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A crash course in chatbot marketing: Five steps to success for your marketing team

If you thought individual customer engagement at scale, high conversion rates, gathering zero-party data, and standing out among the other advertising noise out there was just a dream, think again.

A crash course in chatbot marketing: Five steps to success for your marketing team
[phonlamaiphoto / Adobe Stock]

When was the last time you had a 61% conversion rate on one of your marketing channels? Chatbot marketing leverages the power of discovery on channels like search, social, and display to create one-to-one connections between brands and customers. Where better to engage customers than right where they are, as 55% of consumers learn about new brands from social media, and 43% of consumers have increased their social media usage in order to discover new brands, products, and services.

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By using conversational AI, chatbot marketing builds the foundation for brands to understand customer needs, identify their intent, and respond instantly with relevant and helpful information. This is a necessity when 80% of customers say they are more likely to buy from a brand if it offers personalized experiences.

And chatbot marketing converts as well. In our 2022 State of Social Conversational Commerce report, we found that customers who interacted with a chatbot went on to make a purchase 61% of the time.

Meeting customers where they are and interacting with them one-on-one can drastically turn around failing marketing efforts in traditional channels. If you’re interested in going from the basics to success with chatbot marketing, here’s how to get started.

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Want to launch a successful chatbot marketing initiative? These five steps can help ensure that it’s successful, impactful, and scalable.

STEP 1: IDENTIFY YOUR CORE-USE CASE FOR LAUNCH

First, define the goals you have for launching chatbot marketing and what you need to do to achieve those goals. If your goal is commerce, do you need to integrate product feeds? If it’s lead generation, how do you want to qualify them? Take a look at what use cases—like guided shopping, personalized product recommendations, retargeting notifications, and automated FAQs—have worked well for others in your industry, too.

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Once you have your use case identified, work with experienced teams to leverage conversational best practices for that use case in order to build your chatbot. Utilize “Get/To/By” creative frameworks to identify your target audience, goals, and customer journey.

As you start out, don’t try to do everything at once. Don’t try to create a perfect conversational AI before launch, and don’t try to train and optimize it based on real messaging data. Don’t try to build complex CRM integrations from the start, either. Simply build for your use case and go.

STEP 2: CHOOSE THE RIGHT CHANNELS FOR YOUR USE CASE AND AUDIENCE

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You don’t necessarily want to launch your chatbot on every messaging channel. Think about the unique entry points and features of each one. Do they align with your goals and use case? What is the ideal customer journey based on the entry point and channel? Where is your highest-value audience? What retargeting options are available?

As always, be sure to loop in relevant teams early in the decision-making process, as you could slow down your launch by not bringing in the right teams early enough. And be sure to check if your customer care team has any solutions or live agents operating on the channel already. Also consider aligning with them to think about combining automated chatbots and live support.

STEP 3: GROW YOUR AUDIENCE USING BOTH PAID AND OWNED CHANNELS

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As your chatbot begins to engage with your audience, identify all the channels at your disposal in order to maximize the size of your audience growth. You might use high-intent audiences like email, website visitors, and social followers, or grow with paid ads, organic entry points, offline-to-online QR codes, or website-to-bot links. You may also create different chat funnels sensitive to the entry-point context.

At this point, avoid only using a single entry-point type to grow your audience. Don’t wait too long before bringing in other teams responsible for channels you can use to grow your audience, either.

As you grow your audience, manage customer expectations around engaging with your bot. Customers should be able to engage with your chatbot and find the answers and help that they need, yet still know they’re engaging with a bot. But just because they’re talking to a bot doesn’t mean it can’t feel human. Create engaging human-like conversations by speaking to customers like a helpful friend.

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STEP 4: SEGMENT AND RETARGET YOUR AUDIENCE WITH PUSH NOTIFICATIONS

As you scale interactions with customers, you’ll gather a lot of personalized, declared data that you can use to create hyper-specific segments. You can also use it to personalize retargeting messages to maximize engagement with your customers.

As you begin your retargeting, be sure to re-engage users in a timely and relevant way—don’t send too few or too many re-engagement notifications. Above all, test and learn to see what works and what doesn’t when it comes to retargeting your audience.

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STEP 5: CONTINUOUSLY OPTIMIZE YOUR CONVERSATIONAL FUNNEL AND AI

Don’t just launch your chatbot and be done with it. Make it a priority to continue to track and iterate on your approach. Regularly review conversation analytics to see the step-by-step engagement in those interactions, and take action to improve your creative for higher retention at noticeable drop-off points.

You should also utilize A/B testing on various conversations in order to optimize conversion rates and better find out what works. Duplicate your winning conversations into new channels and markets, and leverage learnings from each campaign to quickly expand and improve results each time. Finally, take a holistic view of reporting and attribution to uncover the full impact of your chatbot on conversions, assisted conversions, and audience growth.

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If you thought individual customer engagement at scale, high conversion rates, gathering zero-party data, and standing out among the other advertising noise out there was just a dream, think again. Chatbot marketing is the one-to-one messaging approach that will have your customers taking notice—and taking action.


Co-founder & CEO of Spectrm

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