There’s been a lot of talk about chatbots lately in the digital marketing world. Everywhere you go, marketers are either already using these tools or making plans to incorporate them into their digital marketing campaigns.
So, what exactly are chatbots and why all the hype about these tools now?
Here’s everything you need to know as well as several tips to help you get the best results from your chatbots.
What are Chatbots?
A chatbot is an internet-based software program designed to engage people on your behalf. Instead of physically liking posts and typing messages on your keyboard, bots do the job for you. You simply tell them what to do such as like a post, follow someone, or send a reply and they’ll do exactly that.
Take the example of a social media marketer who has to run campaigns on multiple platforms – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It would be nice to personally type comments and physically like and follow fans. But, when you have thousands of posts to comment on and tens of thousands to like and follow, you may be overwhelmed.
That’s where chatbots come in handy. Simply tell them which posts to comment on and what comments to post and they’ll do that automatically. For instance, you can program your bots to comment with the words “Are You Ready?” on all posts under the hashtag #FireSale2018. You could also program the chatbot to follow back anyone who follows your accounts and like any post that mentions your brand.
Once you’ve programmed the bot, the desired action will be taken without any further effort from you.
What Does This Have to Do with Lead Generation?
By definition, a lead is anyone that’s shown interest in your brand or products. The interest is often expressed by checking out your offers and products followed by connecting with your brand.
Chatbots are currently one of the best tools for initiating contact and getting prospects to spend more time engaging with your brand. They can be used to promote brand awareness on social media and websites. They can also be used to improve brand discoverability. And, they are excellent at conversing with leads to maintain contact.
The even better news is that bots can now be used and paired with nearly every lead generation strategy. Whether its social media marketing, content marketing, or email marketing, you can integrate chatbots into the campaign for better results.
Advantages of Using Chatbots for Lead Generation
Bots come with several advantages. Here are some reasons to use bots for lead generation.
Bots are fast and efficient
Depending on the popularity of your brand, you could be dealing with up to a few million fans spread across multiple platforms. As much as you may want to engage with those fans in person, it’s never going to work. You can’t chat, comment, like, and follow thousands of posts and fans each day; it’s not practical.
Bots, being machines, perform these tasks with ease. They can comment on, chat, and follow posts and users without delay. Prompt responses increase your chances of winning and retaining fans. At the same time, you save valuable time that is better spent on other areas of the business.
Bots increase followers
Bots have the ability to search for and follow qualified leads for your brand. All you have to do is define the characteristics that make an ideal lead. For example, you can program your bots to follow students of a particular college. You can also program them to follow the leaders of a particular organization.
As long as you give the right instructions, your bots will earn you hot leads consistently. You can set up your campaign so the bots engage with your leads with automated messages. Before you know it, you’ll be looking at lots of new leads on your profile.
Chatbots are inexpensive
Granted, some bots must be purchased. But, most of them are free to use. It means that you can generate plenty of leads completely free of charge.
What’s better, even premium chatbots are rarely expensive. One of the most expensive Facebook Messenger bots costs $50/month. And that’s the pro plan that gives you access to 24/7 support, over 30,000 unique users, and unlimited messages. Human marketers would charge a lot more to deliver that. Of course, the key is the initial setup which takes a human to do! Bots can be powerful if they are given the proper attention in the setup phase. The “smarter” a bot is, the more involved the initial setup process can be. However, once setup the power of the bot can be amazing.
Tips for Chatbot Lead Generation
Here are four useful tips to help you extract the most value from your chatbots.
Engage your visitors
On some occasions, you’ll need a human touch to initiate a conversation. Bots can do that. But, it must sound natural to work at all. The prospect, for many reasons, may keep ignoring all the bot’s messages. Or, after a series of messages, the prospect might notice the robotic nature of replies and stop responding.
You need to be around, engage these fans, and initiate conversations if need be. For prospects that are already on board, tweak the actions of your bots accordingly to encourage meaningful conversations. Also, revise your responses as appropriate until you’re in sync with the lead.
Provide real answers
Chatbots, if not programmed properly, can be very annoying. When someone asks a question, they could respond with a completely irrelevant answer. They can also leave irrelevant comments. This can turn away potential customers.
To avoid such situations, find a way to provide useful responses to each situation. If someone asks about the price of a product, your bots need to respond with an actual price. That’s the only way to keep leads hooked.
Measure and analyze bot performance
Always keep a close eye on the performance of the bot. Is it delivering on your goals? How many people has it followed in the past week? What is the number of comments has it posted? How many posts has it liked?
Even more importantly, you want to know whether the bot is working. Are the conversations going well? Do people understand the bots’ responses? Are they following back when followed? Do they comment on the bots’ comments? Most importantly: Are the leads converting? Are they making purchases? If not, why and what can you change?
Finally, make it a habit to split test your campaign. Split or A/B testing simply means dividing your campaign into two parts and test out new methods. Then, go with the method that delivers the better results.
There are several things you can A/B test and improve over time including; answers to frequently asked questions, triggers for chat window opening, agent image, and chat colors. You can also test the effectiveness of chatbots on different pages of your website and the most appropriate time to initiate a chat.
Chatbots for All Business Types
Check out these chatbots for help with your business. These are just a few to give you an idea of what’s possible for your business. You can find bots for every industry.
Botlist.co has a list of bots you can subscribe to. These bots are free. Try some out to get familiar with all that bots can do and how they can work for you.
Health Tap – answers health-related questions. The answers come from 100,000 US Dr’s. So they’re accurate. This would be great for a Dr or clinic looking to pre-screen their appts.
1-800-Flowers – Order flowers and get them delivered to your favorite sweetie.
SkillFlow – This bot for web developers can see the questions your team is asking and direct them to the correct resource or initiate a chat so the issue is addressed immediately.
Peter – Perfect for gyms. This bot motivates people to work out and get back into the gym.
Casey Neistat Bot – A Youtube personality and filmmaker. This bot lets you chat with Casey, check out his videos and ask equipment questions.
Where Do You Find Chatbots for Your Business?
There are so many bots that can do so many things for your business. But where can you get one created for your business?
Get Started Now
Although the figures vary from one study to another, chatbots guarantee a solid return on investment. It’s time to at least educate yourself and explore how others are using bots and how your organization may begin to use bots as well.
Can you see where bots can help you get leads or make running your business easier?
If you choose the right chatbots and deploy them strategically, you stand to gain a new sales channel. Surely, you don’t want to miss out on that.
Need more reasons why your business should consider chatbots? Check out this great infographic from Chatbots Magazine.