We all hate chatbots, right?
They are not very bright, annoying, and just an easy way out of good customer support.
We hate badly designed chatbots, chatbots that don’t understand keywords, chatbots that can only tell you what was already in the FAQs, and the worst type, chatbots that were programmed to make you think they are human 😤
A well-designed chatbot, on the other hand, can help your business way more than you think. Look around, they are everywhere.
How has this automated tool become such a huge hit?
There are two reasons.
Firstly, ALL sane humans prefer chatting over phone calls.
It is simpler, less time-consuming, less demanding for both sides, and of course, there is no phone call awkwardness.
And the second reason is: employing artificial intelligence is simply the smartest move possible.
Think about it.
A customer service agent available 24/7, no salary, no vacation leave, just pure non-stop hard work. You can tell that AI adoption was a natural progression.
So now, without further ado, let’s dive into it and talk about chatbot marketing.
What is a Chatbot?
A chatbot is a pre-programmed sequence that provides automated and adaptive responses to questions that customers ask most frequently or may ask in the future. Thanks to their simply never-ending stamina and highly customizable nature, chatbots can be used for several different purposes such as sales, customer support, website navigation, and in our case, marketing.
What is Chatbot marketing?
Chatbot marketing is a marketing strategy that revolves around the use of chatbots in marketing a brand. With different levels of customization and various use cases of chatbots in marketing, chatbot marketing has become very popular and in recent years. Yet, the advantages of chatbot marketing may be lying in the readiness of your business to go digital.
Remember back when Facebook made a chatbot integration?
That marked the day Facebook went from mom’s high school reunion club to an actual business place.
And if you don’t want to fall back in the chatbot marketing race, you have to utilize chatbots yourself.
In case you are still not fully convinced, let’s talk about the question “why?”
Why use chatbots for your business?
When you think about it, the answer is pretty simple.
Chatbots are tools that virtually never get tired, can work 24/7, and are always available.
That’s just not something you can have with real people. Even if they are cool with it, the department of labor won’t be.
But if you are still thinking that it is better to hire several “real” people and provide 24/7 service, let’s go over some other benefits of chatbot marketing.
1- They are always available
I already said that, but I will say it again.
Being available ALL the time is just a priceless asset for your business. And you don’t want to lose it just because both of your customer service agents decided to take a break at the same time.
I am not saying you should fire your agents. I am saying employ another agent, a non-paid one, a chatbot.
That way, the chatbot can handle basic interactions while your agents get ready for the complicated ones.
Plus, you are still always available.
2- They save time and money
Especially in B2B SaaS, time and money are just things that you can’t lose. And it is true for both sides.
So, the last thing you want to do is waste time and money, or worse, make your customers waste time and money on YOU.
Since a chatbot is essentially free (excluding the maintenance fees, of course) and is very time-efficient, it helps you AND your customers to be in control of your time and money.
Two birds with one stone, am I right? 😏
3- They can generate leads
Never, and ever underestimate a chatbot.
There are some of us who are afraid of an AI invasion, remember?
Jokes aside, chatbots can actually do pretty awesome stuff. And one of them is generating leads.
With the right chatbot dialogue design, you can lead a customer interested in your product into asking about pricing and then actually making a purchase.
4- They give quick answers to customers
Availability is one thing, but a quick answer is a whole other deal.
Notice how many procedures and statements there has to be made during a customer support call? Let’s just say it’s not the fastest way of answering customer questions.
A chatbot, on the other hand, works based on a couple of keywords and phrases. And if it’s designed right, the quality is no less than it is with an actual agent.
5- They can increase customer engagement
Once again, it all boils down to the so-called phone call phobia.
Let me get one thing clear.
Even if you manage to get customers to interact with you on the phone, the support, the feedback, or the overall customer engagement won’t be top-tier. It is a phone call after all.
On the other hand, in a chatbot interaction, customers don’t feel as much pressure when asking about something or giving feedback. They get to be honest and can actually think it through.
The more you adopt chatbots, the more organic the customer engagement will be.
6- They provide your company with crucial data
Artificial intelligence was built to make up for the human condition.
And I’d say keeping eligible data counts as one of its tasks.
From customer feedback to frequently asked questions, support rates to successful leads, a chatbot will keep the record AND help you use the data for future experiences.
7- They are completely customizable
It is not the speed nor the availability that makes chatbots so special. They are just the most basic assets that stand out.
What makes a chatbot really special is how customizable it is. And they are quite customizable alright.
From introduction messages to specific answers, response time to user segmentation, almost every part of a chatbot can be customized.
Believe me, it’ll be your best employee.
6 Steps to Efficiently Using Chatbots for your Marketing Efforts
1- Use the FAQ section of your business to create conversation tunnels
In our customer support article, we make one thing clear.
“Make a FAQ so good that the customers won’t have to contact support”
But oh well, we are not AIs and you can’t always determine the exact questions customers might ask.
So, it is best to get your chatbot prepared for that.
It is no secret that customer support agents work off of a script, and so do chatbots. The main difference is, agents can improvise but a chatbot can’t.
To avoid any slip-ups and unwanted complaints about the chatbot, the best thing you can do is come up with a personality and as many expressions and answers as possible.
2- Design a chatbot that acts as a unique voice of your company
Branding is everything.
If you are serious about your business and its marketing, you need to have your brand defined to the most minute aspects.
So, giving your brand a recognizable voice is a must.
Set standards and guidelines for your copywriting and define the exact tone of voice and attitude you want to convey in your public posts.
And while you are at it, use that same tone of voice for your chatbot, as it talks on behalf of your company.
What does your company do? Does it provide a service or a product? And can you get a character out of it?
Now, I know voice assistants and chatbots are different things but don’t Siri and Alexa feel more approachable than Google Assistant?
It doesn’t even have a name!
My point is, you should keep it unique and match it with your brand. A chatbot experience doesn’t have to be boring.
3- Run a detailed testing phase
AI can do wonders, but it is not fail-proof unless tested.
Remember the whole Microsoft Twitter AI issue back in 2016?
That sure did a lot of damage.
There is no guarantee that your chatbot won’t run havoc in a racist direction unless you test it first. Of course, any other problem can be as damaging so don’t take a bet on it.
The first testing phase is conducted internally, within your company, and within a close group of selected individuals. You can use a demo website with a popup chat window and have your testers interact with the chatbot. Take careful note of every mistake and slip-up that can be corrected.
Once your chatbot has been perfected, it is ready for launch.
Remember, this is the first phase of your chatbot service, so keep track of it regularly to find out what works best and what needs to be improved.
4- Ask users to share some of their information
Asking for personal data can be tricky.
But collecting these data is what gets a business sailing smoothly across customer retention.
What your chatbot needs to do is act natural, so when it asks for personal information, customers won’t have any trouble complying. Ask the basics, such as name, age, location. Store their data, so that in the future you can provide them with a more personalized experience.
Sounds kinda fishy, right?
But imagine this. A customer comes back to your website and talks to that same chatbot again, your bot now knows certain details about them, so they recognize them, recall their preferences, and offer a better, more personalized service.
At the end of the day, we all love personalization. So, get your chatbot to live up to customer expectations.
5- Keep in touch with users by sharing news
So the customer had a pleasant experience with the bot and solved their problem. Any fault in asking them to keep in touch?
I think not.
Chatbots are great opportunities for marketing whatever you have been working on.
Be it a newsletter, blog, ebook, or any other marketable product of your brand, chances are the customer will be more likely to consider it after receiving good support. Plus, there are non-aggressive ways of doing it too.
Ask them to “keep in touch”, or “help support”. Sometimes we all just love to be a part of something bigger.
6- Advertise your chatbot loud and proud
You have launched your chatbot for the first time and now it’s up and running. Are you gonna stop there?
A personalized chatbot has a lot of advertisement potential. C’mon now, we all love a vast database with a name and an insatiable desire for world domination, no?
Just get on social media and tell the whole world about your new chatbot. It’s always good advertisement.
5 things to avoid when using Chatbots in Marketing
❌ Avoid shortcuts. Don’t copy the customer support agent script, don’t forget to add personality and brand, and don’t EVER launch your chatbot before testing it.
❌ Spam! Don’t hassle the people visiting your website with annoying pop-up chat windows. Have a chat ready, put it somewhere visible, give your customers the option to open it if they want to, but don’t shove it in their faces.
❌ Too much info, not enough info, or wrong info. If your bit script is well-prepared, you will be able to avoid these issues. But just in case, double-check it to see if you are giving the customer too much, not enough, or wrong info.
❌ Getting inexperienced developers to build your bot. If you hire someone with a great track record, there is less risk of failure. But don’t just hire someone for their experience. Make sure that the developers understand your brand.
❌ The wrong tone of voice. The way your chatbot speaks is the way your brand speaks. If it’s off, so is your whole company. Make the chatbot friendly, approachable, and most importantly, actually helpful.
Design your brand-specific chatbot and go!
So, do this and don’t do that, but how does one really go about building a chatbot?
Well, there is one simple decision to make: to design it in-house or to outsource.
Whichever decision you make, just follow its guidelines. If the design process takes too much of your time, don’t worry – your chatbot will save time when put to use.
Outsourcing your chatbot
There are many platforms and services available that help you create your bot.
A lot of these are no-code or low-code and possibly takes a short amount of time to design.
For example, Ideta.io is one of these platforms. With this tool, you can create easy-to-use and fully customizable chatbots in no time.
If you aren’t delving too deep into what a chatbot can do, any chatbot tool can help you integrate FAQs and common interactions.
Getting it done in-house
If you like to keep it as compact as possible, there are many in-house chatbots that work great. Just get your developers on the job, or hire new ones.
One great tip would be involving your marketing team and branding experts as well. This can work wonders especially when coming up with a name, character, and voice for the chatbot.
Just make sure to hire the right people and nothing can stop your chatbot away from success.
From any aspect, chatbots can be tricky. And just like any other part of SaaS, it is a make-or-break situation. Still, it is pretty clear that what makes a chatbot good is its uniqueness in helping and interacting with customers.
Just give it a voice and a personality matching your brand and you are good to go.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you use chatbots in marketing?
Chatbots can be used for many purposes such as customer support, sales, and of course, marketing.
There are different ways of utilizing chatbots for marketing, but practices like advertising ebooks and products through chatbots, suggesting another purchase to a customer looking for information on purchasing, or even something as simple as leading users to a certain page can be chatbot marketing.
Why are chatbots the future of marketing?
It is not easy to keep a customer support agent or a sales representative on the line 24/7. Since chatbots are always available and way cheaper than hiring an actual person, they are bound to dominate many areas of business as well as marketing.
Do chatbots increase sales?
If used correctly, chatbots can improve customer success rates, customer service quality, and customer acquisition as well as customer retention. It all comes to the question of whether one can design a chatbot that can serve business the right way.