How to include chatbots in your digital marketing strategy
What is a marketing bot?
A marketing bot, in a nutshell, is similar to an automation software: a software or tool that is designed to perform certain marketing tasks automatically, without any (or at least, with a minimal) human supervision.
The name, or term ‘bots’, admittedly have gained a bad rep in the eyes of marketers. Bots are often associated with the black-hat tactic of bringing fake visitors to a site, fake followers on social media, or fake views and clicks on search ads, among other similar tactics.
However, the term “marketing bot” has evolved, and especially with the rising popularity of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and automation, marketing bots today are much more sophisticated, and more marketers nowadays are looking for ways to integrate more bots to achieve better marketing results and exponentially grow the business.
These advanced marketing bots, however, and the AI field in general, are still evolving at a rapid pace. So, a lot of possibilities are still being explored, and it’s very possible that we might see totally new implementations of marketing bots in the very near future.
Top ways to integrate marketing bots in 2020
1. Research and analytics
Marketing research—for any marketing channel—is often the most time-consuming and repetitive process, and so by automating at least some of the processes, marketers can allocate their time and resources on more productive tasks.
There are now various marketing bots designed to assist research and analytics purposes, some are very basic and can only perform one or two simple tasks within a specific app (i.e. track server data on X app, track time and activities performed on Y app, etc.). However, there are also really advanced bots that can automate various tasks in real-time.
If you find that marketing analytics and research are huge parts of your daily activities, then using these analytics bots can help take on some of these responsibilities so that you can direct your time towards more important tasks.
It is, however, very important to understand that implementing marketing bots for analysis and research isn’t always the best option. There are certainly cases when having a bot dedicated to research can be overkill, for example when the research process is actually very simple.
On the other hand, there are also cases where bots might not be able to perform the analysis as well as a human could. In this case, assigning a human employee or doing it yourself might be a better approach.
2. Communicate and engage with your audience
Another popular application of marketing bots is to connect and engage with your customers via a marketing bot implementation we know as “chatbots”. Implementing chatbots can take massive amounts of repetitive work off your team’s hands.
Chatbots in digital marketing have various benefits: it’s impossible for human customer service agents to handle five, or even two different customers at one time. Also, a human employee obviously can’t work 24/7. A chatbot can do both (and more), and so they can effectively replace more than one human employee. In the cases of advanced chatbots, they can even replace ten employees.
Communicating, engaging, and helping your customers and prospects should be your business’s highest priorities. This is why implementing a chatbot would be a very valuable investment for your business’s future. They can take conversational marketing to the next level!
Also, the technologies behind chatbots are advancing rapidly and are getting better and better at emulating humans, including the ability to respond smartly according to the customer’s/prospect’s questions and answers.
Since chatbots are now very popular, many players are entering the industry and there are now so many chatbot brands available. As a result of this phenomenon, however, chatbots are getting more affordable than ever. There’s never been a better time to invest in a chatbot if you haven’t already.
3. Organize your teamwork and collaboration
We shouldn’t forget that the marketing team is an important aspect of any marketing strategy.
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.
4. Lead scoring
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 favorite 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 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.
5. Personalization and automation in various marketing campaigns
In this saturated world of social media, it’s getting harder to get our message heard amidst all the noise.
This is why personalizations across all of our marketing campaigns from personalized emails to personalized ads to personalized live chat are very important. In fact, the latest statistics have shown that most customers prefer personalization across the board.
Obviously, however, sending personalized marketing messages to individual customers can be a very time-consuming and difficult task. This is where marketing bots can step in, sending the right message to the right people at the right time via automation.
There are various ways we can implement marketing bots to enhance user experience. For example, some bots can be used to collect data from individual users (by asking a series of questions in a survey/quiz) then provide a personalized experience according to this data.
The level of personalization in the experience, however, will ultimately depend on how much data we can collect from the prospect/customer.
6. Automate sales process
A relatively new but useful way to implement marketing bots is to automate some (or even all) of the sales processes, especially on eCommerce websites.
You can create and implement a marketing bot that can sell your product on its own: from interacting and helping the prospects to find the right product(s) according to their preferences, to enabling the customer to make a payment checkout without even leaving the bot interface, these marketing bots have a lot of applications.
The marketing bot here, again, acts like a chatbot and asks questions that are related to the customer’s needs; age, gender, budget, style preferences, and so on. We can also feed the bot with the available data, for example by integrating the bot with a loyalty program, so it can provide more accurate and useful recommendations.
The main idea here is to streamline the sales process and eliminate possible obstacles, encouraging the prospects to convert into paying customers.
It’s amazing how technology has advanced and helped the whole digital marketing field to evolve.
The advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning have enabled the implementation of marketing bots to automate various tasks of the marketing process. However, contrary to popular belief, these bots don’t force the marketing process to be impersonal and less human. In fact, it’s quite the opposite as marketing bots have allowed better personalization and automation to significantly improve user experience.
These 6 implementations aren’t the only ones, and with the rapid advancements in technology, we can certainly expect more to come in the very near future. However, they can provide a solid foundation and inspire you with regard to implementing marketing bots according to your needs and organizational objectives.
About the author
Mike Khorev is an SEO expert and digital marketing consultant who helps small and mid-size businesses generate more leads, sales and grow revenue online. He offers expert advice on marketing your company the right way through performance-based SEO digital marketing, web design, social media, search engine marketing and many other online practices. Find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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