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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.

“A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words” – So Make Sure It’s a Good One

How the graphics in your web design can make or break your business

When you look around society today, you can’t help but see images, colors, logos, badges and other similar advertisements all over the place. There is a very good reason for this. It’s because visual appeal is what first catches customers’ eyes, and businesses of all types are catching on to this fact. Graphic design is undoubtedly a huge component of a company’s brand and marketing strategy. Designhill.com  describes graphic design as a “crucial tool that makes sure that you communicate with your people in an efficient manner. It serves to deliver your message to the target audience in an aesthetic way.”

The use of graphics not only adds visual interest but when it is done well, it helps communicate your message without needing to overuse words and muddy up your page. Plus, successful graphic design will deliver a message quickly. This way people who are clicking through pages can better understand what your company does at a glance, instead of first having to take the time to read a bunch of words.  Your graphic design is your “hook.” If successful, it should catch people’s attention and reel them in to learn more.

Graphics also help create a cohesive appearance, which can make the navigation of your site a lot easier for users. When your website is pleasant to look at, easy to navigate and information is a breeze to find, you’ll get customers who stick around longer. The graphics are like your front door, and your goal is to make people want to knock and enter.  Forbes.com points to a study that showed 94% of comments regarding why users mistrusted websites were related to the design elements of the site and only 6% to the actual content. This definitely shows that the visual components of a website’s design hold a lot of weight when it comes to making an impression.

So, when it comes to the graphic design of your website, you may want to keep these quick tips in mind to ensure you are using it to your biggest advantage:

  1. Don’t Be a Show Off — As tempting as it is to show off how much you know about graphic design and the neat trick you just learned, if it doesn’t fit or serve a purpose, then it doesn’t belong on your website. Remember, the idea is to help communicate your message to customers in an “efficient” way. If you learn some new techniques, that’s great, but save them for a time when they will make sense and be functional. Otherwise, they’ll just be confusing.
  2. Don’t Supersize It — Nowadays everyone seems to be in a hurry. Doesn’t it feel that way? When people go online they expect quick answers and often want to check out things in a matter of seconds. So, a web page that loads slowly and/or incompletely is going to just cause people to abort their mission and click elsewhere. Overly large images will cause a sluggish pace that people just don’t have the patience for, so pay attention to the size of the images you choose.
  3. Don’t Steal Focus —  When you go to a restaurant, you’ll often find that certain menu items have a box around them.  This is leading you to the products that provide the highest profit margin to the restaurant.  Similarly, you can use your graphic design as a way to help direct people’s focus to where you want them to look. A good design will help lead people to the content you want them to see and point them in the right direction. On the flip side, don’t make elements of your design so over the top that they have the opposite effect and draw focus away from the real content.
  4. Don’t Be Obnoxious — You can definitely go too far when it comes to graphic design. Images and other elements that are overly artistic, cutesy or bright might be fun or eye-catching at first, but if splashed all over your site they can become very overbearing and make people cringe. Keep your choices purposeful, attractive and balanced to make a good impression, and make sure they will appeal to your target audience.  For example, comic book characters probably won’t be the best idea if you’re catering to 65-year-old women.
  5. Keep Colors in Check — In addition to not getting overly obnoxious with your images, make sure to follow the same rule when it comes to color. Glaring colors can be a huge turn off to viewers. Color also has a very big psychological impact. The choice of color alone can make all the difference in a customer’s decision to purchase a product. According to smallbiz.com, 93% of customers say they focus on visual appearance. Use this to your advantage when choosing colors and select the colors that help evoke the feelings you want your customers to have when they are viewing your site. For a list of which emotions different colors are associated with, look here.
  6. Use the Right Tools — If you are tackling your own graphic design, then don’t make things hard on yourself. There are a multitude of options out there to assist you in making strong design elements for your website, including sites like Canva, and online talent pools like Fiverr and Upwork. Take the time to get familiar with what is available to you and to learn how they work. If you are able to use a tool effectively, it makes the job easier. Check out these reviews of some graphic design programs to find one that will be a good fit for you.

The visual appeal of your website is a major, if not the biggest, factor when it comes to the effectiveness of your site to drive people towards your business. Be sure to give your site a review with a critical eye geared towards the graphic design and see if it’s meeting the above tips. If you find it falls short in some areas, make sure to do a revamp. Have others give your site a test run as well to get their honest opinions about their reactions to your site.

Not sure if your website is maximizing its potential? Let us help you evaluate the effectiveness of your web design and make sure that it is working for your business at maximum capacity. Be sure to check out our other blogs for ideas on how to brand and market your company and build your web presence. We’re here to help you attract customers and grow your business!

The Top 5 Ways that Your Website Might Be Misleading Them

Customer churn, or customer attrition, are two of the many names given to what happens when you lose specific customers for whatever the reason, who no longer use your services or engage with you.  This is a problem that businesses suffer from often, and no business is exempt — no matter how big or small.  Perhaps even worse than losing a customer who has used your products or services in the past, is losing an individual who was at one time interested in your business but never became a customer at all.

Whether your customers are not returning or are not converting, the “why” is likely the same.  Customers may not understand your business, what you do, how you help them, and why you can be valuable to their operation.  Some of that miscommunication can come from emails, in-person meetings, or a variety of other forms of customer communication.  However, it’s extremely likely that some of it (particularly with individuals who never contacted you in the first place), was from your website that failed you (and them).

Here are some of the ways that your website may be misleading potential (or existing) customers:

  1. Customers believe that you do not offer the services they want

Customers may believe that you don’t offer the services that they’re looking for if they can’t quickly find them on your website.  Not only should you make sure that each and every one of your services is readily apparent, but you should make sure that SEO (search engine optimization) is in place for each of your services.  Yes, SEO really is that important.  You can do this by ensuring that you are using keywords that people looking for those services are searching for.  You should also consider having a separate page for each of your services.

  1. Customers do not believe that you are a one-stop shop for their needs

Customers may not readily see the services you offer, including your other services related to their original needed service. They may assume that it would be easier to go with another company that can meet all of their needs in a one-stop shopping experience.  Make sure that customers know the comprehensive list of services you offer. One option is to have each of your services mentioned (with a checkbox) on the inquiry form.  Another is to add hyperlinks to and from each additional service from the individual service pages suggested above.

  1. Customers believe that you are too expensive (or more likely, too cheap!)

Customers may see your website and believe that you are too expensive based on your color choices, logo choices, and level of elegance on your page. While you want your page to be representative of your brand and the people that run it — you don’t want it to be misleading.  While it’s never okay to be sloppy, for example, or to have typos — it might be a bit overkill to have an extremely expensive website if you’re selling very basic and affordable services.

Or, if your target market is luxe and high-end, you probably want to avoid bright colors like neon yellow or patterns like polka dots.  Click here for a blog about colors and what they can mean for your brand.  You should also keep in mind that customers often equate quality with expensive.  So if you’re trying to decide between pricing levels, you should probably err on the higher side.  It will only help you.

  1. Customers believe that you are not approachable

Is there a contact form on your website?  Is it hard to find or hard to follow?  The length of time that it takes a customer to figure out how to get in touch with you is directly correlational to how approachable they think you are.  And also how receptive they think you’ll be when they need you over the course of your contract with them.  Be sure your website clearly communicates the various ways they can contact you and gives them a welcoming feeling.

  1. Customers believe that you are not the best at what you do

Do not assume that a customer will know that you are good at what you do.  Especially if they’ve never worked with you before.  And while it may seem artificial or uncomfortable to toot your own horn, it’s necessary, especially when marketing to prospective clients.  You should prominently display any awards that you’ve won, certifications that you or your associates have, and testimonials and/or logos of clients that you’ve pleased along the way.  Make sure to have a place or form where customers can review you. And use a regular system to get those up there as well.

You can never have too much information singing the praises of your company.  Also, having a well-maintained blog or newsletter articles that are published frequently on your website lends credibility to your business.  It’s a really important thing to do– and it’s so easy, you just have to do it!

If you feel that any of these potential issues may be at play with your website, you can benefit from a website review. This can help you figure out what the issues are and make sure that your customers know exactly what you can give them – – and take you up on it!

Artificial Intelligence has been on the rise in the technology sector for years, and until recently was a very specialized tool that only the most advanced companies and researchers were using. Now, AI has managed to integrate its way into a more everyday application geared at making our lives, ability to work, and the capacity to analyze information far more efficient. One of the platforms that AI has taken to like a duck to water is the website experience. To better understand how AI can be used to enhance your website experience, we take a look at its two-fold impact; the customer experience is enhanced, and the company’s ability to use analytics to the fullest is pushed beyond the previously established boundaries.

The Customer Experience

So much of whether the company makes money or not through the website is determined by the customer experience. One of the largest catalysts that AI has provided to enhance this factor is voice- and visual-search based queries. In a study performed by Gartner, it is predicted that by 2021, early adopter brands that redesign their websites to support visual- and voice-search will increase their digital commerce revenue by 30 percent. A major retailer that has already taken advantage of AI and its ability to enhance the customer experience is Amazon. It has been reported that customers actually prefer searching for items directly on Amazon.com as opposed to doing a Google search. While using the Amazon App from a smart device you can easily dictate your search into the information field. If you take a critical look at the website, many of the options given to you are represented by an image or graphic. Not only is this new way of searching convenient for the average customer, but it also gives customers with disabilities the opportunity to be more independent!

But search features aren’t the only way that speech interaction is improving the customer experience, Chatbots also make a customized experience more attainable. These AI channels are becoming so advanced that it is rapidly resembling the interaction with a real human consultant. It is even theorized that these Chatbots will eventually be able to read our emotional reactions to products and situations! Imagine walking or driving up to a coffee shop and having a chat pop up on your phone letting you know what your last order was, and asking if you would like to not only order it again but also if it can charge the same mode of payment you used previously as well. You could have ordered, purchased, and picked up your drink without ever having to stand in line.

The Business Experience

The business experience has a symbiotic relationship with the customer experience. While the customer is interacting with the AI and having a convenient mode to get what they want; the business is using all the information that the AI is collecting from the customer, and using it to better the customer experience. This allows for an increase in profit through becoming smarter about their business and products or services. An example of this is tracking information like the most searched for terms on the website, the item or service that is selling the most units, or the converse, the item or service selling the least units. It notes what parts of the website are being interacted with the most, which can help simplify the user interface in the future. The metrics that the AI can generate are endless, as are the possibilities to use this information for positive change in the future.

Integrating AI into your webpage can take your online experience to a new level. Here at Komaya, we love keeping abreast of emerging technology and ways that it might help enhance the web presence of our client’s brands.

If you’re a business owner or manager who wants to succeed, you have probably familiarized yourself on SEO and what it means.  Search Engine Optimization is the art of making your site (or sites) pop up when people use various search terms on their search engine of choice (typically Google).   The higher the ranking, the more people that see you.  It’s the modern-day equivalent of having a business named “AAAA Aardvark Company” in the Yellow Pages, it is desirable as a business owner to have your company listed first in a certain category.

SEO Has Changed. Here are a few of our best tips:

What many people don’t know, however, is how exactly SEO works for them, and the logistics that go into it.  An analogy might be the kitchen faucet in your home — we know that it has an on/off mechanism, there’s a spout, perhaps a sprayer, and the water flows out — but we really couldn’t explain to someone else the exact passage of water or what to do if something breaks.  Similarly, we understand that computers help us and we know how to use user-friendly apps, but very few of us know how to take one apart and fix a faulty motherboard, for example.

What makes all of this even more complicated is that SEO, like all things technology, is constantly changing.  What you may have learned in a class or seminar two years ago may not hold true anymore.   Additionally, because more people know what SEO is (and there are more user-friendly apps available for people to master it), the competition is growing fiercer. At Komaya, we are always here to help you master SEO and make your business as successful as possible, so here are a few of our best tips to make your SEO stand out:

  1. Try a plug-in, like Yoast:
    If you use WordPress, there’s a free plugin called Yoast that basically functions like a “spell-checker”, except that it checks for readability and SEO. You can enter in your article, blog, or web content, and let it know what the target keywords are. Yoast will analyze the piece and provide scores on a few specific categories, as well as what you can do to improve the piece. It’s an SEO game changer.
  2. Use apps that analyze your competitors, suggest keywords for you, and give you an action plan:
    Apps like Keyword Finder (https://KWFinder.com) will analyze keywords and find words for you that you can easily rank for, as well as keywords that your competitors are missing.
    That’s just one example. There are a lot of sites out there that will analyze keywords for you, recommend them on a weekly basis, and even remember which keywords worked well for you at certain times of the year so you can go back to them for repeat business. They will even identify where there is a hole in the market based on the keywords your competitors are using, versus what consumers are actually searching for.
  3. Make your website as optimized as possible:
    For starters, if your website hasn’t been updated since 2012, there is little chance that it will rank over a site that was updated yesterday.  Keeping your content fresh and constantly changing is the number one thing that is necessary for website optimization.  You also need keywords that people would actually type into a search bar. There’s a difference between describing your item and optimizing your item’s description for search engines.
    If you sell hand-knitted sweaters that come in three colors and are made in Maine out of organic materials, your keywords should be “red organic sweater”, or “blue handmade sweater”, or “organic hand-made sweaters” and not “hand-knitted sweater Maine three colors”  because no one is searching for that, they just want a sweater.   You’ll also have a great deal of luck by making several pages with different titles and meta descriptions, as opposed to trying to put as many words as possible on one page.

We haven’t even begun to cover the ways your keywords, titles and meta titles, descriptions, SERP, and the way your page is searched and crawled, but that will be information in a forthcoming blog.

With all of that said, this can definitely be a confusing or overwhelming topic, but at Komaya we are here to help. Contact us today to get a consultation on your brand and what we can do for you.