We’ve placed a lot of emphasis on the importance of AI in marketing automation. But that’s such a broad net that the vastness of the topic can become intimidating, which is why today’s AI talking point will be more laser-focused: Chatbots.
Chatbots are AIs that interact directly with the end-user through text-based conversations on your company website, though some bots like the ubiquitous Siri and Alexa are able to directly speak with users. Chatbots have consistently proven to be popular with consumers, with nearly 50 percent of individuals happy to interact with an AI. This is due in no small part to the 24/7 availability of the platform and the speed with which it works. But how should you be incorporating chatbots into your marketing strategy? Or should you be doing it at all? Check out our crash course in bots below.
DO: Use chatbots in conjunction with email
Because of the personal and conversational style of chatbot interaction, they generally work wonders with getting click-throughs. Which means they are prime candidates to get leads on your email radar. By setting up bots on messenger-friendly platforms like Facebook, you can directly link them to an email subscriber list, from which you can move them further along the buyer’s journey. And even after they’ve made a purchase, send an email with a link to the chatbot, to be used in case of any urgent questions or concerns relating to the product. No matter how you slice it, email and the chatbot should be intrinsically linked in your strategy.
DON’T: Use the bot to broker sensitive personal data
This should be fairly obvious. When your customer-base entrusts you with their data, it comes with a certain expectation of privacy. Chatbots, for all their benefits, aren’t secure channels for sensitive data. Data breaches can happen to anyone, even Google. Always anticipate these breaches and take steps to avoid them. If you get to the point of requiring personal data from your customers, have the bot link them to a secure channel, or even a human representative. Never through the bot itself, unless you want a data security catastrophe in your future.
DO: Get creative with the marketing strategy with the bot
Chatbots are a relatively new development in the MarTech world. As such, there’s not a lot of red tape and regulation with regard to their use. They can target leads in places and ways that some of your other more traditional methods wouldn’t be able to. Jump on this train before it leaves the station. Think outside the box, be a trailblazer. Integrate them on your social media, landing pages, and more. You’ll surprise yourself with the results you get.
DON’T: Use Chatbots exclusively
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: marketing automation is to supplement good marketers, not supplant them. Even the most high-end bot in the world is not going to be able to replace genuine human interaction in delicate situations. Bots should be able to detect changes in the customer’s tone and transfer them to a flesh-and-blood representative when the conversation starts to go south. And anyone who’s ever worked in customer relations knows how often that can happen. If a bot remains online with an agitated customer for too long, it can damage the situation even further. There is no substitute for that human touch.
DO: Monitor the analytics the bot provides
Most bots are going to have some sort of reporting system that gives you an idea of the conversations being held. You can get real time information on what’s going on with your customers and can use it to adjust your bot and/or strategy accordingly. If something isn’t working with your bot you need to be able to see and respond to it.
DON’T: Cut corners when setting up the bot.
Like a seasoned food critic can detect if meat is fresh or frozen, anyone who’s interacted with another human being can detect a slipshod bot. The “Uncanny Valley” is a real thing, folks. It extends past pure visuals and you are guaranteed to trigger it in your customers if your bot isn’t quality. Put time into developing your bot to make sure it’s as close to human interaction as possible. If you do it right, your customer’s may not even realize there’s no one on the other end of their conversation. Do it wrong and you may alienate the users.