There are thousands of companies across the planet who are already using bots to assist them in day-to-day business management operations. Team management, human resources, accounting and telecommunications are all on the road to being well and truly disrupted through the increasing availability and accessibility of artificial intelligence-powered software solutions.
And they aren’t the only sectors benefiting from artificial intelligence. Digital marketing is seeing huge advances in a number of domains, with AI-powered bots coming in to streamline and automate operations, essentially generating new business and making life a lot easier for the people behind the scenes.
Wondering how you can make the bot revolution work for you? Let’s take a look at how you can bring bots into your digital marketing strategy and why you should:
Should You Include Bots in Your Digital Marketing Strategy?
1. Let Them Take Care of Your Customers
Customer service has a huge impact on client retention and the image of your business and it’s set to gain in importance. A Walker Study recently found that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
Let’s face it, the best way to lose clients is to provide them with so-so service that they have to wait hours for, but not all companies have a fully-fledged customer support team working round the clock. Luckily thanks to AI-powered chatbots, each and every business now has the potential to provide fantastic customer service.
Chatbots have been around for years, but it’s in customer service that they are truly making a name for themselves. Advances in natural language processing (NLP) mean that bots are now able to converse seamlessly with customers, handle minor queries or respond to complex requests, make recommendations and provide solutions to problems. What’s more, they do this 24/7 with little to no wait time. That’s a huge advantage for smaller businesses who are lacking large support teams, and a big gain in efficiency for everyone involved. Thanks yet again to NLP, bots can easily be programmed to adopt your company “voice” and reflect your brand throughout all customer interactions. And with most bot-building apps able to integrate with popular messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, it’s possible to provide clients with great service via the apps they use on a daily basis.
2. Use Them to Find Out More About Your Customers
In order to create great experiences for your customers, you obviously have to know as much about them as possible. Customer research is however a time-consuming and expensive process – that is of course, unless you bring in the bots.
Artificial intelligence does a great job on drawing on data from a wide array of sources (Customer interaction with your website, social media, previous purchases etc) and cross-referencing it to build up a detailed and convincing profile. And what if you could question customers directly? Chatbots can do just that, and what’s more, they can make it a fun and entertaining part of the whole customer experience. Used as a conversational research tool, chatbots can gather market insights and even power qualitative research including concept testing, brand perception, and purchase decisions. Depending on how you chose to incentivise participation, chatbot-powered research can be low-cost and unlike traditional research campaigns, you won’t have to wait months for data to be collected, analysed and fed back to you.
3. Let Them Decide Which Leads Are Worth Pursuing
Yet again, bots’ capacity to collate and analyse data from a wide variety of sources is a true godsend when it comes to lead qualification. Lead bots can be helpful for all sales teams, but they really come into their own when it comes to smaller teams or those with less experience, providing a boost for a fraction of the cost of hiring a couple of extra sales reps.
Taking the time to nurture good leads is obviously essential, but lead qualification is a huge investment of time and money for your average company. Lead bots act as a sort of digital concierge for your business, welcoming customers when they arrive at a particular destination (such as your homepage), asking a few questions, and routing them towards the right person, such as a rep who can then close the deal. Bots can help keep your team focus on high-quality conversations with a good chance of conversion and ensure that leads are followed up at the right time by the right sales people. At the same time, they can also provide help to more unqualified leads and ensure that they don’t feel left by the wayside. By programming your chatbot to provide those low-quality leads with helpful responses, you’ll ensure that they’re not left at a dead end and boost your brand image for little to no investment of time or money. Bots help bridge the gap between marketing and sales by helping you start more conversations and find out exactly where your customers are on their journey: basically, a win-win situation.
4. Use Them to Point Customers in The Right Direction
Even when it comes to traditional brick-and-mortar shopping, customers rarely head out to make a purchase knowing exactly what they’re looking for – and even fewer come home having bought only what they set out to get. What most potential buyers do is browse through a shop before committing to a given product. When it comes to online shopping, customer behaviour is pretty similar. You’re probably going to point out that physical stores have shop assistants ready to welcome customers and point them in the direction of the products they need, and that’s unfeasible online. It’s not – yet again, you can bring in the bots.
An obvious advantage when it comes to bots is that they can serve multiple customers at once, but that’s not the only one. Bots provide each and every customer with a personalised shopping experience, asking customers targeted questions about their tastes, using data gathered from previous interactions, web searches and social media profiles and cross-referencing it with external factors such as the weather, season or time of day to suggest the right products at the right time. “Hello Hipmunk” by travel platform Hipmunk integrates with Facebook Messenger, Skype, or Slack and uses a customer’s location and destination to offer them great deals, while lingerie brand Aerie offers a THIS or THAT option that enables shoppers to narrow down their range of options and find the right product.
Chatbots are popping up all over the place, and for a good reason. As we’ve seen, they not only enable huge savings of time and money for smaller companies and start-ups, they also vastly improve the customer experience by providing efficient, customised and entertaining service. With all these points of mine, I believe you’ve gotten some points, enough to convince you to consider adding bots in your digital marketing strategy anytime soon!
But my question now is, are you really thinking about including bots in your digital marketing strategy? Let’s talk about this in the comment section below.