10 Ways to Use Chatbots to Market your Business

10 Ways to Use Chatbots to Market your Business

The usefulness of chatbots as marketing tools is becoming increasingly well-documented, but the attention is often accompanied by confusion. Conflicting reports about how to use chatbots most effectively are disorienting some marketers who want to start using chatbots but aren’t sure how. To make matters easier, we’ve put together a list of the best ways to use chatbots when growing your business. Stick to these, and you’ll find that AI isn’t nearly as complicated as some people make it sound:

1. Automating the Sales Process

One of the most obvious advantages to using a chatbot is the ability to streamline the sales process. Take Taco Bell’s chatbot for the Slack messaging app, which allows you to conveniently order your favourite tex-mex fast food with just a few simple commands. Once you tell the bot your order and give it your most convenient pickup location, it provides you with a confirmation and an ETA. Giving users the ability to make a purchase without leaving their social or work-related messaging platforms represents a distinct advantage over businesses that require customers to pick up the phone or make an in-person visit to buy something.

2. Making Recommendations

People like to receive attention from customer service representatives, but this isn’t always possible when small businesses are dealing with high volume traffic. For this reason, some chatbots are programmed to acquire data from visitors and use it to recommend products or services. And Chill is a highly-touted bot for Facebook Messenger designed to connect users with Netflix titles they’re likely to enjoy. TripAdvisor offers similar services through its Facebook Messenger bot, which can point users in the direction of a hotel or restaurant based on their preferences.

3. Answering Queries

One of the most basic marketing uses for a chatbot is still one of the most effective: providing information about a brand’s products or services. It’s easy to fill a chatbot with information from your FAQ page, especially if your bot is a retrieval-based model programmed to deliver predefined responses to keywords or common questions. Since bad customer experience is responsible for an estimated 67% of churn, having a bot to take care of simple matters smoothly is an excellent way to lower this risk and increase the sentiment surrounding your brand.

4. Collecting Customer Insights

One often overlooked aspect of chatbots is their ability to reap massive amounts of data from users who interact with them. As Talla CEO Robert May correctly pointed out last year, each time a chatbot asks you to tell you something about yourself it’s collecting demographic information from you. While scientists may use this information to put new data sets together, marketers can use it to find out who is most likely to buy their product, and how best to target their ad campaigns.

5. Personalizing Customer Interactions

People aren’t likely to engage with a presence that seems generic or insincere, but they are likely to engage with lifelike chatbots. In fact, most people are inclined to treat effective chatbots as though they’re human, in a phenomenon called the ELIZA effect. Make sure your bot can provide varied responses and learn basic information about your customers (like their names). Personalisation increases customer satisfaction, and positive customer service has a measurable impact on word-of-mouth marketing. According to the Harvard Business Review, 23% of customers who have good experiences are likely to tell more than ten others about it, and 30% will likely share that experience via social media according to Zendesk.

6. Using Multiple Platforms

It’s not enough to have a chatbot on your website anymore. In order for people to use your bot, it has to be easy to find and convenient to use. Bots that exist in popular applications like Facebook Messenger, and Slack are therefore more likely to be sought out than those that exist exclusively on a brand’s own page. With over 1 billion messages a month sent between Facebook Messenger users and businesses, such apps represent markets that competitive businesses can’t afford not to be a part of.

7. Qualifying Leads

One of marketing’s most valuable purposes is to increase the efficiency of your sales team by identifying customers with whom your brand will perform effectively. People who have a need for your products and services will be more likely to buy them, so converting these people into customers will be much easier than trying to sell to others. Configuring your chatbot to flag likely customers and pass them along to your sales team thereby ensures higher rates of engagement as well as driving sales. For example, if your company sells soft drinks you might want your bot to lead with a question like “do you like soda?”, and connect users who answer “yes” to a sales associate.

8. Building Brand Loyalty

Customer retention is as important a part of marketing as customer acquisition, and the right chatbots can help you increase both. One of the best ways to retain customers using chatbots is by giving them a bit of personality. People are more likely to return to a chatbot that can tell jokes or play games than one who simply quotes statistics and parrots sales copy. Furthermore, bots with these novelty features often receive good press and easily arouse interest from influencers, which can provide your brand with much-needed exposure.

9. Taking In-App Payments

It’s one thing for a chatbot to be able to arrange the terms of a sale, but it’s another for it to be able to handle every aspect of a transaction independently. Facebook Messenger now contains the infrastructure necessary for bots to receive in-app payments, essentially allowing for customers to make self-service purchases without even having to visit a different page. Since website issues are to blame for an estimated 56% of online customer losses, this is a major boon from both a marketing and sales perspective.

10. Adding Different Personas

Different people are more likely to engage with different chatbots. Many customers find chatbots with female personas more trustworthy (or desirable) than those with male ones, but to increase your appeal you may want to develop one of each. By giving your customers options, you’ll ensure that each of them can always engage with a presence they feel comfortable with, maximizing your chances of a positive interaction.

There are many thousands of chatbots being developed for use in the marketing world, and a large portion of their success will come down to trial and error. If you want to lower your risks though, it will be in your best interests to develop your chatbot along the lines of some—or all—of the successful examples mentioned above. Remember, chatbots are still a developing technology, so you can learn a lot by doing. Combine these strategies with your own innovations, and you may find yourself with a bot that revolutionizes digital marketing.