VirtualPBX 5

5 Best Chatbot Platforms that Require no Coding

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Welcome to Edition 19.0 of The VirtualPBX 5 where we share our favorite topics, gadgets, and apps!

Love them or hate them, chatbots are the next wave of communications between businesses and consumers. What makes chatbots special? ChatbotFor starters, chatbots use complex artificial intelligence systems to exchange messages and voice communications with humans. Due to recent strides in technology, chatbots are being used to deliver actual business results. From generating new subscribers and traffic to delivering fast customer support, chatbots are jacks of all trades. But don’t let their complexity make you shy away from getting started. You won’t need a computer science degree or a coding background to build one. In fact, almost anyone can do it. If you are thinking about deploying a chatbot for your company, here are the 5 best chatbot platforms that require no coding experience.

5 Best Chatbot Platforms that Require no Coding

1. ManyChat

ManyChat’s claim to fame is allowing builders to create a bot in as little as 2 minutes. It comes as no surprise that it is the chatbot platform of choice for many entrepreneurs and freelancers. ManyChat’s user-friendly platform makes it extremely easy to do just about everything. If you are looking to level up your marketing, sales, and support on Facebook, look no further.

2. Chatfuel

More than 46,000 chatbots have been created using ChatFuel. If you are looking for a big name platform that has all the bells and whistles, ChatFuel is the bot builder for you. It also doesn’t hurt that it comes packed with integrations to your favorite services. If it’s good enough for the world’s leading enterprise companies, it must really be that good.

3. Chatty People

Chatty People’s commitment to business features make it a really attractive choice for small businesses and entrepreneurs that need custom solutions. Ever heard of a company named Slack? Build a Slack bot or a Facebook bot and integrate them with leading payment solutions. And when you want to see how your chatbot is performing, their analytics will tell you just what you’re doing right or wrong.

4. Engati

Engati allows you build a bot in as fast as 10 minutes. Which is not nearly as impressive as ManyChat, but here’s the kicker. Engati supports 8 major messaging platforms – which include Messenger, Slack, kik, Viber, Skype, and more. We also respect the fact that they take support very seriously. Engati offers easy chatbot training, multi-platform support, and 365 x 24 x 7 support.

5. Botsify

Botsify does not waste any time getting down to business. With Botsify you can completely automate live chat sales all with the goal of generating new leads. If you are losing a deal, feel free to take over and win the deal. If you are looking for the most conversational website bot builder you’ve found it.

Ready to reap the benefits of your first bot but wary about missing the human touch? By no means are we advocating that chatbots replace your employees. P2P relationships are sacred in business. But if we’re talking about filling gaps in sales and support hours, or finding a better alternative to OOO email greetings, then chatbots may be the solution your business needs.

We hope you enjoyed our 5 best chatbot platforms. If you did, be sure to check out the VirtualPBX blog for more of our favorite topics, gadgets, and apps. We would also love to hear any chatbot builder suggestions on Facebook and Twitter!

5 Most Beautifully Designed Coworking Spaces on Earth

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Welcome to Edition 18.0 of The VirtualPBX 5 where we share our favorite topics, gadgets, and apps!

Entrepreneurs working from exotic beaches are not the only ones taking in extraordinary views at work. Recently, coworking spaces have become their own paradises so start-ups, entrepreneurs, and freelancers could escape bulky office leases and home offices. Because of the rise of the remote workforce, the world’s top designers have transformed ordinary spaces into some of the most beautifully designed coworking spaces on earth.

5 Most Beautifully Designed Coworking Spaces on Earth

1. WeWork Yanping Lu located in Shanghai, China

Once upon a time, WeWork YanPing Lu was a British settlement. Today, visitors are greeted by 23,680 sqft of shared office space and a giant fish tank. The founders of Linehouse design firm, Briar Hickling and Alex Mok, study human inhabitation to deliver a coworking experience which is focused on the element of whimsy.

5 Most Beautifully Designed Coworking Spaces
“Designer: Linehouse design”

2. KWERK located in Paris, France

Designers Albert Angel and Lawrence Knight hit the nail on the mark when they set out to create a 33,000 sqft boutique hotel style co-working and lifestyle space. Using their travels as inspiration, each room contains tranquil art and staged designs from around the world.

5 Most Beautifully Designed Coworking Spaces
“Designer: Albert Angel”

3. Hubba-to located in Bangkok, Thailand

It’s nearly impossible to keep your eyes not fixated on the turquoise networking lines extending across the vaulted ceilings of this 10,645 sqft coworking space. Designers Yupadee Suvisith and Pitupong Chaowakul successfully transformed this mall shop into a thriving artisan ecosystem for both making and working.

5 Most Beautifully Designed Coworking Spaces
“Designer: Supermachine Studio”

4. Kolektif House located in Istanbul, Turkey

It’s remarkable to think that at one point the 32,292 sqft Kolektif House was once an embroidery factory. Kontra designers aimed to rechannel the cold energy of the industrial building into an eco-friendly urban zone. The design is focused around flexible workspaces and synergy across generations.

5 Most Beautifully Designed Coworking Spaces
“Designer: KONTRA Architecture”

5. Neuehouse located in New York, New York

The name may or may not have originated from the German words “Neue Haus” which means “New House” in English. The Rockwell Group transformed this 35,000 sqft century-old manufacturing building into a hospitality centric canvas. The design brings to life the themes of park, pier, and neighborhood landscapes.

5 Most Beautifully Designed Coworking Spaces
“Designer: Rockwell Group”

Ready to opt out of your office lease and start exploring the most beautiful coworking spaces in the world? Don’t forget your dynamic business phone system! Obtain a toll-free, local, or international number, and route all your business calls to your cell phone – all while keeping your personal information completely anonymous. No matter the location of your office of the day, you’ll always be just a call away!

We hope you enjoyed our 5 most beautifully designed coworking spaces on earth. If you did, be sure to check out the VirtualPBX blog for more of our favorite topics, gadgets, and apps. We would also love to hear any coworking space suggestions on Facebook and Twitter!

Maximize Your Profits with the 5 Best Tools for Affiliate Marketing

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5 Tools for Affiliate MarketingWelcome to Edition 17.0 of The VirtualPBX 5 where we share our favorite topics, gadgets, and apps!

The world of affiliate marketing tools is more competitive than ever in 2017. Cutting-edge tools are sprouting up left and right in the hopes of profiting from the booming e-commerce sector. In this edition of the VirtualPBX 5 we’ve cut out the clutter and narrowed down a list of tools which are tried and true. Here are our top 5 tools for affiliate marketing.

Top 5 Tools for Affiliate Marketing

1. Skimlinks

Skimlinks provides a simplistic method for affiliates to monetize content on their sites. Their secret sauce is being able to turn any retailer link on your site into an affiliate link. If you’re fine with giving Skimlinks a 25% cut for being the middleman, it’s not too shabby of a deal for busy affiliate marketers.

2. WordPress SEO by Yoast

WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast tackles the largest challenge faced by affiliates – generating traffic. Yoast gives you the ability to tweak and visualize your content in a way that gives on-page SEO boosts and increases organic ranking. With Yoast, you’ll be generating more traffic per page and thereby creating more opportunities to make sales.

3. GetResponse

There are many email marketing solutions on the market, but only one can rise to the top of the affiliate ranks. GetResponse gets our vote here because it runs the gamut of affiliate marketing solutions. Features such as autoresponder, email marketing, e-commerce integrations, and more all serve as valuable tools for marketers who like expansive feature sets.

4. Thirsty Affiliates Plugin

Thirsty Affiliates is a WordPress plugin that manages the entire lifecycle of affiliate links. WordPress links are saved and categorized instantly so you don’t have to log-in and out of affiliate networks to insert product links. And if that wasn’t helpful enough, Thirsty Affiliates also gives you the ability to beautify links and auto-link keywords that are not already effectively monetized.

5. Shareasale

Last but not least, our top affiliate tool is our own affiliate network! Shareasale was the network of choice for the VirtualPBX Affiliate Program because of its longstanding reputation for honest, efficient and fast affiliate transactions. We can also appreciate the fact that they’ve stood toe-to-toe with top affiliate networks for over 17 years and still just seem to be getting better with age. We can’t say enough good things about Shareasale. You won’t regret your decision to sign up today! The process is simple and free.

We hope you enjoyed our top 5 tools for affiliate marketing in our VirtualPBX 5 series! If you liked these Top 5 Affiliate Tools, be sure to check out the VirtualPBX blog for more affiliate marketing related content. We would also love to hear any tool suggestions on Facebook and Twitter!

5 Star-Spangled 4th of July Marketing Strategies

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Welcome to Edition 16.0 of The VirtualPBX 5 where we share our favorite topics, gadgets, and apps!

4th of July Marketing StrategiesThis Independence Day is gearing up to be the grandest display of red, white, and blue of all time. According to the National Retail Foundation 219 million Americans are predicted to spend 7.1 billion on 4th of July festivities in 2017.

So how do marketers ignite a campaign that takes off like a bottle rocket this 4th of July? We have created the below 5 star-spangled 4th of July marketing strategies to get the most out of your holiday.

Here are 5 Star-Spangled 4th of July Marketing Strategies that’ll make Uncle Sam Proud

1. Create an Experience

The telltale sign of a one-of-a-kind customer experience is when customers are smiling and capturing content that is good enough to share with their friends. Macy’s does a great job of providing an experience like this by hosting a 4th of July fireworks show every year. You can surprise customers with an unexpected delight too that will create buzz and further brand loyalty. Putting on a fireworks show like the retail giant Macy’s is not achievable for every company. However, a 4th of July themed social media promotion can provide great brand exposure and encourage repeat traffic.

2. Engage Followers on Social Media

It’s no surprise that there is a lot of competition on social media in 2017, but that’s because it’s still one of the most effective marketing channels for promoting brands. Social platforms have a smaller window of relevancy and visitors are often browse for non-work purposes. This makes holiday specials and events even more powerful on social platforms. Brands can cut through the noise of newsfeeds by creating unique content that engages their community. Brands can host giveaways, run photo contests, or create a fun video to get people raving about their brand. Products like Adobe Spark are easy to use and provide video templates that allow you to create professional quality videos in less than 30 minutes.

3. Curate a 4th of July Collection

Businesses of all types have the opportunity to curate a collection of items that help 4th of July revelers find what they are looking for. E-commerce stores can boost sales by creating a collection of “4th of July Favorites.” Or perhaps a blogger can create a list of “Top 4th of July Recipes.” Creating a collection of items for consumers is an excellent way to deliver a tailored shopping experience or receive online shares which can eventually lead to sales.

4. Donate to a Charitable Cause

Legend has it that Uncle Sam was linked to one of the largest acts of philanthropy turned branding of all time. History suggests that Uncle Sam was named after Samuel Wilson, a meat packer in New York who donated barrels of beef to the U.S. Army in 1812. Samuel’s kind deed left such a lasting impression on the U.S. Army that they referred to the meat as “Uncle Sam’s.” The local newspaper picked up the story and the rest is history. The lesson of this story is that freebies can create buzz.

5. Utilize Business Phone System Features

One of the most effective and economical marketing strategies is utilizing your current business phone system. If you will have extended hours to accommodate the extra traffic over the 4th of July holiday make sure to set your business hours so your customers know that you’ll be in full service. You can also utilize Custom Greetings to let your customers know all about your special promotions and upcoming events.

I hope you enjoyed our five 4th of July marketing strategies. Want to learn more about creating unforgettable holiday experiences for your business? The Marketing Team at VirtualPBX has put together a list of business phone system best practices so you can get the most out of your call traffic.

Also, if you have any Independence Day marketing ideas that you would like to share with us, feel free to let us know on Twitter and Facebook.

We hope you have a wonderful 4th of July!

Five Reasons Why Americans Should Use PTO This Summer

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Welcome to Edition 15.0 of The VirtualPBX 5 where we share our favorite topics, gadgets, and apps!

Americans Should Use PTO This SummerIt’s that time of year again, it’s PTO season. But why aren’t we using it? According to a survey conducted by Glassdoor, 54% of Americans only use half of their vacation days. Which begs the question: why are we leaving so much PTO on the table?

Is it because Americans love working? Or maybe we feel we will be penalized for taking personal time off? Whatever a person’s reason for not using his or her earned PTO is that person’s business. We won’t tell you what to do, but we can tell you why taking a break from the grind is good for you.

Here are the Top Five Reasons why Americans Should use PTO This Summer:

1. Stimulate Eustress by Traveling the World

Flying to an exotic destination stimulates good stress, also known as eustress. It is when your body feels the psychological, biochemical, or physical implications of stress. Traveling to a new country heightens this type of stress due to the unfamiliarity of the local customs and language – forcing you to be more cognizant of your surroundings and more culturally aware. In addition to expanding your cultural horizons, eustress aids personal growth and creativity.

2. Reboot your Mental and Physical Health

Daily stressors are a normal part of work life. Counteracting those stressors is an essential part of human health. If you feel your mental and physical health are rapidly declining due to an overbearing workload, it’s time to put in a PTO request. Our bodies are like computers. When we have dozens of programs open, and we neglect to reboot the computer, it becomes slower and eventually crashes. When you proactively take time to recharge, you can avoid a crash altogether.

3. Boost the Economy by Shopping Small

We’d never advocate overspending, but it’s okay to indulge in some quality experiences every now and then. In fact, studies show that vacation days are great for the economy. According to Forbes, if Americans took off one additional day of PTO each year that would result in a $73 billion dollar boost in the U.S. economy. I mean, if taking a vacation wasn’t already a good enough idea, then you should at least consider doing it for your country!

4. Foster Relationships with Family and Friends

We’ve become a society so focused on career advancement, that we’ve reduced the amount of quality time spent with our loved ones. Fostering healthy relationships with our friends and family is a key aspect of our personal happiness. Disconnecting from the workplace is an essential part of growing tighter bonds and striking a better work-life balance.

5. Increase Quality of Life

The negative toll of stress compounds over time causing our quality of life to suffer. Our happiness is shaped by our ability to have control over our daily stressors such as finances, traffic, health, etc. Due to the subjective nature of quality of life, it’s important to take personal time to discover what factors make us most happy. Taking a hiatus in the summer months allows us to discover ourselves and pursue the quality of life we desire.

The Show Must Go On (Even When You’re on PTO)

If you need help crafting an out of the office greeting for your clients while you’re away on PTO, look no further than our Custom Greeting options. While you’re at it, you can set Holiday Hours, Do-Not-Disturb, or even re-route your calls to another department while you’re out having some fun in the sun this summer.

Lastly, I hope everyone takes a moment this Memorial Day weekend to remember the heroes that gave their lives for our country. Without their sacrifice, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the safety and freedom that we have today. Stay safe wherever you find yourself this weekend, and have a wonderful time with your loved ones.

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