Making your website conversational

If you have read a little about chatbots or even tried a few (I’m a fan of Poncho the weather cat!) you probably have a few ideas about what you could do for your business. It’s a very creative space just now – some developers have compared it to the app store in the very early days of 2007/2008.

In this article we will discuss what you can do to make your website conversational.

But why?!

It’s all in the name of engagement. Tailor the experience for your customer – don’t just throw information at him.

Just visualise yourself on the street talking to a potential customer. What would help best?
a) handing them seven sheets of paper with your business info or
b) talking to them, asking questions about what might suit them best?

Put the customer in charge of the conversation!

A TALKING WEBSITE

Since websites were born in the mid 90’s, we have all become very comfortable using them. The majority of websites now are very predictable. Especially if you are using a template builder and don’t have time or money to throw at them.

It is difficult to stand out. It’s hard to justify investing in a website as a small business when you know that everyone is on social media anyway. Customers don’t browse websites to extract info like they used to do. Social media pushes relevant content.

How can you fight this change as a small business?

Why not take your website content, perhaps your founding story, your sales process or your products and turn them into conversations?

Engage the user with questions and short bite sized answers that they can digest from their mobile. It can be really easy to engage a user in a conversation. One tap from a website, one tap from an email signature, a tap from a social media post or scan of a QR code in store. This tap is the equivalent of an email signup.

The principles of bot design apply to web design in many instances.

THE PROCESS

STEP ONE – Create a voice or personality for the bot
STEP TWO – Decide on conversation goals
STEP THREE – Design the conversation routes
STEP FOUR – Review and improve

STEP ONE – PERSONALITY

I have written a detailed article previously on why your chatbot needs a personality. In summary the psychology of conversation is hardwired into us from a few thousand years of evolution. A strong personality has a great effect on our ability to remember and engage with the conversation.

Think of your target customers. Don’t speak like a servant from Buckingham Palace if you are trying to engage teenagers on sports clothing for instance. Equally if you represent an insurance company you don’t want to be too casual!

STEP TWO – GOALS

So what would the ideal scenario be?
Are you simply looking for some positive PR and engagement with your target customers?
Are you trying to drive them to a sales page?
Do you want their email and phone number?
Do you want to give them a survey?
Do you want to show them some cool unique things your business does?
Do you want to tell you businesses history?

STEP THREE – DESIGN

Designing the conversation is difficult. You need to strike a balance between giving information and keeping them engaged. Current research shows that a large message which takes up the whole screen is not well received.

A bit like when a friend goes on a five minute story about choosing a new pair of shoes! The whole point is that your messages are easily digestible and the customer is in control. They are pushing buttons to get the next message.

We must tell a story too. Marketers refer to a sales funnel. You must “warm up” your customers before presenting them with the deal.

STEP FOUR – FEEDBACK

Chatbots are in their infancy. Consumers are not bot savvy like they are now app savvy. Their will be misunderstandings. Decoding slang and various language inputs is difficult. But so is understanding our customers. Sometimes your engagement funnel will take two weeks of intermittent messaging or even longer.

Perhaps it just takes three days. It depends on your business. Careful analysis of the stats – seeing which areas of conversation are most popular and which are not will help us modify and improve the bot to keep improving results and achieve your goals.

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