.

Data-driven Choices
You shouldn’t make big business choices based on gut-instinct or feeling. Relying on cumulative data and hard numbers will always result in profit and growth. But how do you get these numbers? Effort! Combining analytics from your site, looking at trends across your industry, and understanding customer habits can give you accurate information and useful data. This all helps your company make smart choices that have a low risk but high reward.

These are just three things you can implement within your company. There’s a lot more you can do besides focusing on your digital presence, combining Sales & Marketing, and utilizing data. Struggling in this area? Agencies are experienced and effective assets companies can use to help them grow.

Contact TOTAL Advertising today to help your business reach its New Year’s Resolutions!

Do Online Reviews Affect SEO?

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Have you ever been so sure and set on a purchase until you scrolled down and read the customer reviews?

They might read a little something like this:

 

As hilarious as some reviews may be, studies have shown that 93% of consumers base their purchase decisions on the opinion of others. We know why online reviews are important. They help companies build credibility and enable consumers to make informed decisions. A study showed that 91% of 18- to 34-year-olds trust online reviews just as much as they’d trust a personal recommendation. 

How much can a bad review cost you?

Aside from influencing consumer decision-making, online reviews play a big role in SEO. Like any good SEO strategy, reputation management is more important now than ever in a constantly evolving online-based world. Bad reviews can cost your business real money. In an instant, a single person can cause a review to trend or go viral on platforms like Facebook and Twitter where posts can be shared in a second. Just ask United Airlines that had a public relations disaster when the airlines damaged singer/songwriter Dave Carroll’s guitar and refused to pay for it. Carroll decided to take action and wrote a song titled “United Breaks Guitars,” which became a runaway hit with more than 19 million views. The video cost United $180 million in shareholder value and United’s stock fell by 10 percent.

The Impact of Online Reviews on SEO

Positive or negative reviews can affect where a business falls within search rankings. Search engines like Google have a fluctuating formula that determines organic ranking. While it’s hard to crack Google’s algorithm, what we do know is that Google places trust in consumers and not businesses. Google uses online reviews to gauge your brands’ popularity, authority, and trustworthiness. A site that has lots of good reviews sends Google a signal that your business is not only legitimate but also that consumers are having positive interactions with your brand. Adversely, a site that has lots of bad reviews will tell Google that your brand isn’t imparting the best solutions for your consumers. This will cause your search ranking to drop.

To determine where your website will show up in search results, quality backlinks are a strong factor. When websites get links from other relevant sites with high domain authorities — Google sees it as a vote of trust.

More Traffic, More Conversions

If you’re preparing for a date night and deciding on which local restaurant you want to eat at — are you more likely to go to a restaurant that has 2-star reviews or 5-star ones? More than likely, you’ll choose the best-rated restaurants. That’s because positive reviews allure more consumers to check out your brand and thus results in higher traffic. When Google sees the flow of positive engagement, the increase in traffic will boost your conversion rates.

Brand Yourself

Search engines crawl your website with “spiders,” that read and interpret data to help connect consumers to businesses. The more quality, keyword-rich content you have, the more information search engines like Google have to work with. Thus, when consumers write online reviews about your business, Google is learning more about your products and services and can tailor your brand to consumers that are searching for a solution.

Take Advantage of Review Sites

Although it may be uncomfortable to directly ask consumers to write a review, generally speaking, people love to share their opinions! Within the e-commerce world, 63% of consumers are more likely to pull the trigger and make a purchase if a website has reviews. This is why review sites are your friends. Review sites like Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and Google My Business are some of the best customer review platforms to pay attention to. When googling “best Greek restaurants near me,” Google will display top review sites like Yelp to help consumers make a decision. Taking advantage of review sites can be a powerful tool to increase the volume of consumers clicking on your website.

Deleting On-site Reviews

With the ability to delete reviews nowadays on on-site platforms, it may be tempting to get rid of negative reviews. However, we recommend against doing this. Reviews help consumers weigh the pros and cons of a product and service. Consumers are more likely to still purchase a product that they fully and accurately understand than one that is fabricated. Plus, it’s fishy to display nothing but glowing reviews and consumers often will see through it. Brands like global, fast-fashion clothing empire Fashion Nova, have been accused of deleting and filtering their negative reviews from their website. With an automated system that only accepts four and five-star reviews, consumers have started to leave 5-star ratings on their products, but with negative written reviews.

In essence, happy consumers do your best marketing. The more keyword-rich content, quality backlinks, and “data points” you have, the more you’ll convince Google that your company is popular and more importantly, trusted by consumers.

Contact TOTAL today to learn more about the benefits of online reviews and how it can improve your business!

Why Go Custom?

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Website design is a crucial element in the world of marketing today. This complex aspect of digital marketing can often confuse and bewilder business owners. What most end up doing? Using a template to create a “new” website. After all, it saves money and saves time.

But hold on, does it actually?

With companies like Wix, GoDaddy, Web.com and WordPress promising SEO/SEM friendly sites that will look great at a low rate, it’s hard to resist. But these templated sites are lacking in multiple areas of web design and development—from coding to written content.

Building your site from a template creates a multitude of issues in the long run but also commits immediate offenses in the world of digital marketing. Let’s start with the worst:

Offense 1: Poor SEO

With website builders like Wix, SEO is a problem. Templated sites are not SEO friendly and can actually deter traffic from your site. These types of sites also have an excess amount of code and HTML that will hurt your site’s page ranking. So, if you want to be on page one, hiring a pro is your best option.

Offense 2: Growth Restriction

Your website should be able to grow with your company. Working with a template limits your business to what it can do online. Limited page numbers, lack of plug-ins, and restricted content can hurt your company in the long run. Going custom allows your site to grow with your business.

Offense 3: Lack of Security

Perhaps the most important part of your website that can easily get overlooked, security is limited on a template site. The only person routinely monitoring your template site is… you. If your site gets hacked, there’s little you can do. It may take days—or even weeks—before a security breach is noticed. 

Offense 4: Lack of Site Control

When using a template site, there are a number of things you can’t fully control. From simple design elements to more complex coding, when you use a template site from Wix, GoDaddy, or any other template providers, you have little to no control on how your site operates. Once you decide on a template, there is no differing from the layout—no improvements allowed. 

Offense 5: Poor Design and User Experience

Though there are many designs for template websites, let’s face it: most of them are terrible. The few that are well-designed become so over-used that your website gets creatively lost among all the other templated sites. Along with poor design, a template site can disengage users and make navigation difficult.

Building a website is a detailed process—like building a home. From the foundation to the finishing touches, it takes multiple people with specialty skills to achieve something that will withstand the test of time. Your business’ website is exactly the same. Web developers, designers, SEO/SEM experts, and content developers are just some of the people who go into building a website.

So, how can all those positions be filled for your unique business with one template that thousands of people have used? The short answer: it can’t.

Your website represents who you are, and in today’s digital space, your online presence is the most important factor in marketing. Using a template for your website may be cheaper in the short-term, but with it comes a hoard of issues.

How to combat this? Go custom!

A custom-built website with WordPress is able to adapt, accommodate, and grow with your business. With a simple CMS (Content Management System), creative design, and a wide variety of plug-ins, a custom site from TOTAL will increase business and get your company to the next level.

Let’s Talk About Chatbots

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“How can I help you?”

Customer Service representatives say this phrase dozens—if not hundreds—of times a day. A chatbot will type it thousands. When you visit a website with a “chat” function, chances are artificial intelligence in the form of a chatbot is the voice behind the text.

Talking to a robot may seem like a dreaded task, but it does help aid in human-to-human interaction. Though its capabilities are limited, a chatbot can help users narrow their search. This leads them to the most adept human customer service representative. Talking to a chatbot may be frustrating, but it does cut time. It diminishes the “run-around” that can happen when trying to get a hold of the appropriate customer service representative.

The ability for organizations to use chatbots in supplement to traditional customer service provides a more comprehensive experience for users. It’s a far more dynamic approach to problem-solving than an FAQ webpage. Users are allowed to interact and get immediate feedback from a knowledgeable source.

But what is a chatbot?

“Press 1 for Accounting.”

“Dial 2 for Human Resources.”

“Touch 3 for Customer Service.”

“Press 4 for more options.”

Dialing a support line, ordering takeout, paying credit card bills, and even generating memes— these are all areas of life that have been infiltrated by chatbots.

A bot is really just software that performs an automated task. A chatbot is a more specific manifestation of this. Chatbots are made to interact and converse with humans. Bots receive a command or get asked a question. Then, based on the programming of the bot, the task is accomplished or question answered. Chatbots communicate in a variety of ways, the most popular being text/voice and graphical interfaces.

There are three types of chatbots:

Scripted: Their behavior is determined by rules. Conversations with this type of chatbot can only follow a certain path. The human interaction is limited in the sense that each user must pick from explicit options to determine the next step in the conversation. These options are presented via text, voice, or touch response—it just depends upon your medium of communication: phone call, text, desktop, etc… 

Intelligent: These bots are built with artificial intelligence techniques. They are more flexible in how they accept user input. Conversational input can be analyzed by the bot and a more detailed answer is provided. AI also allows them to learn more as they are used. Each interaction is stored, analyzed, and applied to the next human interaction. Though more flexible than a scripted bot, context and ambiguity are weaknesses.

Application: These bots are interacted with using a graphical interface. This provides a visual option for users and is a representation of programs, files, and actions.

What these chatbots do is help form a decision tree.

Their main purpose is to narrow your search field and find the proper customer service representative for helping you with your requests.

Each chatbot has its own benefits and limitations, and depending upon your company’s services, a scripted chatbot, intelligent chatbot, or application will work best.

How do we differentiate between a chatbot and an app?

Well, a bot is something that operates within an app. An app, like Facebook’s Messenger or WhatsApp, merely provides a platform for two people to communicate within. A chatbot has an “identity” that is separate from its interaction with the user. A chatbot is just another way for humans to interact with software. Although there is admitted overlap between interacting with websites and apps compared to chatbots.

So, what’s driving the popularity of chatbots? It’s a cultural shift, People call less and text more. We use SMS (short message service) and other messengers daily speaking to friends and family, so interacting with a robot becomes more habitual. The unnatural becomes…natural.

But have no fear! Bots won’t soon take over the world. They’re designed to make life easier—not entirely replace people. They’re supplemental in the world of flesh and blood, and at the end of the day, we’d all rather interact with a human when we need to be understood.

Contact TOTAL today to learn more about the benefits of chatbots and how they can help your business!