Posted on Mar 14, 2018

Going Beyond the Click: How Chatbots Can Help Your Small Business Thrive

Traditional digital marketing tactics measure clicks, visits, and views. All of this is static data, leaving a lot to the imagination when it comes to decrypting trends. While this data is still important to track, what if I told you there is a better way to measure and increase engagement?

It’s about time we start looking at engagement metrics beyond just clicks. By implementing a chatbot into your marketing strategy you will be able to learn more about your target audience, tailor your marketing efforts, and decipher the best way to monetize interactions. Chatbots are a simple tool you can use to bring your brand personality to life, streamline marketing tactics within your small business, and gain true actionable insights about your users.

What is a chatbot?

There is really no need to overcomplicate the definition. A chatbot is simply a computer program that automates certain tasks. They typically work by talking with a user through a chat interface (think Skype, Gchat, or dare we say AIM). Most bots follow a simple set of rules that you pre-define. Think of it like set of if-then statements that the program analyzes which triggers a pre-defined canned response. For example:

If a customer types, “I need to initiate a return”.

Your chatbot responds, “Click here to go to our return initiation landing page”.

The chatbot will lead a customer through a series of questions and answers so it can collect all the necessary information to understand intent, and then offer the best response to satisfy the inquiry.

How chatbots can help your business thrive

Chatbots offer a unique way to elevate marketing strategy because they not only engage with your customers, they also help you retain them. Unlike other forms of marketing, chatbots offer the ability to keep people entertained longer. For example, let’s say you have created a compelling infographic meant to capture the attention of your audience. While people may download the infographic, once they have finished reading, it really doesn’t have more to offer.

A chatbot takes this process a step further by learning from the interactions a person takes on your website, allowing it to send other types of relevant content and information regarding your products and services. I’ll give you two examples for both B2C and B2B business models.

Example 1: You run a home décor e-commerce business. Instead of letting a user scroll through thousands of online products, only to eventually abandon items in their cart, your website has a chatbot that helps users shop. It can recommend products that are a similar color to previously expressed interests. “Hi Kate, I see you are interested in turquoise area rugs. Have you checked out our new turquoise color collection?” Now instead of someone purchasing 1 rug, Kate is buying a rug, matching vase, curtains, and picture frames. To avoid an abandon cart action, your chatbot can also remind a user about a 10% off coupon code to retain a successful purchase.

Example 2: You run a small IT shop that helps local businesses with computer maintenance, phone systems, and general IT hosting solutions. A new, potential client has been viewing your website and they keep going back to the phone system management page. Instead of losing this potential lead when they leave your website to research other competitors your chatbot pops up and says, “Hello, I see you are interested in our phone system management service. Do you have any questions about pricing or what further services we offer?” Now you have this person hooked! They no longer have to fill out a form, wait for a response, or get on the phone. They can ask your chatbot all the questions they need to make an informed decision right then and there. It is an effective tool to up-sell, cross-sell, and re-engage customers in a personalized way.     

Chatbots also offer the perfect opportunity to gain feedback and analytics. Instead of bombarding customers with surveys and wasting time gathering all your wide-spread data, chatbots were designed to gather information on users. Your chatbot can analyze various data points and offer deeper insights on what your audience truly wants because it is all based on true human interaction. With this data you can mold your marketing tactics to become focused on your customer’s specific and unique needs, thus creating a highly curated inbound marketing strategy.

How to create your own Chatbot

Creating a chatbot may seem daunting when you hear words like natural language processing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence getting thrown into the mix. Fret not as there are a ton of building platforms like ChattyPeople or ChatterOn that make the task easier. Most of these platforms allow you to deploy a custom chatbot in a matter of minutes without spending a fortune on custom development, or even knowing how to code.

At the end of the day, all a potential buyer wants is to travel the most direct line between their problem and a solution. A chatbot creates this line by guiding your users seamlessly through their journey. With chatbots, communication, service, and transactions intertwine. The offer to make your company more proactive by creating an outlet where customer’s can engage with your brand, thus enhancing your service and opening up vast potential to increase sales and pinpoint conversion triggers.

If you are strongly thinking about using a chatbot, head on over and start a conversation with one of the oldest chatbots on the market, Cleverbot. If you have recently implemented a chatbot on your website or social media platform we want to hear your stories! Comment below on how this cutting-edge technology is impacting your business today.