Outsource To Us investigates how Chatbots are disrupting the online marketing sector, and how you can integrate them into your marketing plan to ‘futurise’ your brand no matter the size of your business.
A new kind of digital marketing is making the rounds, and big corporations have started to take notice. Virtual companions that allow clients to interact with your brand via a chat interface, affectionately known as ‘Chatbots’, have been integrating seamlessly into websites, applications, or instant messengers. In short, Chatbots are computer programs designed to simulate tailored conversations with customers, via auditory or textual methods, usually over the Internet. They can be used for any number of purposes, from functionality to fun – in recent years, Chatbots have been created to give you weather forecasts on command, help you book a hotel room, and even talk you through sizing and refunds in real-time as you purchase those great new boots. If you’ve ever used Siri or Alexa, you’ve used a Chatbot.
Far from 2001: A Space Odyssey’s visions of pod bay doors and HAL, Chatbots can be utilised as highly strategic and engaging marketing tools that allow your clients to connect to and communicate with your brand instantly. Depending on the business and its needs, there are two main types of Chatbots available for integration:
Simple Chatbots – These Chatbots work according to pre-prepared commands which must be written by the developer.
Smart Chatbots – These Chatbots rely on artificial intelligence when they communicate with users. Instead of pre-prepared answers, the robot responds with a suitable response based on the topic.
This marketing strategy isn’t just useful to big corporations. It can easily be installed and tailored to any business. In fact, Gartner forecasts that, by 2020, over 25% of customer interactions will use virtual customer assistants. This simulated customer support system saves time and effort, ultimately saving your business significant administrative costs and improving your bottom line. Chatbots allow for a speedy response time that encourages customer loyalty and can even be used to collect information, schedule meetings, and reduce overhead costs.
One of the most innovative ways to utilise Chatbots, however, is to employ them to host competitions. Immediate responses allow for participants to receive instant gratification, letting them know directly after entering whether they have won or lost. In a society that has become accustomed to instant gratification in most aspects of their lives, this is an excellent marketing tool for building customer satisfaction and, ultimately, a strong client base.
One great example of this use is the Chatbot-run competition recently hosted by Ice Break, in which Chatbots instantly notified customers of the outcome of their entry. This allowed losing customers the opportunity to play again, encouraging them to repurchase the product.
In light of the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook is currently not allowing new Chatbots or changes to existing Chatbots. For more information, read this informative piece by Mumbrella.