How to leverage chatbots to reach your marketing goals
Marketers are always looking for innovative automation tools that can push them towards their goals. Implementing a chatbot on websites and across social media channels is an efficient way to provide constant support, drive conversions and lower churn. A Salesforce study shows that 53% of service organizations expect to use chatbots within 18 months, a growth rate of 136%. - 56% of businesses claim chatbots are driving disruption in their industry. In this article we share the critical advantages chatbots offer, how to implement chatbots on social media and the best practices to consider.
What is chatbot marketing?
Chatbots are software that use defined rules and/or machine learning to identify what a human wants and deliver relevant information. This can be used for SMS, website chat windows or social media messaging services. Chatbot marketing is the practice of using this technology to achieve your marketing goals. For example, implementing a chatbot on your website to provide support without human assistance is an optimization strategy that can positively impact KPIs.
Chatbots are becoming more important for digital companies as users spend more time on messaging apps and less time on social media. Peter Rojas, Entrepreneur in Residence at Betaworks says “People are now spending more time in messaging apps than in social media and that is a huge turning point. Messaging apps are the platforms of the future and bots will be how their users access all sorts of services.”
How to use chatbots for marketing
Whether you’re optimizing the user journey for your website, mobile app or on social media, users have high standards for access to support and ease of use. Once you’ve defined your marketing targets and know what you want to achieve with your overall strategy, you can look at ways chatbots can help meet the high standards that are expected by customers across all verticals.
While there may be additional benefits chatbots can offer your brand – depending on the type of company you have and your KPIs – there are five universal advantages that marketers can gain from chatbot technology.
Save time and money: Automating tasks that must otherwise be completed by your team will save you time and money. These resources can then be invested in other ways. For example, your team members can focus on testing and developing your marketing strategy rather than replying to basic requests from users via your messaging service.
Provide 24/7 customer support: Chatbots offer a level of service that would otherwise be impossible for small or mid-sized companies to achieve, such as 24/7 customer support with no waiting times. Increasing the response time offers a superior service that should have a positive impact on your KPIs.
Increase your conversion rate: Marketers can use chatbots to increase conversion rates. For example, you can use a chatbot on social media to drive conversions for your mobile app. You can also use this technology on your website to give users all the information they need to complete a purchase.
Generate qualified leads: If you have a B2B company, your team may not have the capacity to speak with every lead who gets in touch. Chatbots can be used to identify qualified leads and set a meeting (or a similar action that is relevant to your workflow). This is a smart way to scale your business by optimizing the time your team spends with leads and filtering prospects that are not relevant or aligned with your company goals. This also enables you to give qualified leads all the information they need within a minimal time frame, helping to accelerate sales and improve customer satisfaction.
Reduce churn: With high standards for customer support, even loyal users are likely to churn if they can’t get the help they need. Leaving customers on hold or in an online queue can lead to high churn rates. If your business has a high volume of customers in need of support, implementing a chatbot can reduce churn as a result of fast response times and immediate access to critical information.
Different types of chatbots: Which is best for you?
There are three types of chatbots every marketer needs to know about. Once you’ve defined your marketing goals and know your product’s pain points you can choose the best type of chatbot for your needs.
This is a type of chatbot that offers real-time automated messaging, giving customers access to key insights and FAQs. For example, live chat is typically used by sales teams and B2B companies for customer support.
This is a chatbot that is programmed with a decision tree – a support tool that uses a tree-like model of decisions with a set number of outcomes. It can respond to certain commands that trigger a specific response. This means rule-based chatbots are limited by their programming (compared to chatbots that use machine learning) but can be efficient for their specific functions.
These are chatbots that are programmed to learn over time with machine learning. This means the chatbot will become more useful as it’s exposed to more users. For example, A.I. chatbots that have had time to learn human behavior require less specificity to answer complicated questions.
These three types of chatbots are used by digital companies across all verticals. For example, a news app may want to implement a chatbot that alerts users about updates relevant to their interests. CNN worked with Spectrm to build a breaking news bot for Facebook Messenger. According to Spectrm’s case study, “CNN was able to build a friendly and informative chatbot for Facebook Messenger that provides daily and breaking news updates to subscribers.” The study also shows the impact this had on CNN’s social media audience. “Their bot, now the most-subscribed news bot in the world, brings in new traffic, helps grow their audience and continues to drive new subscribers.”
How to build a chatbot for your business
Once you’ve identified which type of chatbot is most suitable for your needs, you can begin to build your chatbot. There are several questions you must answer during this process. Your first step is to choose which platform to leverage. For example, should this be implemented on your website or social media channels? If you opt for the latter, you will need to decide which channels need this tool and how it will impact your KPIs.
Building your content strategy
If you want to use a chatbot for customer service, you need to understand what customers are likely to need help with in order to complete specific actions. This starts with your team’s insider knowledge of your audience - but you can also test this over time to identify the most common queries.
The FAQs relevant to your audience will shape how you build your chatbot and – if you have a rule-based chatbot – how you design your decision tree.
Building chatbots for social media channels
Chatbots for Twitter: Twitter has its own resource outlining how to build a chatbot designed specifically for use on their platform social media channel. According to the company’s own research, 41% use it to contact customer service, 37% to voice an opinion on a product or brand, and 25% want to make a product query. This provides several ways businesses can optimize their marketing strategy with Twitter chatbots.
Chatbots for Facebook Messenger: A study by Headliner Labs shows that people are 3.5 times more likely to open a Facebook message than a marketing email. Moreover, this is an underused tool by businesses with less competition: there are only roughly 400,000 Facebook chatbots currently operating. There are tools that can be integrated with Facebook to help you easily set up a chatbot on theirmessaging service. For example, with tools like Chatfuel you can build and deploy without the assistance of an experienced developer. The company also offers integrations for Instagram automation chatbots.
5 Best practices to consider when building a chatbot for your business
Include Call to Action (CTA) buttons: Including a CTA in your chatbot’s messaging is a smart way to drive conversions and make it easier for users to move further down the funnel. For example, CTA buttons enable you to direct a user to a specific page in your app or website to make it easier for them to complete a purchase.
Add visual components to your messaging: Depending on the tone of voice that is suitable for your brand, you may want to include visual components in your messaging. For example, you can include emojis, images and GIFs to add a human touch and connect with your customers.
Let users know they are talking with a bot: You should be direct and open with your customers by telling them that they are engaging with a chatbot. This avoids making customers uncomfortable if your chatbot is able to successfully converse with them or solve their query. This is a simple step that establishes trust between you and your audience.
You may not need machine learning to achieve your goals: Not all businesses need to use A.I. chatbots and can opt for rule-based chatbots instead. As long as your decision tree covers the FAQs relevant to your customers, this can be a more affordable option that still provides an excellent service.
Test and optimize: Just like any other component of your marketing strategy, testing is an important part of improving your chatbot’s success over time. Once your chatbot is live you should gather data and identify ways to optimize results.