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Hands up if you’ve heard about Chatbot marketing! We are now entering a new age of marketing. Now introducing marketing with chatbots.
A brief history of marketing
The attempts to master the art of marketing might be as old as civilization and society itself.
Marketing is simply the act of trying to sell goods and services.
The evolution of technology has made this concept more complex- combining strategy with the resources we have available to us.
Here’s a timeline of marketing and how we have evolved from trade to tech.
What is Chatbot marketing?
It’s a type of marketing that uses chatbots to promote products and services. They are also used as a way to engage with potential clients to get a sale.
The concept of chatbot marketing has actually been in the works from around 1950. When Alan Turing wrote his paper on Artificial Intelligence,Computing Machinery and Intelligence, he gave us the opportunity to explore the various use cases of chatbots. But it still felt like we were exploring un-chartered waters.
Until the birth of Joseph Weizenbaum’s E.L.I.Z.A. in 1966- that was when the interest in chatbot marketing started to peak. E.L.I.Z.A. showed us how seamless communicating with machines can be.
We are now opening up to exploring the effectiveness of chatbots for sales and marketing.
The Rise of Chatbot Marketing
According to research published by SalesForce, 52% of customers are likely to switch vendors if a company doesn’t provide them with a personalized experience with 65% of B2B stakeholders likely to do the same in terms of companies they reach out to. Melanie Sovann, Content Editor at Trust My Paper spoke on the topic of chatbots recently:
“Think about what your customer representatives, online store and social media managers do on a daily basis and combine it into one – that is the true definition and potential of applying chatbots to your business.”
Her statement paints a clear picture of the public’s perception of chatbot integration into different aspects of online customer servicing. Above all, chatbots which are coupled with content marketing patterns and strategies can bring a plethora of benefits to your business at large, including but not limited to:
Chatbots are the most effective marketing strategy in 2021
The main advantage of a chatbot is the ease of access around it. They do not need a large amount of memory, long installation, and configuration times.
The user will not need to open a browser or mobile application, go to the dialogue with the bot. A person interacts with his phone at least 50 times a day. Text messaging is the number 1 communication in the world.
Here are a few purposes you can use bots for:
The bot can perform any function: assistant, translator, guide, secretary, entertainer. FAQ - using the chatbot you can configure answers to frequently asked questions.
Generating leads/prospects is often one of the most challenging aspects of any business, but scoring and qualifying the generated leads—and the lead management process as a whole— can be a very confusing and challenging task.
As you might have guessed, there are marketing bots that can help qualify your leads. These bots work in a fashion quite similar to a chatbot: the bot can ask a set of questions to find out where a prospect is currently positioned in the buyer’s journey, which can essentially let us know how qualified they are (both for marketing and sales).
Our favourite way to do this is to use the lead qualification bot in tandem with a human salesperson. The idea is to have the bot ask preliminary questions (about their needs, their available budget, etc.) and then pass qualified prospects to a real salesperson who can then close the deal.
Various types of chatbots can also be programmed to do this, so you might not need to invest in two different bots. The main idea is to cut down the required time to ask simple but repetitive questions that are common in the process of qualifying leads.
When you go to a store, what’s the first thing that ruins your shopping experience? A worker coming up to you and insisting you need help.
When you watch a video, what’s the first thing that ruins your experience? A pop-up ad.
These are all examples of disruptive sales tactics. Such disruptions may end up ruining your experience and might make you never want to engage with the brand again.
So how is a chatbot any different?
A chatbot might gently ping you, but that doesn’t takeaway from your browsing experience. The tiny ping and chat window are just there in case you need any help.
And when you do need help, you yourself will open the window voluntarily and interact with the bot. And with the power of conversational marketing and questionnaires, you can gather information on these leads to determine whether they’re a quality lead or not.
Chatbots can offer your clients a personalised experience. From offering special discounts, to special messages, a chatbot can do it all.
Take Marvel for example.
How Marvel uses chatbots to nurture their fanbase
To promote the launch of the “Secret Empire,” Marvel created a chatbot for their most beloved character, Spiderman. The chatbot messages fans and asks for their help in a choose-your-own-adventure format. It also engages fans in quizzes, and other fun puzzles allowing fans to go from watching the story, to becoming fully immersed into the storyline.
“Marvel will always be on the forefront of exciting new ways for fans to experience the Marvel Universe.”
- Julie Gerola, VP/GM Marketing & Digital Operations (Source)
Fans get the chance to interact with their heroes on Facebook Messenger and Twitter.
This is one of the most common and demanded actions performed by website chatbots, which has a lot of advantages. When visitors come to the site, they need answers about products or services. If there are no answers, then visitors leave forever. Helping potential customers is a priority, but it can be difficult if you have a small customer support team.
This is where bots can be needed and saved. Set up the bot to simulate live chat and talk with customers. It may come as a surprise that customers like to chat.
Econsultancy found that 57% of users prefer chatting. In a survey conducted by Ubisend, half of the respondents preferred chatting over emails or phone calls. The bots give you a super-easy way to create a chat environment without the need for a dedicated sales team.
In the age of millennials, the ideal form of reaching out to a mass audience would be to do so virtually. And because chatbots are predominantly found on social media messaging platforms and websites, they're able to reach a virtually limitless audience. They can reach a new customer base for your brand, and they can be integrated across multiple messaging platforms, thus making you more easily accessible to help your customers. This, in turn, opens new opportunities for you to increase sales.
Chatbots are unique because they don't just engage with your customers, but they also keep them hooked post-interactions. This means a chatbot can retain your customers for longer than any other form of marketing. Your chatbot can read your user's interests and send your customers relevant notifications even after the interaction. Your chatbot learns from interactions and sends your customers relevant information regarding your brand, products, and services. Essentially, it's able to up-sell and cross-sell in a personalized, conversational, and engaging way.
Now you do not need to make lists of separate mailings for different user groups. Understandable and straightforward teams will be able to provide users with answers to the most common questions. Also, the bot can inform about promotions and discounts intended for a specific audience.
A bot can bring together people who are looking for an interlocutor based on a commonality or closeness of interests.
It’s almost an analog of communication with a manager: you have dialogue branches, you can direct the user to the desired scenario. Inside the bot, this is easier to do than on the site, because you do not need to build a visual process. Another of the advantages of a button bot is that it works automatically, without a person on the other side.
When we say "marketing strategy," we often think about things like Search Engine Optimization, Facebook Ads (Check out this article to learn more about Facebook Ads), and blog posts. Team performance does not usually come to mind, but it is one of the essential parts of every marketing strategy (unless you are a single entrepreneur).
There are always inevitable frictions in a team. If everyone is on the same wavelength, this will reduce the amount of resistance and help coordinate work. Bots like Standup Bot and Nikabot make the team more cohesive, especially if you have remote workers among you. These marketing bots help keep track of what people on your team are doing and keep everyone informed.
If the team can’t perform properly, we can’t execute proper marketing campaigns and our overall marketing strategy will fail. Nowadays, a fast-paced and rapidly evolving workplace is the norm, and while it can be a very good thing, it can also create a lot of friction within & between teams.
However, there are marketing bots that can help create a workplace environment better suited for collaboration and teamwork. Some chatbots can help track what every member of your team is currently doing (by integrating with Slack), and can keep everyone informed of what everyone else on the team is doing.
These bots are especially useful if you’re outsourcing some of the marketing tasks to freelancers and/or if you’re a part of a remote marketing team.
There are also a variety of bots that you can utilize to make your team better and to help in producing great communication within a team and between different teams.
That's where they show themselves in all their glory. AI Chatbots are most popular on messaging platforms. And that makes a lot of sense. After all, most bots are designed to communicate with your customers for e.g. Slack bot and Facebook Messenger bot. Bots are great for backstage company use. Facebook Messenger chatbots are best for potential customers.
You probably already realized that the customer support chatbot can find out information about your customers. At the same time, your users will never feel that they are taking a lengthy survey or “swallowing” useless information. Everything is built like a normal conversation.
About half of the consumers surveyed (in several surveys) prefer messaging to other forms of communication. Therefore, it is quite natural that customers will be ready to talk with the bot for some time.
Some customers may be willing to talk to bots about sensitive information. For many, the chatbot provides a safe space or comfort zone.
Your chatbot can effectively gather feedback from your customers. You can build a feedback form into your conversational flow and ask the users to write in their experience with your brand in your chatbot. This will not only help you track efficiency, but also help you improvise on things that you feel your brand must be lacking behind in. A customer service chatbot softens the approach to gathering feedback by naturally introducing questions in their conversations.
After you analyze feedbacks, you can remodel your marketing strategy to become more focused on your customer's needs, thus creating more of an inbound marketing approach.
While it's no shocker that chatbots can deliver information and quality solutions to customers, they're also able to make their interactions fun. Give your chatbot a personality and your conversations a touch of humour. This engages the customers a lot more, makes the conversation interactive, and can also increase the number of visitors, leaving a lasting impression in their minds.
Lead nurturing is an essential part of every company's marketing strategy; and unfortunately, it's also extremely tricky and time-consuming. Chatbots can attract leads by engaging them in interactive conversations. They allow you to gather the information you need to then create personalised messages that can help guide your users through their consumer journey. With this, you'll be able to tailor your marketing efforts to each lead that visits your website or social media profiles.
Oftentimes, brands have a passive approach to customer interactions. They only communicate with their audience once a consumer has contacted them first. A chatbot in this aspect, sends a welcome notification when a person arrives on your website. This makes you initiate conversations with your customers and makes you seem more proactive, thus enhancing your brand's reputation. An increase in customer-brand interactions can have a positive effect on your sales numbers too.
Consumers don't want to be bombarded with emails, text messages, and other notifications every time something happens regarding your business, products, or services. Because chatbots are able to capture and analyze data, they're also able to send personalized notifications through social media that are relevant to each and every user.
Are chatbots the future of digital marketing?
Although the technology is not perfected, bots now have the ability to hold sensible conversations with their users. So not too far into the future, you might call a customer service line and be told to “Please hold while we connect you with a bot representative”.
An intelligent chatbot (also sometimes referred to as a talkbot or chatterbox) is a computer program which conducts a conversation with either auditory or textual methods, typically used for customer service or information acquisition purposes.
In its simplest form, a bot will scan for keywords within the input and then find a reply with the most similar wording pattern and best matching keywords from a database. Some of today’s examples would be Amazon’s “Alexa” and Microsoft’s “Cortana”.
The more complex bots of today will use sophisticated Natural Language Processing (NLP) systems, which come from a field of computer science and artificial intelligence that deals with interactions between computers and human languages. They create software programs to process large amounts of natural language information by using natural language understanding and generation.
Twitter has already begun fiddling with the idea, offering the service to Twitter users through Twitter ads.
– Microsoft unveiled chatbots for Skype last year, and more recently added support for chatbots to LinkedIn.
– Google has created an analytics platform called Chatbase that provides analytics and suggestions for how to improve chatbot experiences and make them better for users.
In addition, businesses such as hotels and restaurants that have been somewhat reluctant to adopt these kind of apps are beginning to readily embrace these bots. It’s still too soon to say whether consumers will actually embrace the idea of chat bots for what they are right now, but we can safely assume that when it comes to the bot marketplace there will be a lot of movement and improvement in the future.
Should I Incorporate Chatbot into my marketing strategy?
Chatbots are available to interact with leads 24x7
With an up-time of 99.9%, chatbots are there to interact with your clients and prospects so you and your clients can focus on the next part of the sales journey.
No matter what business you’re in, you can adjust and adapt your chatbot easily. In fact, we’ve seen chatbots being used for insurance! Check it out here:
Chatbots are an inexpensive alternative to hiring more talent
Let’s face it- hiring talent is expensive and cumbersome. First, you have to an extensive screening process, then you have to interview them. And then when they’re hired, you have to train them. It all adds up!
So just save your money and your time and use a Recruitment chatbot. They’re easy to train and are easy on your chequebook.
As your business grows, your chatbot grows with it.
Chatbots can interact with your clients from all over the world.
Here are 7 tips to ensure delivery of a nearly-human chatbot marketing experience
What you should know about live chat in marketing
Personalized conversational marketing through the use of chatbots and live chat functionalities are all the rage now and for good reason. In today's digital world, customer expectations are at an all-time high, and human attention spans are dwindling. Brands and marketers need to be ahead of the curve or they will lose out.
Sales teams and B2B marketing executives are harnessing the power of chatbots and live chat services to convert new visitors and meet the expectations of their existing customers. With live chat and chatbots, all customers enjoy improved personalized conversations, gratifying experiences, and real-time solutions to the concerns of their customers.
When wearing your business outfit, remember that your first impression is the last impression your customers have about your brand. Most customers will not visit your website or even think twice about your brand after one unpleasant experience.
The use of live chat and chatbots give brands access to customers at a very important phase in the marketing and sales cycle. A time when customers are about to decide whether to buy your products or not. Engaging them at this stage will be a game-changer for your business.
Let's take a look at the difference between live chat and chatbot features for your business marketing and sales efforts.
Why your business needs to invest in messaging tools
When live chat or chatbot functions are available, they cut down the wait time of your visitors to a minimum. Through one-on-one conversation with an agent or representative, your visitors can get immediate, real-time answers to their questions.
When compared with other traditional communication models such as phone, or email- live chat and chatbots rank higher. They are preferred by over 50% of consumers. However, if you only provide live chat services during business hours, you'll need to let your customers know when they can access live chat services. Most consumers favor 24 hours availability for live chat services. So employing the use of chatbots is a great way to guarantee 24 hours availability for your customers without human intervention.
Good customer service and experience
Every brand must strive to deliver exceptional customer support services. They must establish clear communication lines between the organization and its customers. This is where live chat and chatbots come in handy.
Although chatbots are still a bit limited in providing the human element in conversations, the development of chatbots using artificial intelligence has recorded remarkable improvements in the capabilities of chatbots to resolve complaints.
Yet, just as most agencies look for professional writers on the Online Writers Rating website, most customers favor one-on-one conversations. Conversations with real human beings who are capable of assessing the mood of the users. As well as showing empathy, and meeting the unique needs of customers.
As a marketer and entrepreneur, you'll want a communication system that is both affordable and offers a good ROI. Live chat and chatbots fit into these profiles. Live chat services can generate leads for your business, and earn you the trust of regular customers. They keep your customers happy in a cost-effective way.
Additionally, call centers or phone-based conversation channels have become very expensive for most companies. And they are not even getting the desired result in terms of customer satisfaction. Research conducted by IBM revealed that organizations spend as much as 1 trillion dollars every year on 256 billion calls. Most business outfits today are moving away from costly call centers and embracing chatbots and live chat marketing tools.
Improved response time
Chatbots respond instantly, and this may keep visitors on your site. Especially while the chatbot tries to escalate some difficult questions to a human representative. Autodesk Virtual Agent (AVA) is an example of a HYBRID chatbot powered by Artificial Intelligence. This chatbot was able to achieve up to 99% improvement in customer response time. AVA was able to resolve as many as 1 million requests annually without human intervention.
Explore the future of marketing
Chatbot marketing is unexplored terrain, but it’s one of those fields of marketing that’s low-risk, high result. And with the world moving towards digital, you need to have the tools to support that.
Want to get a head start in chatbot marketing? Here’s your chance! Explore Engati’s white label offerings today.