Chatbots are the newest trend in digital marketing. And it’s easy to see why. Available 24/7 to address specific needs, a chatbot enhances customers’ experience with your site and your brand, giving them instant attention and answers.
But how exactly do they work? How do they provide businesses with growth opportunities? In this post, you’ll learn all about chatbots and the role they ought to play in your site’s conversion strategy.
There’s a lot of information out there about choosing the best lead generation strategy – is it pop-ups? Chatbots? Push notifications? The good news is you don’t have to choose – these can all be used together. Here’s how.
Defined as an artificial intelligence system, a chatbot provides an interactive chat-based platform where users can get information quickly. These interactions can range from a simple weather-related question to troubleshooting a complex problem or even just saying hello.
You can find chatbots in platforms like Facebook messenger, Slack, text messaging software, and many other major chat applications. Anywhere where a text is used to communicate, chatbots can be implemented.
The idea behind the creation of a chatbot is that the chatbot will act as a personal assistant who helps by either executing small tasks (such as calling an uber) or answering a question (why does my iPhone keep shutting down?).
How do they work? Built on AI technologies, chatbots use deep learning, natural language processing, and machine learning algorithms to mimic human interactions. The best chatbots require massive amounts of data to interpret and predict what the correct response should be to the end user. From the 1970’s to now, chatbots have certainly come a long way.
“In the long run, I think we will evolve in computing from a mobile-first to an AI-first world.” – Sundar Pichai, CEO at Google Inc.
In order to stay competitive in today’s digital market, businesses must automate as many processes as possible – enter in chatbots and their innate value:
Chatbots can help your business by answering messages on social media. In fact, from 2015 to 2016, brands saw an 18% increase in social media messages. For any size company, this can be tough to stay on top of, but chatbots make it possible, without hiring new staff members to man the social media channels.
By asking basic questions, chatbots can find out specific information that will help serve the human agent in addressing the users needs and concerns. For example, two automated questions you could setup are, “what problem can we solve for you?” and “where are you located?” This, will, in turn, make your visitors feel like you’re providing a personalized service. It will also help you identify more qualified leads to follow up with in the future.
With all of the new technology, people want answers when it’s convenient for them, even if that’s at 2 a.m. Chatbots can answer quick questions and complaints 24/7, so customers can be serviced whenever they need it – and you and your employees won’t lose any sleep.
Ultimately, chatbots help to create a unique user experience, which will help your brand stand out against the competition. Additionally, they help you gain customer insights so you can fine-tune your digital marketing strategy to perfection.
Eager to get started? We bet you are! Before diving right in, it’s important to determine your chatbot strategy, as they come in a variety of formats, each with a specific use and capabilities:
The most popular form of chatbots, this is an AI-based, all-in-one platform tool that can help any sales team become more efficient. This chatbot will use machine learning and experience to ensure all customer questions are accurately answered via text-based communication. Think of these like Facebook messenger, but between your site visitors and your chatbot, which ultimately represents your brand.
With just one click, you can humanize your brand to make the experience more personal for your viewers. Video chats work by launching either a video or voice call with a human agent to help solve a more complex problem that regular text chatbots can’t solve. Before connecting you with a live agent, a chatbot will ask a few initial questions and direct you to the proper person to address your needs. See a great example below.
This tool is amazing, as it allows you to take the guesswork out of a problem or potential problem that could arise. Co-browsing allows sales reps or agents to look at and interact with another person's screen in real time to a painless communication experience. Palace Resorts actually uses this feature to have their agents walk a customer through the entire booking process.
While it can be a bit complicated to integrate chatbots into your marketing strategy by yourself, it doesn’t have to be that way. With the combined integration of chatbots and pop-ups, you can have a powerful, full-functioning sales funnel that will increase conversions and generate more revenue.
Acquire has a fresh take on chatbots: they view them as customer communication platforms. And if you think about it, they really are! The chatbots that Acquire features can help to generate many more leads simply because the chatbots constantly evolve. Gathering data and using experience gained from interactions with customers, the chatbots give better and better solutions with each new visitor that comes to your site.
Train your chatbot before it’s live on your site by importing existing FAQ’s, chat history, and knowledge. This will then be built into the chatbot’s foundations to better assist your customers.
In this step, it’s also important to think about the type of questions visitors will ask. Will they be geared more towards customer service, marketing, or sales?
Additionally, you can even have your chatbox ask key questions to determine if the lead is qualified or not, or find out where they are in their customer journey (more on this in tip #4).
Incorporating a chatbot with Facebook messenger will offer you a new way to interact with both your online community and future customers. Your chatbot strategy could raise brand awareness, help with transactions, convert new customers, or even deliver excellent customer service. Finding the right strategy all comes down to your business goals and what will have the most impact on your audience.
For example, Tommy Hilfiger incorporated a chatbot with a Facebook messenger to assist people to buy clothes directly from a show during Fashion Week in NYC. By using this, Tommy Hilfiger saw an 87% increase in return customers with over 60,000 exchanged messages.
If you’re looking to increase either customer service or sales, Twitter and chatbots might be the best strategy for you. How so? This platform has real-time data, traffic, and great support which can help with an interactive campaign while giving chatbots everything they need to become “smarter” with each interaction.
Domino’s Pizza created a campaign where users could tweet a pizza emoji at the restaurant to order pizza. All users have to do is make sure they set themselves up with an Easy Order account and viola - welcome to pizza order in the 21st century. Having launched this campaign back in 2015, we think it’s safe to say that it’s been a huge success.
Once your chatbot has asked the first round of compelling questions, take the time to map out the potential customer journeys of your buyer.
Customer journeys are defined as a story of the customer's experience from initial contact all the way through their entire lifecycle with a company. It will touch on feelings, motivations, and questions in order for you to get a sense of their motivation.
For example, if you’re running a restaurant and you need to communicate store hours, specials, and loyalty programs more effectively, the mapping of a customer journey will allow you to add all questions someone may ask. Giving that information to a chatbot will allow it to be that much smarter and customer-driven.
They are an amazing lead generation tool. Why? Pop-ups can be programmed to appear at the right time and place with the right message to appear in front of the right consumer. When used correctly (and even in conjunction with chatbots), pop-ups can increase conversion rates.
Defined as an opt-in form, a pop-up literally appears as it’s popping out of a web page to grab the viewer's attention (we’re positive that you’ve seen them before). There are many different types of pop-ups, but below are some of the most effective ones:
One of the best ways to capture leads who are on the fence is through the use of exit intent pop-ups. Perfectly timed, exit pop-ups appear when your viewer moves his or her mouse towards the URL box or window close button. Offering a special offer or “urgent/unique” message (like the one pictured below) is a great way to reel viewers back in, or at the very least, collect their email address for future use.
Over at Hello Bar, we’ve been taking advantage of our pop-up strategies. By using an exit intent pop-up, we received an extra 730 sign-ups in just one month by using this exit intent strategy! We’d say those are some pretty incredible results.
One of the least intrusive forms of pop-ups, a top bar is a short form that rests at the top of a web page. The strategic placement allows for visitors to easily see and interact with it. There’s also the option to have this at the bottom of your site.
These pop-ups are ideal for those visitors who stay on your page longer. The way scroll pop-ups work is they appear when someone has scrolled down the page by a certain percentage. Usually, companies see success when programming these pop-ups to appear about 30% to 70% down the page. The farther down this appears the more engaged the viewer is, and the more likely they will turn into a paying customer.
If you’re looking for a real live example of this, go to QuickSprout’s blog and scroll down the page 30% then scroll back up a bit and you’ll be met with this little guy (shown below):
How do you know what pop-ups to use and where you should place chatbots? With the use of heat mapping software like Hotjar, CrazyEgg, you’ll be able to see how long your visitors are staying on your site. Knowing this will allow you to craft the perfect strategy to get them to stay longer and engage.
For example, if you find that your website visitors are spending less time on your website pages, Hello Bar pop-ups will be more efficient to increase conversions while those who spend longer on your site will more likely interact with a chatbot as they might have questions or need more information. You can even find out if pop-ups and chatbots should be used together.
In order to have an effective digital marketing strategy, it’s not simply a matter of choosing one digital tactic over the other. Most digital campaigns are highly effective by combining two or more lead generation tools.
We usually recommend using both pop-ups and chatbots together, as they complement each other by appeasing two different sets of visitors.
Incorporating chatbots on pages where your visitors are spending a lot of time can be effective, as those individuals are interested in your company and might want more information. By having a chatbot available, they can easily get their questions addressed without going to another page on your site.
Adding a pop-up with a simple form to those pages with a high bounce rate or a short visit time can help to capture the attention of those visitors before they leave your page. Typically, individuals who spend less time on a specific page are looking for a quick answer. Using a pop-up that addresses the main problem on that page can make those visitors stop to fill it out so they can learn even more.
“Changes call for innovation. And innovation leads to progress.” – Li Keqiang
Still not convinced? Learn from Acquire’s success! After installing live chat features such as text chat, video chat, and co-browsing chat, Acquire users have seen a 30% to 40% increase in conversions. Looking at it from a different perspective, this means if you have 10 potential customers that you’d consider to be a good lead, you’ll have the chance to convert 6-7 of them using one of Acquire’s chatbot features.
Paired with Hello Bar, you can achieve even higher conversion rates! The more tools you have in place, the better chance you’ll have.
There you have it! A simple guide to integrating chatbots that will lead to an increase in conversions and revenue.
Remember – chatbots and other lead generation tools, like pop-ups, aren’t exclusive! You can use both at different parts of your sales funnel to collect more leads, and ultimately drive more revenue.
So long as you don’t overwhelm your visitors with pop-ups and chatbots at every click and scroll of your site, you’ll be set. A lot of people warn that these are annoying, but now you know better – when used correctly, these lead generation tools are your best strategy!
Mike Kamo is the CEO and co-founder, alongside Neil Patel, of Hello Bar and Neil Patel Digital. He is a renowned digital marketing and conversion optimization expert.