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Is Adding AI to Your Website a Viable Option for Your Business?

Know the pros and cons before you jump on the Artificial Intelligence (AI) bandwagon

There’s no denying that we’re living in a world that is speeding up daily when it comes to technology. Sometimes, there are so many new gadgets and apps out there that just trying to keep up with it all can start to get a little overwhelming.

When it comes to making the choice about what technology to incorporate into your website, take the time to weigh all of your options and choose what will make the biggest difference to drive your business forward.

Simply utilizing tech to “keep up” with the competition or to give the impression of being “current” or “tech-savvy” is not enough. You also need to know how to use it. This includes considering how best to incorporate it into your product development, website design, and marketing strategy.

Look at it this way, simply owning a high-end set of power tools doesn’t make you an expert handyman, any more than owning a car means you’re an excellent driver. You need to have the knowledge and skills to complement the equipment. Or at least have someone with the necessary know-how working with you, in order to use the tools effectively.

Some of the more recent advancements in tech have been the appearance of AI, or Artificial Intelligence, in various homes and businesses in the form of voice assistants, i.e. Alexa, Google Assistant, and Cortana, and the growing popularity of interactive customer support on company websites via chatbots. In fact, several years back Business Insider predicted over 80% of companies will be using chatbots on their websites by 2020. While I don’t know if we have reached the 80% mark today, chatbots have definitely become commonplace. But what exactly does all of this stuff do, and does it provide a significant advantage to warrant using it in your business?

To help answer those questions, take a look at the pros and cons of jumping on the AI bandwagon when it comes to your business website:

robotic looking women's face with data background

The PROS of Using AI on Your Website 

  • Faster Service – When there’s a “robot” behind the scenes dealing with customers the perks are quick responses and 24/7 accessibility. Your customers won’t get frustrated wasting time waiting for answers or trying to find a human to speak to. Your clients that are looking for information after normal business hours will be happy that they can still ask their questions. All of this can lead to a higher rate of customer satisfaction.
  • A Broader Audience – Providing voice recognition technology makes your site more accessible to users with visual impairments or mobility challenges, which broadens the scope of your business to reach a wider audience. Plus, the 24/7 customer support potential offers a very attractive feature to those people who are on the go and place a high value on convenience.
  • Low Costs, Higher Profits – The use of artificial intelligence equals non-human employees, which means you don’t have to pay a salary or benefits to a portion of your customer support team, or any other area where you’re using the technology, for example – taking orders or marketing. This helps keep operating costs low, which translates to higher profits for your business.

Using AI in different aspects of your business can help keep your operating costs low, which results in higher profits.

  • Catering Products and Services to Customers – Virtual shopping assistants can learn about customers’ habits and tastes as they shop online and use this information to suggest products and services they might find appealing. It’s like having your own personal shopper along with you as you explore the internet, to help you sift through the numerous options and zero in on the ones that are most likely to work for you.

There’s a definite trend toward this technology when it comes to consumerism because 43% of voice-enabled device owners use voice assistant technology to help them shop. Adding this tech to your web interface becomes another way of knowing your customer and adapting your marketing and business strategies to meet their specific needs. 

The CONS of Using AI on Your Website

  • cute robotic bug looking in mirrorLimited Abilities – Robots might be fast and never need to sleep, but that doesn’t mean that they have all the answers. When all is said and done, technology can only do what someone else has programmed it to do. In the case of chatbots, for example, predetermined responses provide limited support. Unlike a human, there’s no adapting, improvising or emotional responses present to handle individual situations.
  • Frustrated Customers – If customers can’t get the answers they’re looking for or are never able to actually speak to a real human being, this can lead to frustration. People crave attention, validation, and empathy, and chatbots don’t possess the capacity to deliver these feelings. 
  • Expensive – Wait, what? Wasn’t one of the pros all about saving money? It all depends on how complex you need or want your AI to be. The more complexity you need means the more money you’re going to spend. The trade-off for the higher expense is more intelligent bots that can deliver more targeted responses, thereby keeping customer frustration levels low, but this might not be viable for smaller companies. There’s a fine line between making the tech worth your while and having it work against your goals.
  • Reactive, not Proactive – A machine is still a machine, which means it needs to be told what to do. If you’re looking for someone to take some initiative to help you with a problem, odds are you won’t find it from a non-human source.

At their core, AI platforms respond to stimuli, like questions, certain keystrokes or specific speech. So if they don’t get the right input, they won’t deliver any helpful output. As for emotional reactions and understanding, an artificial source won’t give you any, no matter how intelligent the design. For customers looking for a personal feel, the lack of human interaction can be off-putting.

Oddly enough, a lot of the cons mirror a lot of the pros. It’s important to remember that every business is unique in its needs and operations. The decision of what is best for YOUR business ultimately lies with you.

By 2021, companies expect to shell out over $57 billion on AI platforms, but that doesn’t mean every business should. Now that you know some of the ups and downs of incorporating AI into your website, you can make an informed decision about whether or not it’s the way you want to go to move your company in the right direction.

If you’re looking to create a strong web presence, or get an evaluation of your current website, we’re ready to assist you with strengthening your brand and reaching more customers. Let our experts evaluate your business needs and put a plan into action that will keep you on a track toward growth and success.

Why knowing and understanding your customer is essential to effective marketing

We have looked at why it is important for your customer to understand your business in a previous blog. Makes sense, right? How can you expect to attract customers if they don’t understand what you do and are not sure if they need your product or service? Likewise, do you know your customer? How can you expect to reach your customers if you don’t know who they are or where to find them?

To create and run an effective marketing strategy it is essential to know your target customers. Enterprenuer.com defines target customers as “a specific group of consumers at which a company aims its products and services”.  Let’s pull two key words from this definition and put them together to help focus your marketing plan – specific aim.

First, make sure to identify the specific group of customers that you are trying to attract to your business. Are they millennials? Women over 40? Teens? You get the picture. Even once you know the group of consumers your product and/or service is geared towards, it can remain a pretty large group. Remember, we want “specific”. What are ways in which you can narrow down the vast number of consumers to a more focused target group?

There are a couple of things to consider when it comes to knowing your customer

Know Thyself

You know your product or service better than anyone, so who do you think is going to use it most? Think about your product and what it does. What is it used for the most often? How is it used? Where is it used? Take your answers to these questions and use them to assess who needs this product and/or service the most? Consider multiple factors like age, gender, marital status, income bracket, etc. when narrowing down your answer. For example, a working mother of four children is going to have very different needs than a young bachelor that enjoys the single life.

What does your product do? Who is going to have the strongest need for your product? For example, a teenager is probably not going to have much interest in an upright vacuum with steam clean technology, but that mother of four? Big difference. Identify the specific need that your product or service answers and then match it to the group of consumers that possess that need. Start out with a broad spectrum, and then narrow it down until you reach your particular niche of consumers. This is referred to as the “funnel approach” which is suggested by Chuck Cohn in his article for Forbes. He uses the example of starting with gender, then narrowing it down to an age group within that gender, and then narrowing it down even further by income bracket to arrive at a more focused target group of consumers.

Look Around

Take note of other businesses that offer similar products and/or services to yours. Who are their customers? What demographic tends to use their service or product? This can provide valuable insight as to who your target group will be. And can help you figure out some ways to make your business stand out against the competition.

Look within your own network as well. What do your friends and family of varying ages and backgrounds like to do? What sorts of products do they use? Ask them questions about why they use the product and what they like about it. Find out what they are drawn to when they see different marketing plans for the product. Use their answers to help you develop your own marketing plan for your product.

Analyze

Conduct a market analysis for your business, suggested by Mike Kappel. Go back to the basics of information gathering- who, what, when, where, why and how. Look for the answers to these questions to help you narrow down the majority of consumers to your target audience. Know who your potential customers are, what they like to do, when they are most likely to see your marketing and purchase your product, where are they located, why do they purchase from you (or someone else) and then, based on all of these answers – how can you best reach them

This “how” is important. Once you have identified who it is you are directing your business towards, you need to understand them. The only way to successfully create a marketing strategy that works is to design and develop your marketing tools in a way that will speak to your target customers. You need to learn what makes them tick, what catches their eye and what is important to them in the products and services they purchase. Once you have an understanding of your customer you can effectively aim your marketing in their direction.

Get to know your target group’s interests, hobbies and how they like to shop. Take note of things that will help direct your marketing strategy. Does your target group listen to the radio? Spend a ton of time on the internet or watching TV? Do they go on social media? It will do you no good, for example, to center a marketing campaign around social media if your target group does not spend a lot of their time on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. On the other hand, if your target group are young consumers that are always on the go, then social media and internet-based advertising could be very powerful.

All in all, knowing your target customer group and then understanding them is a key factor in determining the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. I hope this has helped give you some ideas of what to look for as you bring more focus to your target group of customers and work on developing your marketing plan to specifically aim your product and/or service to them. Make sure to check out our other blogs for ideas on how to brand and market your business and build your web presence. Wishing you many happy and satisfied customers!

5 Ways to Run Your Business Better & More Effectively in the New Year

It’s the beginning of January, and what that means for most people is that some work was put off to enjoy time with family and friends during the holidays.   While this is a wonderful (and necessary) idea, sometimes the quiet time alone with our closest friends and family (and with our thoughts) allows us to start contemplating what we’ve done right and wrong.  Have we spent enough time with our loved ones?  Did we eat too many calories over Christmas dinner?  How are we going to get through the mountain of work on our desk that’s waiting for us?

This period of reflection is wonderful and without it, things wouldn’t ever change for the better.  And while some New Year’s resolutions may get forgotten on the gym floor around March, planning for our business is a must — and something that we have to make sure to keep doing all the way through next December.  Our planners and calendars should help us make sure of that.  But as business owners and managers, our problem isn’t usually that we don’t get things done.  Consistency and accountability typically aren’t our biggest problems — if we don’t work, we don’t get paid.  Our problems are usually more conceptual.  And sometimes, the problem is not knowing what the problem is in the first place.

How do we know what we should focus on in 2019?   What are our biggest shortcomings and ways that we can target them?  And once we figure all of that out, how should we begin to tackle the problems?

Well have no fear, we are here to help. Here are some of the most recurring issues facing small to mid-level businesses, and what you can do to run a better business in 2019:

  1. Problem: Revenue that’s Lower than Expected

Solution:   Focus on the products that are doing well, and make your SEO game extremely strong.

You likely have some sort of good or service, and if you have lower than expected revenue it’s generally because your overhead is too high, or because your products or services aren’t doing as well as you wanted them to.

The first step to take is to review the products that have sold and eliminate the ones that aren’t performing.  Start with the ones with the lowest profit and highest overhead, and work in a reverse direction to trim the fat. Once you know the items or services that are performing the best– you can really focus on making them the shining stars of your operation.  Your website should feature those products, they should be visible on the main page, and have hyperlinks to them within all of your branded emails and most of your social media posts.  You should have extremely good meta links, descriptions, and SEO strategy for these products as well.

  1. Problem: Customers are Not Engaging the Way They Used To

Solution:  Revisit the way you log and track contacts, and set up a new targeted campaign.

If your customers aren’t engaging the way they used to, it could be for a variety of reasons.  Perhaps your brand is failing to meet their needs.  Maybe you have a competitor who is doing things better or cheaper.  Regardless of the reason why you lost them, you definitely need to re-engage your core audience.

Take a look at your customers that are currently engaging.  You should be able to pull up your interactions on all of your social media accounts as well as through your email management program.  If you don’t have one of these, that’s definitely a huge mistake.  Look at Buffer for social media management, and Mailchimp for email management.  Other options are SocialReport, Sprout, and HootSuite for social media and MyEmma, and Constant Contact for email management, but we enjoy Buffer and Mailchimp the best, for a variety of reasons.

Once you’ve determined your core group of customers, you should make sure that your website is clear and targeted to them, and to their needs.  You should also make sure that your social media campaign, your website, and all of your other marketing materials are clear, connected, and carry the same branding and message. This includes fonts, slogans, logos, and colors.

  1. Problem: Customers are calling and spending a lot of time with you on the phone, and you’re not able to get a lot of the work completed.

Solution:  Your website, social media pages, and contracts and documents can all be made more clear and easier to navigate so that there is a clear understanding among all parties.

It isn’t uncommon for customers to be calling you, especially when you offer a service or are some type of consultant. But if you have a very straightforward product that can be automatically ordered and shipped, and customers continue to call you–  this is a clear sign that your website is failing you.

Make sure that your website is easy to navigate, easy to follow and understand, and works across a variety of browsers and skill levels.  Not all of your customers are technology savvy, but most will have a basic understanding — so you need to figure out who your target group is and cater to those people.

At Komaya, we offer a free website review — so we’ll be able to look at your current website, determine how navigable and user-friendly it is, and offer some concrete solutions to make it work better for you.

  1. Problem: You’re Unable to Get The Things on Your List Accomplished

Solution:   Start a Time Blocked Schedule, and Stick To It

We all have really long to-do lists, but the difference between those who accomplish all of the items on their lists and those who don’t are the ways we go about completing them.  Time blocking, or the act of actually scheduling the time in your day and blocking certain half-hours or hours out for specific purposes, seems elementary, and often not even necessary– but it’s absolutely quite the contrary.

By time-blocking, you’re ensuring that you’re giving the appropriate amount of devoted time to each task.   The benefits of this are that, when you’re within a specific time block, you can limit the distractions by turning off your phone or putting it in another room, for example, or not checking social media during this time window.   Additionally, you’ll know right away if you don’t have the appropriate amount of time to finish all of your daily tasks– so it will become immediately clear that you need to delegate, and not at the eleventh hour when you’re desperate to find a staff member who can help you.

For a good example of time-blocking, you can check out this WikiHow.

  1. Problem: You aren’t Getting the Types of Customers that You Want

Solution:  Re-Evaluate your Business Plan and look at the type of customer who is your target.  Is your website effectively speaking to that person?

Let’s say that the product that you’re currently promoting retails for $97, but your average customer is spending $12 on your site per visit.  Clearly, something isn’t working.  Likely, you’re not getting the type of customer who is your ideal customer.  If you’re making sales, sometimes it seems like you have an audience and everything is going well, but if you aren’t making the amount of expected sales, you could have the wrong products  — but you could also have the wrong group of people that you’re targeting.

For example, let’s say your business sells luxury high-end office products.  The majority of your products are things that a top business person would love, like desk accessories made of gold and silver,  leather briefcases, and portfolios.  Your target customer should be spending, in your opinion, about $165 on average for their order.  If your top-selling item is a $7 pen and your average customer spends $20 on their entire order– you’re probably getting college students who are buying sticky notes and school supplies.  Perhaps your millennial pink website needs to be changed to a more mature color, like navy blue.  Additionally, it’s likely that your targeted Instagram ad needs to be featured on LinkedIn instead.

By asking the right questions about your business plan, and how you’ve been implementing it — you’ll make sure to have a better and more productive 2019.

For any questions about your website, or other things that you can do to enhance your business in 2019, contact us at Komaya.  You can also check out our blog for more ideas for bringing your business to the next level.

Custom content marketing through blogging is the most popular and cost-effective way for a business to build their customer base. Taking the time to create new content for your blog enhances your brand’s visibility and product ROI (Return on Investment). Blogging makes a business more accessible and attracts more inbound traffic to a website. This can result in a return as high as triple the average rate for acquiring new leads, aka customers who are loyal to your brand. In short, blogging is the marketing wave of the present and future!

There’s always room to improve your marketing strategies as a blogger. It doesn’t matter if you’re totally new to the blogging world or if you’re a seasoned content writer. Technology is constantly evolving, so with that being said, you’ve come to the right place! Our team here at Komaya is ready to guide you in your journey to being the best blogger you can be. Here are 4 blogging mistakes that you might be making and how to correct them:

No Marketing Strategy


According to Neil Patel, only 9 percent of B2B marketers rate their organization as “very effective” at content marketing and that most people fail because they have no content marketing strategy. Take the time to learn more about the fundamentals and value of online marketing! DemandMetric.com provides a very thorough breakdown of the building blocks for content strategy and its potential consumer impact. Educate yourself, do the research, and seek opportunities to learn about online business in your community. By investing the time to learn now, you’ll be able to discover what methods work best for your brand with confidence in the future.

3 Key Statistics from DemandMetric.com:

  • Internet users are browsing brand-related content an average of 20% of the time.
  • Within that time frame, a staggering 68% of users are reading exclusively about brands that interest them!
  • Once exposed to a new brand, internet users are 60% more likely to research products they’ve learned about—you guessed it—from reading a blog!

Inconsistent Content

group sitting around table looking at notebooks depicting inconsistent content
This issue remains prevalent among businesses across the board and negatively impacts bloggers regardless of a business’ marketing budget or years of experience. Even the most streamlined website isn’t working optimally if the blog section is outdated or altogether inactive. It’s not about a business’ money or credentials, it’s about consistency: take charge of your blog! Review past posts and assess what more successful posts (ones with interactions like comments, likes, or shares) might have in common. Try to emulate those tactics in future content. If you do post regularly, do you have a routine? If not, create a publishing schedule suited to your brand. Example: if you own a business in fashion, post a quick DIY every Monday at noon and a 3-point Q&A to spotlight a fashion entrepreneur of your choice every Friday at noon. At the end of each post, invite followers to suggest future DIY ideas, Q&A artists to spotlight, and what questions they’d like answered. For a step-by-step tutorial on how to create great content, we suggest Jeff Haden’s excellent article on Inc.com.

Bubble Blogging

candy hearts on a computer desk depicting bubble blogging
It’s easy to fall into a rhythm of casualness when blogging, even for more experienced content writers. Of course, original and thoughtful content with eye-catching headlines and pins (the featured image for a blog post) always beats writing content for content’s sake. People who enjoy following blogs can always tell the difference, so burst that comfort bubble! It’s important to remember that a great blog is the online equivalent of a billboard for your brand.

The most definitive blogs out there create signature and engaging content that earns the loyalty and trust of their followers by appealing to them directly. Be authentic, be consistent, be patient, and know your audience! The blog is for them. For a comprehensive guide on copyright dos and don’ts, or if you just want a crash course on plagiarism and how to avoid it, visit HostingFacts.com and scroll to “Tools to Check Plagiarism…” We also highly recommend reading our blog post covering social media for further reading.

You’ve Got Mail?

smiling professional lady working on laptop depicting you got mail
Unfortunately, it’s a common misstep of new businesses to avoid creating a blog email subscription list while likewise trying to build their online presence through social media. Conversely, an active blog e-list is what the most successful businesses all have in common! A blog email subscription list is, bar none, the best way to enhance your brand’s visibility and draw more inbound traffic to your website, period. If your business is well established with a more advanced email subscription list, be sure to offer subscription preferences. It’s that added attention to detail that will keep your followers happy, guaranteed. When is the last time you reviewed your contacts to remove bounce-backs or double-checked contact information? Taking the time to stay up-to-date now will save you from having to backtrack in the future. If you’re brand new to blog email subscription lists, keep it simple. Stick to one weekly email blast or send an email blast per upcoming event. ShareThis provides some great tips for building a blog email subscription list right here if you’re looking for inspiration!

There may be countless resources at our fingertips, but it can be tricky determining which ones are the most reliable. At Komaya, our priority is to support and empower businesses in achieving their online marketing goals with knowledge and confidence! Never hesitate to reach out with thoughts or questions—just send us a message! We’re here to help.

Your logo is a visual representation of your business. It not only conveys the name of your business but connects people to your brand, ideally in a powerful way. Your logo should garner attention, separate you from your competition, and communicate to your audience what your brand and message are. Some logos are so iconic, they need no text at all and are almost universally recognized. The Nike swoosh is instantly recognizable, and the logo is immediately associated with elevated athletic footwear. So what does your logo say about your business?

About 65% of the population is most responsive to visual memory. The most successful brands have logos that evoke an emotion through visualization. Your logo should combine several key elements to connect your business to your customers.  Message, audience, color, and graphics all meld together in your logo to communicate your brand to the world.

Your message is the foundation for your logo and what it says about your business. Is your company traditional or cutting edge? Whimsical or somber? Font, graphics, and your color palette will help convey the message and tone. A funeral home and a toy store have very different messages that should be reflected in all the elements of the logo. Your logo should tell the story of your brand. A good logo will be clear, memorable and give an indication of what your company or product is about.

Logos for High-End Brands Often Use Monograms

Your next consideration should be your target audience. A logo for a motorcycle company should look quite different from that of a lipstick company. Your logo should reflect the aesthetics of your intended audience and help to create an emotional response from them as well. Consumers can so strongly identify with a brand and logo, it becomes a part of their personal brand. The iconic monogrammed initials CC of Chanel or LV of Louis Vuitton have been adopted by celebrities to convey a sense of prestige and exclusivity.

 

Logo Colors Evoke Certain Feelings

Color choice should embody both your message and your audience. In Joe Hallock’s work “Colour Assignment” his data shows preferences to certain colors based on gender. Different colors are associated with different attributes, and some of the world’s largest companies have capitalized on those associations. Nearly one-third of companies use red in their logos; which is a color of high energy and passion. Both social media companies and credit cards like American Express and Visa use blue in their logos, which indicates trust and stability.  Psychologically, yellow is considered the happiest color in the spectrum and McDonald’s and Ikea use the color as a memory stimulant.

 

Confusing Logos Detract From Your Message

The graphics part of your logo can be one of the most difficult pieces of the puzzle. Clean, simple designs are best and they should be distinct, timeless, and easy to reproduce in various sizes. Your graphic should connect to your brand message with imagery, shape or style. The graphics in your logo are the visual representation of your brand message. Logos convey a sense of security, trust, and build rapport with your customers. Confusing or unclear graphics detract from your message, and they can leave consumers guessing about your company.

The human brain processes shapes and colors more easily than words, so the right combination of graphics and colors will make your brand more memorable. The visual library in our minds associate emotions with fonts, shapes, and colors. A logo can create an immediate impression of the brand based on those emotional associations. By creating a logo that conveys your message to your target audience through a combination of meaningful colors and graphics; you can elevate your brand, improve memorability, and establish trust between your customers and your business. Is your logo saying what you want about your business?

To learn more about color impacts, you may also want to read our blog on “The Importance of Colors to Your Brand“.