Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 10/24/17 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.
We’ve all heard of them. If you remember, chatbots first rose to prominence in the days of AOL.
Oh, good ol’ AOL Messenger. How we miss those pointless hours of conversation that stretched into the night.
But now, chatbots are making a comeback.
And they're much more meaningful and useful in 2020 than they were in the 90’s.
Sorry AOL, it’s not you. It’s us.
What’s the secret? The fact that chatbots are so versatile – they can do pretty much anything.
Most importantly, they can help your business boost sales, conversions, and super-charge your marketing efforts.
Here are five ways that you can use chatbots in your marketing strategy:
People love to be on chat, and they probably spend way more time chatting than checking their email. That’s where bots come in.
Your chatbot is like your own brand ambassador in your customer’s pocket. You can add a character to your bot using emojis, funny videos and interesting data that will showcase who you are and what your brand is about.
The coolest example of this is Disney’s chatbot, created for the launch of Zootopia. The chatbot was made to impersonate Judy Hopp, a character from the movie, and asks the user to solve a murder mystery.
Another great example is from the company Chatobook that makes chatbots for restaurants.
Their menus are super slick, and ordering food through one of these bots is completely different than either getting on the phone or waiting in line to get a table.
A restaurant bot like this provides a seamless experience, booking your table for you, and helping you order ahead of time.
Perhaps the most-known application of chatbots is in ecommerce.
Customers don’t have to look up the website of a store that they like. They can just go straight to Facebook Messenger and start chatting with them.
Chatbots are way better than online stores or email suggestions because they can customize the products and recommend the most suitable products for the customer.
My favorite example of this is the chatbot that Modiface built using Augmented Reality (AR).
Customers can take a picture or a video of themselves and the chatbot will pick up the color of their lipstick and match it. Ah-mazing!
Check it out:
Statistically speaking, this is great news for salesmen. Bots provide another sales channel – an additional way a customer could buy a product or service.
Nordstrom’s chatbot is a perfect example of this. The store needed a way to divert their customers from their website during the peak holiday season, and allow them a quick way to purchase a product.
So they built a bot that was operational just for those few months. It provided the added help AND made Nordstrom stand out as a cool brand.
Another great example is food bots, or chatbots that are designed to help people order food out.
One of the most brilliant strategies that I found was sending out weekly updates to your followers through Facebook Messenger. I first saw this strategy in action from Josh Fechter on his website.
Instead of the normal email pop-up that you would expect, you get an invitation to chat with him on Messenger. I thought that this was his way of being more personable. And it worked!
Little did I know that he sends his weekly updates (the stuff you would normally send out to your email list) as a message on the chat.
I love email, and so do billions of other people.
It’s doubtful that everyone will change to chat overnight, and I imagine most users or businesses might never do that.
The good news is that you can use chatbots and email marketing together. Andrew Warner introduces a really easy technique to combine the two channels.
Andrew put the Messenger button on his email pop-up (see below). And once you click on it you will be asked to input your email. But you could use it the other way around, too.
At that point, the user gets two notifications: an email and a chat message. This is brilliant because now the user is connected to the brand in two different ways, and you can probably mine their Facebook information and do a bunch of cool stuff.
Chatbots have gotten way better than they were in the days of AOL. I don’t miss those days at all, technologically speaking!
You can now use chatbots in these 5 ways for your business:
To offer a unique customer experience.
To customize product recommendations.
To boost sales with another channel.
To send out weekly updates.
To combine with your email marketing efforts for greater results.
The world is your “AI” oyster. Go out there and conquer.
How are you using chatbots to enhance your marketing strategies?
Ben Kazinik (@eclincherrocks) is an inbound marketer for eClincher, the world’s most powerful social media management platform. He enjoys hiking, cooking, soccer, and visiting his family around the world. Email me at – firstname.lastname@example.org