Chatbot Marketing: Definition, Examples, And Best Practices

Chatbot marketing leverages software applications that can carry conversations with users, to enhance the value provided for use cases such as 24/7 support and more. 

Introduction to Chatbot marketing

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.

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? 

  1. Designing and developing (and continually improving) chatbots is the biggest challenge and cannot be accomplished without professional help, in most cases.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

Embrace It

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.

Don’t Pretend

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.

Key takeaway

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. 

Marketing Glossary

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing describes the process whereby an affiliate earns a commission for selling the products of another person or company. Here, the affiliate is simply an individual who is motivated to promote a particular product through incentivization. The business whose product is being promoted will gain in terms of sales and marketing from affiliates.

Ambush Marketing

As the name suggests, ambush marketing raises awareness for brands at events in a covert and unexpected fashion. Ambush marketing takes many forms, one common element, the brand advertising their products or services has not paid for the right to do so. Thus, the business doing the ambushing attempts to capitalize on the efforts made by the business sponsoring the event.

Brand Building

Brand building is the set of activities that help companies to build an identity that can be recognized by its audience. Thus, it works as a mechanism of identification through core values that signal trust and that help build long-term relationships between the brand and its key stakeholders.

Brand Equity

The brand equity is the premium that a customer is willing to pay for a product that has all the objective characteristics of existing alternatives, thus, making it different in terms of perception. The premium on seemingly equal products and quality is attributable to its brand equity.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is about creating a mental real estate in the mind of the target market. If successful, brand positioning allows a business to gain a competitive advantage. And it also works as a switching cost in favor of the brand. Consumers recognizing a brand might be less prone to switch to another brand.

Business Storytelling

Business storytelling is a critical part of developing a business model. Indeed, the way you frame the story of your organization will influence its brand in the long-term. That’s because your brand story is tied to your brand identity, and it enables people to identify with a company.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the most powerful commercial activities which focuses on leveraging content production (text, audio, video, or other formats) to attract a targeted audience. Content marketing focuses on building a strong brand, but also to convert part of that targeted audience into potential customers.

Digital Marketing

A digital channel is a marketing channel, part of a distribution strategy, helping an organization to reach its potential customers via electronic means. There are several digital marketing channels, usually divided into organic and paid channels. Some organic channels are SEO, SMO, email marketing. And some paid channels comprise SEM, SMM, and display advertising.

Growth Marketing

Growth marketing is a process of rapid experimentation, which in a way has to be “scientific” by keeping in mind that it is used by startups to grow, quickly. Thus, the “scientific” here is not meant in the academic sense. Growth marketing is expected to unlock growth, quickly and with an often limited budget.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that seeks to utilize low-cost and sometimes unconventional tactics that are high impact. First coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book of the same title, guerrilla marketing works best on existing customers who are familiar with a brand or product and its particular characteristics.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy designed to attract customers to a brand with content and experiences that they derive value from. Inbound marketing utilizes blogs, events, SEO, and social media to create brand awareness and attract targeted consumers. By attracting or “drawing in” a targeted audience, inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing which actively pushes a brand onto consumers who may have no interest in what is being offered.

Integrated Marketing

Integrated marketing describes the process of delivering consistent and relevant content to a target audience across all marketing channels. It is a cohesive, unified, and immersive marketing strategy that is cost-effective and relies on brand identity and storytelling to amplify the brand to a wider and wider audience.

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is a term to describe the multi-faceted approach to a complete and effective marketing plan. Traditionally, this plan included the four Ps of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place. But the exact makeup of a marketing mix has undergone various changes in response to new technologies and ways of thinking. Additions to the four Ps include physical evidence, people, process, and even politics.

Marketing Personas

Marketing personas give businesses a general overview of key segments of their target audience and how these segments interact with their brand. Marketing personas are based on the data of an ideal, fictional customer whose characteristics, needs, and motivations are representative of a broader market segment.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Multichannel marketing executes a marketing strategy across multiple platforms to reach as many consumers as possible. Here, a platform may refer to product packaging, word-of-mouth advertising, mobile apps, email, websites, or promotional events, and all the other channels that can help amplify the brand to reach as many consumers as possible.

Multi-Level Marketing

Multi-level marketing (MLM), otherwise known as network or referral marketing, is a strategy in which businesses sell their products through person-to-person sales. When consumers join MLM programs, they act as distributors. Distributors make money by selling the product directly to other consumers. They earn a small percentage of sales from those that they recruit to do the same – often referred to as their “downline”.

Niche Marketing

A microniche is a subset of potential customers within a niche. In the era of dominating digital super-platforms, identifying a microniche can kick off the strategy of digital businesses to prevent competition against large platforms. As the microniche becomes a niche, then a market, scale becomes an option.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing involves businesses and their brands forming long-term relationships with customers. The focus of relationship marketing is to increase customer loyalty and engagement through high-quality products and services. It differs from short-term processes focused solely on customer acquisition and individual sales.

Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable marketing describes how a business will invest in social and environmental initiatives as part of its marketing strategy. Also known as green marketing, it is often used to counteract public criticism around wastage, misleading advertising, and poor quality or unsafe products.

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