Why Chatbots are The Future of Digital Marketing
April 1, 2019
Chatbots are automated messaging tools used to communicate with website visitors when live chat isn’t available. Some businesses use them for simple generic FAQs, such as business hours or return policies. Others use them to send an out of office message and communicate a return time. While you might think at first glance a chat bot would be annoying to a customer, most users report positive experiences.
In fact, many bots help improve conversion rates on all stages of the sales funnel; from awareness to consideration and onward toward action, bots can track and report on these changes. Chatbots are customizable, and can live on social media, landing pages, and blogs.
Now that chatbots have your interest, here are some reasons they’ve begun to take over in digital communications.
Chatbots Help Launch Products: Chatbots are a great way to get a new product noticed by customers. Paid ads and social media updates might gain some recognition, but it’s hard to ignore a private message. A chatbot designed to send a PM to social media followers is relatable, and unique. It has all the traditional charm of an e-mail blast, with a more engaging tone.
Chatbots are successful for product launches because they answer questions customers have in the order they’re asked. Your bot can be programmed to respond to certain keywords with specific replies. This saves consumers from scanning a long page of information. Chat bots can also send photos, videos, and promotions for the new launch campaign.
Chatbots can also be used gearing up for a launch by dropping hints about upcoming products and services and sending out sneak peaks and coupons to the first 100 customers who buy. Consumers who feel they’re receiving special attention and exclusive deals are more likely to buy and buy again. Better yet, your chatbot works on your schedule, so materials go out when you say so.
Chatbots Generate New Leads: Consumers who reach out to a company via e-mail or private message are time sensitive. These site visitors may be fleeting and looking for immediate information on a product or service. If they can’t find it, they’ll likely move onto the next business in your industry.
By having a bot on stand-by, customers can be told about basic information on a product or service, given an estimated follow-up time, and in some cases, have all their questions answered and checkout promptly thereafter. A bot doesn’t guarantee a sale, but it helps retain leads, who may otherwise feel slighted by digital inactivity.
Improve Brand Awareness and Customer Loyalty: Chatbots are available 24/7 to answer consumer questions and provide additional loyalty benefits – such as coupon codes, contests, and other promotions. They also engage customers with quizzes, polls, and interactive marketing activities. These build rapport, even if just with a mechanical online presence.
Your business will also have the upper hand in brand relations and awareness. Many leads stumble upon your business by accident and don’t know where to begin looking, or if they’re even interested. If a chat bot materializes in the bottom right corner offering assistance, a consumer is more likely to find what they need quickly, and gather information required to make an educated decision.
Collecting Important Information: Chatbots provide metrics updates with data collected from customers they speak to. It helps you decide whether the current conversational output is successful enough to continue with, or if your bot needs to be reprogrammed. Analytics also show you whether a bot is helping or hindering sales. Although unlikely, a chatbot could put off some customers who prefer to speak to a company only through email or telephone.
Some chatbots are even designed to evaluate conversion times between customer conversations and checkout. This is another indicator of chatbot success, and overall revenue potential. Reports can be scheduled weekly or monthly based on your needs.
Chatbots can also supply vital information on customer preferences and demographic. Through quizzes and polls, you can find out what customers love and hate about your website, product, or brand. You can learn location, gender, age, and other interesting components of your target audience.
A Money Saver: Even a paid chat bot program costs a business less than hiring full-time customer support around the clock. These artificial employees don’t require healthcare, benefits, or a pension, and they work all day, all year, without overtime or holiday pay. While your company will still need some real-time human service as well, chatbots help fill the gap at far less cost to your business.
When comparing chatbots to human service reps, you’re also saving money on training. Many new customer service chat reps need training on how to use the program, and how to best represent your brand. Many companies don’t even put reps online until training is complete, meaning you’re paying out with no ROI until they begin service. A chatbot provides immediate results and no transition time before jumping into action with your customers.
If you’re considering a chatbot for your business, do some research on which are best. There are plenty of apps and plug-ins available, each with their own pros and cons. Some are better suited to certain industries and platforms. A few of them are free, others are paid; something to keep in mind when deciding is that paid bots may offer more features, such as reporting and customizable responses, while a free bot could only chat about preprogrammed concepts provided in a template.