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Machine Learning: Listen to What Your Tech is Telling You

Machine learning is great for collecting analytics on Key Performance Indicators and building your customer experience. Now that this technology has had years to improve itself, its time to start listening to what its been learning.

As consumers accept more intelligent machinery into their lives, a marketer’s ability to reach them becomes significantly greater. We are now speaking to our devices daily, allowing them to learn and better focus on our needs.

Website design, email communications and content marketing are just some of the many tools that can be improved by artificial intelligence and machine learning. The analytics that can come from customer interaction help tell a story about the user experience and what you should be targeting.

Email Marketing

Historically, experimentation led to better understanding of data like engagement rates. You could send out an email communication on a Monday one week and then on a Wednesday the following week, comparing their success.

Machine learning can make this process easier and even provide data more specific to each customer. It’s likely that all of your contacts have different engagement patterns, driven by what they want out of your service.

On an individual level, find a way to identify when people are active and what type of content or service they are active with. Maximize your response rates by building automation that segments each type of customer into lists that receive targeted email communication at ideal times.

There can be an overwhelming amount of white noise in data collection. A marketer can manually break down all of the info on customers into spreadsheets. But this takes up precious time and likely includes a lot of irrelevant data. By looking for the overlapping data points from all customers, machine learning can help block out the white noise and identify your true KPIs.

Creating content for voice search

Treat rankings in voice-activated search results differently than written search results. Optimizing for these rankings is equally important. Voice search is fast on its way to becoming the standard.

After years of learning how to optimize our content and websites for desktop search results, it’s time to rethink our approach. Voice search adds a new factor, and luckily the same technology that powers the search can help us optimize for it. Because smart devices are most often used for local searches, they can add a great deal of data to geographical analytics.

The most important piece of data to consider when targeting for voice search is how users are speaking to their devices. Users expect their devices to understand and respond to them similarly to an actual person. Questions need to be understood despite slang and intonation differences. This highlights the importance of using keywords that are easily vocalized while still being unique.

These devices will become more efficient at interpretation over time, just like online translation tools have. You can now plug in the phrase “a piece of cake” into Google translate and you aren’t just going to get a literal translation anymore. Similarly, smart speakers are learning to deliver more than just direct search results.

Website design and services

Search results are this first step toward engaging a potential new customer. But once that web-searcher ends up on your page, they are looking for a good user experience.

The placement of images, text and calls-to-action all work toward a good design for users. Digital applications can analyze how people interact with your platform and inform you about what works in your design and what doesn’t.

AI and machine learning can power programs on your page like customer support. Chatbots give customers the impression that they are talking to a real person who understands their issue and immediately wants to help. This can save you time and money, while allowing your site to be available to help 24/7.

Build loyalty through recognition

Your website is a great place to give your customer a personalized experience even when they aren’t in your store or at your business. Customer loyalty systems allow people to walk into any branch of a store around the country and be recognized as a regular and offered their favorite drink order.

Machine learning powers this in-person interaction the same way it can power returning customer recognition on your web platform. Integrate tools that can build out a customer profile the more they return to do business with you. Eventually, everything your system has learned from this will help you better identify what new customers might be looking for.

It’s easy to see that machine learning is already powering nearly every digital tool that marketers use today. These systems aren’t going to change the way marketers work overnight, though. Right now, we are able to offload tedious tasks and allow us to work more efficiently. The beauty of automation through machine learning is that it only gets better with time.


What you should know about web security protocols

Cookies, HTTPS and SSL might sounds like a confusing combination of letters and sweets, but when it comes to web security, these protocols are actually fairly straight forward. Knowing their differences and how they can each protect the integrity of your website is crucial. They can be easy to implement, and most users are already familiar with seeing the terminology of “HTTP” and “cookies.”

Cookies

Starting with the most familiar web security concept, let’s look at how cookies work for both users and websites. When a user comes to your website and enters in information, their web browser stores a small file of letters and numbers. This file acts as a key that allows the website to access the computer’s memory and recognize the user.

For websites with large databases and advanced customizability, cookies can do wonders for the user experience. If a user can be instantly recognized and catered to when they pull up your site, they will constantly come back for that ease of use. This can help to simplify the process of purchasing a product or service through your site. You can even build your website around the use of cookies. Give users the ability to arrange content in a way that suits their interests or needs. More customization is always a good thing for connecting with users and clients.

HTTPS

While web security featuresgive users peace of mind,  HTTPS matter much more for those who run websites. One key use that new web platform features get out of HTTPS is permission requests. Web pages and apps can use this feature to enable access to user media such as photos and audio.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is a more secure version of a procedure that has existed for a while. The additional S, for security, was added on to the HyperText Transfer Protocol, which enables the exchange of information over the internet. HTTPS is an extra procedure that encrypts data between senders and recipients.

Think of it like sending a box that contains all of your personal identification info to someone through the mail. If someone were to intercept and open this package, all of the info within would be undecipherable and would mean nothing to the interceptor. HTTPS make it so that only the sender and intended recipient can decipher the contents within that box.

Setting up HTTPS for your website involves getting a certificate, which is where SSL comes into play.

SSL

On the topic of encryption, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is the standard protocol used to encrypt information sent between web servers and browsers. The first step in the process of ensuring your web security is hosting with a dedicated IP address. This is something you can set up with an IP hosting service, or work with your current web host to upgrade your account to have a dedicated IP address.

Next, you can purchase an SSL certificate from a trusted Certificate Authority (CA). There are many trusted CAs out there and you can work with your web administrator to decide which one to purchase through. Acquiring this certificate will allow your website to be fully trusted by internet browsers and mobile devices. It is also important to note that there are a few different types of SSL certificates, and you should know which one suits your business best.

Having the SSL certificate is what upgrades your website from HTTP to HTTPS. You can configure your site to automatically direct users to the HTTPS version of the page. One added benefit of an HTTPS protected site is that Google offers SEO benefits to pages with SSL.

You’ve seen the iconic padlock on your web browser’s URL bar. That lock comes from using SSL, and now you know how to add that lock to your website’s address. So lock down your security and take control of your privacy and that of your users.


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