In this post we'll learn how you can improve your marketing with chatbots.
Traditional marketing is a one-way communication channel where companies provide information to customers, but this has two major drawbacks:
1-From the company side you do not know if the information you provide is useful to the customer and measuring this takes a lot of time and money.
2-The customer receives the information, but if it does not fit perfectly what he needs or some doubt arises, then he must contact the company by phone or mail.
But a few years ago, social media changed everything, and today customers demand quick answers and the scope of interaction has dramatically changed.
Now traditional marketing has developed into conversational marketing, a neologism that defines a fresh approach to customer needs through real time interactions and personal level. This includes Email marketing, customer success, customer support and chatbots.
Today half of consumers seek customer support through social media, and 70% prefer chatbots quick answers.
Conversational marketing puts the consumer right in front of you while he is looking for an answer related to a product or service, and then you can generate leads and engagement based on first-hand data.
On the other hand, consumer times have turned short and usually there is no opportunity for a second chance.
And here is where chatbots come; since they are interactive marketing tools that can improve the customer experience, generate leads, provide those unresolved issues to the right support department, reduce costs, provide membership courses and webinars registrations, get user feedback, and many more benefits.
What is a chatbot?
Basically, it is a piece of software that can have conversations with humans.
A chatbot is easily integrated into your website through a little program or a third part application and on messaging apps like Facebook, Telegram and Whatsapp
There are three types of chatbots:
These are mainly used for support to answer simple questions in real time.
2-Rules based chatbots:
Rules based chatbots follow predesigned rules built around some kind of decision tree, here the user has fixed option to choose from and these will determine the conversational flow. Mainly used for customer support and basic conversation.
AI based chatbots are the more advanced ones, have the possibility to understand the user intent and take the conversation to the next level, providing relevant answers and improving their conversational process as time goes by.
Why chatbots improve your marketing efforts:
1-Chatbots provide instant answers:
We all have been hanging on the phone for countless minutes waiting for a customer service agent to get our call, and that experience is far from good. When you finally hear “Hello, my name is xx how can I help you?” You are really upset, and the conversation does not start in the best manner.
(Also think of the above approach with an email instead)
A quick and proper answer improves your business image and brand awareness. If the consumer could solve the issue, you have for sure a returning visitor.
2-Chatbots can engage and qualify leads:
With the right process, lead engagement is a key task for chatbots. According to your sales funnel, you can drive any lead accordingly. There is always the option to pass the data to the right department for later follow-up of those leads that need further clarification about some product or service to close the sale.
If the conversation takes place with an existing customer, you can make a tailored offer based on previous activity and purchase records available in your database.
3-Chatbots cut down costs:
A chatbot service is a monthly fixed cost that works 24/7.
Unlike a human being, its performance is always the same and not depending on any external or internal factor.
And regarding costs, the cost benefit relation is excellent.
4-Chatbots provide a vast amount of data:
Since the chatbot interacts directly with an actual person, you can get a vast amount of real data from your website visitors. Keep in mind that people are not keen to answer questions or complete surveys, but since they are into a natural conversation, they will provide first-hand real-time answers to your inquiries.
This interactive approach is invaluable because a website visitor is someone that has a certain interest in your product or service and is there to get information and - if the conversation is sales related - to be guided through your sales funnel.
5-Chatbots boost your presence on social media:
Chatbots allow you to connect customers on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram and more. The ability to provide answers 24/7 also helps to strengthen brand awareness.
How to start:
1-First of all, you must set up a strategy and begin with a few questions:
Where do you plan to use chatbots, customer service, social media, marketing, or sales?
What kind of leads are you interested in?
What do you want those leads to do?
What specific data do you need to collect?
What customer service issues are you going to deal with?
The best approach is to begin with customer support and once the system is up and running move into another instance.
As with any strategy, you must provide goals and see how those goals are met and make corrections to the initial plan.
This is not a onetime setting; you must test and rework your strategy to build a good system.
2-Put the chatbot in the right pages:
Notice that is useless to put a chatbot on a landing page because you are just trying to qualify a lead there.
Also it is not good to try to start a conversation with everybody, you only want to chat with people showing some minimum interest in your products or services, and a prospect that is lurking the pricing page is a firm candidate for this.
A well-planned strategy will reveal which site pages are best suited for chatbots.
Do not overload the customer with information that is not valuable to its actual need, you face the risk to overwhelm the user and make the process useless.
4-Do not forget to ask for user feedback, this is crucial to improve your chatbot behavior.
Always remember you have a potential buyer in front of you and would not be wise to let him go without his opinion.
Some chatbot service providers you can try:
There are plenty of chat platforms out there and you should choose one that does not require technical background.
Today all these services are billed in a SaaS manner (Software as a service) . They are cloud-based and billed on a monthly basis. This means that if you stop paying, your chatbot service goes down.
A multi-channel marketing platform. They have a free plan that includes 10.000 messages/mo. and up to three bots.
An all in all interactive marketing software. You get chatbots and quizzes, forms and calculators builder. 7-day free trial and then prices start from $14/mo.
A huge platform about chatbots. They offer a free plan only to qualified small businesses.
An excellent option with plans starting at $50/mo.
A complete customer connected platform with prices starting at $13/mo.
A multi-channel platform offering a 14-day trial without a credit card.
A chat only focused platform. They offer a free basic plan to start.
This is a product of Freshworks, a multi-product platform. Offer tons of integrations and a free plan to try.
Interactive marketing is the key to gain a customer that is avid to get quick answers about sales, services and more. Chatbots are an excellent option and a small budget can provide an enormous boost to your business wherever the chatbot system is based on a good strategy and properly maintained and tuned.
A free option is perhaps the best choice to start with and then make changes as your strategy grows.
And do not forget that those improvements you do not make, will be done by your competition.