Chatbot Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business in 2020
Chatbot Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business in 2020
Companies are looking at automation and other ways to boost their marketing efforts as working smarter or doing more with less become mantras hitting many departments. How could a chatbot marketing strategy help when it comes to attracting interest and driving sales or attracting customers, and as marketers look to make use of new technology tools?
What are Chatbots and why should marketers care?
The marketing department is increasingly in charge of figuring out new ways of using current technology or adopting the latest innovations to give their marketing efforts an edge. Chatbots have been around in a mass-market sense for a good few years now, and there are plenty of positive marketing stories out there.
The stats look good too, with some 47% of consumers happy to buy from a bot, and sales netting close to double the average order value. While Facebook marketing engagement can be boosted by 154% when Facebook Messenger chatbots feature, and the social media platform continues to see impressive use in growth.
Do note that Facebook Messenger bot policies are undergoing some changes from Facebook, so be aware of these for any new or future efforts, with specific differences between standard and sponsored messages.
Marketing bots can help the department their outreach efforts, AI can deliver customised messages and the digital marketing strategy can gain more insight from bot analytics. All of which is a great improvement on some early bots you may have encountered for customer support or simple reception bots.
And, any marketer can launch an effort today, potentially reaching over a billion people on Facebook using the Messenger bots, or adding them to websites, apps and other social media services. The trick is to understand what a marketing bot is capable of, with AI helping turn them from simple message delivery bots into smart tools that can deliver the right message at the right time. As well as turning the marketing effort into a two-way engaging conversation, focused on brand or product interactions in real-time to a larger audience, rather than pushing generic content to each customer.
Today’s bots use AI to understand what the consumer is asking and can build a conversation that drives engagement, builds loyalty and creates a new link between the company or brand and their customers. Best of all, bots can scale massively, so if you end up with a hit product or service, the bot can handle all the queries
Some successful chatbot marketing examples include:
A Volvo car dealership that quickly helped customers narrow down the latest models by size, chassis type, fuel or energy source, to show people as fast as possible what they had in stock.
Supermarket Lidl used a chatbot as a sommelier, offering customers in-store advice on what wine to have with particular meats or types of meal.
Vodafone used a chatbot called TOBi to update its customer experience and provide information, helping it appeal to younger users who don’t like having to wait.
LEGO used a Messenger bot to drive a 3.4 times higher return on ad spend for click-to-Messenger ads with 71% lower cost per purchase when clicking through to the Messenger experience and almost twice higher value for website purchases made from click-to-Messenger ads
Creating a chatbot marketing campaign
Chatbots don’t need the marketing department to throw out their traditional tools. A bot can be a useful addition to the current ways of doing things. For example, an email marketing campaign can be augmented with a chatbot. While the social media pages can introduce the bot as a new feature.
Alongside the usual calls to action, a button to launch the bot can instigate a new type of response. The bot will know who the customer is, can access previous sales or transactions and relate any new messaging to those events. Or, it can use the appropriate time of day to start a chatty conversation that leads into the marketing effort along with other individual and specific cues to make the customer feel welcome. If successful, the bot can continue the conversation to online purchasing within the bot or on the brand’s store.
Whatever the outcome, the data from every interaction can be monitored and measured, using AI to tweak future efforts toward a greater chance of conversion and success, all without an agent having to do a thing. As consumers move away from caring about landing pages or vanilla email marketing, bots can help speed up the transaction and drive engagement.
Bots can also be put to work with other digital marketing efforts including, re-targeting, lead generation and client acquisition. The major benefit is that the bot can carry on the engagement rather than having these efforts split across different platforms or services.
Many companies launched their bots as limited trials or tests, and quite a few have come-and-gone, leaving customers wondering if the effort was worth it. Today, brands need to be committed to their bot efforts, from social media marketing to brand marketing and beyond. The bot needs to be a front-and-centre part of the business effort, accessible in each of the digital touchpoints, and promoted with as much care as an actual product.
These efforts help build an understanding of the bot and its function, helping drive interest and support for the bot, along with brand loyalty. Once a bot is in the public eye, it needs to be maintained, complaints about it on social media addressed, and any business needs marketing or support resources on hand in case the bot is disabled for any reason.
Any feedback about the bot should be welcome and every update or improvement provides a fresh opportunity to promote the bot. The two-way conversation allows consumers to see how transparent and honest a brand is, while the company can tell all sorts of stories to drive the brand that don’t work on traditional marketing platforms.
The future scope of chatbots
As AI bots get smarter, they can train themselves in the best approach, helping further automate the marketing effort. And much of what is learned can be repeated, with further efforts based on chatbot marketing templates to deliver consistent engagement through Q&As, contests, product teasers, or focused on your specific vertical, say health or transport to save time creating the basic building blocks.
A rise in conversational marketing can extend to the whole business concept. Take the likes of Plum, the AI banking assistant that aims to save customers money. Setting up and operating using digital conversations on Facebook Messenger or via the bank’s app provides a sleek and expressive user experience, with the conversation helping drive decisions and answering customer questions, all in the one format.
There are plenty of rivals to Plum using the same methods and health bots like Babylon are being rolled out across whole regional health services to rationalise complex business and service processes, all of which will help reduce friction to bot-based marketing efforts as brands and public-facing efforts become more common.
Soon, bots like Samsung’s Neons will exist with digital avatars looking like and talking just like people. On big screens and smartphones they and similar creations will represent the future of bots, acting as always-on companions linking to a range of services and providing people with what they need and like.
Smart marketers will be able to take advantage of these, but must tread carefully to avoid their links being cut off by users or banned by platform owners who don’t want pushy promoters ruining the experience for users and other businesses.
Pros and cons of chatbots for marketing
Effective chatbots are a win in any department of a business, from the front office to customer services. Marketing needs to consider its own pros and cons, with the leading benefits being the scope of the audience and the way to talk to them in a new way.
The primary risk of automation using bots is delivering the wrong answer to a potentially vast audience. Or, having the bot compromised, as with any other digital service. Every marketing department needs to be aware of the privacy and security implications of bots, with extensive IT support to help make the right platform, data and other decisions.
As with any chatbot, testing and checks need to be in place to ensure the right messages reach the right audiences.AI training may be essential for the bot to learn how to respond to the huge number of possible questions it might be asked.
Chatbot trends for 2020
Chatbots are fast moving away from the screen and keyboard, appearing on Google Home and other smart devices. Wider trends for business AI in 2020 and beyond will see bots appearing in stores, kiosks and other public places creating new opportunities for engagement via voice or text, whatever makes more sense in the context of the environment.
Bots are also rapidly stretching their multilingual capabilities, allowing a business to market itself around the world with the chance to interact with a global audience. Care must be taken to fine tune messaging to appeal to local norms, or not to offend anyone, but the chance for a growing brand to reach the world in such a cost-effective manner is a massive first powered by AI and chatbots.
Most importantly, bots are becoming more organic and smarter, but brands should ensure bots remain honest and stories told have that human touch to bring bot and consumer closer together. Bots are not the place for click-bait or thoughtless throwaway lines.
Bots are also more persistent, remembering previous conversations and linking to recent activity, so the conversation can pick up where it left off or understand that a customer has got their order and might need some help setting something up.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do Chatbots increase sales?
Yes, research and feedback say chatbots have increased sales by 67% on average, demonstrating how fast consumer are getting used to bots for marketing and sales.
How do I promote my chatbot?
The bot can be promoted through the usual marketing emails but also needs to be promoted on social media and made highly visible on websites, replacing other services to drive customers to it.
What companies are using Chatbots?
As seen across this article, big-name brands, startups and B2B firms are all using chatbots, with plenty more working on their bots now. Fast food brands love bots to speed up and automate deliveries while brands selling complex products can let the bots do the explaining and small print.
How much does a chatbot cost?
Chatbots can be developed for free using a range of easy-to-design services that often charge a little more for support and professional services. The major bots have been through extensive custom development and training with costly data sets, but any company can start a bot quickly and expand it as their needs grow.
Chatbots have proved their worth across many aspects of the business, and marketers are starting to find how they can make bots really sing (possibly literally given the rise in technology and AI power). The key to success is to understand the technology of bots, how consumers are reacting to them, and correctly predicting where your bot can meet their needs. As people get more used to digital avatars in their lives, these bots can play a bigger part and help build bridges between your brand and their daily experiences.