Chatbots for Marketing
Thanks to the proliferation of conversational marketing, chatbots for marketing have become a staple—you see them everywhere these days!
However, that’s not to say that you have to have a chatbot or virtual assistant on ALL your channels, from your website to social media and instant messaging apps. Here are the ins and outs you need to know when it comes to chatbot marketing.
What Are Chatbots?
Chatbots are computer applications that automate conversations with users through programmed responses or with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Sometimes, they are also called virtual assistants, but they are not the same. Virtual, digital or AI assistants typically complete commands or tasks for a user. Chatbots carry out conversations using programmed, predetermined answers based on the users’ requests. They allow for immediate responses to queries and are available round the clock.
Chatbots can be integrated into a company website or messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook. If you’ve ever used Vodacom’s app, you might have interacted with TOBi, the chatbot.
Why use Marketing Chatbots?
It all comes down to offering an exceptional customer journey through enhanced service.
Chatbots give the impression of a live conversation. Rather than having a prosect or customer navigate your site at length for information, they can simply pop their question into the chat and receive an immediate answer.
A quicker response creates a favourable impression and reduces the risk of the prospect abandoning their purchase out of frustration (from a lack of assistance, for example).
Key Chatbot Functions
However, chatbots are not only sales tools. They offer several other valuable functions that can help to streamline business efficiency.
Chatbots are adaptable and can be customised to assist numerous business processes, such as:
- Acquiring and nurturing leads
- Customer support (self-help and troubleshooting)
- Facilitating document collection
- Tracking orders
- Delivering timely news
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Business brands that use chat apps enjoy a 73% satisfaction rate for customer interaction.
The Benefits of Chatbots for Marketing
- Save time and money. Chatbots allow your business to serve more customers with fewer resources. The initial setup may be costly, but chatbots work 24/7 for no salary or overtime.
- Segment Chatbots lead the conversation in different directions depending on what the user asks. You can send high-intent prospects (read, red-hot leads) directly to sales to close the deal.
- Provide a quick response. Your customer’s time is precious. Solve their problems fast, and you’ll create a positive experience.
- Speed up payments. If your chatbot is integrated into money transfer services, customers can pay for services or products without navigating elsewhere!
- Fits any business. Chatbots can be customised to fit your marketing requirements and other business processes.
- Boost engagement. Enhance conversational marketing efforts with your customers through a chatbot.
- Customisable. From the name, image, language and brand tone, your chatbot can represent your brand.
40% of millennials regularly converse with chatbots.
Marketing Chatbot Dos and Don’ts
While chatbots are capable of many things, they aren’t a silver bullet. Remember that they can only do what you programme them to do! You’ll need to think about your users on the other end of the conversation and continually refine your bots.
Avoid these common chatbot mistakes:
- Don’t create a false impression. Don’t use a human name and image for the illusion of speaking to a human. Most users today know when they are chatting to a bot—and that’s OK! They will be more forgiving of limited responses. If you make it seem like they are talking to a natural person, they’ll get frustrated if the convo goes into an infinite loop.
- Leave your agenda at the door. Bots help nudge a lead into the sale funnel gently but don’t force the issue. Consider various paths the user may want to follow. They could only be in the discovery phase and only require more info to move them towards consideration.
- Do escalate to humans. In other words, don’t expect your bot to do everything. If a user has a complex problem, let the bots escalate the query to the appropriate personnel.
- Don’t do generic. Stock standard “robotic” answers will undo everything you’re trying to achieve. Write your answers in such a way that it “feels” like you are having a conversion. Think “engagement”.
- Do test, test, test. Your bot can always be better! Test your bots before you send them into the mission field. Test them while they’re active. Gather insight into user behaviour and refine your bot.
Key Chatbot Considerations
Before implementing a chatbot, think about the marketing purpose you want it to fulfil. Consider how the chatbot can assist with streamlining your marketing efforts and boosting your ROI.
Conduct thorough research on the capabilities you want the chatbot to perform and find a service provider to meet your specific requirements.
Chatbots are only as good as their programming; think about the types of questions or queries your customers are likely to ask.
You might also like these related articles.