Chatbot Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business
Chatbot Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business
In many areas of life, your customers or prospects are already using chatbots in a growing number of capacities. This makes them a better candidate to act as the voice of your brand or company, and can help automate many of the processes that suck up marketers’ valuable time.
You don’t need to be a marketing expert to see the huge rise in the use of bots during the COVID crisis, and how those applications can transfer to boost your marketing efforts. And that’s ignoring the general rise of bots, estimated to grow in market size from $2.6 billion in 2019 to $9.4 billion by 2024, a 29.7% CAGR.
As a marketer, the rise of digital efforts has paralleled the rise of chatbots, and as those bots get smarter and the public becomes more aware of them, their use in content marketing, social media and even as responders to email campaigns can all deliver metric-heavy value.
What are Chatbots And why should marketers care?
Chatbots should be a well known and understood quantity to all by now. Broadly, they are cloud-based tools that appear on the front page of a website, an app or on communication tools like Facebook Messenger to answer common questions, solve problems, provide information or engage the visitor.
They can be based on a script ranging from the simple to complex, or use AI technologies like natural language understanding and processing to learn what a user is asking for, and provide the right result. And if a bot can’t help then it should be able to direct users to a resource or someone who can, with regular checks to see the bot delivers successful outcomes.
As with any digital business effort, the better a bot is, the more positive results it provides for both the business and the user, and the more data it can provide the business, the better - especially when it comes to marketing data.
For marketing departments or teams, they can automate part of the brand or product conversation, help segment the audience, qualify and nurture leads, and deliver new forms of engagement.
Chatbot marketing strategies and examples
Marketers love to talk about the conversation they have with their target audience, but in the digital age, much of that conversation is based on data. The more data they have, the more refined the conversation becomes, but traditional marketing sees a huge lag between getting the data and changing the marketing message.
Chatbots bring an immediacy to the conversation, which can be adjusted based on various factors. Consider that most traditional of marketing tools, the email campaign. Rather than ending with “click here for more information” and linking to a website, a more refined approach can be:
“Click here if you want to buy our product now.” - leading to a chatbot that can focus on the key selling points and messages. It may improve the likelihood of a sale by asking a set of questions that raises awareness of what is driving their thought processes, perhaps refining the deal or arming a sales agent with key information.
“Click here to customise our product” - can provide a bot (or a different entry point to the same bot) offering a range of customisation options that deliver a more personalised experience, and if the user is happy with their choices can direct them straight to completing the sale.
While “Click here for more information” can still be an option, but presenting product or brand information in a chatbot-led conversation will save them having to look for the information they want and can still link to sales outcomes before the end of the conversation.
Another benefit of chatbots for marketing is people’s willingness to give their information as part of a conversation, over the traditional form that many people prefer to avoid. While the same privacy and data protection rules need to be in place, a chatbot that finds out people’s basic details, can add some colour about desires or specific needs creates a better data picture of the prospect.
Simple questions like “what product type x do you currently own?” or “what is your timeline for your next purchase?” All produce information that can help generate a better overall landscape picture, while also increase engagement and the likelihood of a successful outcome.
Many product or service-based bots already take this approach, before, during and after sales. Not only does this extend marketing’s reach along the sales funnel, the bot provides data at different levels. Look at all the food or ride ordering apps that use bots to engage at all parts of these processes.
As an order is generated they can ask “do you want extras with that?” using visual messaging to show tempting treats, reminding people of previous orders or new specials. During order delivery, they can share the progress of delivery and reduce the stress of waiting for food or a ride to arrive.
And after, they can ask for a rating for the food/ride, ask to share experiences on social media, and follow up with what people might do next, building up a better picture of the customers. Uber/Uber Eats and the many other examples are fast becoming masters of on-the-fly messaging that delivers valuable data, social sharing and more.
Much of these efforts can be performed based around chatbot marketing templates to reduce the initial effort and design time, helping produce effective chatbots that will deliver results faster with fewer revisions.
Giving Campaigns A Chatbot Marketing Voice
When it comes to conversational marketing, Facebook Messenger leads the way as a platform with hundreds of thousands of bots helping brands engage and deliver a modern user experience to over 1 billion users. There are plenty of guides to marketing with Messenger Chatbots describing how to gather information, re-engage with customers and using them to run surveys or collect other information.
With such huge numbers, there are also plenty of good examples of Messenger Chatbots that use striking visuals or tone to deliver an engaging message that can be used for inspiration for your own marketing bots, as well as for creating the best shopping bots.
Campaigns that adopt social media marketing are also more like to benefit from organic growth and sharing, while chatbots are excellent tools for engaging with the younger audience that is used to bots in many of their digital interactions. And for youth brands, the opportunity for a child to talk to a friendly bot is still a strong way to add value to a conversation. Whatever the demographic, some 79% of people are now happy to use a chatbot.
These bots can also help build brand loyalty. For a start, modern bots can remember previous conversations, purchases or outcomes, increasing their knowledge of the customer and expanding the scope of the conversation, for example:
“How did you enjoy product y?” (gaining rating insights) Or “Did you know you can get different colours, sizes or accessories for x,y,z” (helping highlight possible future purchases).
And as chatbots become smarter, the future scope for them as flexible and ubiquitous friends will play a key role in new marketing efforts. The general trend is that bots will talk to each other, linking to become one super bot that is accessed through a personal virtual assistant.
Imagine Siri or Alexa being asked, “we want tickets for a show tonight, a meal at Belaggio and an Uber home at 11PM” the virtual assistant can break that down into three requests and engage automatically a booking service bot for local theatres or cinemas, provide a reservation at the restaurant and book the taxi, all invisibly to the user, with only the choice of shows available left to resolve.
Perhaps the restaurant is full, in which case it can query other bots to find tables at similar style eateries, and if their favourite Uber or Lyft driver is on-shift at that time, the bot can book the best driver too.
In that type of environment when customers can bypass traditional websites and apps, marketers need to be feeding their messaging into these conversations. That might be by remembering previous conversations about events people might want to go to, or better ratings at different restaurants, or looking for paid placements as part of alternative plan suggestions.
Making Marketing Work With Chatbots
Many of the early chatbots, from customer service to marketing, failed because the company did not get behind them. Some felt they were experiments or novelties, and others were biased to their traditional messaging.
In 2020, that is not an option, bots are delivering success in so many areas from engagement to support and vital services that every business should be looking at bots, avatars, AI and digital concierges in some form to deliver business benefits through better messaging. Every part of the team and business should be behind their bots as an equal or primary point of interaction.
There are several ways companies can drive traffic to their chatbot, none of which are strangers to marketers. The first is to highlight which message to share conversationally, be it product, price or promotion. The later one is the most common way of raising awareness, with an offer or discount that makes people want to start the conversation.
For the business, the benefit comes both from the sale and the additional data it can capture during the conversation, which can be fed into analytics tools to help refine marketing messages and confirm success goals.
Using the bot to building an audience, establishing it as a source of interest, entertainment or authority will keep bringing people back and driving sales or actions will prove it is working. While advanced features like AI can provide translations for wide audiences and links to other services to make it a more rounded business tool.
Of course, there are pros and cons of chatbots for marketing. Even a good chatbot cannot replace the years of experience and skill of a good salesperson. But, can your best salesperson talk to 1000s of people at once, remember them all and be working 24/7?
Whatever marketing effort your bot will support, it should be planned and designed to thrive in an evolving environment that matches current and future marketing plans. Build the bot as part of the team, with an appropriate personality and the intelligence where need to impress and deliver for the customer and it should be a great asset, especially for teams with limited resources.
For an example of a chatbot in marketing register on our platform for free and start with the chatbot marketing template.
Common Chatbot Marketing Questions
Do Chatbots increase sales?
Yes, they do. Take Rose, a celebrated example of chatbot success. She works for The Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas and guests that use her services spend some 30% more in the hotel than guests who don’t.
How do I promote my chatbot?
Make the chatbot front-and-center of your digital interactions, within apps, social media, and websites, plus emails and social marketing efforts. People accept bots today and are used to them as a first port of call. As long as your bot represents the brand in a suitable manner and can deliver enough positive outcomes, it will win that acceptance.
What companies are using Chatbots?
Chatbots first gained acceptance among businesses with high volumes of customers, airlines like KLM, banks like HSBC, and most others already have bots that have years of success and development behind them.
How much does a chatbot cost?
A simple chatbot can be built in a few days for nothing. More advanced AI-powered bots might need training that requires weeks of costly training data. The more complex the bot the longer it will take to build and the more integrations with other tools it might need, that will add to the cost and may require specialist developer skills. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote.