In the Zambian Marketer magazine issue # 30 on page 9, Mr. Dennis Ndhlovu wrote an article titled: Digital age a boost and not a threat to the marketing profession.
He went on to reference a question which he said was long overdue: does the digital age reduce the importance of the traditional marketer?(question paraphrased)
He further said “Incidentally, marketing has now been made less daunting and a marketer’s life made easier through technological developments”
I do agree.
Although to be fair, I am a tech junkie and highly inclined towards using technology for marketing.
Today, I want to talk about one of the latest digital marketing technologies.
The bots. Specifically chatbots.
To see how it works, comment with the word ‘bots’ on my Facebook page under this post:https://www.facebook.com/susanmwendamulongoti/
Later, I will give you examples of bots from other companies.
What are bots? This is software that is designed in such a way that it can interact with a human being and give some relatively intelligent responses depending on its design and purpose.
As a result, some routine work in customer care (and other areas) work can be eliminated and replaced by a chatbot software.
It is not difficult to see why some in the world of traditional marketing could be uncomfortable with this development because it does indeed eliminate certain tasks.
If you are a business owner, it is good news because it means increased efficiency and less cost in some of your sales and marketing functions.
As a marketer, with the right knowledge, you can get robots to help you do your job better, faster and much more efficiently.
Now, how do bots work?
Although they might sound foreign, new and technical, most of us have already interacted with this kind of ‘robot’ before.
Here is the scenario: you need to ask something with regard to the phone service. You dial 111 as the customer care line.
An automated response comes. It says for data bundles, press 1, for our latest promotions, press 2 etc…
This is an example of a conversation flow that chatbots are using in sales and marketing. Instead of voice, they are predominantly using text, images, and emojis because this has become a popular way to communicate.
This is what Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook said at F8 in 2016:
“I don’t know anyone who likes calling a business. And no one wants to have to install a new app for every business or service that they interact with. We think you should be able to message a business, in the same way you would message a friend.”
Technology is moving really fast. This means even digital marketing tools keep changing.
First, it was banner ads on popular websites, then we had a problem of banner blindness which reduced their efficiency.
Then we started email marketing but now our inboxes are so full that email fatigue is a real issue and email marketers will tell you how low the open rates and click rates are becoming with email.
Facebook had very good organic reach when it introduced business pages, but now we know even if you have 100,000 fans, not all of them will see everything you post.
It seems as a digital marketer, there is no chance to slow down or get comfortable because you don’t know what new technology will hit you next.
When will this cat and mouse thing with our customers ever stop?
Ok, enough about that. So the question is: How can you use chatbots?
Below I discuss different ways with actual examples you can check out and give a try.
1. Deliver the latest news to your customers
Your readers are busy and highly distracted but you can get them to receive certain news items every day via messenger.
Here is an example from Huffington post: https://www.facebook.com/messages/t/HuffPost
2. To help customers choose from a list of products
If you offer different variations of the same product, you know that some of the most common questions will be around things like, what is the difference between product A and product B?
If you have so many customers, you would have to invest quite a lot in customer support to handle these queries effectively. Or you can get a chatbot to handle this for you.
Here is a real example: https://www.facebook.com/messages/t/justeat
3. Capture leads from your website
A common scenario: a customer visits a website, they like what they see but they have a few questions to ask.
If the customer is like me and they have had bad experiences filling in the ‘contact us’ form because that means waiting 50 years before getting a response, Ok, that’s an exaggeration, they will be looking for a different way to get answers,
Research has shown that having live chat support helps to retain website visitors and increase conversions. Sometimes you don’t have the time or the manpower. A chatbot comes in handy.
Here is an example: https://rapidminer.com/
4. Share regular content
You know how Facebook organic reach has dropped tremendously right? It is quite a pain because every time you want to reach your thousands of followers, you have to pay for boosting.
First, you paid to get your customers interested in your brand. Now you have to pay again to reach them? No wonder some complain that Facebook is not working(I will write another detailed post n how to fix that).
What if you could regularly use messenger to send content to your customers who have specifically requested it?
Yes, you can. This method is cheaper and certainly has a much, much higher click-through rate than email. You do know about permission marketing, right?
Here is an example of this: https://www.messenger.com/t/wsj
5. Carry out customer survey or just have some fun chit chat
What is one of the best ways to increase your sales? Ask the customer.
Isn’t that obvious? Of course, Steve Jobs said you shouldn’t completely rely on that because sometimes customers don’t know what they want until you show them. Well, that is true. But how do they really feel about what you are currently offering? What are their frustrations disappointments, aspirations? You could assemble a focus group, arrange logistics, sample, experiment etc…or, or you could just do it using a bot thereby cutting out all logistical costs and headaches, saving yourself, time, resources and energy.
You could also get creative and have a chit chat with customers.
Here is an example: https://www.facebook.com/messages/t/bytelondon
6. Order pizza
People who love pizza love speed of delivery and if you are dominos pizza, you want that speed to be super high. So what do you do? Use a chatbot of course.
Have a look at it here: https://www.facebook.com/Dominos/
7. Customer segmentation
What happens if your company caters to both individuals and small businesses?
You need CUSTOMER SEGMENTATION. You already know that some of your products will only appeal to and are only suitable to a certain segment of your market. A good example is banks. You have products for big businesses, small businesses, highly paid workers, lowly paid workers etc. When you post content targeting one segment on your Facebook page, the other segment won’t find it relevant.
There’s a problem right there. Because as you may know, we live in the instant gratification kind of word.
Another example is my personal page.
I have 3 groups of people I give services to.
SEGMENT 1: Those aspiring to be entrepreneurs or writers. They are looking for inspiration, motivation, education, and information
SEGMENT 2: There are those already running a small business and they are looking for help, support or advice regarding their sales and marketing and/or business strategy.
SEGMENT 3: These are well-established businesses (business legends) who are looking to make better use of technology, the internet, and digital marketing to supercharge their sales and marketing or team productivity.
Writing a general motivational message might appeal to SEGMENT 1but feel like noise to SEGMENT 3.
A great digital marketing post might appeal to SEGMENT 3 but sound too advanced for SEGMENT 1. You get the idea.
With a bot, I can segment the audience and send specific messages to the right people and only share general messages on the page.
Are you seeing the possibilities of what you can do with a chatbot to in your sales and marketing strategy? Tell me about it.
Here is another fun example: https://www.messenger.com/t/justeat
Remember you can try it on my page by typing the word ‘bots’ under this post. My page link is here: https://www.facebook.com/susanmwendamulongoti/