What Is Chatbot Marketing?
Chatbot marketing is a new way to engage customers and prospects online, replacing static lead forms and long wait times with dynamic, two-way automated conversations. Chatbot marketing allows you to obtain the information you need from website visitors instantly and move them through your sales funnel faster.
Tap into sales opportunities by deploying a conversational chatbot on your website to engage visitors in the right moments. You can ask questions about their desires, preferences, and service needs, as well as start building an authentic and personalized relationship from the get-go. Chatbots are becoming one of the most popular methods to initiate conversational marketing 24/7 and without the need for a live operator.
Chatbot marketing is a strategy for promoting your products or services with the use of a chatbot. Chatbots can be programmed with pre-set responses or take advantage of machine learning and AI for natural, human-like conversations. For example, if a chatbot asks a user what product or service they’re interested in, it can provide helpful information depending on the user’s response.
Brands can use a chatbot builder to create their personalized virtual assistant, which can then be connected with popular messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Telegram. These chatbots are effective for driving user engagement, solving customer issues, and making product recommendations.
Once you’ve engaged with the leads, you will attain the context necessary to serve them properly and determine which leads are more likely to buy your product or service. This will be key in qualifying leads and converting them to customers through your marketing funnel.
While chatbot marketing can help increase your company’s profits, it needs to be done right in order to get positive results. A successful chatbot marketing strategy ensures your customers' questions are being answered, resulting in increased sales and lead generation.
How chatbot marketing is changing the game
The way people buy things has changed, and chatbot marketing helps you keep up. Purchasing today is all about convenience—a shopper might pick out a new suit on the subway, update their cell phone plan on their lunch break, and book travel reservations while they watch TV. All this happens on their own time, on the channel and device of their choice. Chatbot marketing lets you connect with more customers, more easily, by meeting them where they are in the moments that matter, and identifying those who are most likely to purchase.
Messaging is the go-to way to communicate with family, friends, and co-workers, because it’s quick, easy, and convenient. It’s fast becoming the preferred way to connect with businesses, too—messaging is immediate, fruitful, and feels like a real conversation even when it takes place over an extended period of time. Deploying a conversational chatbot on messaging channels makes conversations scalable. Personalize relationships and reach more customers with mobile-friendly content.
With conversational marketing, brands can solve problems faster, shorten the feedback loop for products and services, and build longer-term relationships that strengthen loyalty. This improves your sales funnel, and even allows you to back into a business goal by structuring conversations to end with an important decision. Plus, it’s a source of one of the most powerful marketing tools available: data.
What Are The Benefits Of Chatbot Marketing?
Saves time and money. Chatbots make it easier for your company to engage with more customers with fewer resources and effort. Unlike humans, chatbots don’t require a salary and can work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This makes chatbots a one-time investment that pays off very quickly.
Engages and qualifies leads. Chatbots conduct message-based conversations to gather the information that can lead to potential sales. For example, if a chatbot asks a user why they’re visiting your company’s website, they can make product or service recommendations based on the user’s response.
Sends high-quality leads directly to sales. Chatbots can automatically send qualified leads to your sales team and answer repetitive customer questions that take up significant time. This frees up your sales team to focus on quality leads and spend time on more high-level tasks.
Helps to segment user traffic. Chatbots can help segment users visiting your website depending on where the conversation goes. For example, if a user asks questions about pricing, the chatbot will recognize them as a warm lead and suggest they place an order within the chat.
Engages users in a unique way. In the past, customer inquiries were handled through email or phone conversations. Chatbots have revolutionized this space by providing a fun, interactive way to engage with brands.
Guides users to better outcomes. Potential customers aren’t always able to find the information they need to make an informed decision. Chatbots can ask your users qualifying questions that direct them to the information they’re looking for, making it more likely that they’ll make a purchase.
Provides quick responses. Compared to other communication methods, real-time conversations with chatbots enable users to get their questions answered quickly, increasing the chances of a positive customer experience. When set up properly, chatbots can improve your brand image, gaining customer trust and driving repeat business in the process.
Speeds up the payment process. Many chatbots are capable of completing transactions directly within the chat window without the need for customers to be redirected to another page on your website. This reduces the time and effort required for customers to make a purchase, especially when integrated with money transfer services like PayPal or Shopify.
Fits any business. Whether you run a small, family-owned business or a large enterprise, chatbots can handle various marketing processes for your company. While larger companies can count on them to handle hundreds of customer inquiries simultaneously, smaller ones can take advantage of integration with Facebook Messenger or Telegram to reach new customers.
Boosts engagement. With messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat being used by nearly 5 billion people worldwide, the potential to engage with new customers is nearly endless. These platforms often offer advanced targeting features so you can connect with your ideal audience on a global scale.
Provides data for analysis. The data collected by your chatbot provides insight into your customer base’s needs and preferences. This data can be used to adapt your chatbot marketing strategy to increase sales and engagement for your brand.
Helps in lead nurturing. Chatbot marketing can streamline the movement of prospects down the sales funnel. For example, a company that sells cell phones could show different models, colors, and features in order to warm leads and help them make a purchasing decision.
Enables making orders. If your business runs an eCommerce store, chatbots can increase revenue by taking customer orders directly within the chat. Even if the user is not ready to make a purchase, chatbots can still answer customer questions or collect customer information to send a reminder in the future.
Provides 24/7 support. Chatbots are not limited to operating during your company’s business hours. Customers can access the information they want at any time of day, ensuring they receive a quick response from your brand every time.
Schedules meetings. A chatbot can easily schedule appointments or meetings with clients, which is especially helpful for small business owners with a lot on their plate. Many chatbots can integrate with Google Calendar so your virtual assistant can manage your appointments and send out reminders.
Tracks orders. If your business sells a physical product, a chatbot can eliminate the hassle of tracking orders for your customers. Advanced chatbots can track packages directly, while simpler ones can still provide automatic updates for shipping and deliveries.
Shares news and updates. When your chatbot communicates with users, it can recommend sending them the latest news and product updates from your business. While this can help keep potential customers engaged with your brand, your chatbot should always ask permission before sending out any promotional material.
Getting Started With Chatbot Marketing
Now that you understand the benefits of chatbot marketing, it’s time to get started creating a chatbot for your business. Once you get over the fear of relying on a virtual assistant, you will be excited to start building and deploying your own.
Once your chatbot is up and running, the time you’ll save on everyday tasks can be directed to new, high-value activities. Here is everything you need to know about getting started with your marketing chatbot
Define your goal and use case
Choose where your bot is going to live
Build your content strategy
Craft your bot’s voice and personality
Map customer journeys
Create possible responses
Review and optimize
Define your goal and use case
Chatbots offer a wide variety of use cases for your specific needs, so it’s important that you decide on a specific goal you want your chatbot to achieve. Start off by brainstorming to determine your goal and then begin to build your use case.
For example, your chatbot can be built to resolve customer service issues, promote new products or services, or generate quality leads. The best way to discover the ideal use case for your organization is to talk with your website and social media teams.
If your social media team is overwhelmed with the number of support requests coming in, this is a sign that a chatbot could help manage these communications channels. If your business is seeing low conversion rates on your website, then a chatbot could help with promotion and generating leads.
Whatever goal and use case you decide on, make sure it is clear what you want your chatbot to accomplish from the outset and then build things out from there.
- What kind of leads do you want to reach?
- When are your leads most receptive to marketing messages?
- Which pages or activities signal high interest?
Choose where your bot is going to live
When building your chatbot, keep in mind that conversation flows should differ depending on the communication channel. These channels can include your website, Facebook Messenger, Twitter Direct Message (DM), SMS, WhatsApp, and more.
For example, a user that visits your website’s homepage is more likely to be educated on your products or services than someone who reaches your website from a blog post. In these situations, your chatbots should be programmed accordingly to meet the needs of different users.
In addition, users reaching out from social networks have their own unique demographics. A user starting a chat on your Facebook page is going to be asking different questions than someone sending a DM to your Twitter account.
By studying the unique demographics of each social network, you will gain a better understanding of these differences and be able to tweak your bots accordingly. Collecting as much information as possible on your audience will ensure your bots are ready for all of your communication channels.
Build your content strategy
The next step is determining the content you want your users to engage with when they interact with your chatbot. A good place to start is with FAQs, which are questions that potential customers are likely to ask, and building your content so that users arrive at the best possible answers.
If your business doesn’t have an FAQ page, it’s a good idea to consult with teams that communicate directly with your customers:
- Customer service - If you have a dedicated customer service team, your CSRs probably talk with customers more than anyone else in your organization. Determine if there are any trends in the customer questions they are receiving, which will guide you in the right direction.
- Sales - Sales reps have a strong knowledge of your prospects compared to others in your company. Consulting with your sales team will provide insight on what prevents users from converting into customers.
- Marketing - Your social media marketing team is crucial for building out your social media chatbots, as they regularly interact with customers who reach out on these channels.
- Quora - While not an internal team, if your company has a page on the question-asking website Quora, you can look into any trends that appear there and add them to your chatbot.
Craft your bot’s voice and personality
If you have a dedicated creative team, they can help you develop the personality of your chatbot. This will humanize the customer experience and help align the chatbot with your brand’s values.
Brands often give their chatbot a name, which helps customers know they’re talking to a bot and establishes a friendly tone for the conversation. A copywriting team can help create a consistent voice for your bot as well as set clear guidelines for customer conversations.
- What conversation format resonates best with leads?
- What are your brand’s values?
- How do you want the chatbot to represent your brand?
- What visual elements can you add? (i.e., GIFs, videos, images, and emojis)
Map customer journeys
Once you have reviewed previous customer interactions with your brand, it’s time to map out what the customer journeys may look like. Many chatbot tools like Ada offer intuitive, drag-and-drop conversation builders with no coding knowledge required, but you can also start building paths using shapes and arrows in Google Drawings.
For example, if your business runs a retail store, you will want to communicate important details like store hours, promotions, and customer loyalty programs. Think of as many potential questions customers could ask as you can, and build conversation flows for each.
Create possible responses
For every question, your chatbot asks your customer, determine the best responses for users to choose from. By creating multiple responses for every question your bot asks, you’re more likely to direct customers to the information they’re looking for.
- What responses will resonate most with leads?
- What information do you want to promote?
- What actions do you want your leads to take next?
Once you have planned your customer journeys and responses, they will likely turn into complex maps of potential conversations. Despite this, it should be simple for customers to find valuable information about your brand and products.
To ensure users actually find the information they’re looking for, be sure to test every possible interaction, so they aren’t getting stuck or frustrated with the experience. Most chatbots offer a live preview feature, which allows you to test your conversation flows before they go live.
Review and optimize
Once you have completed the steps above, you’re ready to deploy your first chatbot. Even after thoroughly testing your bot, monitor interactions regularly to make sure journeys flow properly and users aren’t getting stuck.
Best Practices For Chatbot Marketing
Don’t pretend your chatbots are human. This is a common mistake that can result in users losing trust in your brand. Have your chatbot set expectations at the beginning of the interaction, letting users know the potential limits of the conversation. There should also be an option for the user to chat with a real person if the situation demands it.
Trigger chatbots at the right times. Triggers are situations where the chatbot launches and initiates a conversation. This could be when a user first visits your site, clicks on the chat window, opens a specific page, or is returning to your site. Chatbots should only be triggered at specific times to avoid annoying the customer, which makes it less likely that they will interact with your bot.
Test and refine. While it’s crucial to test and refine your chatbot before and during launch, it should be an ongoing process as your chatbot interacts with more customers. There will always be opportunities to tweak and optimize your chatbot to provide the best experience possible for your users.
Chatbot Marketing In Your Industry
Chatbots can perform a variety of tasks for eCommerce companies, including completing purchases, recommending products, and offering customer support. Even with these useful functions, many online sellers are reluctant to use chatbots as the technology is still relatively new.
The truth is that eCommerce is a highly competitive industry, and with so many sellers to choose from, you have to stand out from the pack by embracing proven technologies. The data shows that online merchants are using bots, and they’re not going anywhere soon.
The emerging FinTech sector has taken advantage of advanced, AI-powered chatbots to assist a large number of customers simultaneously without compromising service quality. Chatbots have taken over many complex tasks, from processing money transfers quickly and securely to scheduling bill payments and invoices.
FinTech chatbots can analyze their customers’ spending behaviors and transaction histories to predict future behavior and recommend financial products. For example, if a chatbot recognizes a customer with excellent transaction history, they can recommend products that will help them invest money in the future.
Many software as a service (SaaS) companies share a similar sales cycle of generating and qualifying leads, sending emails to book a product demo, and waiting for them to convert. Chatbots can help shorten this cycle by automating this process, as they can qualify leads immediately by asking a few short questions.
Customer expectations are on the rise, and software subscriptions can be canceled with the click of a button. SaaS companies can empower their customers with conversational AI, improving the quality of the service with an AI-powered chatbot.
The pandemic has resulted in new consumer behaviors and an increased desire to travel, which will eventually pay off in the future. With future travelers stuck at home, travel industry chatbots provide a perfect opportunity to connect with potential customers 24/7.
Travel chatbots offer a wide variety of features, with many already becoming go-to assistants for future travelers around the world. As leisure travel has a long purchasing cycle, customers spend significant time searching websites, reading reviews, and comparing destinations, all things chatbots can help out with.
An increasing number of banking organizations are using AI chatbots for their customer solutions, reducing costs and meeting the needs of tech-savvy consumers in the process. Basic banking tasks such as balance inquiries, bank account details, and loan applications can be efficiently handled by chatbots, freeing up CSRs to focus on more complex issues.
Insurance chatbots act as a customer’s virtual insurance assistant, completing useful tasks for your customers while providing your sales team with valuable and relevant data. Chatbots can educate customers on how insurance policies work or compare certain policies based on customer profiles and inputs.
Bots can address a customer’s insurance claims as well as follow up on existing ones. They can also alert customers of upcoming payments and help simplify payments for both customers and your team.
Telecom companies focus on providing customers with the latest devices, allowing them to connect with others instantly whenever they want. However, when customers reach out to these companies for support, the results are often less than instant.
With competition in the telecom industry on the rise, customer service has become a major differentiating factor. Chatbots provide an opportunity to revolutionize your support system, resulting in happier customers and increased revenue.
With the pandemic forcing education to go fully digital, colleges and universities can no longer rely on face-to-face activities to build rapport with future students. When tens of thousands of dollars per customer is often at stake, these businesses can’t afford to miss out on engaging prospects online.
Higher education chatbots can initiate and maintain conversations with thousands of potential students, collecting data such as interest in certain courses and questions they have with the application process. By having chatbots answer these questions, prospects are saved the trouble of searching across hundreds of pages for answers.
Media and entertainment companies often have difficulty personalizing communication with their audience. As a result, they often experience low levels of customer acquisition, retention, and engagement.
Chatbots can help media and entertainment companies personalize event recommendations, complete tasks like booking tickets or event registration, and keep customers up to date with exclusive content and event updates.