Digital marketers have to focus their marketing plans. So that it works for them instead of jumping on all the latest trends that come up. It can be hard for them to know what’s a temporary fad versus a good opportunity. And chatbots are the perfect example of this! There are many articles out there praising chatbots and they seem to be very great tools. However, are they worth your resources that are invested in tried and true marketing techniques? Let’s explore.
What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is a type of software that can automate conversations and have a marketing interaction with human clients through a messaging platform. It will use either pre-programmed responses that are scripted or artificial intelligence; in the latter case, it will be able to handle more complex conversations than the former chatbot.
Chatbots can communicate with users through different platforms. That includes Facebook Messenger, chat windows on your website, or text-based or app-based chatbots. Chatbots are interesting! They have the potential to appear to be intelligent humans, considering to be on the verge of true artificial intelligence. The majority of chatbots aren’t that advanced. But users don’t mind if they can complete the right task for them, 24/7.
Chatbots are usually only convincing for the first few interactions, but as soon as the conversation becomes more complex, they have to hand the interaction over to a human being. The reality is that chatbots are a true opportunity for your business, and not a simple fad. As Lucy Adley, a communication manager at Brit Student and 1day2write explains, “there is so much potential here and they will keep improving with time, supporting businesses with marketing, customer service, lead generation, and even human resources assistance.”
Is a chatbot right for your business?
Knowing that a chatbot isn’t just a passing trend. You need to now determine if it’s right for your company and what you’d like it to do. For this step, it’s important to ask yourself if you have a messaging strategy in place. And if you receive the same enquiries constantly from your customers or potential clients. Consider if your audience is already using Facebook Messenger, and if they’re technologically savvy enough to use a chatbot without concerns. Finally, think about whether you have the resources to set up a chatbot and monitor its performance. If your answers are positive to these questions, then you should look into getting a chatbot.
Chatbot business uses
Businesses usually use chatbots for lead generation, sales and customer support. In terms of lead generation, a chatbot can help automate your messaging strategy if you already have one in place. This can help you convert more leads by reducing response rates. For sales, chatbots can help your business sell your service or product by guiding, educating, and helping your customers through the sales process. Finally, a chatbot can help your business by answering questions that clients frequently ask, at a quicker pace than your employees could.
Challenges with chatbots
While chatbots are really promising, there are still some drawbacks to consider. If you want your chatbot to be effective for your business, you need to consider that it has to fit in with your existing systems. So that, it doesn’t confuse or overwhelm your customers. It should also be able to adapt to user languages, including slang and typos. Finally, you need to think about whether your client base will even like the chatbots, especially if they’re not tech savvy.
There’s also a cost associated with chatbots, but it depends on how sophisticated you want it. The costs are explained here by Peter McTuttle, a business writer at Australia2Write and Next Coursework: “A reasonably sophisticated bot that will handle basic requests and lead generation will probably cost around $15,000 to $30,000. Anything more sophisticated can run up to $100,000. On the other end of the spectrum, a very simple messaging bot can cost as little as $19-49 a month.”
The best option would be to start with something basic but effective and see how it works with your business. If it fits in well with your business and your clients, then you may want to invest in a more sophisticated chatbot. Bear in mind that in addition to costs, you also need to factor in producing content, testing, and monitoring and analyzing the data.
Michael Dehoyos, a business expert with PhD Kingdom and Academic Brits, is at the forefront of research and analysis of new business and technology trends. He enjoys exploring new marketing strategies and how they can be enhanced by technology. His writing can also be found on Origin Writings.
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