Businesses need to maintain a constant presence across different marketing channels to ensure that both existing and potential customers are well-informed about their products and concerns. However, as much as we prefer a human touch with the way we interact with businesses, rising costs are making it hard for businesses to stay online 24/7.
Fortunately, chatbots are fast emerging as a viable alternative to traditional marketing and customer service methods. Whether you’re just starting an online business or managing a well-established company, it’s time to look into chatbot marketing. But before we dive into the specifics of this strategy, let’s first discover what chatbots are and how companies use them in marketing.
What is chatbot marketing?
At its simplest form, a chatbot is a computer application that simulates human communication and participates in back-and-forth conversations with human customers. These can range from simple bots that answer with one-liners to virtual digital assistants that learn from past interactions and analyze speech or conversation patterns to improve future customer experiences.
Chatbots are more common than you think. You’ve probably seen them on websites, encountered them on Facebook business pages, or used a chatbot app to get a cappuccino from your neighborhood cafe.
Many businesses have already deployed chatbots to their sales and marketing channels, including websites and social media pages. Some brands, such as Starbucks, have also developed entire apps powered by chatbot technology. This allows users to get answers to commonly-asked questions and make customized purchases.
It’s easy to see that chatbot marketing is no longer a novelty. It’s already a growing technology that is increasing in popularity year by year. In the next section, we’ll discuss a few reasons why you should get into chatbot marketing in 2021 and what this channel can do for your business in the coming years.
Why is chatbot marketing a great strategy for your campaign?
While websites, blogs, and social media can help bring your brand to your target audience, you can only do so much with those channels. Likes, shares, and comments don’t necessarily translate to better sales performance. Your audience deserves a better user experience – one that’s relevant, responsive, and convenient.
Develops custom tools
Your chatbots need to perform multiple functions and roles, just like a personal assistant. They need to act like a guide that addresses frequently asked questions. Most chatbots fall into two categories: AI-powered chatbots and path-led chatbots.
AI chatbots utilize machine learning technologies. Through API integration, they can access AI systems like OpenAI or IBM’s Watson to answer questions. AI chatbots can use natural language processing, recognize patterns and keywords in either written or spoken text, and tap into your company’s knowledge base to come up with relevant answers.
As users engage more with your chatbot, it learns much better how to answer complicated questions. Essentially, it becomes better at dealing with customers or leads inquiries.
The next type of chatbot, path-led chatbots, leads customers through a series of questions and answers. They are designed utilizing paths. So, you create a possible question and then provide the answer. That can lead to a series of further questions.
These are the oldest types of chatbots. They are used for sales, marketing, or customer support and can be customized to provide users with a more granular level of service.
For instance, the Domino’s Pizza chatbot allows users to order pizza through a series of questions:
You’ll notice that the entire interaction, from the initial touchpoint to order-taking, involved just one human – the customer. By deploying and training chatbots, you can decrease the human intervention needed to process a transaction.
You will need to review and manually update how the chatbot works. Most software solutions provide comprehensive analytics you can use to analyze how people engage with your chatbot so you can make changes to improve the user experience.
Lead scoring, generation & nurturing
Generating leads is both expensive and time-consuming. Using chatbots enables you to overcome both obstacles. A chatbot can be programmed to ask the customer a series of questions to determine where they are on the customer journey.
The bot can then assess the likelihood of a sale and pass hot leads onto a human salesperson. This cuts down on simple, repetitive questions for the human salesperson.
Interacts with website visitors
A chatbot can provide instant answers to both product-specific and routine queries. This helps in keeping customers on your site for longer. However, it’s best to have a combination of chatbots and live chat.
The chatbots can handle simple questions, and the live chat is there to tackle the difficult questions. This approach provides a better user experience.
By now, the customers are used to chatbots. According to Chatbot magazine, 64% of customers like the 24/7 access chatbots provide. And 55% like the quick, relevant replies. Hence by using chatbots, you are increasing customer satisfaction and conversions.
Reaches a broader audience
Chatbots are increasingly versatile. You may deploy them on your website or social media accounts and maintain the same tone and functionality regardless of the platform. With chatbots, you expand your reach and deal with inquiries across different channels.
One common use case for chatbots on social media involves answering user inquiries without requiring the user to open another app or browser window. For example, when I saw an ad for the shirt brand Proper Cloth on my Facebook feed, I clicked through to their Facebook page and found the chatbot below:
While most chatbots answer with links to product pages, Proper Cloth’s chatbot answers customer questions inside the chat window. Using this method, the brand maintains the user’s focus while still driving them through a path that hopefully culminates in a purchase.
Whenever you use a chatbot on your social media pages, you make your brand more accessible to potential customers who would otherwise think twice about opening another browser tab.
High capacity for engagement
Chatbots are capable of engaging with many customers at once. They can deal with a large volume of queries around the clock. They are much more cost-effective compared to customer service teams.
They can save up to 30% in customer support costs, according to Invesp. They are far cheaper to train and deploy. Developing a simple chatbot involves one-time fees and maintenance costs as low as $600, while more complicated ones can set you back just a few thousand dollars. In contrast, the cost of hiring, training, and deploying a customer service team can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
Then there’s the delivery speed for chatbot deployment. Chatbot development can take between a few hours to a couple of weeks from the moment you define the chatbot’s scope and capabilities to the second it goes live. A customer support team, on the other hand, can take months to build as you will need to screen applicants for open positions, then train them before deployment.
Improves your team’s and company’s performance
Chatbots can help reduce the workload for your whole team. By reducing the workload, employees can dedicate their time to other tasks. It also increases productivity and morale.
Chatbots can also increase the conversion rate turning more prospects into leads and more leads into sales. Leadoo found that chatbots can increase the rate by between 10% and 100%, depending on the industry. So chatbots reduce the workload for the team, but they are a valuable team player in their own right.
Collects and analyses feedback and data from customers
Chatbots are very effective at collecting feedback from customers. The feedback form can be integrated into the flow. This helps you track what’s going right and what needs to be changed. The analysis can then be used to remodel your marketing strategy.
Here is a great example of a chatbot asking a customer for feedback:
The feedback form is part of the conventional tree. This makes customer feedback more likely. You can use customer feedback to improve your marketing model and increase your conversion rate.
Increases brand proactivity
A chatbot welcomes a customer when they visit your site. Most traditional marketing strategies are passive, but chatbot marketing is proactive. It’s a great way to promote your brand, and being proactive increases your conversion and sales numbers.
Programming a chatbot to initiate contact with site visitors can help increase engagement. For example, you can activate a chatbot as soon as the visitor lands on your page. This chatbot can help visitors find what they’re looking for, such as a specific product or page. It’s a lot more helpful than simply adding a search bar on top of your home page.
By engaging your site visitors early in their visit, you can keep them on your site for a longer time.
You need to include chatbots in your market strategy. Chatbots increase engagement rates with customers answer frequently asked questions and score and generate leads.
A primary function of the chatbot is interaction with customers on the website. You can develop custom tools so your chatbots can function as a virtual assistant, a translator, a guide, or even as a secretary.
Chatbots also help you reach a broader audience. And they’re useful for feedback collection and analysis, which can significantly improve your team’s performance and increase your brand’s proactivity.
Hence, integrating chatbots into your marketing strategy is essential. Chatbots will play a larger role in marketing in the future, so get ahead of the game.