(Email Is So Last Year…)
For just a little while now, marketing gurus and entrepreneurs have been both celebrating and umm-ing and ahhhing about the brilliance of chat bots as a new marketing tool. I’m here to say: embrace chatbots!
(And Media Junkies can help you implement them. But first: the background and the how to…)
Be an early adopter
Marketing channels are not exempted from a short shelf life. What works for you now may no longer deliver next year. A good marketer is always on his toes in order to avoid hitting a plateau. He is on the watch for new marketing channels so he hitches his wagon and reaps the rewards even before his competitors become aware of it.
Being an early user of a new channel is both beneficial and risky. Take a look at Amazon. Those who got into it early were able to build a solid base of product reviews and this put them head and shoulders above their competitors. If someone searches for a product, what will show up first in the search result are the sellers who have established a presence in Amazon.
What about the risk? Take Google+ as an example. When it was still new, everybody was excited—it will be bigger than Facebook. In the first two weeks of its launch, there were over 10 million sign-ups and a lot of companies exerted effort in growing their community in the hopes of using it as an acquisition channel. We all know what happened to the platform so let’s not rub salt in the wound any further.
Every marketing channel suffers from fatigue at one stage.
What about Email?
Email has always been an important channel for businesses. It provides the opportunity to market products directly. Nowadays, however its return rate reliability has gone down. Not only is it difficult to get email addresses of potential customers, engagement via email is close to nil. Add to this the fact that Google has a separate “promotions” tab that is making it harder to reach the intended recipient.
Enter Chatbots: the newish and, we think, sustainable tool
A chatbot is a service that runs on rules or artificial intelligence that a user can interact with through a chat interface. The service can be anything from informative to fun and can be embedded in any chat product like Facebook Messenger, Text Messages, Skype.
Last year, Facebook Messenger started supporting chatbots. Chatbot awareness grew and a lot of people got into it. There are adult chatbots whose popularity sky-rocketed and there are also informative ones that deliver news digests.
Chatbots great for the businesses and for the user—a reciprocal affair! Users can get the information they want without leaving Facebook. On the other hand, the chatbot can push on-demand content to an engaged audience. As the conversation progresses, businesses will get to know their audience more and capitalize on that.
E-commerce stores have also become havens for chatbot. Users can search for products while in Messenger and Facebook allows payments via Messenger bots. Can you imagine the endless possibilities this brings to business owners?
Should you be excited about chatbots? I say you should. While it’s still in its infancy stage, you should get into it now.
Let me tell you why:
If #5 doesn’t excite you, I don’t know what will. Running ads directly to Messenger is a huge opportunity for any business. You no longer have to get someone’s email and nurture them outside Facebook. Just focus on your Facebook connections and watch your conversion rates go up.
Now that you are excited about chatbots. Start with an idea and how you can automate your most common questions from a Facebook Ad.
Let us know if you want to us to implement this into your business today.
In creating a chatbot, the first thing you need to figure out is what value your users can gain from it. Let’s say you are in the fitness business. You can create a chatbot that recommends a workout—be it for beginners, advanced, cardio, strength training, etc. For example, a user will ask for a chest workout and the chatbot will recommend chest exercises. The mechanics may be simple but it provides an opportunity to regularly interact with the bot. Eventually, this opportunity will open windows that can allow you to sell workout equipment, gym membership and workout plans.
AI chat works by linking “blocks” to “AI rules.” Think of email automation – the “blocks” are the emails and the “AI rules” are the automation rules. Each interaction you make with the user is based on an individual block. The user’s action will receive a corresponding reaction.
You can set up your bot so that a user’s response triggers a specific block. You can also create rules based on keywords. Using the example above, if the user types, “cross-fit in Brisbane,” he will see a list of cross-fit facilities located in Brisbane. This can be easily pulled via the RSS plugin. It allows you to link different services to improve your content. This includes linking up to Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. You can even ask your user to share his location, video and audio content. This information will help a lot in segmenting your users.
Growing Your Funnel with Chatbots
Now that users have started engaging with your chatbot, try to experiment ways of using it for acquisition. Here are some ideas that you can start with.
We are yet to see how effective Facebook Messenger will be when it comes to chatbot marketing. As more companies get on the bandwagon, the more messages the users will be getting.
If you start now, you’ll be an early adopter facing more advantage than risk.
I say: start experimenting, set your rules—for every “‘sup”, create a response that keeps them chatting—and be proud to be the first and the to the profitable gate.
YOUR TURN – Joe
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