What is an AI Chatbot in Marketing, and Why Does it Help Marketers?
With the rise of new technologies, we are seeing a surge in the number of chatbots being used in the execution of marketing strategies. AI chatbots are definitely in the future of marketing automation. AI chatbots are not only for the automation of repetitive tasks, but they also provide an excellent marketing opportunity for businesses looking to reach new customers and engage the existing ones. They allow having conversations with people in a more natural way via text or voice messaging. This is an important part of marketing because it helps the company stay in touch with the customers that matter most.
Did you ever hear of such terminology as chatbot marketing, also known as messenger marketing, and conversational marketing? Conversational marketing is a business approach that uses targeted messages to engage people in real-time – through SMS, voice gadgets, and chatbots.
According to Drift’s 2020 State of Conversational Marketing report, usage of chatbots as a brand communication channel increased by a whopping 92% since 2019. 24.9% of buyers used chatbots to communicate with businesses in 2020, up from 13% the year before. And 41.3% of consumers use conversational marketing tools for purchases – up from 17.1% since 2019. The modern chatbots aren’t just useful for customer service, they can drive conversions and close sales too.
6 Benefits of Using an AI Chatbot by Business to Reach its Marketing Goals:
Chatbots have been around for decades automating various tasks. In the past 6-7 years they started to gain momentum in the marketing world. They are not just automated chat programs that answer questions; they are intelligent software programs that can understand natural language and use it to communicate with people.
AI chatbots offer a variety of features that help with marketing campaigns for lead generation. As we continue to explore new ways to reach our marketing goals, it is important to consider how chatbots can help us achieve these goals. The following are some reasons why you should consider implementing an AI chatbot for your marketing strategy:
1. AI chatbots can be used in customer acquisition strategy and marketing campaigns
Chatbots with conversational AI allow businesses to acquire new customers through chatbot conversations for promotions, special offers or sales, content updates, and many others. Links and buttons in advertising can directly open an inquiry form in the chatbot to complete an order or registration. Businesses can use this technology to provide a new channel for their marketing campaigns so to attract new customers. The automation of the processes of one company can be done by an AI chatbot like 24/7 customer service and support, creating whole marketing and sales funnels, and many other business operations. Intelligent AI chatbots are already used by businesses in the financial sector, health care, e-commerce, hospitality and tourism and many other industries.
2. AI chatbots as first-party and zero-party data collection tool
Marketers must take this not as a bad thing because there are other ways far more useful to market products and services and they do not have to wait for Google restrictions. They can make the switch now. Think for a minute: conversational AI chatbots are a first-party cookies tool on the website of the business, which shall be the focal point for digitally-oriented businesses. First-party cookies are the ones that the website collects about customer behavior in general. They are collected automatically (compliant with the personal data restrictions) – when visitors are on the website, what they search for, and more. All these statistics can be accumulated and sorted by the AI chatbot when the business redirects customers to it for online communication from all social media accounts or anywhere else right to the chatbot on the website.
An AI chatbot is also a 24/7 zero-party data collection tool. Zero-party is all the data intentionally shared by users: on the website, in a chatbot, etc. These are customers’ intentions in buying something, what they choose, and their personal preferences. An AI chatbot can help as a zero-party data collection tool when various forms are built into it that users fill in to receive something – information, to download files, book an appointment, make a reservation, subscribe to newsletters, and others.
3. AI chatbots can generate leads from social media platforms and offline
AI chatbots allow businesses to collect information about customers’ interests through chatbot conversations and then use it for lead generation purposes. When a business has many accounts on social media platforms and the customer asks questions in all of them, companies can redirect all of them by sharing a link or QR code to the business website to precise information in the chatbot or to ask their question in the chatbot so to not miss any lead opportunity. Therefore, the business uses the AI chatbot also as a social media automation tool. For example, the hotel complex Izgreva has an AI chatbot on their website, made on Umni’s platform, but they also have a Facebook Messenger bot that redirects all customers to the main chatbot on the website. QR code placed in the keychain with the room keys also helps hotel guests get to the chatbot with 1 scan at any time. This is just one sample of how a business uses 2 chatbots that are linked to the website as the center of the digital presence of the business and the place for customers to take an action: make a reservation for a room, request any other service, or ask a question – directly, in one place, no matter where the customer is – on the business website, in its social media accounts, or offline.
4. AI chatbots can be used for customer engagement
AI chatbot helps increase customer engagement by providing more personalized content by the business using conversational AI – through chatbot answers and linked to the other parts of the chatbot as information cards and forms. Guiding customers instantly and easily to the needed information and/or action improves customer experience with the company’s products and services. By implementing an AI chatbot on the website, the business will have a brand representative to attract customers 24/7 with branded messaging, avatar, colors, etc., and increase their interaction interest. The information in the chatbot can be provided in a more attractive way via images, .gif, links to video and VR, conversational AI, and other, that is available day and night.
The conversational AI chatbots have the perfect functionality to redirect customers to specific information or action when they ask a question. For example, when a customer asks a question, the AI chatbot answers it and after that redirects customers to additional information in the chatbot or outside of it presented by text, images, text, video, or inquiry/booking forms inside the chatbot or with link to a reservation system, CRM, direct orders, or anywhere where the business wants them to be. This way whole marketing funnels can be created to attract customers and convince them to make a certain action with easy steps that are all designed and implemented by the business itself.
5. AI chatbots can be used for customer retention
AI chatbots are being increasingly used for customer retention. They can handle customer queries and routine tasks without the need for human intervention. This is important because it reduces customer wait time and ensures that customers get the best possible service. Chatbots can proactively engage with customers by simply asking the key question “How can I help you?”, to provide them with offers or other incentives for using the company products and services and they also can be used for up-selling and cross-selling. Such AI chatbot can be made on the Umni platform so every customer will be served by the chatbot at any time, 24/7 – from the moment they search for more information before buying a product or service to the time after, for their post-purchase experience.
6. AI chatbots can be used to increase competitiveness
AI chatbots are also a great way to increase competitiveness and be one step ahead of competitors when providing such services. This is valid not only for companies that implement an AI chatbot for their customers but also as a B2B service. Freelancers, marketing agencies, and web designers are already providing AI chatbots as part of their services to their customers, and they love it. Many IT companies add a chatbot to their service list to diversify their offers. Digital marketing agencies offer a chatbot for marketing purposes to use in marketing campaigns, promoting products and services, for events, new releases, getting new leads through lead magnets inside the chatbot, and others. Freelancers also work on a piece-by-piece basis and create custom-made chatbots for companies. Web designers offer this technology as an additional source of revenue and add-on value to their website projects and those differentiate from their competitors. Call centers complement their human assistants with An AI chatbot for level 1 support. All these companies offer a chatbot as part of their main service with the opportunity to maintain it and train it in a long-term extending their service to customers outside of the one-time project business model, and they work mostly with specialized chatbot platforms as partners for their chatbot projects.
Umni no-code platform offers the possibility to create, manage, and develop further an AI chatbot to both businesses that need an AI chatbot, and those who would like to offer it as a service. Umni’s chatbot content management platform allows them without any technical knowledge and skills easily to add or change business information, connect the AI answer to another chatbot section, dynamically, and in a matter of minutes create request forms, add promotions and use other functionalities to direct users to a certain action.
5 Strategies for Using AI Chatbots to Transform Your Online Marketing Efforts
In today’s digital world, the success of any business is determined significantly by its online presence. This means that marketers need to be constantly finding new ways to reach their target audience and engage them with their products and services. AI chatbots have emerged as a great solution for this. They are a cost-effective way to market your business and can be used in many ways to transform the marketing efforts of the business:
1. Social Media to Chatbot – How does it work?
It is no secret that social media is a powerful marketing tool. It allows you to engage with your customers, answer their questions and provide them with the information they need. However, it can be time-consuming to constantly monitor your social media channels and respond to all of your followers. This is where AI chatbots come in handy!
AI chatbots help with message automation on social media by posting direct links or QR codes to a precise place in the chatbot on the website. The direct link in a social media post, in an ad, e-mail, messenger, and others, can lead the customer to more details about a product or service, an answer to a question, a form to fill or else in the chatbot, and it will also open the chatbot on a precise website page. Extremely focused and with 1 click or scan. On Umni’s platform such link or QR code can be generated in just a few steps so the business can make its own marketing funnels at any time to lead customers to one place where it wants them to be and not miss any opportunities.
2. Email Automation and Chatbots
Are AI chatbots ready to leave email marketing in the past?
According to Juniper Research whitepaper – Why Chatbots Are Essential To Retail (2019), chatbots have a higher CTR (Click-Through-Rate) than emails, which means the users pay more attention to the information presented in interactive, 2-way instant text manner by chatbots, especially with conversational AI, compared to the more traditional but cluttered e-mail box. Chatbots provide an immediate connection with customers while they’re on their shopping journey. This is a big win for marketers: customers provide their data at their will while engaging with chatbots, and marketers are better able to target them with future offers according to their needs. When users actively engage with the chatbot, the business will learn what are the needs of that targeted group that actually cares about the business services and products, and the customers will feel what they have to say matters to the business. AI chatbots surpass email marketing with the customer’s active and instant engagement while email communication comes with delay, not to mention the Spam or Promotions filters that prevent the business from reaching its clients.
But email marketing and AI chatbots can work together for a better customer experience. When marketers send emails to potential customers, they can place links to the chatbot with specific actions – a sign-up form, a lead magnet – to download something, more information about a product or service, direct order, an answer to a question, and the chatbots will automatically gather data about customer behavior and sort all clicks and question to help the marketing team later analyze it. With this analysis, marketers can create email sequence automation with more personalized offers to satisfy customers with their actual needs.
From a marketing perspective, chatbots can be used for marketing campaigns, newsletter sign-up to collect customers’ data, promotions, download white papers or anything else valuable to customers, collect emails, and further guide the customers to booking, inquiry forms, or any other end goal in the chatbot.
3. Lead generation, higher conversions, lower churn rates
Chatbots are a great way to provide a conversational interface for lead generation. They can be used for various purposes like appointment setting, lead qualification, and lead nurture. They allow companies to engage with their potential customers in a branded and interactive way, which leads to higher conversion rates. The conversational AI can be used to recognize customers’ questions, answer them, and then redirect customers to more information on the topic in the chatbot, or move them further to a form to fill or else. If a customer asks a question about a product and the business does not provide such product, the chatbot can redirect the user to available alternatives and show their benefits to not miss the opportunity for a sale.
A good practice is to use an AI chatbot in lead generation by it. A lead magnet is a marketing term for a free item or service that is given away for the purpose of gathering contact details; for example, lead magnets can be a free trial of a product or service, promo codes, e-books, quick start guides, free consultations and other. Marketers use lead magnets to increase conversions and gather customer data. They are used to provoke customers, to attract their attention and that helps with lowering the churn rate because customers are intrigued to do the action the business wants them to do. Social media posts, e-mails, ads, and chatting in messengers can be used to direct potential customers through a click on link or scan of QR code to the AI chatbot with a built-in form to fill in to download a file, an infographic, how-to material, etc. so to continue the customer journey in the chatbot on the website. Such functionalities are available on Umni’s platform where creativity and conversational AI meet.
It is possible also to use AI chatbots to generate an unlimited number of leads speaking more than 1 language without having to worry about the costs of hiring more people or increasing the workload on existing employees. They are the digital employees that never sleep and cost a small part of the salary of employees.
4. Offline activities & Chatbot? It is possible!
AI chatbots can be used not only for online purposes but also for offline ones. When a business organizes an event or other offline activity, it needs just a QR code with a link to the chatbot on a flier, banner, poster, business card, T-shirt, giveaway, product, or even projected on a screen. 1 scan and the customers are using the chatbot for sign-up, for sharing their e-mail to get something, for finding information in the chatbot through text, images, links to VR or videos, for getting answers on the FAQs, and more. All of that and much more can be placed in the chatbot and saved as customer behavior data to analyze it after the event.
Another way to use an AI chatbot via QR code to scan it so people can find information about products or services while they are at the offline stores and do not want to wait in queues for just one question.
QR codes are 2 to 5 times more clickable than usual links, more interactive, can have branded design and they can be used anywhere, not only online but on paper materials, menus, on products, and anywhere else. In combination with an AI chatbot at the other and this is just the Wow-factor that a business needs to impress customers and give them another reason to love the brand.
5. The Website – the center of attention
Websites have become the focal point of the business’s digital presence and it is essential that they are designed well with clear information and an easy-to-navigate interface. It’s where people go to find out more about the company, its products and services, and how to get in touch with the business. The goal of a website is to create a lasting impression on the visitor by providing them with useful information and a memorable experience. Here comes the AI chatbot to help reaching this goal.
As we mentioned in our previous blog post, according to a report from April this year, the 2022 Digital Experience Benchmark of analyst company Contentsquare, up to 65% of users leave a business website after viewing only one page. It turns out that 54% of users do not reach the middle of a page. If they do not find what they are looking for quickly and easily, they drop the site and go to other alternatives. But if the proactive conversational AI chatbot encourages these visitors to stay, learn, find what they need, and interact, they won’t leave the website in a matter of a few seconds, the average session duration will increase as well as the possibility of a conversion. Let us recall the added value of a chatbot in terms of collecting data on customer behavior in the digital world without cookies, and the fact that the pandemic has changed customers – 1 in every 3 customers today chats with businesses at night.
Marketing campaigns are designed to drive leads and sales, which often involves the website of the business where these actions happen. By using an AI chatbot to help, the marketing campaigns will be more successful than ever. The chatbot allows the business to drive potential customers not simply to a page of the website but to an information package: a particular page of the website with a precise place in the chatbot, for example, a product or service description page and product or service inquiry form in the chatbot, or how-to instruction or else. Try to use it and you will see the results. On the Umni platform you can create, maintain, and train an AI chatbot without technical knowledge and skills to be as competitive as other businesses who already use such technology.
AI Chatbot and the future of conversational marketing
Conversational marketing is the new marketing trend that relies on chatbots and messaging apps to engage with customers. With the help of AI chatbots, it’s possible to automate conversations with customers, improve their experience, drive conversions and retain them for life. Conversational marketing uses intelligent chatbots to engage with users 24/7/365, empowers customers throughout their buying journey, and help companies build relationships, pipelines, and revenue through the best user experiences.
According to a Drift report in 2021, over half of the companies – 58% adopted a conversational marketing solution in response to COVID-19, and 99% of them said their conversational marketing solution was valuable to highly valuable — with 62% finding it is highly valuable. This means that companies are already using conversational marketing in the form of AI chatbots to meet their sales and marketing goals.
If you still do not use one, now is the time to implement it on your site and Umni can provide you the platform for that without technical knowledge and skills. Contact us today to find out more about our no-code platform for AI chatbots.