This is the eighth part of the series whereby I am turning the wonderful talks into actionable takeaways you can implement in your business. Yesterday’s article was about The Tie That Binds: Why Email is Key to Maximizing Marketing ROI. This article is looking at Marketing in a Conversational World: How to Get Discovered, Delight Your Customers, and Earn the Conversion by Purna Virji and how no matter the size of your team you can still generate great content ideas.
I still remember having to switch on the family machine, wait about 10 minutes for the Tiny PC to start and then I had to world at my fingers. Well not quite I then had to boot up the modem, that sound will haunt me until I die and when I finally did get on I had to pray my parents didn’t pick up the phone to start conversations otherwise it would all be lost.
Websites used to take forever to load and the functionality was limited, but that was the late 1990’s, that really all started to change 10 years ago when Steve Jobs stood on stage announced the iPhone.
Now more than ever we have gone away from typing one or two-word search terms into Google and started having conversations – basically, it’s come full circle and Google have become Ask.com just with a far better search engine behind it.
In this article, we are going to look at ways we can market in this new age of marketing where keywords are less relevant.
We firstly need to think differently, we need to stop trying to interrupt the users, the users will strike back with adblockers and paying for premium ad-free adverts and instead of interrupting the user, we need to strike a conversation and become part of the conversation.
Chat bots while fairly new are allowing smart marketers to move away from interrupting the user journey and becomes part of the conversation using data.
This technology whilst is new is constantly changing, but its not just new techology which is evolving, its also affecting technology we have become used to.
The day has finally arrived where we can do marketing without screens – with voice control technology screens are no longer needed and in fact, the big players have made some serious moves in this space. You can now order items directly from Amazon without ever typing a word.
In the next two years, Gartners research shows that 20% of brands are going to abandon their mobile apps. Why? This is simply because apps are silo and very difficult for people to interact with them, also another reason is mobile web has finally caught up to or is very close to the app experience.
Even websites are immune – Google is moving into more and more niches and owning the experience – you can now book flights hotels all without actually visiting the website. While it’s not currently possible to book flights via voice command, that is surely the next step. I would say its more difficult for hotels as thats still more personalised, you want to see images of the hotel, read reviews etc, but with flights, it’s a plane and gets you from A to B. The airline picks the plane type etc. You only really decided on Brand, price and time and these can all be easily communicated over speech without ever needing the need for a screen.
SkyScanner has also launched a chat bot, whereby you can ask it questions and book directly without having to ever visit SkyScanner itself. It’s not just the big Search Engines doing this, smart companies are also evolving.
Digital Personal Assistance
There are a few of these in the market, I personally use the Google one but Cortona offers one too and the job of the personal assistant is to get to know you and with your permission analyse your emails, your calendar and basically your life and make recommendations. Google knows where I live and where the office is and when I get into the car it tells me how long it should take to get home, taking traffic reports into account. Sometimes if there is a large amount of traffic I will actually make the decision to delay the journey and instead work from where I am. I can’t work behind a wheel so makes more sense to be productive than sat in the car.
Chat Bots and skills
These are different Personal assistance works for you, bots and skills tend to work on behalf of companies and work either via websites like Facebook Chat or via your personal assistant to help you to make your life easier.
You’re going on holiday in a month’s time, Google knows this as it saw the booking confirmation email and also the calendar notification. Sometimes you might have booked the flights but forgot to book the hotel, the bots knows this and knows when you are going and should be making recommendations, your going away next month but haven’t booked a hotel. Here are some hotels near ‘x’ (meeting, places of interest etc) within your normal budget and are available. The bots would then ask whether you would like them to book the hotel.
Because this makes life so much easier for customers and removes a lot of the pain points, it’s not surprising that 80% of businesses want to use chatbots by 2020.
What does this mean for SEO?
This is a very good and valid point, I have been doing SEO now for about 10 years and while Google has changed a lot in that time and how to rank well has changed, the one thing that has stayed consistent is that it was an actual human being doing a search on Google.
Well now, its bots doing the searching and they dont need Google as they are speaking for to themselves. Google Personal Assitant straight to the hotel booking site.
SO SEO IS DEAD
SEO has been dying since I started every year people say this is the year SEO is going to die and even these bots are going to kill SEO.
We will just end to adapt what we do, but that’s what good SEOs have been doing for 10+ years so it’s nothing new, it will just be another string in our arsenal.
This is moving engagement from 1 to many relationships to 1 to 1. Everything you do across all channels, whether that be PPC, SEO, Email now can be 1 to 1 and personalised specifically to that user.
Bots can learn what each user likes and dislikes and tailors the communication according and it can be used across all the different channel and across every stage of the funnel.
For a long time you have been able to build a brand online, but now its gone full circle and even more so with conversation – people will start to mainly interact with brands they know and trust and this is especially important for bots. If they know you love the BBC for sport and you ask the bot for the Liverpool score against Arsenal, even if SkySports or ESPN does a better SEO effort and ranks number 1 the bot will know I want to answer from BBC. It’s the same information, there is only one score, that Liverpool won 4-0, but the bot will know to serve me result from the BBC as its a brand I love and trust.
Bots are here and aren’t going to go anywhere, there are only going to get more important.
You can either put your head in the sand and hope it goes away (which it won’t) or you can come up with a plan on how to use chat bots in your marketing campaigns. Its much better to get a basic chat bot live and working and evolve it – rather than trying to produce the perfect chatbot and never getting it delivered. The customer isn’t used to chatbots and because they are new, the customer expects issues, so having a bot live that helps customers 90% of the time is great for the brand impression and the 10% of the time it doesn’t work won’t hurt the brand because users know its still new technology. Making these mistakes in say 3 or 5 years could harm your business and users will expect more.
SEO isn’t dead, but we need to evolve. Google will still be around but also chat bots will evolve and become part of users daily activities.
Please remember these are my takings from the conference and not those of Purna, while I have used his presentation as inspiration and quoted her a few times the words are my own.
Please check back tomorrow to see Thinking Smaller: Optimizing for the New Wave of Social Video Platforms By Phil Nottingham or check out the full series here.
I am the Managing Director of Indago Media and have been in Digital Marketing since 2009. Initially in-house working for some of the UK’s biggest brands, but now I run my own agency helping small business grow.