If you were to listen to some very shouty and concerned people on the internet, they’d have you convinced that “ROBOTS ARE GOING TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD”.
Whilst artificial Intelligence has certainly come on leaps and bounds in recent years (self-driving cars, anyone?), it’s pretty safe to say it’s unlikely that Alexa or Siri will become your slave master any time soon. If anything, they simply make our lives that little bit easier.
Nonetheless, it’s understandable why many businesses feel somewhat daunted by new technology – chatbots being one of them. If the term chatbot marketing has been on your radar but you are yet to fully wrap your head around what it is, or are wondering whether your business should use it, then this blog post is for you.
I’ll be looking at what chatbot marketing is and whether or not your business should be using it in 2019.
So, what are you waiting for, let’s find out if this year is the year your business should embrace the bot?
What Is Chatbot Marketing?
Firstly, let’s get to grips with the basics and understand what exactly chatbot marketing is.
A chatbot is an AI software which can conduct a conversation with users of your website or app, via a chat interface. The interaction can either be text based, voice or a combination of both. You’ll most likely have come across a chatbot on platforms such as Facebook Messenger, SnapChat, WeChat and Slack, to name just a few.
Data driven chatbots are able to answer questions based on the language and intent of the user. The more interaction with users they’re exposed to, the more the chatbot learns and provides better answers for customers.
You might hear of chatbot marketing, also known as messenger marketing, grouped into the same category as conversational marketing. Conversational marketing is an approach which emphasises using targeted messages to engage people in real time. While chatbots certainly are an aspect of this, conversational marketing in its entirety also entails live chat, social monitoring and genuine conversations.
Why Should My Business Use A Chatbot?
As with implementing any new marketing strategy or technology, there should be a logical reason underpinning why you are doing so and what you’re hoping to achieve from it.
Before you race ahead and start incorporating chatbots into your business simply because you think you should – step back and ask yourself a few questions:
- Does it make sense for your customers?
- Will it add value to their user experience?
- Will it drive efficiencies for your business? I.e…
- Do you want to automate common questions?
- Do you want to generate more sales?
- Do you want a tool to assist someone with making a purchase?
If the answer is a resounding YES then chatbot marketing is undoubtedly of benefit to your business. If any of the above incentives weren’t enough to convince you, here’s some additional reasons why you should proceed with chatbot marketing…
What Are The Benefits Of Chatbot Marketing?
Chatbots Can Help Save Your Business Time & Money
Quite simply, chatbots can save your company valuable time and money.
According to Chatbot magazine, they can potentially reduce your customer service costs by a staggering 30%.
How? Well, Chatbots can quite easily save you time and money on your customer service. Most businesses encounter the same, constant and repetitive stream of questions from customers on a regular basis. Whether you’re a retailer answering questions about your opening hours/return policy or a zoo responding to queries about parking or wheelchair access, chatbots can automate a significant part of everyday repetitive work.
This can help your business to save money on operational costs, manpower and time. Your staff will be able to spend less time on repetitive queries and more time on the tasks that matter.
People Prefer Chatbots Over Other Communication Channels
Larry Kim, CEO of messenger marketing Platform Mobile Monkey, argues that a generational shift has occurred in terms of the way people like to communicate. In this episode of our Internet Marketing Podcast interview with Larry, he claims that people prefer messenger marketing over email AND social combined.
This claim appears to be supported by the State of Chatbots 2018 research, which discovered that 69% of consumers prefer chatbots for quick communication with brands.
Finally, recent Facebook stats also back the idea that consumers prefer this means of communication. According to Facebook:
- 2 billion messages are sent between people and businesses monthly.
- 56% of people would rather message than call customer service.
- 53% of people are more likely to shop with businesses they can message.
Chatbot Marketing Is 24/7
We live in an age of instant, and constant, communication.
Most consumers have come to expect that ease of contact and after hours support from businesses. Chatbots are convenient as they available at anytime, anywhere.
Users of your website of app won’t have to wait long for a response from a chatbot, compared to speaking to a call centre employee or waiting in line at a brick and mortar shop (which can be a source of frustration and dissatisfaction with your brand). Consequently, response times can be improved, the potential for human error is eliminated and an enhanced customer service is delivered.
You Can Reach A Wider Audience
Chatbots are predominantly found on social media messaging platforms. 2017 statistics revealed that there are over 1.3 billion users of Facebook messenger alone, which has likely increased. Considering the popularity of these platforms, this means an ability to reach virtually any audience from any demographic.
Despite predominantly being on social media platforms, you’re also able to use chatbots on a multitude of other platforms such as SMS, Slack and your own site, meaning you’re able to reach a wider audience without too much hassle.
Chatbots also allow your business to reach an audience which might not feel as comfortable with making traditional telephone enquiries.
Chatbot’s Provide A Personal Approach
A bot offering a more personal approach? You might consider this a contradictory argument but bear with me on this one.
A human employee, for multiple reasons, maybe they skipped lunch, they’re tired, they’re nearing the end of their shift, they’re unhappy or disinterested in their job, whatever it may be, might not be completely attentive to a customer. A chatbot, meanwhile, can generate a comprehensive understanding of a customer (their habits, purchasing history, location) to form personalised experiences to improve the quality of the interaction.
If customers have a positive response, they might be more likely to return to your brand.
Chatbot’s Won’t Replace People
That said, chatbot’s shouldn’t replace human interaction entirely. After all, unlike a human employee, a robot is not going to be able to think creatively or outside of the box.
An Improved Content Strategy
Chatbots learn information about users of your website or app via the questions posed to them. That information is stored for you, providing you with an untapped resource of insights and opportunity!
This provides you with a chance to create content that precisely addresses the needs of your audience and answers what the chatbot is unable to. Plus, it eliminates the need for laborious and time-consuming research. For instance, if an ecommerce website discovers that many users are asking their chatbot about its returns policy, this highlights the need to either include it on their FAQ page or, if it is information that already exists, make it much more visible.
In the same vein, chatbots can help boost your existing content marketing efforts by sharing links to relevant blog posts/other pieces of content which it thinks the user will find helpful.
How to ensure your chatbot marketing is successful
Hopefully I’ve managed to convince you that chatbots are worth investing in. But once you’ve done so, how can you make sure that your chatbot marketing is successful? Below I’ve provided my top tips for doing so:
- Don’t forget that chatbots are not merely an extension of your digital marketing but an entirely distinct channel on their own. As with any of your online communications, you should be promoting a consistent tone of voice and brand personality.
- Look at what your competitors are doing in terms of chatbot marketing. Is it something they’re even utilising? If so, is there anything they’re doing particularly well? Or is there something they’re not doing that can give you that competitive edge?
- Don’t be afraid to use emojis, video, GIFs and audio. They’re a fun, visual way to make conversations more interactive and light-hearted. In fact, they’re especially valuable if the tone of voice you’re trying to convey is in line with this. Emojis and GIFs can help to create a memorable experience with a brand. Not only do chatbots present another channel in which to market your product/service to your audience, they can also genuinely help or entertain them.
- Ensure your chatbot works seamlessly on all devices – desktop, laptop & tablet.
Ultimately, it looks like chatbots are here to stay for the foreseeable future. What are your thoughts on chatbot marketing? Do you plan to incorporate it into your digital marketing strategy? Is there anything you’re unsure of? Did we miss anything?
We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.