We've been talking about trends and predictions for the digital marketing space in 2019, and one of those trends circles around chatbots. Chatbots are a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that makes it easier to answer common customer questions and can even create personalized shopping experiences.
Because no chatbot is created equal and every business's need for a chatbot is different, there's not a blanket answer for the question, "should your business use a chatbot for marketing?" Instead, it depends on your marketing team and its objectives.
So let's talk a bit more about what chatbots are, what they can do for your business and the reasons why you might need one.
What are chatbots?
A chatbot is a form of AI that automates some sort of customer-facing task. These really grew in popularity a couple of years ago when Facebook Messenger opened up its business page messenger to automated bots. Businesses started using them for FAQ, media pages started using them to share recent news, and retail companies have created shopping experiences within their bots so that customers can make purchases without ever having to leave Facebook.
Although Facebook is undoubtedly the most popular chatbot platform, there are also apps and software to create chatbots on your own website. These can be programmed with automatic questions and responses from which your website or Facebook Page visitors can choose.
For what can chatbots be used?
- Lead Generation: Many chatbots added to business websites are there for this purpose alone. When someone chimes in to ask a question, the first thing these bots ask is for the person's email address. This is for a couple of reasons: (1) if it turns out they have a specific question that needs to be answered by a human and (2) so that they can be added to the business's email list.
- Shopping: Facebook has since added the ability to pay for purchases within the Messenger app, so Page visitors can even complete all of their shopping right in the chatbot. This creates an amazing new revenue outlet for retail businesses.
- FAQ: If people have a lot of questions, especially if they're the same questions over and over again, putting the questions and answers into a chatbot is a great way to engage potential customers, as well as provide them with any information they might want before working with you.
- Send Notifications: If someone has opted in to receive messages from your business's chatbot, this is huge. It can be even more powerful than your email list. Though you should use this sparingly, it can be a great way to send notifications to your audience about new launches and company announcements.
- Reach a Wider Audience: If you regularly provide company information on Facebook, it's just another way for people to find and interact with your business. Because there is a huge customer base on Facebook and other social media apps, it's a great opportunity for your company to reach even more people.
- Customer Data: It's no surprise that we're bringing this up, right? We love data, and chatbots are just another great way to interact with your customers, generate more customer data, and further improve your targeting and marketing automation.
Learn more about using customer data in your marketing with our definitive guide to marketing data. Contact us today to learn more about data management within your chatbot and other marketing strategies.