By June Tapia
January 1, 2020
It’s that time again when the big players in digital marketing make predictions for the year ahead. Many of these predictions echo the same findings marketers have been sharing for the past two to five years. This is because all of these predictions represent steady and long-term trends.
On almost any list of 2020 predictions, there are three major items you may notice: voice search, chatbots and artificial intelligence. Here are some fresh ideas to help you prepare for the use of all three in your business.
Voice search has only recently climbed out of science fiction to make it into homes, offices and phones in a more practical way. Virtual assistants now understand human language and speak more clearly. This allows them to make sense of full sentences and respond in the same. They understand not just commands but questions and they are eager to please.
Why You Should Be Optimizing for Voice Search
In 2018, Forbes estimated that by 2020, half of all online searches will be initiated through voice. For companies that rely heavily on SEO, this could drastically change their optimization strategies. It's now more important to optimize for natural language and full sentences.
How To Optimize for Voice Search
Some companies have decided to hold off on voice search optimization to see how well this new trend holds up. Proactive businesses have already begun to innovate ahead of the market. Heres’s how you can too:
1. Include Snippets of Information
Google created a new enviable spot above the regular search results. The featured snippet doesn’t just hold “position zero,” as some marketers refer to it; it is also where voice responses pull from. This position represents what the Google algorithm believes is the best answer while highlighting the specific section from a page that answers the query.
2. Build Voice Command Into Apps
Not every business has an app, but most banks do. For smaller lenders, an app may be on the back burner until a later date. If you do have an app available, then be sure to incorporate the ability to give voice commands when it’s open. Customers may then check balances, make transfers, call customer service and even pay bills hands-free.
3. Speed up your website
If you have considered a more minimalist approach to your website design, now is the time to make the move. Bells and whistles slow down sites, so go for a cleaner and easy-to-navigate look. It may also be time to consider new hosting options so that your website loads faster. Note that speed affects not just voice search but also searches on mobile devices.
These are the new first-responders when you initiate a chat with a company. In the past, real people answered immediately. Now, chatbots create options that mirror phone trees when calling customer service. For people who tend to need help when businesses are closed, it can help point them in the right direction via FAQs, forums and tutorial videos.
How To Use Chatbots Strategically
Unfortunately, marketers have a bad reputation for invading new communication channels and turning them into a spam machine. It’s important not to make bots into your customers’ enemies. You want to ensure your employees don’t see them as a threat either.
1. Introduce Humor
The customer experience is a big focus in marketing. This involves more than tactics that feed the bottom line. Sometimes an unexpected diversion can delight customers and contribute to an improved experience. An example of this was on Father’s Day in 2016, when Fatherly released the Dad Joke bot.
2. Use as Tests for Voice Search
If you have an app, but do not yet have voice search technology in place, chatbots may provide a good starting point. In fact, you can still provide a “voice search lite” experience by recommending that users use the type-by-voice function on their keyboards. This could provide voice capabilities for them but the bot would only need to interpret written words.
3. Use Other Platforms
If engineering your own bot isn’t in the budget for the near future, fret not. Facebook has you covered. You can set up your own bot for chats via this popular social media channel. Encourage customers to use this function outside of business hours to get information or schedule a callback.
Chatbots rely on artificial intelligence to understand human language. Without it, the words people type in response to their queries would seem as much like gibberish as coding does to most consumers. There are other aspects of a business powered by artificial intelligence as well. This includes data analytics, processes within the business and any self-service options available.
Why Rely on AI?
Artificial intelligence provides many of the same benefits as chatbots, such as freeing up time for other activities and lowering costs. It also provides information in a more easy-to-understand format for both employees and customers. Finally, AI improves a company’s reflex time and its overall flexibility.
How To Effectively Incorporate AI
AI rarely operates alone. It typically works hand in hand with another aspect of the business. Keep this in mind when considering the tips below.
1. Improve Offers to Customers
Every customer is different. One way companies can begin to learn more about their customers is by following their footprints through apps or websites. Determine what interests them most and then use AI to provide suggestions that complement these interests.
2. Use It For Tedious Tasks
There are some tasks in a business that no one wants to do. These are the perfect jobs for AI. Potential jobs include data entry and even payroll. A person should always verify the results, but these more mundane tasks are much better suited to AI.
3. Invest in Predictive Technology
Analyzing old data and translating it into charts and tables is impressive. Using that data to create projections for the next week, month or quarter is even more so. There are AI programs that can do this. They help businesses to innovate ahead of market trends.
These are just some of the important things to keep in mind for 2020 within the affiliate network of the finance industry. No aspect of digital marketing will remain untouched by chatbots, artificial intelligence and voice search. To get more updates on industry changes, check out our blog. For information about how to join our network, send an email to email@example.com.
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