Nowadays it’s getting harder to reach customers through conventional channels like the phone and email.
Many businesses find phone calls going through to voicemail and marketing calls are seldom returned. Average email open rates are about 20% which means 8 out of 10 people are ignoring emails. If that’s not reason for concern, click through rates for links in the email are often lower than 4%.
Consumers are now spending more time on mainstream social platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, than on your website and for those who are actually on these platforms following your business only a tiny fraction actually see your posts. So what channel should you be using to effectively market to your customers that will be effective not only today but for the next 5 to 10 years?
Your online marketing agency will probably recommend using messaging chatbots and here are reasons why:
Speed and Convenience
There’s an increasing trend of people preferring to use messaging apps more often than email. Just look at your iPhone or your Android and look at how you talk to your closest friends, families and co-workers. You’re most likely using messaging apps Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Savvy business owners understand this and want to meet customers at the right place and right time with the right message.
Nowadays it’s easy, fast and more convenient to communicate using a messaging app while on the commute to work or during a television ad break. According to Ted Crunch, there are now over 1.3 billion users* of Facebook Messenger.
Business Insider reported that there are more people on messaging apps than users on social networking sites, giving smart marketers an immense opportunity to reach their audience effectively.
Given that marketing is simply the ability to find out what problems your target audience is talking about on social media, which messenger channels they are using and communicating how you can solve their problem. If you do not market to your customers where they prefer to be at with your messaging apps you are making a huge mistake.
Using Chatbots to Educate Your Audience
Messaging bots are ideal to educate and market to your customers. This does not mean spamming customers, but drip feeding educational messages to prospects and customers who have opted in to receive messages about your products or services.
For example if you are a natural health supplement company and you want to sell a weight loss supplement, you would educate them on improving their diet, get adequate exercise and reduce stress. All these different messages will build trust and warm them up to eventually buy your product.
Tracking and Segmenting Customers
Chatbots are ideal for tracking and segmenting your customers. You can use Facebook messenger to identify and segment your customers within basic messaging in just a few clicks. All in less than a minute. So going back to the weight loss supplement example, say you want to upsell customers to a monthly maintenance program. You can ask them whether they are serious about maintaining their weight, whether they exercise and area member of a gym and their dietary preferences.
Once you have this information, you can personalise your messages and build a closer rapport with your target audience. Over time, this will help you build a high level of trust and familiarity, greatly increasing the propensity of a first-time buyer to become a loyal customer.
Trying to find out all different things about your customer within a few clicks using email or other channels isn’t easy, which is why messenger is so awesome at segmenting and tracking your customers.
Nurturing leads is an important part of an online strategy, but is a time consuming process. By allowing you to gather specific information, it makes it easier to create personalised messages for customers who at the top, middle or bottom of your sales funnel and guiding them through their journey.
The information gathered can also be used to split-test personalised message and see which ones work the best.
Harnessing the Power of Facebook
Although there are different chatbot options, an online marketing agency is most likely to recommend starting out with Facebook, as Facebook is aggressive and supportive in its development. In April of 2016 Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, announced open access to build chatbots within the Facebook Messenger app, signaling that the Facebook development team is actively pushing its users and businesses to build chatbots.
With over 2 billion active Facebook users and growing, Facebook is more than a big enough market to start with, eventually it will be ideal to expand to other messaging apps. Talk to your social media consultants to learn more about this.
Transforming Conventional Communication Channels
In the near future messaging chatbots are likely to replace apps and web pages as a main form of communication with customers. It will not be surprising to see messaging chatbots taking over sales and customer service functions, among others. It’s what an astute online marketing agency should be prepared for.
Chatbot marketing is the future, and early movers will hold the advantage by making use of this technology to gain a significant edge over their competitors. Just as in 2003, when business owners were unsure whether email would be popular or not, the early innovators saw the opportunity, invested in the channel and leveraged it to build billion-dollar companies.
Business owners and marketers who are serious about growing their businesses should be wary of ignoring chatbots. Instead, this is your chance to get in on opportunity before the market gets saturated and your competitors become aware of the benefits of using the technology to their advantage.