Doing more with less is a business mantra that has been around since the global recession a decade ago. Today, a similar focus from business leaders expects marketers to work smarter. Cloud services, automation tools and AI can help them reach massive audiences, engage tactically and strategically all with minimal effort. 

The chatbot call to action

Many marketers have run out of room on the traditional marketing automation road, emails and texts are sent on the whim of a database or service, and what used to be complex analytics or segmentation is updated minute-by-minute on a dashboard, so where next?

Imagine your store has a growing list of several thousand or a million customers with abandoned shopping carts, or incomplete transactions? How are you going to reach out to all those potential customers and grab those extra sales?

Since most customers will have left some form of contact, you can email them, but people ignore most of them. However, a retargeting Messenger chat with a polite reminder about their unfinished business, or an extra incentive to get them to check out is a more immediate and accessible way of interacting.

Most chatbot providers can link to the likes of Shopify or other cart services, and with ways to expand the conversation, marketers can redirect customers to fresh deals, use them for upselling or find out why they didn’t complete. FInding out what the store can offer that would help them check out is also something chatbots can offer, with rich media helping drive the conversation, showing colours, brands or models, all of which is more interactive and evolving than a static email.

Bots can offer messages across multiple channels, including text, app, website, messenger and others, allowing automated simple and convenient purchasing or linking back to that cart via rapid interactions. Bots can also deliver stock alerts and other messages that consumers are more likely to act on. Not bad for a little business effort, and marketing the bot itself becomes a key task to focus on.

Chatbots do social media

Many brands large and small have adopted bots to handle their social media interactions. The idea isn’t to abandon the human touch, but to allow the bots to handle the common requests (when are you open? Where can I buy your stuff? Is this available in red, size 6?).

Chatbots can answer those questions, but also provide a little personality to help promote the company. Chatbots will likely be just as famous as Instagram “influencers” in the coming years, and those with the right gift-of-the-gab will attract massive interest.

That’s why these businesses look to build engaging and exciting chatbots to boost customer retention, create brand equity with customers, improve average order value, and add to the lifetime value of customers. That’s a lot of value-add from a relatively low-cost investment in a chatbot.

Bots put customers in charge

Bots help put the customer in control of the interaction, making them feel in charge, with the added benefit of 24/7 interactions, multilingual options and the ability to pass a message on to a person if someone has a troubling or urgent issue.

The digital consumers of today expect immediacy, they expect self-service and increasingly won’t bother with stores or apps, when they can do so much else directly via social media or through messaging apps. Bots can tease upcoming products in an interactive manner, playing word games with customers and brand followers, or they can send people on adventure games across the web to reveal clues or information. Whatever the message you’re trying to get across a bot can do it instantly for millions of users.

All of this structure is tailor-made for bots to do the heavy lifting and help marketers push that days/weeks/months’ message or special offer with the minimum of back-end fuss. Chatbots can help startups and small businesses aim for rapid growth across a range of social media and platforms, with minimal heavy lifting.

Doing chatbots right

Having talked about minimal effort or heavy lifting, a chatbot is still a platform that needs to be carefully planned, delivered, monitored and updated. See “How Chatbots Play A Key Role in a Marketing Strategy” to ensure you avoid making the common mistakes and take the right approach with your business marketing strategy.

Most companies start off with scripted bots, but as we move to an AI-led generation of technology, bots like SnatchBot offer Natural Language Processing (NLP) as part of the service helping derive entities and intent.

This is a great benefit when it comes to allowing the bot to take part in wider conversations, and having it better understand what customers are asking. SnatchBot provides pre-trained models for many use cases, so you don’t even have to teach the bot.

As NLP and AI technology will soon make bots very smart, understanding and using the technology will be a key part of future marketing efforts.