An email inbox is a private space. In my personal inbox right now, I have a conversation with a friend about weekend plans, an Amazon shipping notification for my daughter’s birthday present, a communication with my accountant, and a weekly update from my favorite blog. These are all valuable communications to me, and some contain sensitive details like credit card information.
If your office is large, or working from multiple locations, you may already be “Slacking”. Slack is a mobile and desktop text-message-style communication tool that has become commonplace for co-workers. It almost completely replaces inter-office email and serves as the new “water cooler” for social chit-chat among team members.
However, Slack isn’t appropriate in all situations. There are a few times where good old email may be the best communication tool:
Common marketing wisdom says go where customers are hanging out. More and more, consumers spend time in messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
In fact, research shows consumers are using messenger apps even more than social media, with more users on messaging apps than on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Capitalizing on this fact, conversational marketing has popped up in the form of chat bots. A quick chat with a bot provides a really easy way for users to order a pizza or find the perfect shade of lipstick.
Chat bots are programmable computer software that can have a conversation. Bots are primarily used for customer service or information searches, and are widely in use. Brands like Sephora, Disney, Domino’s, AirBnB, H&M, and Spotify have all made chatbots part of their marketing mix.
Of course, there are limits to what chat bots can do. Chat bots can’t completely replace the need for human interaction:
“Bots cannot feel or think or intuit in the same way as people do. They can’t think creatively or display emotional intelligence….the purpose of AI assistants and bots is to enhance the human experience, not replace it.” – ETIENNE MÉRINEAU, Venture Beat
Still, chat bots provide an opportunity to engage with customers, and are a major cost savings. Setting up a call center with real people to operate chat sessions isn’t affordable for most businesses. Chatbots are cheaper than hiring real people, and can be used for routine customer service conversations.
Interested in developing your own chat bot?
Custom bot development costs vary based on how many bots you need and the anticipated number of interactions. Costs to create a simple bot start at $5,000 (plus ongoing monthly maintenance fees), while a more robust bot can cost more than $100,000. Or, you can create your own chatbot with tools like Bot Framework from Microsoft, the bot developer tool from Facebook, or Chatfuel.
So, do you need to invest in building a chat bot right away? No, but it’s definitely something to consider in your long-term marketing planning. By 2020, 80% of businesses want to use chatbots.
Every now and then I get a client who, citing security risks, objects to the use of WordPress for their custom website project. And I don’t blame them! With the scary headlines about WordPress hacks, I can understand being leery of the WordPress platform. So what do I think about WordPress security?
The facts are this: WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) for a reason.
It is open source, meaning it’s free, and is very easy to use and update on the front end. And with countless themes available, it’s easy to get the look and functionality you need without any coding knowledge.
Nearly 25% of all sites are WordPress, which makes the platform a bit of a target. But because it’s the largest, it’s also the best supported. WordPress developers are very diligent, and patch their code whenever a vulnerability is discovered.
Therefore, frequent updates are issued for WordPress security, along with its many plugins and themes. One of the keys to website security is regularly installing these updates. A site becomes vulnerable to attacks if ignored for even a short period of time. In addition to updating your plugins, there are many other things you can do to harden your WordPress website security. Check out “The Ultimate WordPress Security Guide – Step by Step (2017)” for more ideas.
For added peace of mind, we like the Wordfence Security plugin. This plugin prevents sites from being hacked, blocks potential threats and brute force attacks, and helps you recover from a hack if one ever happens. There is a free version of the plugin available, or you can buy a Wordfence Premium license for $99 per year. The Premium version gives you access to mobile sign-in, premium support, and other features.
BOTTOM LINE FOR WORDPRESS SECURITY
With the proper precautions, WordPress is very secure. One of the top precautions is regularly updating your website plugins. Not willing to do regular maintenance on your website yourself? Unsure of your DIY skills? Hire a pro to do it for you. Website security is not something to take lightly. Recovering from an attack is a huge headache, and can take weeks, or even months to fix. Even worse, your brand’s reputation will be majorly tarnished if a customer discovers your site has been hacked before you do.