Here’s a screenshot showing a conversation with ELIZA – the first chatbot developed in 1966 by Joseph Weizenbaum, a computer scientist and an MIT professor.
Since then, the technology has evolved by leaps and bounds, and what once was available for a very limited niche has now become a household entity.
Chatbots have soared in popularity in recent times due to the fascination that comes with the fact that you’re able to speak with a robot. Chatbots are serving across multiple industries and can provide customer support, offer discounts, process payments to name a few functions.
What Is a Chatbot?
A chatbot is an application powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) that simulates intelligent human conversation through speech or text.
The incredible thing about chatbots is that due to their machine learning capabilities, chatbots get smarter with every conversation.
If you are looking to get started with chatbots, we will look at five ways you can use them in marketing.
1. Personalise the User Experience
Personalisation engages users on a one-on-one level, improving the user experience and inspiring brand loyalty. In fact, according to a survey by OneSpot and Marketing Insider Group, 78% of the US internet users said that personally, relevant content increases their purchase intent for a brand’s products and services.
The simple act of referring your customer by their name goes a long way. Chatbots take it up a notch by making personalised recommendations and solving user queries based on their preferences and past purchases.
Here is how CNN sends customised news content based on user preferences:
2. Increase User Engagement
Marketers have been trying to get people’s attention and engage them through various channels. Be it by creating splendid content on social media or by sending push notifications through mobile apps. However, everything eventually fades out because attention is a scarce resource and people are always looking out for the next shiny object.
Chatbots can keep your audience engaged for a long time by initiating a genuine conversation with them. During the conversation, chatbots can get to know more about the user to improve the overall experience further.
Collect.chat engages its site visitors by asking product specific questions and guiding them accordingly.
3. Gain Customer Insights
The survey email you just sent seeking to get product feedback is probably waiting to get deleted without even being read. It’s not your fault. The reason for apathy from your customers is because email inboxes are cluttered with way too many promotional emails and updates.
In such cases, chatbots can help you stand out through the noise. You can program the chatbot in such a way that it will carry a casual conversation while understanding user characteristics and preferences. Make sure that the conversation feels like a breeze and not an interrogation. These insights clubbed with analytics data will give you the right amount of customer details that you can use to drive your marketing strategy.
4. Guide Your Visitors Through the Marketing Funnel
When you walk into a brick-and-mortar store, you are usually greeted by a friendly sales associate. The associate listens to your requirements patiently and suggests a product that suits your needs. In the online scenario, this process gets a little tedious because of the massive volume of incoming leads. Marketers have tried to simplify this process by introducing content and customised lead form fields that target different stages of the buying process, but the system is still not foolproof.
Chatbots can qualify leads on your behalf by asking the right questions to your visitors and forwarding the prospects to the sales team.
Driftbot by Drift prospects its website visitors based on the initial interaction with the visitor.
5. Sell Your Products
The rise of conversational commerce has put a lot of emphasis on chatbots as they act as an interface between the buyers and the store. Based on the applications we have seen so far, it is evident that bots can assist the buyer in making a purchase, but that’s not all! Chatbots can also assist during the payment process, updating the user on product delivery and taking their feedback as well.
Chatbots can give a gentle nudge to users who didn’t finalise their purchase, i.e. cart abandonment, and they can also reach out to your loyalists whenever you have a new offer or discount incoming.
Ralph, Lego’s chatbot guides its users towards purchasing by first understanding about their budget, genre, group and so on as follows.
According to Gartner, 85% of all customer service interactions will be carried out by chatbots by the year 2020. Chatbots have opened the floodgates for marketers to connect and establish relationships with their visitors and customers, and it’s just a start. Chatbots are evolving at an unprecedented rate, and they’ll soon be in every household (Look at Amazon Echo).
If you are planning to implement a chatbot in your marketing, these ideas will give you a good headstart. However, don’t build a chatbot just because it’s an industry buzzword at the moment. Remember that user experience triumphs everything.