Spending over an hour on the phone with a customer service representative because the lines are so busy can be a soul-destroying experience. I just want to ask a simple question! The solution to this universal customer problem? Chatbot marketing.
But what exactly is a chatbot?
A chatbot is a computer programme that automates a one-to-one conversation with a person.
There are different ‘levels’ of chatbot. For instance, some simply operate on ‘if-then’ statements, much like the question and answer I just displayed above. Meanwhile, others may use artificial intelligence and natural-language processing to create an extra-personalised and more compelling experience for the customer.
Companies use chatbots to improve areas like customer service, lead generation, account management, events, and e-commerce. This leaves their human representatives room to focus on the more complex issues. 64% of agents with chatbots have this luxury compared to 50% without.
However, you don’t need any special skills to build a chatbot. There are multiple tools you can use to create one for your brand, such as OnSequel, Chatfuel, or Botsify. Facebook Messenger even offers to build you your own bot.
Through our behaviour as consumers, we’re all increasingly demonstrating what we want: quick results, control over our consumption, value in the places we already spend our time and absolutely no cluttered inboxes. We’re more inclined to open a text than an email – imagine if our text inboxes had just as many ‘unreads’.
Social media ticks most of these boxes, which is why brand-consumer interactions on these platforms are already doing so well. But what if you could get this experience but with chatbot marketing, using a bot that is programmed to get you exactly the answer you need through strategically mapped out conversation branches?
The majority of customers – 69% to be exact – enjoy using chatbots for their no-fuss, instant responses. What’s more, 77% of customers say chatbots will transform their expectations of companies in the next 5 years.
Companies aren’t ignoring these statistics. In 2019, 53% of service organisations expected to start using chatbots within 18 months – a 136% growth rate from previous studies.
Think of the popularity of self-checkouts when they were introduced. If you’re only coming in the supermarket to buy a bottle of milk, you don’t want to be queueing behind someone at the conveyor belt who’s got 2 weeks’ worth of shopping laid out.
Excited about chatbot marketing but unsure where to start? Here are our top 5 tips.
Our top 5 tips for chatbot marketing
#1: Think about whether you’re ready to implement a chatbot
Don’t go and build a chatbot thinking it will solve all your business problems. For a chatbot to work, you already need a solid marketing foundation to build it on. This includes SEO, branding, partnerships, and paid media. In other words, address marketing first and sales second.
#2: Research your Frequently Asked Questions
Before you can create your chatbot’s messages you need to know what it will most likely be answering. Your customers will likely bring the questions they most frequently ask your human representatives to the bot instead, looking for instant and more clear-cut responses.
To collect these questions, delve into the resources you already have available: your customer service, social media, community, and sales and marketing teams, as well as Google search suggestions and crowdsourced communities like Reddit.
#3: The worst and best pages to place your chatbot
Worst pages to place your chatbot:
- Email campaigns
- Blog subscriptions
It’s important not to confuse sales with marketing. Having a chatbot pop up on pages you want customers to concentrate on and read may just frustrate them and put them off giving your company any more attention.
Best pages to place your chatbot:
- Free tools
- Pricing pages
- Demo signups and other sales-y pages
- Event pages
- Product pages
- Complex landing pages
These are places where, if the user has already been interested enough to visit the page, they’re likely to welcome the convenient assistance of a chatbot.
#4: Ride the line carefully between personal and functional
If we consider private messaging, this is even more historically personal of a space than social media feeds are. No wonder 31% of customers in 2019 preferred human support.
If you make your bot too personal or chatty, there’s a danger of customers feeling uncomfortable if the bot uses personal information or, in the reverse, expecting too much of the bot’s intelligence.
However, if you don’t personalise your bot at all you miss the opportunity to communicate your brand’s unique voice in a new and useful way.
#5: Track how effective your chatbot is by using links and discount codes
There’s no point in having a chatbot to bring you more customers if you can’t see if it’s actually working. If you include measurable ways to engage your customers, you’ll be able to find out how well your chatbot is doing as part of your marketing strategy.
For example, you can analyse the engagement with both codes and links. If it’s relatively high, chatbot marketing is something you should stick with.
Chatbot marketing is welcomed by a lot of consumers for not seeming as self-serving as previous marketing techniques.
However, this is where the danger lies – marketers need to take care not to push chatbot marketing too far until it becomes as ‘spammy’ or simply ingenuine as other marketing.
Follow our tips on using chatbots in 2020 to open up a whole new ‘conversation’ with your customers!
If you’re looking for more marketing advice, have a read of our other posts here…