We live in the age of augmented reality and voice search. The world is seeing new heights of technology advancements and people are adapting themselves accordingly. In fact, they are loving it. The ways to connect with an audience are constantly changing and so is consumer behaviour.
One such highly spoken way of interacting with a business audience is conversational marketing. Conversational marketing is the talk of the town with almost every other online business adopting this trend.
What is conversational marketing?
Conversational marketing is the practice of meeting or conversing with your potential buyers or people who have shown interest in your services in order to let them understand your business more and answer all their queries. It is a one-to-one approach to marketing where personalization acts as a fulcrum for the marketing strategy.
In our times, the mediums of having a conversation have evolved. From sending messages in letters to using advanced AI chatbots, we have come a long way indeed. Brands around the globe are opting for chatbots to market and serve their customers better.
Size of the chatbot market worldwide, in 2016 and 2025 (in million U.S. dollars)
Throughout this article, we will learn the different ways chatbots can be used as an effective marketing tool and how can we get going with building a chatbot of our own.
Both chatbots and applications are used to reach out to consumers and serve them better. We, like everyone else, are sometimes confused between a chatbot and an application courtesy the similarities in both these concepts.
An application is a computer software/program that’s intended to carry out a specific task for the current user or for some other application.
They are generally of 4 types- Desktop, Mobile, Web, and Hybrid
A bot is a conversational agent/assistant with learning capabilities which provides personalized services to the user in the form of an intelligent human conversation. Some consider chatbots to be a part of an application.
They are generally of 3 types- Scripted, Intelligent, and Application.
The dissimilarities don’t just lie in the mere definition of these terms but also in the method of human interaction with these. The lines between chatbots and applications are blurred but they are not the same.
The biggest difference which stands out is the conversational way of interaction which happens sequentially in a bot. A chatbot has its own identity which is quite different from the way it interacts with the user.
All in all, interacting with a website or application is not the same as interacting with a chatbot.
The costs associated with developing an application and the ability of chatbots to dynamically interact with users in their natural language make the latter’s case too strong. Small to medium-sized businesses see a cost-effective solution to their numerous problems in a chatbot. This explains the current trend of chatbot usage by so many leading brands.
Chatbots, if used correctly, have immense potential to boost user engagement for any business. This consequently leads to more conversions and sales. The key lies in personalizing the conversational experience for the customer and suggesting product/services to help them out.
Here are some ways we can fit chatbots in our digital marketing strategy for better results:
This is probably the most common use case of chatbots that you may have come across. Customers want immediate answers to their queries and there is no faster method of engaging them other than bots.
You will save a lot of time and effort by asking your chatbot to handle pre-sale queries and navigating users towards what they want. At the same time, chatbots provide accurate and instant information about your products and services. This increases the chance of a conversion because of the right information transmission at the right time.
Here is an example chatbot from Sephora depicting the way bots engage with website traffic.
Live chat is rated highly by customers and everyone wants a chunk of it. Customers prefer live chat for online shopping assistance and chatbots come to our rescue here.
Personalization is key to driving user engagement. Be it any channel where we connect with our audience, if the communication is not personalized, we have very few chances of quality customer engagement.
Personalization in its real sense is one-to-one personalization which is not offered by segmented email lists and website browsing filters.
Chatbots were developed keeping personalization in mind and it is this very characteristic of bots that makes them crucial to any online business. Be it welcoming new customers on our websites or suggesting products based on previous purchase history, chatbots are highly qualified in carrying out these tasks.
When it comes to online stores, personalization becomes even more critical to boost sales and engagement. Hence, chatbots are the go-to solution in these cases.
Personalized Chatbot Flows
The good examples of effective chatbot personalization are many. We just need to learn and apply.
Every business has a dedicated team to qualify and segregate their leads given that lead qualification is such an important part of a business workflow.
What if this important task is carried out by bots so that you get filtered leads to target?
Before you even start thinking, let me tell you it’s possible and it’s happening all around us.
With a sequential list of targeted questions, chatbots can qualify leads for us and decide whether a particular user is a sales qualified lead(SQL) or a marketing qualified lead(MQL).
This saves a lot of our precious time which can then be used in some better-valued work accordingly. Another hefty advantage is that after all the hard work done by the bots, some representative can easily overtake the charge and close the deal for us.
Team communication is of paramount importance as far as any team’s success is concerned. Without all our teams being on the same page, it’s hard to imagine any favourable outcome.
Be it providing the right information to the right people at the right time or just letting others know about the progress of a specific task, chatbots can save the day for us.
Better synchronization amongst all team members allows better closing of deals and better information flow.
Chatbots help to reduce any type of friction developing between teams and keep track of everyone’s work schedule.
Conversational bots are a pool of first-hand consumer feedback and information. This is what every business craves for. Solid customer insights using which we can better our marketing and sales strategy are absorbed by our conversational friends.
Users share a lot of information about themselves, likes/dislikes, habits, etc. while having a conversation. Irrespective of the fact that they are talking to a bot, people tend to exchange information.
This information is stored and can be distributed to the respective teams whenever we have the same customer onboard. Thus, taking personalization to the next level. Based on this data, we can act better to cater to our consumer needs and make the required changes in our approach.
Providing amazing customer service is not a piece of cake. It takes a lot of effort and time to always be there for our customers. When we dedicatedly push to help our customers at any hour of the day, we come close to a cent percent client satisfaction rate.
Being 24*7 available for your customers can be a really tough ask, sometimes impossible.
So, what we do we do in that case? Think of something that can help?
Yeah, you guessed that right.
Conversational bots will again come to our rescue here and provide good assistance to our clients. Moreover, their margin of error is very less. Yes, they can never replace us humans but they are very less prone to error.
The ability to be integrated with several messaging applications and social media presence sums up the story of bots reaching new colonies of users and bringing in plenty of new customers to our doorsteps.
Social media has immense potential and so do chatbots. When people interact with your chatbot on social media, it makes way for a lot of new opportunities for you. On top of this, messaging app integrations makes it very easy to engage with these possible prospects and leads.
The use-cases of chatbots are several and they have established themselves as a vital cog of any organization’s marketing mechanism. Users find chatbots helpful in quite a number of ways.
The very thought of creating your own chatbot may come across as intimidating but what if I tell you that times have changed now. Back in the days, creating an AI chatbot was a laborious task which cost lots of money and required highly-skilled coders. Even after putting in a lot of time and money, the features of the bot were limited.
To counter this and allow people with no coding knowledge access to chatbots, we now have a complete solution in chatbot builders.
Chatbot builders provide a seamless and user-friendly experience while building a bot of your choice with the utmost ease. Albeit bots can be integrated with almost every other messaging platform, the most popular one is Facebook Messenger, thanks to its extensive reach and popularity.
With efficient chatbot builders, the process of creating a chatbot is uncomplicated and effortless. Even people like you and me with zero coding knowledge can get started with it straight away.
This is where we start. We need to sign-up for a chatbot builder account and login with our Facebook account(can be the business account as well). After this, you will be asked to grant access to your public profile and email address.
This is an important step as here you will decide which of your Facebook pages do you want to link with the chatbot builder. After the page is linked successfully, we are all set to move to the next step.
As the name suggests, the welcome greeting is an inaugural message which will be shown to our users when they initiate a conversation with a bot.
The default message is one which is automatically replied to the user when the chatbot doesn’t know the exact answer to the asked question.
Both of these messages are kind of mandatory and should be finalized before proceeding any further. You can create these in the builder dashboard and save them. You may also want to test these before moving forward.
Broadcast messages help to reach out to all of our subscribers at once. These come in handy when we have to send seasonal promotions or notify all of our audience about some big change/announcement.
The chatbot builder allows us to configure broadcasts under a separate setting.
Adding several Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs) which our audience is curious to know the answers to should be the priority. We can feed in all the important questions with their answers to easily push out these when required.
It’s a very effective way to respond to customer queries and provide complete information.
After passing through a few prerequisites and setting up the basic workflow, it is really helpful to test your newly set-up chatbot. Testing reflects any errors or broken connections and the correct working of all buttons.
A chatbot really comes into play when it uses artificial intelligence to assist customers and reduce the burden off their human counterparts. After testing our bots, we are all set to explore the different audience engagement opportunities they offer and reap the benefits.
The contribution of technology towards digital marketing has been remarkable over the past few years. Amongst these, the evolution of chatbots as conversational agents stands out. Businesses of almost every other nature are adopting bots for the greater good.
If you are still with me reading this, you now know the hefty advantages of chatbots and how they can help push customers up the sales funnel. So, if you haven’t incorporated bots in your marketing strategy yet, it’s high time you do so.
You already know the steps of getting started with a simple Facebook Messenger bot. Now, it’s time for you to explore the world of bots and create one to understand better.
Which of the bot benefits do you rate highly? When do you plan to include them in your digital marketing strategy?
Please have your say. I am listening.