Chatbots are revolutionizing the B2B marketing landscape. According to a survey, 26% of marketers who deploy this technology within their strategic frameworks achieved a 10-20% increase in lead generation. These intelligent virtual assistants transform customer interactions by providing real-time support, personalized recommendations, and seamless engagement. However, the benefits of chatbots extend beyond customer service alone. Since quality lead generation is the ultimate goal of inbound marketing, chatbots are poised to play a pivotal role in this marketing strategy.
Let’s uncover five different ways you can use chatbots to improve your inbound marketing efforts.
What are chatbots?
Chatbots are digital entities, either AI-driven or computer-programmed, devised to mimic human interaction and engage with users through stand-alone or integrated messaging interfaces..
They use natural language processing (NLP) algorithms to understand and interpret user input, providing real-time responses and engaging in interactive dialogue. Chatbots can vary in complexity – from basic keyword-based or prompt-driven systems to sophisticated conversational agents powered by machine learning.
In advanced cases, the performance of chatbots improves quickly with the more interactions and questions they receive. Through machine learning algorithms, chatbots continuously learn and adapt. This enhances their ability to understand user queries and provide relevant and engaging responses. The more users interact with them, the more refined and proficient they become in their conversational capabilities.
Companies can also integrate chatbots into various platforms, such as websites, messaging apps, and social media platforms. They enable businesses to embrace AI transformation with the power to automate customer interactions and provide instant support.
Chatbots can handle a wide range of tasks, can answer frequently asked questions, guide users through processes, collect data, and even perform simple transactions. These tasks revolutionize customer service, marketing, and sales by providing personalized experiences, enhancing efficiency, and improving user engagement.
How to utilize chatbots for inbound marketing
Data shows 63% of people would rather message than call customer service or email – and 74% feel more connected to a business when they can message them directly.
With this in mind, there’s a lot of opportunity to leverage chatbots, perhaps more than you may think. They can help with recruitment marketing, sales prospecting, and data collection, among other things. By integrating chatbots into your inbound marketing campaigns, you can gather valuable information and increase your chances of success..
Recruitment marketing helps promote your business as an attractive workplace and can draw in untapped talent.
Sought-after candidates don’t tend to be on the recruitment circuit for long, so it’s crucial to make your recruitment process as streamlined as possible. To this end, chatbots have proven invaluable assets in guiding an efficient recruitment marketing strategy.
An example of this in action would be having your chatbot welcome visitors to your website and serve as a virtual assistant to guide them through the application process. The chatbot can provide personalized information about job openings, company culture, and how to apply, ensuring that candidates have all the necessary details at their fingertips.
A chatbot can even conduct initial screening interviews with candidates. If you need to hire a content writer, it could ask a series of predetermined questions to assess their writing qualifications, source relevant writing samples, and determine suitability for the role. By automating this initial screening process, you can efficiently filter through a large pool of applicants and identify the most promising candidates to move forward.
By offering real-time support, a chatbot can likewise answer candidates’ questions and guide each phase of the application process. Prospective applicants can inquire about interview schedules and application status or even receive feedback on their resume or cover letter. This immediate and personalized assistance enhances the job seeker’s experience and creates a positive impression of your company.
Implementing chatbots for recruitment marketing reduces your time-to-hire rates and enhances the candidate experience. Positioning your business as an employer is especially important in this competitive job market.
Chatbots are a valuable tool for businesses to gather data on their customers’ behavior and preferences. By analyzing chatbot interactions, businesses can:
- Collect information on frequently asked questions
- Evaluate customer satisfaction levels
- Identify trends in customer inquiries
This data can be used to refine marketing strategies, create targeted campaigns, and tailor messaging to better resonate with the audience.
For example, a travel agency can use a chatbot to engage with potential customers by providing personalized travel recommendations, itineraries, and exclusive offers based on their preferences. To keep users engaged and motivated to explore more of the agency’s offerings, chatbots can also offer interactive quizzes and games related to travel and destinations.
These chatbot engagement tactics make content consumption more enjoyable, resulting in higher user engagement and longer interaction times. By engaging users for longer periods of time, businesses create more opportunities to convert them into loyal customers.
Sales prospecting is another impactful way to utilize chatbots in your inbound marketing lead generation efforts.
By implementing chatbots into your sales prospecting process, you can achieve powerful results by resonating with different personality types and accelerating your business’s sales processes.
Use chatbots to identify potential leads and accelerate your business’s processes quickly. Whichever of the type of sales prospect you’re dealing with, chatbots can gather valuable information about their needs, preferences, and pain points much faster than a human salesperson. Through interactive conversations, chatbots can engage with prospects, ask targeted questions, and collect crucial data that helps understand their specific requirements.
For instance, let’s consider a software company specializing in project management tools. They could deploy a chatbot on their website to interact with visitors and glean insights into their specific needs and preferences. The chatbot could kickstart a conversation by asking pointed questions about the visitor’s team size, their project complexities, preferred features, budget, and implementation timeline.
The chatbot automatically qualifies leads, evaluating a visitor’s fit for the company’s products and assigning a lead score based on their interest and alignment with the company’s ideal customer. Automating the lead qualification process saves time and resources by filtering out leads that may need to be more suitable for the company.
It can also provide personalized recommendations based on the lead’s responses. It can suggest specific solutions, relevant case studies, or success stories aligning with the lead’s requirements. By tailoring the conversation and providing valuable insights, the chatbot establishes trust, showcases expertise, and increases the likelihood of conversion.
This data enables you to segment and qualify leads more effectively, zeroing in on the most promising prospects. This optimizes resource use and enhances deal-closing probabilities.
Streamline customer support
To make the most of chatbots in your inbound marketing strategy, it’s essential to streamline customer support.
Integrate chatbots into your website or messaging platforms to respond instantly to customer queries and support requests. With their ability to guide customers through various processes, chatbots can provide step-by-step instructions or offer self-service options, empowering customers to find solutions independently.
Chatbots can improve customer support in banking by quickly answering inquiries such as checking account balance and making payments, reducing the need for human intervention.
Using chatbots for customer support offers round-the-clock assistance, personalized recommendations, and advanced security features. Chatbots can handle a high volume of inquiries simultaneously, provide fast service, and enhance customer satisfaction. They also contribute to a positive brand image and build customer trust.
Gathering customer feedback
You can employ chatbots to engage with customers and collect their opinions, preferences, and feedback regarding your products, services, or the overall customer experience.
By integrating survey capabilities into chatbot interactions, collect meaningful insights that help shape your marketing strategies and improve your offerings.
For instance, a clothing retailer can deploy a chatbot on their website or social media platforms to gather feedback on their latest collection. The chatbot can initiate conversations with customers, asking them about their favorite styles, colors, and sizes. It can also inquire about their satisfaction with previous purchases and their suggestions for future designs.
By providing a conversational and interactive survey experience, the chatbot encourages customers to share their thoughts and provides the retailer with valuable data for product development and marketing decisions.
Using chatbots for surveys and feedback collection gives businesses an extra boost with customer experience by:
- Expanding reach. Businesses can engage with a larger customer-base because chatbots can engage with multiple users simultaneously.
- Creating a feedback loop. It allows for real-time data collection, providing instant feedback you can analyze and act upon promptly.
- Enhancing interactions. Chatbots can offer a more interactive and engaging survey experience by incorporating visuals, interactive elements, and follow-up questions based on user responses.
By leveraging the insights gained from chatbot surveys, you can quickly and easily identify areas for improvement and tailor inbound marketing strategies to meet customer expectations better.
Chatbot case studies
Sephora implemented a “Sephora Virtual Artist (SEA)” chatbot within its mobile app and messaging platforms. Its job is to provide personalized beauty recommendations and interactive experiences.
The Sephora chatbot engages users by allowing them to virtually try on different makeup products using augmented reality (AR) technology. Users can upload a selfie or use their camera to see how different shades of cosmetics would look on their faces in real time. The chatbot uses facial recognition technology to map the user’s features accurately and provide a realistic virtual try-on experience.
Users can confidently make purchase decisions based on how the products look on them. This leads to increased customer satisfaction and reduced returns. Furthermore, the chatbot provides personalized product recommendations based on the user’s preferences, skin tone, and previous purchases.
While user adoption was initially low due to a lack of awareness about the tool. By using targeted strategies such as push notifications, in-app messaging, and content cards to promote VA to users who had viewed a makeup product page within the past 30 days, Sephora SEA achieved a 28% increase in user adoption of the VA feature, a 16% uplift in usage-per-user, and a 48% increase in overall VA traffic.
LEGO introduced a chatbot called Ralph on Facebook Messenger in an attempt to provide users with an interactive experience and drive sales.
The bot provided gift recommendations, guiding customers through LEGO’s extensive catalog. During the 2017 Christmas shopping season, Ralph’s successful implementation led LEGO to make the bot available year-round.
As a result, LEGO saw a 340% increase in return on ad spend. Moreover, Ralph’s success during the holiday season led LEGO to expand its geographical reach and compare the effectiveness of click-to-Messenger ads with click-to-website ads, further enhancing their inbound marketing strategy.
Integrating chatbots into your inbound marketing efforts can unlock many benefits for your business.
From streamlining recruitment marketing and accelerating sales prospecting to collecting valuable data and refining your entire marketing strategy, chatbots are invaluable tools that can enhance your customer interactions, drive business growth, and stay ahead of competitors.
Embracing this technology improves the customer experience. Your business can make data-driven decisions and stay ahead in the competitive digital environment.
About the author
Katy Flatt works as a freelance marketing consultant for Stampli and other agencies. She’s passionate about streamlining workflows, comms, and improving employee and customer experience. When she isn’t digitally organizing or writing, she can be found corralling foster animals.