Why Companies Use Chatbots

image of a chatbot

Discover the benefits of using a chatbot on your business website

How Chatbots Help Businesses

Website chatbots are one of the fastest growing trends in business today. Businesses are using chatbots to engage with their website visitors and to increase business sales.

Keep reading to find out what a chatbot is, how it helps a business, and chatbot best practices.

What is a Chatbot?

If you’ve never heard of them, you’re not alone. In fact, many people still think they are still part of the future (like a personal jet-pack or a flying car). Yet, to business owners in-the-know, chatbots are a reality, and they are growing in popularity.

“Recently released research by Oracle shows that in the next three years, the number of chatbot users will grow exponentially from 70 million to almost 200 million.”

A chatbot is a computer program installed on a website that is designed to simulate human conversation with a website visitor.

The are Rule-based chatbots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled chatbots.

Rule-based Chatbots

Rule-based chatbots use “decision trees” in order to answer questions which can be simple or complex (based on how it is trained/created by its creators). This type of bot can can offer choices, but it cannot handle free form questions where the pattern does not match what has been programmed in to it.

AI Chatbots

Artificial intelligence chatbots can learn from the interactions they have with website visitors. They are made possible through Natural Language Processing (NLP). NLP allows chatbots to intelligently respond to a user’s text input by understanding intent and context.

How Can Chatbots Help?

Companies are using chatbots on their websites as a way to:

  • Interact with website visitors in order to help the visitors find what they’re looking for
  • Help increase sales

For any business, chatbots are a great way to offer a level of instant customer service without the cost of human agents. And, the chatbots on-the-job 24/7/365.

Why Interact with Website Visitors?

A new visitor to a business website is typically a prospective customer for that business. For the prospects that are ready-to-go, they’ll just call the business they see on the website, or they’ll fill out a contact form to get things going.

For a prospect who’s not yet at this stage, they’re typically looking for a bit more information about the business. While the website content layout & menu navigation should be done in a way that makes it intuitive to find the information the prospect seeks, sometimes it’s not quite enough or not very intuitive.

A properly designed chatbot can greatly assist a prospect in getting to the information they seek quickly.

“73% of consumers are likely to use a website chatbot”

How Do Chatbots Help Increase Sales?

When a prospect gets to the information they seek about the business, the prospect is that much closer to becoming a customer, client, or patient.

“Website Chatbot Customers are 134% more likely to spend money”

Plus, a feature some chatbots have is to be able to help a prospect book an appointment for a service-based business (e.g., for a dentist, chiropractor, etc.).

Another feature can be the ability for a chatbot to get the prospect into the sales check-out process for an item they’ve showed interest in (e.g., an eCommerce website, an affiliate website, etc.).

Naturally, both of these can lead to more sales for the business.

What are the Best Practices for a Website Chatbot

Nothing is set-in-stone for the use of a chatbot on a website. Yet, it can be helpful to have a set one up so that it can simultaneously be a great experience for a website visitor AND helpful in creating more sales for your business.

The following are some helpful practices to keep in mind when setting up a chatbot for your small business website.

Have a Clear Purpose

Know what you are trying to accomplish. Dial-in your target audience, and understand what they need.

As best you can, define the visitors flow. Consider the following questions:

  • What functions should your chatbot be able to do?
  • What have your prospects and customers been asking about?
  • What information are they seeking?
  • What have they been looking to accomplish?
  • How can you help them get what they need?
  • Can you help them schedule an appointment? Buy a product? Get pre- or after-sale support?

It’s OK not to have answers for all of these questions. But, you should have at least a good starting idea of what you would need your chatbot to be able to do.

Tip – Don’t wait until you think your chatbot is 100% perfect. Otherwise, you’ll likely never get one operational.

Tip – Make use of my 70/20 Principle. Yes, I know about Pareto’s 80/20 Principle. But, my adaptation is very useful for business owners getting a project underway faster. As adapted to chatbots, develop your chatbot idea to about 70%. The idea here is to just get it operational – and tweak it over time from there. Using my 70/20 Principle, you’ll get your chatbot working faster, and you make about a 20% tweak to the bot each time you modify it. Just realize that it will likely never be at 100%. But, you can keep making improvements – 20% each time you work on it’s capabilities.

Keep The Chatbot Simple and Straightforward

Provide quick, easy solutions to common problems or requests. Only add complexity if the situation warrants it.

Include buttons for the choices.

Answer Common Questions

Set-up your chatbot to be able to help with common questions. Direct the visitor to a FAQ section on your website or to a specific section on your website where the answer is discussed.

Tip – Keep responses informative, but a short as possible. Otherwise, an response can scroll off the small window used for chats.

Tip – Add to your chatbot’s answering capability over time, as new or different questions get asked.

Tip – Incorporate a fallback response. When your chatbot can accept free-form input, consider having a creative or light-hearted fallback response in place to handle situations when it gets confused – like:

“Hmmm…that’s a new one for me. I’m not quite sure how to respond. Why not call us now to assist?”

Tone of Voice

Make your chatbot’s tone of voice friendly and welcoming. Be polite & responsive. Make it a conversational tone.

Tip – Consider giving your chatbot a bit of a light-hearted personality or other human-like qualities.

Often, the use of some simple emojis (like a hand waving, a thumbs up, a party-celebration type of emoji can make a computer, artificial intelligence app seem more approachable & helpful.

People typically realize they are interacting with an app. But, some chatbot designs allow you to include a small image to be the persona of the chatbot. I went with w fun robot-look, and I named him “I/O” (for Input/Output). Other business owners choose an image of a real person. This, combined with the ability of some chatbot app softwares to include a brief typing pause between a visitor’s input and the app’s response can make the chatbot seem more human-like.

Tip – Avoid industry jargon unless it actually makes sense to use it. For example, someone suffering from a Temporo Mandibular Joint problem is likely going to have the acronym “TMJ” in their head when their interacting with a chiropractor’s website chatbot. In that case, it can make sense to include “TMJ Relief” as an option that a website visitor is seeking information on. But, just using jargon to be using it doesn’t make sense, and it may hinder visitor interaction.

Easily Noticeable

Make sure your chatbot is easy to find. In the United States, it’s very common for a chatbot to appear in the lower, right-hand corner of the desktop website view in a browser. And, it appears in a similar position on smartphones.

Initially, chatbots appear as just an icon. They may or may not be animated. When they icon gets clicked on, a bigger window pops-up that is more conducive to be able to chat.

Just make sure the initial icon is something that looks like a chatbot icon.

Are We Done?

Let the user know when they have reached the end of their conversation with the chatbot.

When directing them to another page on the website, that’s pretty clear. But, when still within the chatbot app, help the visitor know when the chatbot is done.

Tip – Ask if the information was helpful. Or, do they need additional information. Etc. If more information is needed, provide a support phone number, access to a contact form, the ability for the visitor to get a callback or email response, etc.

Branding

Smart business owners know that company branding is very important in the consumer marketplace. Businesses should always have a congruent “look & feel” between their business website and their various social media properties & related blogs. Think: Colors, images, messages, etc.

Tip – Incorporate your company color palette into the design of your chatbot. This will make it seamlessly fit right in with your website – not look like it was a force-fit, bolt-on afterthought.

Increasing Social Awareness

You can even place one or more social media icons in your chatbot flow for the purpose of encouraging your website visitors to share your website content. If you’ve provided a positive user experience in your chatbot flow, some of the website visitors will elect to share their experience with your website with their friends. This can help bring about additional brand awareness for your business  in the social media arena.

Review Chatbot Analytics

Find out how visitors are interacting with you chatbot. Questions to ask yourself:

  • How many chatbot interactions with visitors have occurred?
  • Is chatbot use increasing?
  • What are the top interactions?
  • For eCommerce & affiliate websites, is it assisting with new sales?
  • What functionality may need expansion?

What are the Limitations of Chatbots?

Today’s chatbots are very good, but they are apps. They are typically designed to handle first-level questions. As such, they cannot think-on-their-feet as a human can.

AI-based chatbots can certainly help get closer to this, but even they have limits. For example, they typically cannot handle complex queries. They cannot read emotion, but they can determine intent.

Chatbots also typically cannot do customer-retention. They can provide programmed responses, but they cannot decide on-the-spot that it makes sense to attempt to save a customer from leaving by making them a one-off special offer.

Wrapping It Up

Chatbots are being used to answer customer questions, provide service and support, and even drive sales. A website chatbot can save your business money by answering many of the questions that your prospects & customers have, and they can do this 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

DonRoberts.com provides website chatbot services for small business owners. Or, you can set one up for yourself.

~ Don

#chatbot #chatbots #chatbotcompany

How To Grow Sales Using Content Marketing

Image of banner for content writing article

Content Marketing for Small Business: Tips on how to boost small business sales via content marketing

The Business Owners Guide To Content Marketing

Content marketing is a powerful way to grow your business. Yet, it’s also one of the most misunderstood and confusing topics in the digital marketing arena.

Many business owners have never heard about content marketing. For the ones that have heard about it, they tend to think that it will be too hard or too time consuming for their business to implement. They typically don’t understand:

  • “How” they can generate enough ideas for the articles
  • “Where” to start – even if they have one or more article ideas
  • “How” to write the articles

Keep reading because this article will show you what you need to know about content marketing strategy, tips, & ideas so that you can leverage this incredible strategy to build brand awareness & trust with your prospects, as a well as increase your sales. By the time you get to the end of this article, you will understand:

  • How to generate plenty of ideas for articles
  • Where to start
  • How to write the actual articles
  • …Even how to use tools to speed up the process

What Is Content Marketing?

And, why is content marketing important? Content marketing is a way to establish authority in your niche. It can help your business increase sales and brand presence. You can use it to get more leads, build trust with prospects, and create an online community of fans that will buy from you time and again. And, it’s a way for your fans to share your helpful content with their friends.

Examples of content marketing can be blog posts, social media posts, videos, infographics, and podcasts. But, before you dive-in headfirst, you really should have a goal in mind – a destination if you will.

Define Your Goal

In business, naturally you should have a goal for the things you do. It’s the same for engaging in content marketing. What are you hoping to accomplish? Some business owners may say they want to get a certain number of new clients a month. Other owners may say they want a certain number of new phone calls a month. Still, some other business owners may want a certain number of new visitors to their website or a certain number of new email sign-ups a month.

What do YOU want to achieve? Make it specific, and make it reasonable & do-able.

Define Your Target Audience

image of a target audience being identified

Target your audience or risk ending up talking to no one.

Every seasoned marketer knows that if you try to appeal to ALL people (in an attempt to maximize sales), you will end up appealing to no one (thereby minimizing sales). Do yourself a favor and identify your target audience.

Over time, one or more demographics tend to make themselves known as the primary sales generators. Examples of demographics might be singles in their 20s, homeowners in their 30s making $60K or more a year, CrossFit members in their 40s, etc. This will become your avatar.

So, identify your avatar, and write with your avatar in mind – just like you’re talking with them. It will help you focus your thoughts and flow.

Create content that is engaging and informative for your audience – while also being consistent with your brand’s voice and values

Get Your Content Seen

You can share your content on social media platforms, on blogs, in newsletters, etc. The following might go without saying. But, just in case it’s not, you’ll want to publish your content on your business website first. That’s where you want Google and the other search engines to find it first.

Your Social Media Profiles

It’s even better to also publish your content (or links to it) on your business’ social media profiles. Why? It’s because with so many people hanging out in the social media arena every day – all day, it’s highly unlikely that your target market is not hanging out there. So, get your content in front of them.

It stands to reason that the more places you have information to find, the more people can come across it. Think of the equivalent of having more than one fishing lure in the water to increase your chances of catching fish.

Typical social profiles that savvy business owners make use of are:

Additionally, many businesses make use of:

If you’re not already posting on your social media websites with some frequency, then you’ll want to read this article on the benefits of posting on social media.

Evergreen Content

What is evergreen content? Let’s start with what evergreen content isn’t.

Some content that a business posts about is meant for one occasion – like a post mentioning a certain date, event, etc. Typically, you’d post this information once on your website & in your social profiles – and be done with it.

But, what about content that can be read anytime of the year and still be relevant to your audience? Think of a chiropractor writing an article about back pain and mentioning treatment options. Think of a pest control company writing about termite infestation, damage, structural damage and mentioning treatment options & structural repair.

This type of content fits squarely into the “evergreen content” category. It applies anytime of the year.

Post Just Once, Right? Wrong.

Did you know that most social platforms allow you to re-post content that you’ve previously posted? Yep, you can – and should. Why?

It’s because someone may miss what you post today, but they may see it the next time it’s posted. Or, the time after that. And, so on.

Also, consumers who aren’t aware of your brand now may come across it in, say, 6 months. Would it be great if they had a chance to see your informative content then?

Posting Manually & Via Automation

Manual Posting to Social Accounts

For the manual approach, you’ll need to:

  • Keep track of each content page you want to post about.
  • Keep track of when you posted them.
  • Keep track of when you’ll post them next.
  • Actually re-post it.
  • Then, re-post it after that.
  • And, so on.

Yep, it’s truly manual. But, it’s certainly doable. And, it’s worth it because you increase your odds of more prospects finding your original evergreen content over time. For this approach, I recommend that you set-up a calendar with alerts – or you’ll likely forget all about it or get so lost that you bail altogether on it.

TIP – Keep in mind that “evergreen” doesn’t mean “set in stone”. You can make changes or updates to your actual content page anytime you want to. Just don’t change the page’s URL, or you’ll break the link connection to it from your social posts.

Automated Posting to Social Accounts

image of the MissingLettr website homepage

Use automation to post & re-post your content to YOUR social profiles

To me, the automated re-posting route is preferable. Why? Because it saves a lot of time.

One of the online services that will post to your social accounts is MissingLettr. Once a campaign has been set-up, MissingLettr will automatically drip-out each content post 9-times over the course of a year (Day 0, 3, 7, 14, 30, 90, 180, 270, & 365). Think: Set & forget.

When you make a new content post on your business website, it automatically gets picked up the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed that’s associated with your website. You associate this RSS feed with your MissingLettr dashboard (it’s easy), and MissingLettr automatically takes the hand-off.

Once the new piece of content (evergreen or otherwise) is in-hand, MissingLettr initializes a new drip campaign. Note that non-evergreen content can easily be deleted from the dashboard. You simply make a few tweaks to a campaign, then publish it within the MissingLettr dashboard. MissingLettr takes over from there, and you’ll enjoy traffic from new prospects throughout the coming year (365 days).

To find out more about MissingLettr, click here.

Other People’s Social Media Profiles

By now, you’re beginning to realize that sharing your new content in YOUR social media profiles offers you a good chance of your content getting found by more prospects – when compared to just posting it on your website.

Image of Quuu Promote website homepage

Use automation to post & re-post your content on OTHER people’s social accounts.

What do you think could happen if you could arrange for OTHER people share your updates, too? If you’re beginning to think that your content could have a good chance of getting seen by even more prospects, then you’re solidly in the intuitive business owner category.

But, how can you make arrangements for others to see your content updates?

One such way is via Quuu Promote. The online service Quuu will share your well-written, non-sales-y, non-homepage content with numerous other topic-specific, real social accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Quuu Promote will even let you manually re-post content after a certain period of time.

As of this writing, Quuu Promote users have had their content shared over 50 million times – with over 100 million click-throughs to their content. All-in-all, Quuu is an efficient, effective, easy, and automated content promotion platform. Find out more about Quuu Promote here.

Content Marketing Format

Written content comes to mind, but you’re not limited to your content only being written. It can be in the form a videos, audio files, and/or podcasts, too. A combination of them is even better because while some people prefer to read, others prefer to consume content via video. Still others prefer to listen. Why not cover all bases and enjoy enhance brand exposure?

Generating Ideas For Articles

It may seem counterintuitive, but coming up with ideas for articles is easy. The ideas can come from your business, from customers & prospects, and from the search results.

Ideas from Your Business

Some business owners say that they have no idea what they would write about. But, I beg to differ. I ask them about their business – what they do. It turns out that they are pretty familiar with what they do. I tell them to write about that.

For example, while a general contractor may be stuck on what they would write about, their prospects likely want to know about:

  • How to choose a good general contractor
  • How homeowners should prepare for a remodeling project
  • What to expect during the different phases of a project (e.g., remodeling ideas, architectural plans, financing & refinancing, quoting, contract & change orders, communication, payment schedule, demolition, construction, permits, issue handling, clean-up, security, warranty, etc.)

Naturally, a general contractor can write about those things.

The articles should help prospects understand your services or products. Be informative, not sales-y. Your goal here is to establish topic authority & trust – not to make a sale or seem pushy.

TIP – Keep in mind that people like learning about things, especially when finding-out how to solve their problems. They also like to buy things. But, they don’t like being “sold to”.

What People Ask You About Your Business

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) are your friend. Just write out thoughtful responses to FAQs.

Tip – Speaking of writing, I recommend that you use the straightforward intro, body, & conclusion format (i.e., tell what you’re going to tell them about, tell them about it, then recap what you told them). Go wild, and throw in some relevant images, videos, audio files, lists, etc. where appropriate. And, don’t be shy about linking-out to authority resources so that your prospects can gather more information – should they desire. Hint: Google likes that.

How about the questions that prospects ask before they decide to become customers? What do they ask about? Answer these questions. Perhaps, simply start with the most common questions. Then, branch-out from there.

TIP – Once you start thinking about the FAQs that are associated with your business, why not go for a twofer and also create a FAQ section for your website? You’d be adding another way for your business to get found.

What People Search For

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Get a wealth of questions that people are asking right now.

I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Countless people do it. We ask Google and the other search engines for answers. It turns out that there are companies that keep track of what people ask about. And, they’ll present it to you – just for asking (no pun intended).

An online service called “Answer The Public” can show you questions people ask about specific things. All you do it enter a keyword phrase into the Answer The Public input field on the homepage, and it will show you numerous questions related to that keyword phrase that people are asking.

For example, I just entered “neck pain”. The response was 384 results – spread out among “how”, “what”, “where”, “who”, “which”, “why”, “are”, “can”, “when”, and “will” questions.

If that’s somehow not enough for you, it also provides 56 prepositions (e.g., neck pain to shoulder, neck pain is symptom of, etc.) and 38 comparisons (e.g., neck pain and dizziness, neck pain and headache, etc.).

And, it’s easily downloadable. All in all, it’s chock-full of things to write about. Find out more about Answer The Public here.

TIP – The phrases output from Answer The Public are also considered to be “keyword phrases” (i.e., keywords used by people using search engines). You can input these keyword phrases into tools that allow you to get an idea of how may people are actively searching every month using these same keywords. You can then decide whether you want to target the higher-traffic, mid-level-traffic, lower-traffic keywords, or some combination of them for use in your articles. After all, if people are using specific keyword phrases, it makes sense to mention them in your articles so that your articles can get found. You can also use these keyword tools without using Answer The Public first – as long as you some some idea of keywords being used. You can also enter URLs of specific pages to see what keyword phrases the they are being found for. And, more. Find out more about researching keywords here.

Content Marketing Funnels

You’ve likely heard of sales funnels. You know – you land on a webpage and decide to buy what’s being offered. As you check-out, you’re presented with an offer for something else that’s typically related in some way with the first thing you bought – or enhances it in some way. Perhaps, you’re even offered a third item. That’s a sales funnel. By getting on to some company’s email list, you’ve entered their funnel, too.

You’re not limited to writing just one article about a topic (e.g., say, just one article on kitchen remodeling). You can create a series of articles on different aspects of a topic (e.g., designing a new kitchen, choosing appliances, countertop materials, etc.). One article can lead to the next one – with the last one making some offer.

Organizing Your Thoughts

Some business owners prefer to organize their thoughts using written outlines. Some may prefer to paste ideas or idea elements into EverNote, OneNote, or other note storing apps. Others may prefer to speak ideas into a recorder – like into the recording app on a smartphone. Do what works for you.

How To Write The Articles

Naturally, you’ll want your content to be consumed. To make this happen, you’ll need a headline that catches people’s attention in some way. And, you’ll want your content to flow so that your prospects can follow along, stick with it, and learn from it.

TIP – Some industries seem to be loaded with jargon and acronyms. A couple of examples of acronyms in my world are SEO & PPC. Even though every online marketer knows those two acronyms backwards & forwards, I’ve found that many business owners have no idea what SEO or PPC mean.

Remember – Just because YOU are familiar with your industry jargon, it doesn’t mean a prospect would be. If you’re going to use an jargon or acronyms in your content, start off by indicating what it stands for and how it’s relevant & understandable to the prospect.

Article Generation

Naturally, you have the option of writing you own articles. Or, you can have them done-for-you (DFY).

Someone Else Writing The Articles – Original Content

For the DFY approach, there are no shortage article writing providers – such as:

It’s likely no surprise that you’ll have to pay for each article. Of course, you’ll pay extra for more authoritative, in-depth articles.

With some of the providers, you have to pay extra to tell them “how” you want the article written. Having articles re-written typically is possible, but it can be a pain & can result in delays. And, you may end up having to edit the articles yourself. That’s generally not a big deal unless you don’t want to do any of the work, or the article is such that you want a full re-write.

TIP – Always look at the writer’s customer reviews. It’s typically best to just go with 4- & 5-star writers. You’re looking at about $20 – $25 for an 800-work article where you specify you want a writer with experience in the niche, the context you want in the article, etc. In-depth collaboration will approximately double the cost of each article. Articles can be written for less money, but the writer is free to write about what they want to write about, how they go about it, etc. It’s worth it to pay a bit more to get what you want.

Someone Else Writing The Articles – PLR

PLR stands for Private Label Rights. Some merchants sell niche-based PLR article packs (e.g., packs of articles about senior care living, packs about chiropractic care, etc.). They typically feature numerous topics within a given niche. And, they may even limit sales to, say, just 100 packs being available. To me, this approach has pros and cons.

Pros

Since the articles have been pre-written, they’re literally ready-to-publish. You might even feel that they are just right “as written”. They’re typically inexpensive. That all sounds good.

Cons

But, it’s not all good. You will likely not be the first person to buy & publish the articles from one of the 100 packs available. While people seeing your social posts may not know the difference, Google & the other search engines will. And, that can be a deal-breaker.

Although the subject is debated in the digital marketing world, a general consensus is that the search engine companies do not like to reward websites with duplicate content in their search results index. That means that if your website is posting duplicate content, it’s likely not going to get favorable search results positioning. And, that means your business won’t be very findable online by the vary people you’re hoping to come across your brand.

Lastly, while one or more PLR articles are about the topics in your niche, you may not really like how they’re worded or the conclusions/recommendations in them.

TIP – In any case, consider running articles you’ve acquired through Copyscape to ensure it hasn’t already been published elsewhere.

Tools To Speed-up The Article Writing Process

By now, you understand that between FAQs & your particular service offering, coming up with ideas for articles is pretty straightforward – in fact easy.

If you’re OK spending a little bit of time with each article yourself (or someone you designate on your team), then there are some tools that can help you streamline the process of article writing. The tools range from what I consider to be just OK – to being pretty darn good.

Content Marketing Tools Of The Trade

The article creation tools in the modern Internet marketers toolbox typically consist of ones that are semi-automated to those that are nearly fully automated. These content marketing software tools can easily be used by small business owners to quickly create articles.

From my experience, some (but, not all) of the tools fall short of generating actual quality content. In fact, some of it can be generic, somewhat awkward to read, and a bit disjointed. Depending on your personal preferences, most will typically require editing.

The good news is that there a couple exceptions that actually come up with pretty decent content – in my opinion.

Article Spinners

One semi-automated tool is an article-spinner. An article-spinner is really more of an article re-writer – than an article creator. And, the output typically needs editing (sometimes extensive editing) to make it read smoothly and to make sense.

Image of Spin Rewriter's homepage

One of the multiple article-spinning software apps

How Article Spinners Work

You manually take someone else’s content and place it into the article-spinner. The idea is that it re-writes it to be what the spinner companies claim to be “original content. Sometimes the spinner developers tout that their tool can make millions of combinations of original content available. In reality, it may only be considered “original” as far as the search engines are concerned (because many words are changed). But, the content & flow are still someone else’s.

Article-spinners rewrite an existing article – essentially swapping-out synonyms and occasionally rewriting sentences/paragraphs. You can also get them to reorder sentences/paragraphs. But, content flow typically suffers.

TIP – PLR articles can be run through an article-spinner. Just realize that manual editing will likely be necessary.

Why Use An Article Spinner?

As mentioned above, Google & other search engines do not want to provide favorable search results listings to articles that consist of “duplicate content”. For example, say I write an article and publish it on my website. Then, someone comes along, lifts my article, and publishes it on one or more other websites. The search engines do want to index original, good content. But, they do not want to index the duplicate content.

So, Internet marketers use article-spinners to create topically-related “original” content to be placed on third-party websites that they can then use to link to their topic-related “money sites” (i.e., the websites they really want to get favorable search results ranking for). The marketer will spin an article, run it through Copyscape, then publish the article.

As far as article creation goes, I consider spinners to be “a” way to “create” content. But, in my opinion, there are better ways to get good (even very good) articles.

Should you be interested in finding-out more about one of the more popular article-spinners, click here.

Automated Article Creation

Some newer tools are more streamlined in how they create articles. With these, you simply enter one or more keywords into the tool’s dashboard, and they will “create” entire articles from there. But, in my mind, they still need to be edited before they’re ready for prime-time (i.e., publishing on your business website). They are fast at article creation, and their prices range from reasonable to somewhat expensive.

Find out about the nearly automated content writing tools here, here, and here.

Advanced Tools

A few tools exist whereby you can enter a keyword, and the tools will take a look at top-ranking articles in the, say, Google search results, gather information about them, and present the information to you typically in the form of something called a “content brief“.

You can use the found information to discover additional keywords to use, to create an outline, title, sub-titles, authoritative references, etc. With this type of tool, you’re shown what makes up the content of articles that Google is currently ranking favorably. You incorporate some or all of this found information to help you not only have a more complete article, but also to give your article a shot at ranking well in the search results – where prospects can find it easily.

For information about this type of tool, you can go here, here. , and here.

AI Tool

Image of the Jarvis AI template dashboard

Use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to write your article content, ads, social posts, and video content.

The phrase “Artificial Intelligence” (AI) tends to get a bit over-used these days. Some developers make quite a stretch when it comes to associating AI with their products or services.

But, in my mind one place where it’s not a stretch to use it is a new content writing tool called “Jarvis”. It’s developer indicates this tool has been reading the Internet for years and has been “learning” about numerous industries & topics.

How You Use Jarvis

The Jarvis tool provide varying templates for you to create content from. You enter a keyword phrase into a template, and click the “Generate AI Content” button. Jarvis processes your input, then returns written content appropriate for your topic and template.

For this example, I just entered the phrase “how to treat for termites” into the “Blog Post Outline” template. Within just a moment, I received three groups of steps (each group has steps that vary). Here’s one of the groups Jarvis gave me:

    1. Find out what type of termites you have
    2. Look for piles of sawdust or pellets, holes in the wood, and live termite swarms
    3. Get a professional to inspect your home for termites
    4. Treat your home with pesticides that are approved by the EPA

Each one of these can be a section in a new article for a pest controls company. Note that I did not edit the steps above in any way.

You can then take things a step further and enter the output into another template. I took the third step above and entered it into the “Blog Post Intro Paragraph” template. Here’s one of the responses it gave me:

“Termites are probably the most destructive wood-destroying insects on earth. The typical homeowner has no idea how much damage a termite infestation can actually do to their house, and this is why it’s so important that you have your home inspected by a professional before any major damage occurs.”

Does that read like a robot wrote it? Or, like it was written by someone who doesn’t have a native grasp for English? Nope.

Within a matter of moments, I’ve got an article outline, and a section paragraph without breaking a sweat. And, they read well and make sense.

Jarvis currently has 21 templates available for content creation – ranging “blog post creation” to Facebook & Google “ads creation” to “product descriptions” to “headline/sub-headline creation”. More on in development.

Find out more about more about the Jarvis article writing AI software & get 10,000 paid credits for free here.

Wrapping It Up

Smart business owners are seeing to it that they get content created & published with frequency that’s related to what they do. They know that doing so helps expand their brand presence in the marketplace. They also know that it attracts new consumers to their business.

We’ve proven that any notion of “writer’s block” can easily be dismissed. You can easily identify numerous things to write about. You’ve got resources to help you crank out as many articles as you want.

Just Get Started

“Inaction” gets you nowhere. Take the first step. Get started. Keep in mind that “starting” doesn’t mean you now have to commit taking on a second job writing articles every day. Start with an article a month. Just one. It doesn’t have to be perfect – or even the final word on whatever the topic is. Dial-it-in to be helpful to your target audience.

Gather-up info on what you want to write about. Write it. Publish it. And, be sure to link to it from your social accounts. Simple.

TIP – If your business has an email subscriber list, be sure to let them know, too, when you publish a new piece of content. Tease them with a short excerpt of the new article, then encourage them to click-through to read the whole article on your website. This can work well at reactivating customers who’ve become quiet recently for one reason or another.

Then, Scale It Up

Once you get the flow down, up your output to two articles a month. Then, add another one. And, so on.

Be sure to get an “echo-chamber” going with your articles & posts getting re-posted & shared in the social media arena. And, remember those email subscribers, too.

Don’t be surprised when more consumers start noticing YOUR business. Naturally, that can lead to new sales for your business because more & more consumers are finding, liking, and trusting your helpful content & brand.

Don

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#contentmarketingideas #contentmarketing101 #contentmarketingstrategy

Countdown to Awesomeness

2020 vs. 2021

image of a positive message about 2021

2021 will be what you make of it. Decide now what 2021 will become.

2020 has been a year that I’m sure a lot of business owners would like to forget. Whether you supported the closures or not, one thing we can all agree on is that the 2020 lock-downs have had a punishing effect on small business owners nationwide. Sadly, many of these businesses have shuttered for good. While that’s been unfortunate for them, other businesses weathered-the-storm and are looking forward to more prosperous times ahead.

Considering that 2021 is right moments away, how are you positioning your business for success in 2021?

What do you want for your business in 2021?

Besides simply having a positive mindset for 2021, what specifically do you want to happen with your business in 2021? How about:

  • Becoming more findable presence online?
  • A better website that works harder for you?
  • To finally start getting some traction in the social arena?
  • Away to follow-up with past customers and/or new prospects?
  • Away to build-up more customer reviews?
  • To get a video made for your business?
  • To start doing some paid advertising
  • Other?

Naturally, any or all of the above can lead to more customers & more sales. You just need to decide what you want…then stay focused on it. For those who elect to just sit back & see how things go, their businesses are bound to flounder in 2021 – or possibly fold-up for good.

But, that’s not you because you’re here at DonRoberts.com.

What to do…

The countdown has begun. Take some time as we transition from 2020 to 2021, and decide what things are important to you for your business in 2021. Then, start taking purposeful action. You don’t need everything figured-out before you start. Just get started.

Doing that, 2021 is going to be your best year yet. Dare I say, it will even be awesome!

Best, Don

PS. Should you need assistance with your 2021 online business strategy, we’d be glad to help out. Here’s an easy way to get ahold of us.

 

 

Open for Business

Yes – We’re Open to Serve Your Business Marketing Needs!

DonRoberts.com Small Business Marketing is open for business – during normal business hours.

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DonRoberts.com is open for business. Call now (408) 890-6395

How we can communicate

To help minimize the spread of the Coronavirus, our contact is via phone, Skype (video optional), and screen share.

Many business owners in San Jose are finding they have a bit of time now to really dial-in their approach to more effective marketing.

Give us a call to discuss your situation. As always, no pressure. I promise.

I hope you and yours are healthy and doing well.

Best, Don Roberts

PS. This is a perfect time to see how strong your business website is. Find out here

How RankBrain Impacts Your Business Website And Sales

How Google's RankBrain Impacts YOUR Business Website & Sales

Ignore this important information at your own risk...

5-Star Rated DonRoberts.com

We deliver customers to businesses by making the businesses more findable online

On This Page: Find out what Google RankBrain is and how to take advantage of it for your business.

Why Would A Business Owner Care About What Google Does?

Executive Summary - As a smart business owner, you're going to want to read this article all the way to the end because you'll find-out how a portion of Google's RankBrain technology is likely working against your website and sales. And, while you read, you'll discover several effective ways how you can make it work for your business instead.

You've probably got a business website that you're happy with. When you search for your business name in Google, you see your business listed in the search results. That's how YOU find your business in Google. But, consumers in your local area probably won't find your business the way THEY search. And, Google's RankBrain is going to make that even more of a challenge going forward. Here's why:

  • Limited Page 1 Real Estate - In most areas of the United States, just about any business has a lot of competitors - more than can fit on to Page 1 of the search results. And, since Google tells us that about 90% of consumers don't go past the first page of search results, those businesses stuck on Page 2 and beyond are largely not even being seen by local consumers.
  • Generic Search Terms - Consumers who've not heard of your business previously naturally would not be searching Google using your business name. But, they would be using more generic searches for business type + city (e.g., cosmetic dentist fremont ca, dui attorney san francisco, etc.). If your website and content are not optimized for these generic keyword search terms, it's highly likely that YOUR business will not be appearing on Page 1 of search.

RankBrain goes way beyond processing unfamiliar search phrases. It also takes into account how searchers interact with a business website. (original image by Martin420 on WikiMedia)

  • RankBrain - For the sake of argument, let's say that you invested in search engine optimization services (SEO) - and your website business website has begun showing up on Page 1. But, with Google's RankBrain technology in place, it's now harder to maintain that favorable search results position. That translates to you losing out on those extra customers & sales you've begun enjoying. Keep reading to find out why...

Search Engine Basics


First, let's set the stage with the basic operation of a search engine - in this case Google.

Algorithm - Custom computer program that sorts through billions of web pages, orders them, and displays them for specific search queries or keyword searches.

Hummingbird - This is the formal name Google has given its search algorithm. There are over 200 inputs to the algorithm.

PageRank - This is part of the Hummigbird search algorithm. It covers the way in which Google gives a page credit based on links pointing to it from other pages on the web (think: individual votes of confidence). Google used to provide PageRank information, which provided Internet marketers with strategic information for link-building efforts. Google stopped providing PageRank info in March 2016.

Quick Facts

In addition to the 500+ changes Google makes every year to their search results computer algorithm, they also release major updates from time to time with names like "Payday", "Panda", "Penguin", "Pigeon", and "Fred".


These updates have a significant effect on where your business website (and other online properties) appear in the search results.

What Is RankBrain?


Introduced in 2015, RankBrain has already become the third most important ranking factor in the search results algorithm - according to Google's Greg Corrado. In this article, the word "ranking" is used to denote the order of the search results for a given search phrase. "Ranking favorably" simply means having a listing for your business that shows up on Page 1 of the search results.


In tech-speak, RankBrain is Google's new machine-learning, artificial intelligence technology.

Machine Learning - This is specialized computer programming where a computer teaches itself to perform a task - or set of tasks - without following detailed program steps or being taught by humans.


Artificial Intelligence (AI) - This is highly specialized progamming whereby a computer can end up being as smart as a human - and can carrying out actions with the accuracy and speed of a computer.

Google's Mission


At a high level, Google's mission is to end search. End search?

Yep. Google wants to serve highly-relevant search results its users. At the end of the day, Google basically wants to connect searchers with exactly what they're looking for and as soon as possible - which of course completes their searching. Google figures that will make people want to use Google search again & again - for all of their searches.

How strong is your business website?

Enter a web page address and the keyword or search term you want your business to be found for.

What Does RankBrain Do?


RankBrain plugs into Google's search algorithm and helps Google better sort-through, order, and deliver its search results. And, it's a significant way Google will accomplish their goal of providing highly relevant search results.

What Most Are Saying About RankBrain


One of the things RankBrain does is to assist the search algorithm with search queries it has not come across before. If it's not familiar with a certain word or search phrase, it can take a guess at other words that might have a similar meaning and filter the results accordingly. That function can help provide more more relevant search results.

The Bigger Thing Nobody Seems To Be Mentioning


►Pay especially close attention to this part.

The other hugely important thing that RankBrain does is to take interaction cues directly from the web searchers themselves. These cues - or signals - communicate to Google how much - or how little - a searcher engages with a particular website that's presented in the search results. These interaction signals are fed into RankBrain.


Search Engine Optimization experts who know what they're doing can typically get a targeted website page to appear favorably in the search results - that's to say on Page 1 and preferably at the top. Doing this makes a business a lot more findable online, and it's a recipe for a lot more visitor traffic to a business website. Naturally, that leads to more sales.


As you would suspect, Google knows that not all websites are created equal. Some websites have very good content. Some websites are more middle-of-the-road in terms of content quality. And, some websites have low quality content. Some websites have many thousands of pages of content, while other sites have very little content - also known as "thin" content.

Google realizes that searchers are not going to be happy getting served sub-standard search results. That would be a frustrating user search experience and a waste of time. Google knows that's not a recipe for people wanting to continue using Google to find things.


For obvious reasons, Google wants the better quality content showing up favorably in the search results. And, Google figures that the searchers themselves can tell Google exactly what websites & pages they prefer.


Google is also aware that SEO experts try to influence the search results for the SEO firm client's websites. In the early days, simply having a lot of links pointing to a website that also has lots of keyword phrases on the page made it fairly easy to get good rankings. Algorithm updates along the way have made it more a lot more challenging to achieve favorable rankings, but the best website marketing companies are still able to get pages ranked favorably in the search results.

Google's RankBrain technology is looking at these User Interaction Signals

But, what about maintaining the favorable search results?


In the past, getting a favorable ranking generally meant that it would stay there. That's typically no longer the case - in large part because of RankBrain. In fact, unless the favorably-ranked website has good RankBrain signals, that site's favorable search results positioning will likely fade to Page 2 or beyond.


What Are the RankBrain Signals?


Wouldn't it be great if we knew the signals that RankBrain monitors? If we had them at our finger tips, it would be kind of like having a secret decoder ring you could use to help your website gain & maintain favorable search results positioning.


You're in luck because we've been digging, and we uncovered the signals that RankBrain measures. They are as follows:

RankBrain Signals


  • Brand Search & Brand Mentions
  • Navigational Search
  • Click-through Rate from the Search Results
  • Bounce Rate
  • Number of Pages Visited
  • Total Time-on-Site
  • Traffic Volume
  • Repeat Visitors

(Every other list item above was bolded only to make the list easier to read.)

A Closer Look At The RankBrain Signals


Brand Search - Are people searching for your brand name? In other words, are people searching using YOUR brand name as part of their search query? As discussed previously, unless YOUR brand is already well-established in your area, consumers are likely not searching for YOUR actual brand name - or YOUR website domain name. RankBrain is monitoring this. To some, this would be a "Catch-22" situation (you need people searching for your brand, but they don't know about it yet). So, what do you do? We use our proprietary system to feed RankBrain. But, you could, for example, do some paid advertising or other promotions in Facebook to get your name out there.

  • Tip - You could, for example, do some paid advertising or other promotions in Facebook to get your name out there. "Boosting" a post to your local community is easy & inexpensive in in Facebook. You can tweet about things your business is doing. You can post images related to your business on Pinterest.

Speaking of the social arena, is your brand being mentioned in people's social circles? Is anyone sharing info about your business with their friends? Are your customers writing customer reviews?

  • Tip - Offer great service to your customers in every aspect of your operation - from the receptionist answering the phone, onward. Also, ask your customers to provide reviews from your business on Yelp, Google+, and Facebook. People will share your good deals & helpful information with their friends.

Navigational Search - Navigational? What's that? Simply, are people searching for something unique that is featured on your website? For example, someone may search for "the habit menu" to find the menu that's specifically on the The Habit website.


Another example might be where a smart business owner does a navigational search for "donroberts.com google review link generator" to find the handy online tool that easily creates Google+ customer review form links to share with their customers, clients, or patients. Additionally, you might also have a resources page related to your business - like the "small business marketing tools resources" page we have on our site.


In these situations, people are looking for some information, a tool, or other resource that is specifically findable in the navigation on your website. What useful resource do you have on your website that consumers would like to find?

  • Tip - You could start sharing your resources in your social media accounts. Tell your followers about your resources, and encourage them to check the resources out. Ask them to share them with their friends. You can also "Boost" a post inexpensively in Facebook to get your resources in front of a lot of people in your local area.

Click-Through Rate - An SEO optimization company may have gotten your website near the top of the search results on Page 1 for a keyword phrase you care about (that's a great thing). But, is anyone actually clicking YOUR result when they get presented with it in the search results? If you're not sure, your website analytics can certainly tell you about this. And, you can be sure that RankBrain is watching, too.


Consider this example: If your website is displayed promiently in the search results over & over, but no one is actually clicking your search listing (or very few are), RankBrain will determine that people - when given the choice - are choosing NOT to engage with your website. That's a bad signal to send to RankBrain - and, it's a recipe for your website getting bounced to Page 2 or beyond. And, that means a lot less traffic to your website - which also means fewer sales.


The click-through rate is a very important signal to RankBrain.

  • Warning - Whether for brand search - or generic keyword search phrases, don't be tempted by well-intentioned, but misinformed SEO firms who still use spammy automated bots or lower-skill worker services to game the system because Google is on to the schemes & methods used, and they may give your website a slap you won't soon forget. That would make your site less findable and can make you lose-out on sales.
  • Tip - You can easily ask your customers what things they were initially looking for about your business. If it's missing from your website, get it on there & highlight it. And, considering bolstering the information that you already have on your site.

Bounce Rate - When someone does click-through to your website, but chooses to return to the search results relatively quickly, that person has "bounced" from your website. While being an imperfect measurement (because someone could have gotten the exact information they sought, only visited one page on your site, then returned to the search results), it's still a measurement RankBrain monitors. A high bounce rate is a bad signal to send to RankBrain. Bounce Rate is reduced when website visitors spend time on your website consuming content on various pages.

  • Tip - An effective way to get people consuming your content is to continue to provide them with helpful, educational content and make sure that your website's navigation makes it easy to find the various content. And, share it in the social arena.

Number of Pages Visited - This may seem obvious, but the more pages a visitor visits, the better the signal. Ideally, you would want people to spend several minutes on each page of your business website consuming content (e.g., text, video, images, & audio). Just make it good quality content. That's a good signal to send to RankBrain.

  • Tip - At a minimum, make sure you have links throughout your website pointing to interesting, informative, or educational features on your site. Perhaps, have featured blocks of information - or focus areas - that are easily seen.
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Want more articles for your small business website, but don't know what to say or don't have time to research & write an article - let alone several of them? Click the image above to see how Jarvis will do it for you - and quickly.

Total Time On-Site - The more the merrier, as far as this signal goes. Engaged visitors will typically spend at least several minutes on a site. Time-on-site is improved by having great content to read, watch, and listen to.

  • Tip - You should certainly offer high-quality articles that inform & engage your site visitors. You also might offer quizzes, polls, or event sign-ups in addition to great articles, videos, images, or audios. Inter-link your posts & pages so that your readers will see links within the content they're reading.

Traffic Volume - Generally, the more traffic your site gets, the more popular it must be. That can be from search traffic, referral traffic, or direct traffic. Referral traffic is traffic from other sites, such as social media sites, authority sites linked to your content, ad traffic, and traffic from business directories. Direct traffic is simply people typing in your actual domain name into the address field and hitting enter. Sites with low or no traffic send a poor signal to RankBrain.

  • Warning - If your SEO company is building links to your website every month, but there is no traffic coming to your site from them, what do you think that situation communicates to Google? Does it really seem natural that all these links are being built to your site, yet no one is actually clicking the links to actually visit your site? Google is monitoring this...
  • Tip - Share your site's content in the social arena. Consider "boosting" helpful posts on your Facebook business page. Consider guest-posting articles on local or industry authority websites. Of course, you want a link back to YOUR business website.

Repeat Visitors - Do people return to your website to consume more content? If so, that's a great signal to RankBrain. And, your website analytics can tell you about it.

  • Tip - Even if your site currently has very little in the way of repeat visitor traffic, there are things you can do to boost your repeat visitor numbers - like engaging in email marketing to have people on your list return to read new blog posts, see new offers, and find out about upcoming events. You can also target people who've visited your website, place an ad in Facebook that specifically targets them, and convince them to click the ad that will return them to YOUR website. See...your numbers are getting better already.

One Last Thing (and It's a Big One)


There's something in the Internet marketing world that would make an SEO agency quake in their boots if they knew about it - and that is the dreaded "Split Test".


Google knows about how many clicks each listing in the search results page should get. For example, the web page listed in Position 1 on Page 1 should get "X" clicks. The web page listed in Position 2 should get "Y" clicks. And so on.

  • If your website is not in-line with the expected number of clicks Google is anticipating, that can trigger a "split test". In this situation, Google puts your website up against another website. If that site has a better click-through ratio and a better bounce rate rate, your site loses the test and ends up on Page 2 of the serach results and beyond. Say goodbye to findability for your business, and say hello to lost sales.
  • Tip - Check your website analytics to see how your website is performing because it's likely underperforming and sending unfavorable signals to RankBrain. The good news is you can turn this unfortunate situation around to put YOUR business website in the best shape possible for attaining & maintaining favorable search results positioning.

The Bottom-line


Strategic Google SEO packages can still get your website ranked favorably in the search results. But, favorable user interaction & engagement are now required to keep it there.

  • OK...one more Tip. Do the things suggested above to get people engaging with your website. If you'd rather have someone do it for you, check the limited-time offer below.

As a savvy business owner, by now you begin to realize that you need to start feeding RankBrain with favorable signals. Just don't put this off because RankBrain is already at work detecting user interaction - or lack thereof - with YOUR small business website. That is likely already impacting the traffic to your site - and your sales, too.

Help your friends out. Share this article with them!

Don Roberts

Don Roberts

Don Roberts is nationally recognized as being one of the most effective search engine optimization experts in the business community.


He's well known for customer satisfaction and for creating profitable Internet marketing promotions that significantly increase brand awareness and sales by making businesses more findable online by local consumers.

Don's website marketing services are never canned or off-the-shelf. Rather, each plan is strategically-tailored to the specific competitive situation a business owner finds their business in. Contact Don at (408) 890-6395.

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