SMME’s AI, Your Website, Social Media & Digital Marketing – Part 3 – Website Chatbots & Virtual Assistants

Put off Artificial Intelligence (AI) for your SMME business? Scary, not necessary, too fancy/complicated, or probably too expensive?  

With 25+ years’ experience in the marketing, digital marketing, web and social media space we have a different point of view, and can enable your business in an efficient and profitable manner.


Welcome to Part 3 in this AI series – Website AI, Chatbots & Virtual Assistants.

Implementing AI-driven chatbots and virtual assistants can significantly enhance customer service and user engagement for Small, Medium and Micro businesses (SMMEs). Several options are available, varying in cost and complexity. Here’s an overview of the key tools, their costs, and the steps required to implement chatbots and virtual assistants on an SMME website.

Options, Programs, and Platforms

  1. Tidio
    • Cost: Free plan available; paid plans start at $18/month.
    • Features: Live chat, chatbot, email integration, and automation.
    • Steps to Implement: Sign up for Tidio, integrate the widget with your website, customize the chatbot flow using a visual builder, and set automation rules.
    • Cost: Free plan available; paid plans start at $50/month.
    • Features: Drag-and-drop chatbot builder, templates, and AI-powered responses.
    • Steps to Implement: Create an account, design the chatbot using the visual builder, integrate with your website using a provided code snippet, and configure triggers and responses.
  3. Intercom
    • Cost: Starts at $74/month.
    • Features: Live chat, chatbots, customer support tools, and integrations with various apps.
    • Steps to Implement: Sign up for Intercom, install the Intercom Messenger on your website, set up chatbot workflows, and customize the chat interface.
  4. Drift
    • Cost: Starts at $500/month.
    • Features: Conversational marketing, chatbots, live chat, and email integration.
    • Steps to Implement: Create a Drift account, add the Drift widget to your website, design chatbot playbooks, and integrate with your CRM and other tools.
  5. ManyChat
    • Cost: Free plan available; Pro plan starts at $15/month.
    • Features: Chatbots for Facebook Messenger, SMS, and Instagram; visual flow builder.
    • Steps to Implement: Sign up for ManyChat, connect your Facebook page or other platforms, create chatbot flows using the visual builder, and configure triggers and actions.
  6. Zendesk Chat
    • Cost: Starts at $19/month per agent.
    • Features: Live chat, chatbot automation, customer support tools, and analytics.
    • Steps to Implement: Create a Zendesk account, integrate the chat widget with your website, set up chatbot automation, and customize the chat experience.
  7. MobileMonkey
    • Cost: Free plan available; Pro plan starts at $14.25/month.
    • Features: Chatbots for web chat, SMS, and social media; automation tools.
    • Steps to Implement: Sign up for MobileMonkey, integrate with your website and social media platforms, design chatbot flows, and set automation rules.

Steps to Implement Chatbots and Virtual Assistants

  1. Define Objectives
    • Determine the primary goals for the chatbot (e.g., lead generation, customer support, FAQ automation).
    • Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success.
  2. Choose the Right Platform
    • Based on your budget, requirements, and preferred features, select an AI-driven chatbot platform.
    • Consider factors such as ease of use, integration capabilities, and customer support.
  3. Sign Up and Configure Account
    • Create an account on the chosen platform and explore the dashboard.
    • Complete initial setup steps, such as configuring business information and basic settings.
  4. Design Chatbot Workflows
    • Use the platform’s visual builder or templates to design conversational workflows.
    • Define greetings, menu options, and response flows based on common customer inquiries.
  5. Integrate with Your Website
    • Add the chatbot widget to your website by copying and pasting the provided code snippet into your website’s HTML.
    • Ensure the widget is properly positioned and tested for responsiveness on different devices.
  6. Customize the Chat Interface
    • Customize the appearance of the chatbot to match your brand’s design and color scheme.
    • Personalize messages and chatbot persona to create a cohesive brand experience.
  7. Set Automation Rules
    • Configure triggers and actions based on user behavior and predefined conditions.
    • Set up automated responses for frequently asked questions and common scenarios.
  8. Test the Chatbot
    • Conduct thorough testing to ensure the chatbot works as intended.
    • Simulate different user interactions to identify and fix any issues or gaps in the conversation flow.
  9. Launch and Monitor
    • Deploy the chatbot on your website and monitor its performance.
    • Use analytics provided by the platform to track user interactions, response times, and overall effectiveness.
  10. Optimize and Iterate
    • Regularly review performance data to identify areas for improvement.
    • Update chatbot workflows, add new functionalities, and refine responses based on user feedback and analytics.


AI-driven chatbots and virtual assistants offer SMMEs an efficient way to enhance customer service and engagement on their websites. By selecting the right platform and following a structured implementation process, businesses can effectively deploy chatbots that improve user experience, streamline support, and boost overall satisfaction. Start small, continuously monitor performance, and iterate based on insights to maximize the benefits of AI in your customer interactions.

How does your business move forward from here?

We are honest and transparent as to why we have put out this article. Yes it should be an asset to the industry and customers of our industry, but we also need to do business for many of the same reasons you do. So here is our ask.

Seeking a web development company, a social media company, a digital marketing agency, a traditional marketing agency, an integrated agency or a service provider that can bring AI to your business at the current level needed whilst allowing for future changes?

Why you should consider 3G’s Branding Consulting Digital and Marketing Head Outsource

We As An Agency

Access testimonials

Well, that was Part 3. There will be more to follow. 

Access other series’ via our blog, as well as the balance of articles and posts access 3G’s other posts. Likewise you are welcome to reach out to us should you want to engage directly with us on this. 

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