Chatbot Applications in Marketing: How to Include Bots Into Your Strategy

MARYNA DEMCHENKO

Published: 02 Dec 2019

Machine Learning

Years ago the main communication channels boiled down to phone calls and meetings. Then, the internet has brought us lots of other options, like email, social media, mobile and web apps. The most recent shift in the way people communicate with businesses is the chatbots. 

A chatbot is an AI-powered software that is programmed to simulate a conversation with a real person, be it on a website, app or platforms like Slack, Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Alexa. Chatbots let customers communicate with brands via text or audio messages and can be easily customized to the needs of any business. 

AI-powered conversations resonate with a vast market of Gen Z and young millenials who are extremely comfortable with chatbot interactions. As such, chatbots are becoming not only a communication means but also a sales channel. 

If you are looking for a way to apply artificial intelligence chatbots to supercharge your marketing, here’s what this technology can do for you. 

Improve your customer service

Customer service is the chatbot technology's natural habitat.  

Users expect to find information about your product or service quickly and easily otherwise they leave for good. For a small team 24/7 support can be an insurmountable task as well as for companies with millions of customers. Chatbots can be a great solution for both cases.

Salesforce’s research has found that a bot can be a great alternative to a standard contact form, given that 86% of customers would prefer the first option. Take a look at the eBay bot. 

Ebay Chatbot

image via techcrunch

Make sure your responses are friendly, written in simple language and resonate with your brand's tone of voice. In addition, you can customize your chatbot by adding a pinch of character – select an avatar image and come up with a memorable name. This will create a sense of communication with a real person.  Chatbot applications can help you:

  • Short wait time for customers
  • Be online 24/7
  • Reduce the number of service representatives

Capture insights on your customers with machine learning chatbot

If want to know about your customers more, chatbots can make things easier for you.

Just like chatbots can be programmed to interact with customers, they can be also be trained to collect data and monitor users' behavior on your website. This data provides valuable insights into your customers’ needs and how their purchase decision is made. 

Combined with deep learning, you can use the information on how users interact with your website to enhance the way they work. For example, by reviewing the questions and requests that a chatbot failed to handle, you can prepare new triggers and assign relevant responses. 

Jumpstart the sales cycle

Those who have expressed interest in your product or service can potentially become your customers. This can be a long journey, and chatbots can offer a solution that might take the headache out of it. Chatting is the best way to understand the readiness of the lead to make a purchase, be it with a bot or a human. But rather than filling out a bunch of forms, your customers can get a personalized experience via conversation. You just need to program the bot with a set of relevant questions to understand at which stage of the sales funnel your lead stands. If done right, verifying leads with chatbots saves you time while providing an excellent service to your potential customers.

A great application of chatbots is remarketing or follow-up. How do chatbots work in this area? It's simple. You can set up a chatbot to engage people who have visited your website or social media accounts in a conversation. Chatbots for remarketing is a much better way to reach your potentials as compared to sending non-personalized messages via messenger or email. 

Augment your email strategy 

While chatbots can’t fully replace email marketing, they can be a powerful tool that helps you get a customer’s response faster than you would with email. Let’s compare a chatbot and email marketing for promoting products and services: 

Delivery speed 

Chatbot: if a recipient is active, a message can be received and seen immediately. 

vs. 

Email: There’s a risk of getting into a spam box where a user might never come by your email. Besides, many clients go through their inbox once in a couple of days. As such, chances are high that it will be days before a lead sees your email. 

Functionality

Chatbot: The chatbot might be able to handle simple, mundane tasks like providing the answer or sending the user to the relevant resource. If the bot can’t solve the user’s problem, a manager steps in. 

vs. 

Email: Your emails can include features such as order or pay online and links to outside resources. When clicking on links and buttons, a new page usually opens, which may be inconvenient for smartphone users. 

Data collection

Chatbots can collect and store customer data by asking questions and analyzing the responses. Chatbots can use collected data in further conversations. 

vs. 

Email campaigns are usually set up according to previously collected data. An email marketing specialist collects insight from campaigns to finetune the strategy for the future. 

The outcome? With chatbots, you stand a better chance that your message will be read by the user. More so, you can increase the volume of marketing conversations in messengers. And finally, based on data that comes from users’ engagement with a chatbot, you can set up more targeted campaigns.  

Provide better, more personal engagement

Users prefer personalized advertising messages. Chatbots can bring in the personalized conversational element that can help you build a relationship with your potentials at the early stages of the sales process. 

The key to personalized engagement here is to ask customers about their preferences to further turn those into a personalized experience. 

A great example of such engagement a chatbot launched by Sephora on a messaging app Kik. 

Sephora Chatbot

The chatbot is programmed to understand the customer’s needs and guide them to the relevant cosmetics. 

In a similar way, CNN and Fox have adopted chatbots to create and deliver a news feed tailored in line with users’ preferences. They have implemented it on Facebook Messenger, Kik, and Line platforms as well as on Alexa, Amazon’s voice-controlled device. 

CNN chatbot

Both are great examples of adopting chatbots to deliver a personalized experience. In fact, lots of Facebook chatbots can be easily set up to serve that purpose. 

Afterword

According to State of Chatbots 2018, chatbots’ main advantages are as follows: 

  • being online 24/7. Using chatbots companies can address customers' problems in real-time, which has a direct impact on the quality of customer service and business’ success. 
  • engaging more people into a sales conversation. If a company wants to sell to more people, using chatbots will be economically viable. 

We can conclude that clients are looking to get a personal experience, no matter who will provide it for them. That being said, marketers can use chatbots to hit both targets: to automate the marketing process while providing that personalized experience. Chatbots can also play a key role in the sales funnel and be the source of valuable customer data you can use to build your marketing strategy. 

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