Chatbot Marketing: A Beginners Guide to Getting it Right
Chatbots are the talk of the town when it comes to strategic marketing. And the opportunities to mesh the wonders of artificial intelligence into the conventional marketing mix are ever-expanding. A big part of that is, it no longer requires a coding whiz to take advantage. Building a chatbot can be done in minutes. Building one well takes sound strategy, planning, and a good imagination. But as always, the best way to start is at the beginning. Here are some ideas on how to get started with chatbot marketing.
First, what is a chatbot?
In the simplest terms, a chatbot is a computer program that can hold a conversation with a person, usually over the internet. And they are getting incredibly sophisticated. Almost everybody in the world has used or now has access to a chatbot on their smartphone (think Siri).
They definitely don’t replace good humans, but chatbots can help answer questions in any language, at any time.
And in some cases they’re incredibly clever and entertaining. All of which opens a world of opportunity for marketers.
From the solutions offered by tech heavyweights like Microsoft and Google to no code required chatbot building applications, there are plenty of options out there. It’s more about finding the best builder at the right price, even if that is you and your own team. Research, research, research. And then experiment. You’ll be surprised at how simple it is to build a basic bot. And likely blown away by what is actually possible with time and resources.
While there are some absolutely brilliant creative examples of chatbot use, getting it right out of the gate will go a long way toward being an effective chatbot marketer. In many ways, the building blocks of chatbot success are simple:
- Competence is key. To start, make absolutely sure your chatbot can answer the easy stuff well.
- The information that your chatbot provides needs to be accurate. There is nothing more frustrating for customers than outdated or incorrect information, no matter what the source.
- Be reliable. The chatbot needs to be ready to interact at any time, day or night if called on by a customer.
Chatbot marketing is in many ways no different than any other kind of marketing. Make sure you understand your customers. Be clear about what you are trying to accomplish. Get the messaging right. Measure the results. Refine and improve. Repeat.
Remember, what your chatbot says and how it says it is up to you and will be a direct reflection of your brand. Be prepared with a sound strategic approach before you build and launch.
If you can get the basics right, the creative potential of conversational marketing is endless. And if a chatbot can be unique and entertaining in addition to accurate and reliable, that is a big bonus for your brand. Many companies are still in the process of stretching chatbot possibilities, demonstrating sophisticated techniques that not only improve customer experience but delight and capture new customers.
Follow the data
Test and experiment. Nobody is going to get chatbot marketing perfect right away. The good thing is that the data that your chatbot platform provides can give you a better sense of what your customers are actually after. What are the most frequently asked questions? What are drop off rates? How many people move further down the sales funnel? And that type of data should inform ongoing refinement of the technology and strategy.
Chatbots aren’t just cool, nice-to-have tech anymore. They’re essential parts of the conversational marketing mix. They reach clients on the channels they’re on when they’re on them. So start small and think big. Chatbots are here to stay and every marketer in the world needs to know how to get started.