Chatbot marketing otherwise known as conversational marketing is one of the best ways to connect with future and present customers.
The reason for this is because it is a very engaging and interactive way to contact a business.
That is also the reason why the conversions are higher since the customer will be able to contact the business day and night.
In this article, I want to explain what Chatbots are and how it can help you drive more sales by implementing this in your marketing plans
What is a chatbot?
A chatbot allows you to have 1 on 1 conversation with people that contact your business through multiple channels fully automated. This is great for several reasons.
You can automate conversations on multiple channels like:
- Facebook Messenger
Above are just a few examples but the important part is that the (potential) customer will be able to chat with your business through an app they most likely already use which reduces friction.
Even better they can chat when it is most convenient for them as the chatbot will be able to automate most of the process. Over 90% can easily be automated.
Imagine the time and money this can save you.
Let me share such a conversation with you
Above you see a conversation. Inside a chatbot platform this is called a flow.
Each block has a different meaning. You can have regular text blocks that the user will see as the conversation. But other blocks present can be condition blocks to check certain replies or status of the user or action blocks to run a certain background task while the conversation is taking place.
How can chatbots help you to increase sales?
Chatbot marketing has proven to be one of the best ways for companies to connect with their customers in an interactive way. Besides this it also allows you to build a relationship with each customer on almost full auto-pilot which saves you a ton of time replying manually.
The more a customer feels your business is approachable whenever he or she is able to do so, the more likely they will reach out to you.
The chatbot itself helps you with automating your funnels. From lead magnet opt-in all the way up to email marketing campaign follow-ups.
It is all present inside most of the bigger chatbot platforms like ManyChat
Let me share a few examples to give you an idea
A chatbot can deliver lead magnets to prospects and turn them into your new leads in a fully automated way. Think of free e-books, free workshops, or webinars people can sign up for.
You can ask for a user's email and or phone number to start building up your list. Once they sign up for your service you can use a chatbot to follow up with them via email or SMS.
This is called automation and helps you create an auto-pilot sales funnel inside your marketing strategy.
A perfect way of getting customers back into your store or restaurant.
Each year you can send out a campaign that allows users to get a discount or something for free by coming into the store to celebrate their birthday. A chatbot can deliver those birthday offers, create a fun experience for the customer and they will keep coming back every year.
This will give the business a recurring revenue each year and at the same time showing real commitment towards the customer which increases the relationship between the two.
What more can Chatbots help you with?
Chatbots are able to help you with a lot of sections in your business. Let's explore a few options where a chatbot will be of the most value.
Your customers are able to get in touch with you via the Internet, email or phone calls. With a chatbot, you can automate that customer support.
This will allow your customers to get the information that they need during any time and day in the week, and save you time and money in the process.
A chatbot can be used to make marketing more efficient.
This is especially true when you are using a chatbot for your online marketing. You will be able to send customers the information that they need via the Internet, which means that you will not have to contact them.
When you are using a chatbot to advertise your business, it will also be able to increase customer loyalty. This is because the customers will get what they want without having to make any effort on their part.
Meeting and conferences
A chatbot can be used to make meetings more efficient.
It will be able to organize the meeting or conference that you have in mind, and then send all of the attendees their agendas and schedules for your meeting.
This will allow everyone involved in the meeting to have everything that they need at their fingertips.
A chatbot can be used to make education more efficient.
It will help people learn new things by answering their questions and showing them how to do something. When the person is done learning, the chatbot will send them their results.
This is an effective way to teach people new things without having to actually go through the steps yourself.
There are a lot more examples that can be given of course but the above should give you a general idea of how you could use a chatbot on those fronts and automate parts of your business.
How do I build my own chatbot?
If you want to build your own chatbot, there are a few things that you will need.
First of all, you will need to decide what kind of platform and system you want to use for building your chatbot.
You can do this by looking at the different platforms that are available and seeing which one you think would be best for your situation.
What Chatbot platform should I choose?
To be able to choose a chatbot platform you will need to take a look at a few things.
The first will be which channels do you need to build the chatbots on.
This will depend on where your audience lives. One of the most favorite platforms is Facebook. But other popular platforms might be Instagram, WhatsApp, Telegram, Slack, and so forth.
The next step would be to look at your customer journey. How would it look like and what do you need to convert them from being a prospect to a customer?
This will help you figure out what is the best chatbot platform for your business. So don't only look through the eyes of a business owner but keep the customer journey in mind right away to avoid you needing to switch between platforms midway because certain features or integrations are lacking.
After this, you will need to look at the platform's UI/UX. Does it allow you to create chatbots with ease. I do like a bit of technical coding at times myself but in general, the creation of the chatbot itself needs to be a smooth experience.
Does the platform allow you to do so?
If not then find a platform that has similar features and channels and try them out instead. See if that works better for your use case. Never commit to just 1 platform right away as this will prevent you to see the many various platforms out there which are equally as good and with even a better user experience.
What Chatbot Platforms can you Recommend?
There are several good chatbot platforms you can use to build out your or your client's chatbots on.
Again it all depends on your needs but let me highlight a few platforms to give you an idea.
might be a new kid on the block when it comes to chatbot platforms as it launched just two weeks ago at the moment of me writing this article, it has more features and channels than any other platform out there.
The channels they currently provide are:
- Facebook (Messenger) (Need to connect your Facebook page)
As you can see those are quite a few channels to start off with. And they planned for at least 3 more to come within the coming year.
Integration wise they have a lot of options to choose from as well:
- Google Sheet
- Built-in Datastore
- Email channels: SMTP, Gmail, and Sendgrid
- AU Property Report
So out of the box a lot of options to choose from combined with the above channels it will make for a solid foundation. You can also build your own app which you or your developer can create to provide custom-made solutions and integrations which makes for a very smooth user experience. Also another great feature is they have a native ecommerce module built in which allows you to set up any kind of webshop or restaurant you like.
Similar to UChat but with a few other features and channels, Chatrace
is a solid platform to build chatbots on as well. UI/UX is a bit more basic but still very good to build out your chatbots on.
These are the channels they provide:
- Facebook (Messenger) (Need to connect your Facebook page)
So a good amount of channels to work with as well. Very popular channels but that might be subjective due to where your audience is based. China for example does not have Facebook so that channel will not be of much good over there. The same goes with other platforms providing that of course.
Integration wise this platform outmatches all other platforms at the moment so let's take a look:
- Facebook Ads
- Google Sheets
- Google speech to text
Sidenote to mention is that a lot of these integrations only have basic functionality like adding subscribers to a list on the third party platform. So no deep integration to start automations. Just like UChat this platform has a native ecommerce module.
is probably the most well known of the bunch as it also currently is called the #1 chatbot platform. But if you take a look at the channels and features provided you will see that this position is outdated.
So let's take a look at the channels they provide for their customer base:
- Facebook (Messenger) (Need to connect your Facebook page)
That pretty much covers it. As you can see far less channels involved as opposed to the other two platforms mentioned. It is a real shame since the user base has been requesting more channels for over 3 years now.
Then come the integrations:
- Google Sheets
As you will notice not much to go on here. Instead of improving their platform they implement a developer marketplace where external developers can build custom integrations. It is a bit of a cheap move to do in my opinion but still they have not made any significant changes for over 2 years, which is a real shame.
All of the above platforms are solid platforms though that can be used for lead generation, customer service which you can add directly to your digital marketing campaigns with ease.
The ability to be able of messaging your customer in an automated way is just fantastic.
Should you hire a bot builder or do it yourself?
There are many ways to create a chatbot. You can use an off-the-shelf solution or you can let someone else build your own solution.
If you have created a bot before, I would suggest building it yourself as it will be more cost-effective and the quality of the service is unmatched. However, if you are new to building bots and do not want to spend or have the time in learning this new skill set yourself then you are better off outsourcing it to someone else.
What is the best chatbot marketing strategy?
As a marketer, you get pulled in many different directions when it comes to new strategies. But spending time learning a solid chatbot marketing strategy will definitely help you.
So what is a good strategy?
One of the first things you need to realize is that chatbots are meant as an engaging interaction between the business and its (potential) customer.
So using your chatbot on social media channels is one of the things you will want to incorporate.
Another thing you would want to implement is adding AI (artificial intelligence) to your chatbot. This will help you make your chatbot much smarter and really understanding the queries that your customers ask. It will be able to read and understand that, then take that context and formulate an answer that really makes sense.
Other chatbot strategies you can consider is to make your chatbot omnichannel, meaning it can interact on multiple channels back and forth. This will make it easier for your customers to reach you instead of just sending a boring email and wait for a reply.
A chatbot is all about customer engagement and personalization. One of the best channels to use is Messenger chatbots because these can fetch the user details from a person's Facebook profile. Think of the first name variable that lets you personalize the messages you sent out just like when you would talk to a customer.
There is no wrong or right way of building chatbots. Each one is different but the main aspect you need to keep in mind it needs to solve business pain points or issues. Whether that is automating the customer service or doing lead generation from a blog post for example it does not really matter.
As long as you solve those issues then you are set!
What are best practices when it comes to building chatbots?
The answer to this question is very straightforward. If you want your chatbot to succeed then it needs to be human-like and natural.
How do you go about achieving that? Well, there are three things that come into play when it comes to building a good chatbot.
It has to be easy to use It needs to understand the context of the conversation that is taking place It should be able to respond in a way that is natural and human-like. The customer needs to have the feeling that it is listened to and have a genuine conversation. Not just promote your products or services.
Also, you need to prevent spamming your customers with messages. This main reason has caused Facebook to implement countless restrictions to the creation of chatbots now.
So be sure you have your funnels in order to not overload your customers with messages. Plan your content by implementing good solid content marketing.
You can do this by scheduling posts on your social media or blog posts, retarget the customer with advertisements or follow them up by email if they do not respond inside of Messenger. The customer experience needs to be top-notch in order to make conversions.
An interactive bot can definitely help you in this regard. So be sure to add NLP to your chatbots. You can do this with platforms such as Dialogflow
It takes time to become a very good and reliable chatbot builder. It can be time-consuming to learn this new skill but if you do it is definitely worth it.
The mentioned chatbot platforms do allow you to build without writing a single line of code. Even better you can install a template that will allow you to get up and running within minutes instead of creating everything yourself. Even advanced bots can be up and running in no time and allow you to have a very solid social media marketing structure going very fast.
A Chatbot is such an amazing tool!
For whom should you build chatbots?
There is no limit to this. You can build it for small businesses and large corporations. You can even build a chatbot for your social media profiles if you want to grow your followers. You can do this with platforms such as Wit.ai or Dialogflow.
You can build it for your followers, the shoppers who visit your webshop, or any potential customers by having a simple QR code they can scan which will direct them to the chatbot for the first time and receive a nice coupon after giving their email address. Then you can follow up with them and send a monthly newsletter for example.
Just be aware that even though a chatbot can automate a lot of the business processes it does not replace a real person ever. These will always be needed when a conversation between a chatbot and a customer has reached its limit and a more personal touch is needed to close a deal.
Is Chatbot marketing better than email?
Short and personal answer...... yes and no!
You use a chatbot differently than you would an email. At least I would advise doing so.
A chatbot should be used for shorter interactive and engaging messages. An email is more meant for a bit longer content which would take several messages inside the chatbot. Not ideal for inside the chatbot, but perfect to send by email!
You need to see Chatbot marketing more as an omnichannel approach. So reaching the same user over multiple channels, including email and SMS. That way you will have the best reach and you can do it all within 1 platform.
So although chatbots are more in a conversational manner, that does not exclude the use of email for longer content or as a follow-up to get a customer back inside the chatbot itself and re-engage in a conversation.
What is the key mistake to avoid in chatbot marketing?
The most important mistake you want to avoid is spamming your chatbot subscriber. This will result in that person blocking your chatbot. Once they do this your Page block percentage will go up. Once it crosses the 3% you get the risk that Facebook will ban you from sending any more messages.
Imagine losing access to all your leads. The amount of time you put in to attain those leads and not being able to convert them into customers.
It's a huge waste of time and money.
So be sure to have a solid plan in place for your chatbot marketing campaign. You want to ensure that you get the most out of your messaging strategy, especially when it comes to testing new messages on different channels.
Why is Chatbot Considered as the Future of Marketing?
Chatbots have a different way of interacting with your (potential) customer. It allows you to have a genuine 1 on 1 conversation with each person but on almost complete autopilot.
Also, a chatbot can automate many business tasks for you. You can set up an automated chatbot to handle the support ticketing system, create automated e-mail follow-ups or even automate your marketing campaigns.
As a result, chatbots can save you hours of work and even help your business grow while wasting money on maintaining countless platforms for all your marketing efforts.
However, not all chatbots are created equal. There are many factors that go into building a successful chatbot including creating your user experience, knowing how to use natural language processing, and understanding the best ways to integrate with existing systems.
Chatbots are an important part of your marketing strategy. They can help you to save time and money while providing the customer with a more personalized experience.
The best way to use chatbots is to test them on different channels, especially Facebook Messenger. Use the right messaging format for each channel and consider adding a chatbot to your existing marketing strategy.
Chatbots are here to stay and they will only get better over time. If you are not yet using them, it is high time to start!
If you need any help you can always reach out to me on Messenger
Now if you like to learn how to build a chatbot I got just the article for you right here