Have you ever been stuck in the “follow up” phone tag black hole?
Or the sporadic, one-off FAQ emails from prospects that are impossible to pin down?
It’s the inconvenient sales time we live in these days, but thankfully, technology continues to progress and create convenient communication that will benefit your business.
Marketing chatbots might sound like the deep space of science fiction, but ignore them at your peril. Most people now have a smartphone in their hands, and with studies suggesting they're only really using about 3-5 apps regularly. Most of these are messaging apps, so launching yet another single function app might not be the answer. Enter chatbots - a marketing tool that can reach the messaging apps that the majority of people already use. See how marketing chatbots could help you reach where people really are.
What is a Marketing Chatbot?
Disappointingly, it's not humanoid in form nor a scene from iRobot. It's simply an advanced computer program that automates chatting with your customer. It does this by being programmed to answer a series of if/then statements to help you guide your customer to what they want. For example, rather than having to browse endless pages of products, the marketing chatbot can ask the customer a series of questions and guide them to exactly what they're looking for (think about how much faster you’d find that pinch of Caraway Seed at the grocery store!). More advanced chatbots use Artificial Intelligence to personalize responses to the customer. Most people can't tell whether they are dealing with a human or not and it’s likely you’ve already interacted with a few without knowing. Crucially, some are able to ascertain when they have reached their limit and need to get a human involved.
Here’s why you would use a Chatbot:
24/7 Customer Service
One key advantage is that they don’t clock out, take PTO, or show up late. Ever. 24/7/364. With customer internet and shopping habits changing one great advantage is that they are always ready to chat.
Being always available could help to grow your conversion rate. Think about all of the potential customers you can reach outside of your typical business hours...
Scale your support team without increasing headcount
All human employees are limited in their time and can only give their attention to one client. With chatbots, they can chat with multiple users, even over multiple platforms simultaneously.
The only real downside… for now
Not a Human
The obvious disadvantage is the biggest - it's still not a human and can't give the same nuanced interaction that a human customer service agent can. However, this has to be evaluated against the greater efficiency they display in certain tasks.
How They Can Innovate Your Marketing
Engage With Chat Apps
The key way to help them innovate your marketing is to have users engage with them over the messaging platforms they actually use. As noted at the outset, most people are restricted in the number of apps they actually use. They need to be reached through them for your marketing to be truly effective. The biggest chat app by far is Facebook Messenger (some Billion daily active users). Several chatbots are already making inroads into this lucrative market.
If you need some creative inspiration as to how you can start using chatbots on Facebook, you’ll want to check out these brands! Whether you’re brushing up on a foreign language with Duolingo, choosing your own adventure with Spiderman, getting a little help from Whole Foods with a recipe, or you just need a shopping buddy at American Eagle, the options are endless!
Just start! But don’t forget to have some fun with it…
Personalize the User Experience
As the chatbot takes the time to interact with the customer, presenting them with a series of choices, it can become more in tune with the customer. This can lead to the customer getting what they actually want and makes the customer feel they've had an experience that was tailored to them.
There are a number of Chatbot building platforms out there. If you're looking for a user-friendly place to start testing out how these chatbots work consider using Chatfuel or MobileMonkey. We've used these platforms to develop a few in order to further understand the process flow and capabilities. Consider it your free “test-lab” where you can get your hands dirty!
Advanced marketing chatbots will definitely have a key role in the future and you don't want to get left behind. Explore how you can interact with popular chatting apps to maximize your exposure to the tools people are actually using.
Marketing Chatbots are just a piece to the giant marketing puzzle. Click here to see how we can help you develop your inbound marketing strategy.