We love our Siri and Google Assistant; we enjoy telling Alexa to play our favorite music, to call someone, and to answer questions about our beloved sports figure or movie actor. This is the new world of chatbots – having a conversation with a machine rather than a live person.
And consumers seem to be more than ready for it. Not only is it fun, but it’s also efficient – especially for current generations on the go, in a hurry, and impatient for information and results right now.
In fact, according to a report from Salesforce, 69% of consumers would rather communicate with chatbots, because the get fast answers, faster than email, and they do not have to sit on hold by phone.
- Chatbots and Marketing
- Are There Challenges?
- How to Get Moving on Chatbot Marketing
- Examples of Chatbot Marketing
- Key takeaway
Chatbots and Marketing
So, what does all of this have to do with marketing? A lot actually. Consider all of the aspects of marketing for which chatbots can be useful:
Chatbots can satisfy consumer demand for 24/7 information and assistance
And with continually improving natural language processing technology, they are learning continually and getting far better at responding satisfactorily. Whether a customer wants more information about a specific product or service or has an issue with a product, delivery, exchange, etc., a chatbot can handle it.
Chatbots can track customer data
And when those customers return, they will be greeted by name, reminded of their past orders, and even receive recommendations and suggestions for additional products or services that may be of interest. This personalizes the communication – something that is always a plus.
Chatbots will give businesses an edge on their competition
Simply because they are more efficient, serve customers better and faster, and do not have human personality quirks that might offend or put off some people. With bots, customers get the attention they deserve an get it well.
Are There Challenges?
- Designing and developing (and continually improving) chatbots is the biggest challenge and cannot be accomplished without professional help, in most cases.
- Bots have not been perfected yet. While natural language processing and AI have certainly come a long way, there will still be issues – expect them to occur. Understand that, like any type of marketing, things evolve constantly, and marketers must stay on top of this technology too.
- Another challenge will be how to incorporate chatbot marketing technology with mobile apps. Initially, there will be a decline in such usage, but, ultimately, they can be connected, especially through voice technology, as it evolves.
- Bots cannot yet gather and churn the big data, and so in-depth analytics is not possible. With time, that will come too, but in the meantime, other data gathering and communication with actual and potential customers will still be necessary. But implementing bot technology now will ensure that you are prepared when the time comes.
How to Get Moving on Chatbot Marketing
You cannot ignore the fact that chatbots might soon be mainstream in overall marketing strategies. Acting now can give you an edge. The technology is moving rapidly, and you need to get on board now.
Ask the important questions first
- What is the purpose of my bot? Exactly what do I want it to do?
- How necessary is it? Can it provide value to my current and potential customers that they aren’t getting now?
Once you know the answer to these two questions, you are ready to move forward with development.
Keep it simple initially
You cannot anticipate every question or every issue members of your target audience may have. Research your customer base and identify the most common questions or issues they have. In other words, what will provide your customer with the most value?
There are tools, like Kik and Telegram that allow businesses to automatically set up accounts that are really quite simple and will take care of those basic tasks you want your bot to perform.
They can do such things as provide information on or find specific products or services, provide shipping and delivery details, give help with checkout and payment processes, and, for stores or restaurants that deliver or provide takeout, take care of food orders.
You probably do not understand the development aspects of chatbot technology
But so long as you do know what you want your chatbot to do, you can find the resources you need. Obviously, your budget plays a role, but if you do your research you may be able to partner up with a startup that is hungry for business and get a really cost-effective deal.
The other option is any number of bot-building templates that will walk you through developing your own – no coding experience required!
Again, Start Simple
When Taco Bell decided to launch its chatbot, it focused on only one thing – takeout orders. The bot took orders, repeated those orders to customers, and then provided options and suggestions based upon that order. Be like Taco Bell.
Expansion can come later. Getting it right with simplicity first keeps customers happy and your reputation intact.
Test and Re-Test
You cannot afford glitches that result in unhappy users. And there will be frequent updates that will impact its quality. You are better off having a separate bot developed for each type of campaign or purpose, and direct your customer questions and issues automatically.
Your developer will thank you too – his job will be much easier updating and fixing glitches on individual campaigns than on a broad single one that will have more chance for errors.
As you monitor and test your bots, you will learn many things – you will learn what your customers like and don’t like, what they are really using and what they are not.
This will inform how you modify and upgrade those bots. And with every modification and enhancement, you will be testing again.
If your customer/user is misinformed and thinks he is speaking to a human, you are not honest or fair. This ultimately causes mistrust. And give your bot a catchy name.
Your Bot is Not the Full Answer
Bots must be attached to humans. There will be questions and issues that your bot cannot address. In these instances, the only smart thing to do is to refer that user to a human, tell that person you are doing so, and exactly when to expect a suitable response.
Make Your Bot Friendly, Even Humorous, But Do Not Wax On
Users appreciate the friendliness and a certain amount of humor (check out the Poncho Weather App) but do not have your bot go on and on. They also want answers and resolutions promptly. So, find a good balance. One of the ways to do this is to check out the bots being used in your sector and see how they resonate with users. Also, be mindful that the more conversation your bot gets engaged in, the tougher it will be for it to keep up. Don’t put yourself in that kind of position.
Examples of Chatbot Marketing
Sprout Social has provided an article that contains a number of truly effective bot marketing examples. You will see all of the reasons why those specifics were chosen as great examples and get great ideas for your own.
These ten aspects of chatbot marketing are obviously just the start for you. There is no question that they will play a huge role in business marketing strategies and tactics going forward. Your single choice is to get on board now, learn all that you can, experiment with bots, and become a master of your marketing fate.
Author Bio: Marie Fincher is a content writer with a long history in marketing, the technology of marketing, and BI. She is a frequent contributor to blogs on data science and those related to marketing in general. As well, she is on the regular writing staff of Grab My Essay.
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