What is Chatbot Marketing, Benefits & 11 Strategies You Can Apply in 2018
These days, every business is competing for market share. While product quality and branding are undeniably part of amassing market share, customer service matters more than just about anything else.
Maybe you’ve interacted with a business that disappointed you in the past. It could have been a restaurant, an HVAC company, a retail store, or an online service.
Did you decide to never patronize that business again? You wouldn’t be alone. Many consumers stop spending their money at establishments that offer poor customer service.
No matter what types of digital products you sell, implementing chatbots through your website or social can help you connect with consumers in a new way.
It also works for both B2B and B2C marketing. You can implement it on your own site, a dedicated site, or social media, depending on your preferences.
Right now, Facebook chatbots seem to be the most popular. They’re easy to implement and monitor, especially if you’re already using Facebook as a marketing channel.
We encourage you to explore chatbots in depth. They offer a wealth of ways to keep in contact with your target audience.
But first, we’ll answer some common questions about chatbot marketing and provide you with benefits and strategies you can use for your own Knowledge Commerce business.
What Is Chatbot Marketing?
Chatbot marketing is the process of helping customers find what they need through your business by communicating with them through a bot. A chatbot simulates one-on-one communication, sort of like a text message string.
You’ve probably interacted with a chatbot before. For instance, maybe you were shopping for clothes on a retail site when a box opened at the bottom of the page and invited you to ask questions.
That’s a chatbot. Businesses use them to help expedite the buying process and to direct customers to the best products for them.
Chatbot marketing requires a strategic approach to chatbots, though. Simply activating one won’t help your business. You need a targeted strategy that outlines your goals and desired outcomes.
For instance, you might use chatbot marketing to produce more conversions. In that case, the dialogue should focus on guiding prospects toward your digital products — specifically, the ones from which they will benefit the most.
However, you don’t have to stay awake 24/7 or employ a bullpen full of customer service agents to get the job done. Chatbots use artificial intelligence to have meaningful conversations with your prospects even when you’re away from your desk or phone.
”Think of chatbot marketing as a way to make yourself constantly available for your customers. It’s like having your own customer representative team at your prospects’ beck and call. #Kajabi”— Tweet this!
We’ll get into the benefits more a little later. First, let’s talk about how chatbot marketing works.
For instance, let’s say you’re using a Facebook chatbot. To subscribe, a prospect simply needs to send you a private message.
From there, you can send out an automatic response or a series of drip messages designed to influence prospects to convert. You might ask questions about what the prospect is looking for, for example, then direct them to your landing page for the appropriate product.
You can even segment your audiences so they receive chatbot messages based on their positions in the sales funnel.
There are tons of marketing and advertising channels available to you, from email marketing and SMS marketing to paid search and paid social. You can blog, run social media contests, and send cold emails.
Why would you want to add another channel to your plate?
That’s a relatively common question. After all, today’s entrepreneurs are stretched pretty thin. Let’s look at some data to figure out why chatbox marketing should become your priority.
First, messaging has an extremely high approval rating among consumers. The 73 percent satisfaction rating expressed in one study beat out email and phone.
Plus, a 2015 study determined that messaging improved lots of metrics, including cross-sell revenue, customer satisfaction, customer abandonment rate, and up-sell revenue.
The numbers speak for themselves. While some consumers might prefer email, phone, or SMS, many would prefer to communicate with your chatbot and get their questions answered instantly. If they have a more complex question, your chatbot can refer them to the most effective alternative communication method.
While they might seem complex, chatbots are relatively easy to set up, monitor, and adjust. You can test multiple platforms to figure out what works best for your business, and you can tweak the messages you send your prospects based on feedback.
With that said, let’s look at some of the specific benefits your business can enjoy after adopting a chatbot.
Deliver a Personalized Interaction
One of the great things about chatbots is that you can personalize them further than you could an email. For instance, many brands use chatbots for status checks. A customer might want to know if his or her order has gone through and can find out in seconds.
Many other personalization options exist. After taking users through a short survey, you can serve up product recommendations, entertaining or interesting facts, and other personalized messages. You’re basing the responses on the survey answers, so you know you’ll deliver something that’ll interest the prospect.
There’s something intimate and engaging about conducting a conversation via a messaging service. We’ve seen the meteoric rise in use of text messaging versus phone calls, for instance, and WhatsApp hit one billion users in 2015.
These data points show that consumers like to communicate via instant message. It’s personal, but without the need to actually speak to someone over the phone. Think of chatbot marketing as the perfect middle ground between phone and email.
Artificial intelligence has matured at a rapid rate over the last few years, and experts anticipate even more maturation in the near future. As chatbots get smarter and more intuitive, the communications between your messaging service and the consumers will get more personalized.
Why does this matter? Because people crave personalization.
We like to think that we matter to the businesses we patronize. Sure, we understand that Toyota can’t know all of its customers by name, but we also appreciate when a birthday card arrives from the dealership.
Provide Better, More Immediate Customer Service
People complain about customer service a lot. They don’t like the wait times in restaurants, the poor recommendations in retail stores, or the endless elevator music companies play while their customers wait to speak to a live representative.
We live in a culture based around urgency. Everyone wants next-day delivery for their packages and two-hour delivery for their groceries. They don’t want to wait for anything.
That’s okay, though, when you embrace chatbot marketing. If you’re away from your desk, the chatbot takes over and communicates directly with the consumer. Recommendations, answers to questions, and other messages get relayed immediately.
You don’t want customer service to throw a wrench into your business’s operation. That could prove disastrous, especially when it comes to your brand equity.
A chatbot lets you get personal with your customers while getting them the information they need right away. It’s a great way to connect with consumers and to show you care about their needs.
Keep in mind that your chatbot doesn’t have to dominate the entire conversation. If you’re using Facebook, for instance, you can always add personalized messages when the need arises.
Just focus on making sure every message you send benefits the user. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time, but you do want to point prospects toward relevant products.
Focus on Client Retention Instead of Just Acquisition
Let’s face it: Most entrepreneurs focus exclusively (or at least primarily) on customer acquisition. It’s all about generating new leads and making sales to people who have never heard of the brand before.
There’s nothing wrong with acquiring new customers. In fact, most businesses couldn’t survive without that aspect of marketing.
However, you can’t forget about customer retention. People who have already bought digital products from you are far more valuable than prospects who might or might not make a purchase in the future.
Think about it. When you visit a restaurant, you’re more likely to order something you know you’ll like than to take a risk on something that could disappoint you. Of course, some people are culinary risk-takers, but sticking with the safe plan is the predominant human tendency.
The same works for other products. If someone has bought an online course from you in the past, he or she will be more likely to join your membership site than someone who has never done business with your company.
You can use chatbot marketing to stay in touch with existing customers and to encourage them to buy your latest products. Let them know about new releases, for instance, and inquire about their progress with the initial course.
Nurture Leads Through the Entire Sales Funnel
We’ve talked about customer retention, but you have to remember that people don’t become customers overnight. They often make a dozen or more touch points with a business before they buy anything.
Consequently, entrepreneurs have to focus their attention not just on the conversion, but also on the rest of the sales funnel. Chatbots can help you nurture those leads as they compare their options, consider your products’ features, and otherwise mull over the decision.
You can take the same approach that you do with email marketing. Write content that appeals to people at the top of the sales funnel, the middle, and the bottom.
Encourage Prospects to Interact With You on Social Media
If we’ve learned anything in our years of marketing at Kajabi, it’s that you can’t rely on one channel to acquire or retain customers. You need a multi-channel approach so you reach as much of your target audience as possible.
That’s why it’s essential to integrate chatbot marketing with other marketing and advertising strategies.
You can use the chatbot, for example, to remind your prospects to follow you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. You can also direct them to your latest blog posts or invite them to sign up for your email list.
Don’t take a heavy-handed approach with this. You want to suggest ways in which your leads and prospects can interact with you on social media, but you don’t want to sound overly promotional. If possible, try to spread out these entreaties between other types of messages.
Set Up Alerts for Important Messages
Another great chatbot feature to explore is the ability to initiate conversations with customers via alerts. For instance, if one of your customers subscribes to your membership site, you could send a confirmation message.
While this might seem like a small thing, it can have a huge impact on your brand recognition and your customer support satisfaction rate. People want to hear from brands about matters that directly impact them.
Alerts should be personal and urgent. You don’t want to use them too frequently because the messages might come across as spam.
11 Chatbot Strategies That You Need To Apply In 2018
By now, you’re familiar with the ways in which your business can benefit from chatbot marketing. But how do you turn those benefits into solid outcomes?
There are several strategies and best practices that help businesses generate better results via chatbots. If you learn from those who have gone before, you’ll find yourself ahead of the competition.
That’s always a desirable place to be.
Following are 11 actionable strategies to help you make your chatbot marketing campaign go more smoothly. We’ve broken down several key best practices that have worked for us as well as other brands.
1. Approach Chatbot Marketing Like You Would Any Product
A chatbot, by itself, is kind of like a product. It’s a tool you’re using to help people buy your products, so you want as much interaction as possible.
Let people know they can avail themselves of your chatbot. Give it a shout-out on social media, include a CTA at the bottom of your blog posts, and make sure to mention the features and benefits customers will enjoy while using it.
In other words, don’t give it any less attention than you would a new product you’re releasing for sale.
2. Promote Your Chatbot to Encourage Usage
In that same vein, don’t hesitate to use promotional language when you talk about your chatbot. You can give it a name and a personality to make it even more appealing.
The goal here is to convince people they want to interact with the chatbot. Not only can they gain valuable information, but they’ll enjoy the process, too.
Encouraging word-of-mouth advertising can work extremely well. You can let your customers know that you’ll appreciate any referrals they give to their friends and family members.
3. Create a Landing Page Specifically for Your Chatbot
You probably have landing pages for your products, email opt-in form, and other purposes, so don’t let your chatbot down. Create a landing page specifically for it.
You can include CTAs to that landing page from any other source. In the CTA, include any benefits the user will garner from using the chatbot.
4. Expedite the Process With Facebook Plugins
Many brands prefer chatbots that integrate with Facebook, such as Botsify and ManyChat. They’re easy to use and they allow you to get more mileage out of a social media platform you already use.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to use Facebook alone.
There are several plugins you can use to integrate your Facebook chatbot with your website or other owned properties. Some, for example, let you share your blog posts automatically with your chatbot subscribers.
5. Promote Your Content Via Chatbot Marketing
Speaking of content, don’t focus your efforts exclusively on product promotion. Remember that your content can help you sell, too.
Chatbot messages that direct your subscribers to recent blog posts can help usher them through the sales funnel. You’re establishing credibility and immersing the customer further into your business. That’s always a positive thing.
Don’t overdo it, though. Sharing content seven times per day will likely irritate people and cause them to remove you from their Facebook sphere of influence.
6. Avoid Any Unnecessary Messaging That Could Annoy Users
That brings us to our next point, which is that you should only send messages when absolutely necessary. If you’re running a drip campaign, for example, spread out the communications so you don’t cause resentment.
Obviously, if the other person is interacting with the chatbot, there’s no reason to limit communication. You want to encourage it. Just don’t send too many unsolicited messages.
7. Write in Clear, Complete Sentences
When you’re setting up chatbot autoresponders and other dialogue elements, you might feel tempted to write in “text speak.” Resist the urge.
Instead, write in clear, complete sentences and use punctuation. You don’t want to harm your credibility by communicating like a teenager.
It’s true that many people use shorthand while communicating online. You might do so sporadically for comedic effect, but you don’t want every line to consist of acronyms and other shorthand.
8. Choose a Platform That Understands Text Speak
At the same time, you don’t want to discount people who communicate with your chatbot in text speak. People might use abbreviations, acronyms, and other commonly accepted shorthand. Your chatbot should understand as much of it as possible.
That’s why we recommend well-reviewed chatbot platforms. You can trust that their artificial intelligence is sufficiently smart to understand what your customers and prospects are looking for.
9. Suggest Multiple Products When Appropriate
One of the primary purposes of a chatbot is to guide your prospect toward the best product for his or her needs. However, you don’t want to limit your opportunities.
Even experienced salespeople who work with customers in person don’t always get it right on the first try. You can’t expect a machine to do better than a human.
When you’re configuring your chatbot, consider suggesting multiple products for each user. That way, they have choices they can explore.
Who knows? A customer might think he wants one thing, then realize he needs another. Plus, this approach gives you the opportunity to upsell and downsell.
10. Don’t Try to Hide the Bot’s Existence
Some brands make the mistake of trying to pretend that a bot isn’t a bot (or that a person hasn’t taken over for a bot). Don’t fall into this trap. It’s deceptive.
There’s nothing wrong with using a chatbot, and many consumers prefer them over communicating with a human being. They just want the facts — no editorializing necessary.
You can give your bot a name and make it “friendly,” but don’t try to disguise its true nature. Your users will discover that it’s a bot and think less of you for it. Not because you used a bot in the first place, but because you tried to hide it.
11. Keep Your Branding Consistent
Chatbot marketing involves branding, just like any other marketing strategy. Even though users are talking to a machine, you want that machine to feel like part of your brand.
For instance, if you use a lot of humor in your marketing and branding, make your chatbot funny. If you use lots of contractions and informal language, your chatbot should, too.
You want the chatbot to offer a consistent experience for users — especially those who have followed your business for some time. If they sense a disconnect, they might not trust the recommendations and answers your chatbot provides.
Use Kajabi To Turn Your Knowledge And Content Into Products You Can Sell
When it comes to Knowledge Commerce businesses, Kajabi remains at the forefront in terms of on-platform tools, customer support, and innovative strategies. We help our customers build their own businesses from the ground up.
We don’t believe you need a physical product to find success. Neither do you need to offer a service. Knowledge Commerce products provide passive income that renews year over year and allows you to scale as quickly or slowly as you want.
If you combine Kajabi with a tool like a chatbot, there’s no stopping you.
Our platform offers most of the tools you’ll need to build a marketing strategy that converts prospects and attracts new leads. While you might want to use third-party tools, as well, we work hard to make sure building your Knowledge Commerce business is as easy and intuitive as possible.
To show our confidence in Kajabi, we even offer a 14-day free trial. It’s a full-featured trial that allows you to test drive our myriad tools and modules. You can start building your first online course from day one.
Whether you want to teach people about finance, sports, music, spirituality, business, or something else entirely, you can build an educational business on Kajabi. Build one course or hundreds of them — the sky’s the limit.
You can also start a blog, create a membership site, and offer services. Don’t hesitate to launch your business today.
It’s tough to keep up with technology. Every time you turn around, another gadget or app has arrived on the scene and changed the way you look at marketing.
Chatbot marketing is just one example. Unlike many other fads and trends, however, we don’t see this one fading into the distance.
The most competitive businesses and brands will use chatbots extensively, and now’s the time to get started. It’s easy to learn the process and to refine your process when the technology is still in its infancy.
Of course, chatbots have existed for years. Only now, however, are they accessible to businesses large and small.
Chatbot marketing allows you to deliver personalized interactions with prospects and to provide better customer service. You can use it to focus on customer retention and to nurture leads at every stage of the sales funnel.
A chatbot can also help you promote your other social media presences as well as your blog. Plus, even when prospects and customers don’t contact you, a chatbot lets you alert them to important events or circumstances.
If you’re going to launch a chatbot, though, you need to know the industry best practices.
Make sure your chatbot is “friendly,” relatable, and marketable. Don’t hesitate to promote it through other channels.
Keep your communications professionals but on-brand. You don’t want to send unnecessary messages that might irritate your subscribers. And make sure you choose a platform that meets your specific needs.
Have you tried chatbot marketing? If not, will you try it in the future?
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