The Digital Marketer’s Guide to Chatbot Marketing

Larry Kim

Written by:
Larry Kim

According to a survey conducted by Oracle, around 80% of businesses would want to employ a chatbot of some form by 2020.

Chatbots do what email marketing, customer service representatives, mobile apps, can do — but instantly in the mobile-friendly text and messaging apps already on your customers' phones.

Messaging apps have even overtaken social networks as the favorite apps in our phones.

But if you're over hype and want real talk on how to leverage chatbots to grow your business, look no further.

This is a comprehensive overview of chat marketing tactics generating massively increased leads, lower cost per lead, and driving sales revenue as used by brands including Toyota, Hush Puppies, Century 21 and Car Loans Canada?

How do I know?

Because these are the real-life customers of my company MobileMonkey, a platform for marketers and the growth-focused to design and launch chatbots on Facebook Messenger, web chat, SMS and more.

Marketers are getting 10X better engagement with chat campaigns than email marketing, and decreasing CPAs 75% with Facebook Messenger ads, and 98% open rates with SMS text blasts. You've gotta see it to believe it.

 

Table of Contents

 

Part 1: What Is Chatbot Marketing?

Chatbots are software that uses AI to converse with humans, making them a primary method automating your messaging. Chatbots work by processing user questions and offering answers in a chat and text interface.

Since chatbots are programmable software, they can be used to execute tasks like sending customer data to a CRM or email platform, or a customer support ticket system where a live agent can take over the chat. Chat automation saves a business time and effort.

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Having active and available chat can entice customers to make their inquiries through chat instead of going through lengths in using other methods. This is possible due to chat now becoming a ubiquitous and more convenient channel for communication.

Messaging with businesses in chat is similar to email, in that you grow a subscriber list and then send outbound messages to subscribers to engage them with content and promotions.

But chat marketing and email marketing are not exclusive.

They can and should be used holistically. For instance, businesses can use chat marketing to grow an email marketing list, and then stay connected to customers in multiple communication channels with multiple touch points.

 

Part 2: Why Chatbot Marketing Matters

With Facebook Messenger having over 1.3 billion users, chatbots on Messenger can reach a huge audience. Two billion messages are sent to businesses over Facebook Messenger each month.

And Millennials report that they would rather stay in touch with businesses via SMS text messages than phone calls or emails because they are more convenient. SMS chatbots give businesses the ability to scale text message communications infinitely!

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Chatbot marketing is the fastest-growing form of digital marketing right now.

Here are 5 big benefits of chatbots to your business.

 

1. Directly Reach Your Audience

According to a study by Headliner Labs, customers are 3.5 times more likely to open a Facebook message than a marketing email.

With that coming from a company focused on conversational marketing for retail and eCommerce, it says a lot about the power of chat.

Since they can respond to your message by replying or simply clicking on your call-to-action button, they can be immediately moved down your funnel.

Add to that sponsored ads on Facebook Messenger, which can send anyone who clicks on them to your page.

There’s no guesswork to tracking the results of your chatbot marketing since you can directly target customers who are truly interested.

The chatbot can market through custom audience segments to hit customers who are most likely to convert.

That’s made easy through chat since people in your contact list are there because they opted in and showed interest in your business.

 

2. Save Time and Money on Customer Service

Since customers expect chat support to be available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, there’s no reason to make them wait.

But most of those customers tend to ask the same questions, and they usually have the same answers most of the time.

You can automate the answering of those questions with a customer support chatbot, whether it’s technical assistance, delivery tracking, or so on.

Whatever you can’t automate, that’s what your support team should focus on instead while the chatbot takes care of the rest.

 

3. Identify High-Quality Leads

Whenever your chatbot encounters a new lead (and potential customer), it should be able to qualify that lead.

Gauging interest can be as simple as asking some basic questions regarding your products and services.

Come up with a short list of questions to see whether that lead is indeed interested in your brand, like what they’re looking for and what’s their budget.

If they indeed show significant interest, you can direct them immediately down the funnel to your sales team.

They’re high-quality leads that should be nurtured further in the hopes of converting them to buying your products and services.

 

4. Manage Ecommerce Transactions

When set up right, chatbots can handle selling products and services within a platform such as Facebook Messenger.

Since it can be done within Messenger, the drop-off rates are lower compared to a traditional ad-to-webpage channel.

While it doesn’t replace the need for a checkout system in your website, it does add another convenient ordering option.

Another advantage to eCommerce chatbots is the opening for personalized upselling within chat.

The chatbot can make recommendations and suggestions derived from the customer’s cart and buying history.

And web chat on an eCommerce site can hand the chat over to a live agent, increasing conversions 13% or more with a virtual concierge service.

 

5. Customer Re-Engagement

Remarketing is a great way to boost revenue without having to put more money into advertising, and chatbots are amazing at it.

Since your chatbot can remember what customers like from past conversations and buying history, it already knows what they’re interested in.

Your chatbot can re-engage with your customers for repeat business by marketing similar products they haven’t bought yet.

It can also remind them about their carts, as well as recurring purchases for occasions like anniversaries, holidays, and more.

 

Part 3: 8 Chatbot Marketing Tactics Driving Results Today

MobileMonkey has accrued tons of customer data to come up with a chatbot marketing tactics playbook that’s sure to work for your business, whether it's eCommerce, B2B, B2C, education, publisher, and more.

These tactics are meant to yield the best results for the least amount of investment through chatbot marketing.

We'll go through the whole funnel from lead generation to audience engagement and retention, with different tactics to drive sales and conversions.

1. Add Web Chat to Your Website

This might sound pretty basic, but the very first tactic to execute is adding web chat tools to your website.

Customize the look and feel of your chat widget to make it suit your website. Use custom greeting messages that speak to the visitor of each landing page and specific pages.

You can also customize how the chat widget appears and behaves on different platforms, making them fit wherever they’re viewed, whether on desktop or mobile.

Whenever you want your autoresponder message on 24/7 to handle incoming messages and respond accordingly, or you want to jump in with a live agent when someone indicates they need human help, a business can set up the menu of options to help a visitor find the help and info they need fast.

This is the first step towards making your chat a more integral part of your business, letting people better interact with your brand.

An automated chat platform also goes beyond a live chat platform by enabling a business to capture leads from chat, which you can then qualify to separate the wheat that are high-quality leads from the chaff. Live agents are able to jump into the chat at any time, especially when a visitor qualifies themselves as urgent or highly valuable.

 

2. Qualify High-Quality Leads

There are a couple of good strategies for increasing the volume of high-quality qualified leads in your chat.

The first one is for qualifying and second is for notifying you whenever a high-quality lead has been qualified.

You can create custom greetings that suit your brand (and for important pages on your website) to boost inquiries.

For example, instead of just a generic greeting in product pages, you can have a greeting that asks whether the visitor wants a special deal.

These custom greetings can also have attachments, images, widgets, and other elements to suit your needs, as well as your customers.

They can then lead to different dialogues that can better qualify each lead, depending on what they’re looking for.

After setting that up, you can deploy the second strategy of setting up push notifications whenever a lead is labeled as urgent or important.

You set very exact criteria for what an important lead is so you don’t get notified every time a conversation is merely started.

This can be done by having a dialogue that picks out only the hottest and most convertible of leads.

When a hot lead is picked up, you get notified about it and you can then act on them to lead them further down your funnel.

You can set these notifications to be sent by either your email or as a push notification on your phone.

 

3. Use Menus and FAQs to Reduce Donkey Chat Sessions

Most businesses no longer send customers directly to human agents, letting the chatbot handle their inquiries first.

As mentioned above, chatbots can be made to handle frequently asked questions in order to lighten the burden of your support team.

This can be done through a menu, much like how customer support over the phone works, but a lot less annoying.

Users can click on or type in what kind of information they need from you and the chatbot will provide the corresponding solution.

You can also create dialogues for frequently asked questions so the chatbot provides answers whenever a user asks them.

This tactic can reduce much of your human support team’s workload, letting them focus on more complicated inquiries.

You can also reduce the number of employees dedicated to support, thus lowering labor costs and overhead.

But sometimes, the chatbot doesn’t completely help solve the problem and the inquiry gets elevated to your support team.

If so, the preceding conversation with the chatbot can help provide context for human support to understand the problem.

In any case, having your chatbot be your chat receptionist can make your chat support a lot more powerful.

 

4. Engage with Visuals and Interactivity

The most important thing that makes chat a lot better than email or phone for customer service is how you can see the whole conversation before you.

That overt visual component, combined with mobile convenience and quick responses, makes chat a powerful conversational tool.

You can add to that power by adding more visuals and interactivity with images, GIFs, galleries, widgets, and so on.

By sending relevant images that show instead of just tell, you can be better understood and they’ll be more engaged.

Widgets can add more functionality and interactivity to your chat in various ways, letting your audience let you know what they want.

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5. SMS Blasting to Engage an Audience

Chat marketing technology can support messaging on multiple platforms including Facebook Messenger, SMS, web chat, Instagram messaging, WhatsApp and more.

I have found SMS to be one of the most engaging chat channels. Average SMS open rate is 98% and 95% of messages are opened in the first 5 minutes of delivery.

Use SMS blasting to send your contact list relevant content and offers.

Have them subscribe to you through SMS and you can then use your chat to opt-in these new subscribers from SMS.

They’re then added to your chat contact list, and you can market to them through drip campaigns.

When they opt in, they can get the latest news, announcements, and deals on your products and services.

MobileMonkey allows you to create chat marketing campaigns that simultaneously work on multiple chat apps. Here is an example of the same campaign as it's displayed in SMS and Facebook Messenger.

 

6. Integrate Your Web Chat with Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger is the second biggest messaging platform in the world with 1.3 billion users.

That’s why integrating your web chat with Facebook Messenger tactics is a no-brainer as it also integrates your website to your social media.

You can generate leads with various means to direct people to your Messenger, namely with a comment autoresponder and Click-to-Messenger ads.

The Facebook comment autoresponder, or Comment Guard, can be set up on a new Facebook post to have your chatbot message people who comment on it.

This is done best in Facebook posts that encourage comments, like questions that people can answer or puzzles they can solve.

Commenters can then be messaged automatically with poll results, solutions to puzzles, or so on to start conversations.

If they respond to those messages, they’re opted in and added to your contact list, thus turning them into leads.

As for Click-to-Messenger ads, they’re basically Facebook ads with calls-to-action that directs people to your Messenger.

You can then have your chatbot greet them and engage them in conversation about your brand, and you can ask them about their interests.

 

7. Automated Drip Campaigns

A chat drip campaign is an effective method of marketing by sending a series of timed messages to contacts.

It works well enough in email, and it works even better in chat marketing as it gets way higher open and click-through rates.

Compared to buying ads, drip marketing costs a lot less and gives you a lot more control over how you present your brand to users.

It’s also relatively less annoying to people as you’ll only message contacts who opted in first, compared to ads that follow people around.

With a well-designed drip campaign, you create more brand recognition in your audience by front-loading your messages.

As long as you send messages in reasonable intervals, you will neither annoy them with spam nor have them forget you in a month.

If people like what they see from your messages, they may inquire about your brand or even buy from you.

The key is in creating engagement while the conversation is still hot and they still have your brand in mind.

 

8. Expand Your Chat Support Team

With your chatbot handling most of your chat support, you free up your human operators for more meaningful work.

This is especially true if you’ve been able to increase your chat sessions by using SMS, Facebook ads, and so on to boost lead generation.

Bringing in more people to your chat support team to pick up the slack for your chatbot can help your chat become a major part of your business.

This is best if you’re successful at making your chatbot be really good at handling customer inquiries and marketing your brand.

Scaling up your chat support team is the last tactic here because you need to have the previous ones done well for this to do you good.

Creating a good foundation by establishing a solid chat infrastructure can help grow your business and give you the freedom to do more.

Your chat support team can use chatbot alerts and notifications to trigger live chat takeover of your chatbot to handle higher priority inquiries, making your chat more helpful.

Good customer service goes a long way in making a business more reputable to customers, thus helping you gain even more customers.

 

What's Next, Marketer?

Building a chatbot nowadays is easier than ever with visual bot building platforms that require no coding experience.

There are tons of resources out there for learning how to both improve your chatbots and maximize their value.

Chat marketing doesn't replace email marketing, customer service, and apps; it supports them while also being its own unicorn for a business's growth goals.

If you'd like to learn more about chatbot marketing, visit the bonus area I created for friends of Visme.

You'll get my guide to building chatbots for brands, my chatbot checklist and more.

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About the Author

Larry Kim is the founder of MobileMonkey, the world’s best free chatbot builder and integrated chat marketing platform for SMS, Web Chat and Facebook Messenger. He’s also founder of WordStream, Inc., the leading provider of Google Ads, Facebook Ads and keyword tools used by over a million marketers worldwide. The company employs over three hundred people and manages billions of dollars of ad spend on behalf of tens of thousands of customers. WordStream was acquired by Gannett for $150 million. Larry is ranked the #8 most popular author on Medium. He’s a contributor to CNBC and Inc. Magazine. Key interests include: Chatbot Marketing, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, entrepreneurship and startups. He received Marketer of the Year awards from Search Engine Land, US Search Awards, and PPC Hero.

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