According to Havas Group’s 2017 Meaningful Brands study, 84% of people expect brands to create content. It seems that the modern-day consumer has developed a strong resistance towards ads and traditional forms of marketing. Instead of sales pitches and billboards, today’s audience craves insight.
It’s exactly what content marketing provides – well-researched, relevant, and helpful information. The same demand redefines other techniques enveloped by the term digital marketing, placing content in the very center of both online and offline environments. Wherever you look, it’s all content’s kingdom.
As of late, chatbots are its servants too.
Why Content Is King and How Content Rules
Content Marketing Institute defines its titular field of research as a “strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience, and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” Pretty straightforward.
But the content itself cannot be restricted to one technique only.
Other promotional strategies, both online and offline, rely on it too. Content is the essence of social media marketing, it’s one of the top elements of SEO and PPC, and email marketing depends on it too. In the offline arena, great content separates false advertising from effective radio and TV campaigns.
A smart observer cannot but ask – what is it that makes content so effective?
Well, customer journey begins with content, as modern-day consumers prefer making informed purchasing decisions. Content then shapes the rest of their customer experience, engaging them not only with hard facts but also by entertaining them. Consumers need, trust, and enjoy great content.
As a “strategic approach”, moreover, content marketing taps into a number of different techniques, mediums, and types of content to attract, convert, and retain consumers with different habits, preferences, and needs. Popular methods include blogging, social media, video content, and eBooks.
So, where do chatbots fit in?
Content marketing caters to the needs of both types of consumers – those who prefer long, informational content, and those who would rather take their daily portions in bite-sized chunks. Also, it does that on multiple channels, from various social media and blogs to official websites and self-service centers.
Digital assistants are there to navigate consumers through the storm, filtering content based on their unique preferences and needs. That way, chatbots combine conversational experiences with content marketing and provide an automated, more convenient way of finding and consuming great content.
Reasons for investing in Chatbots
Forrester Research expects a 300% increase in investment in AI technologies like chatbots. By 2020, they anticipate that organizations who have invested in AI, including chatbot development, will “steal” a $1.2 trillion market share from their less attuned competitors. Not a bad opportunity indeed.
Needless to say, the benefits of employing a chatbot solution go way beyond marketing.
Digital assistants are cost-effective; they stand at our disposal 24/7 without ever experiencing any drop in productivity or showcasing any signs of burnout. They are said to be more intelligent than human beings, though this only applies to the processing speed and mathematical precision of computers.
What makes chatbots intelligent is their AI framework, embedded with both machine learning and natural language processing. The first allows them to learn from the collected data, while the second enables a more natural way of obtaining that data – the ability to communicate with us, human beings.
As such, chatbots offer a host of possibilities for smart business applications. They “work” across industries, mainly as customer service agents, but also as administrative assistants, sales robots, and – marketers. Companies hail them as helping tools that streamline operations and facilitate workflow.
Even more importantly, modern-day consumers love chatting with chatbots.
A massive customer service study conducted by the Customer Contact Council found that “delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty; reducing their effort – the work they must do to get their problem solved – does.” And, if anything can provide them with a fast, simple, and good solution, it’s a chatbot.
So, Why Are Chatbots a Great Marketing Tool?
37% of Americans say they would use a chatbot to get a quick answer, in an emergency. Meanwhile, 64% of them believe that the top benefit of doing so is the ability to solve problems on the go and at any given moment. Paired with convenience, 24/7 availability is the digital assistant’s strongest suit.
These figures are going up as we speak, which only means that having a chatbot in your business offer automatically puts you ahead of your competitors. A chatbot is a marketing tool in the most literal sense of the word – it’s a bait that attracts the consumers who prefer technology’s speed and convenience.
But that’s certainly not all that chatbots can offer when it comes to marketing.
– Personalizing the Experience
It goes without saying that the more personalized customer experiences are, the bigger the chances for conversions. This way, chatbots don’t only attract new customers by offering them highly-targeted solutions, but also convert (personalization is a great tool for cross-selling and up-selling too) and retain through personalized support. It’s a three-in-one solution that gives consumers what they need.
– Humanizing the Brand
Ironically enough, digital assistants can humanize your brand. That doesn’t mean that you should try to pass off a bot as a human rep, on the contrary. Be upfront about what you offer, but design it in a way that humanizes the interaction. The first rule of conversational experience is to have a natural flow, so employ NLP and add some personality. Make it quirky or formal, but align it with your brand.
– Increasing the Engagement
Like everything else you do, your chatbot should be an extension of your brand. For a great number of customers, it will be the first touchpoint with your products and services, and determine the course of your B2C relationship. Having a chatbot is not enough – to engage the audience, you need to discover new, innovative ways of using this tech and make it a worthy representative of the brand.
How to Include a Chatbot to Your Content Strategy
A chatbot can greet your visitors, working side-by-side with a live chat for website to initiate a customer journey that starts and ends without any tab shifting or risk of bouncing. But, that’s only the first line of defense. Chatbots can handle many other channels used in content marketing strategies.
– Chatbots and CRM
Connect a chatbot with a CRM database and a free knowledge base software, and it will provide not only fast and accurate answers but also personalized ones. Retailers already use their machine learning capabilities to gather information about general behavior and purchase histories of individual customers, pour that into their CRMs, and so create custom-tailored offers and suggestions.
– Chatbots and Email
Through casual on-site chatting, chatbots can significantly increase your email subscription rates. They can engage with indecisive visitors, thus warming up hot leads, or nurture subscribers by interacting with them. If an abandoned cart has triggered a retargeting email, but there’s still no answer from the lead, you can use a chatbot to remind them that there’s an email in their inbox waiting to be opened.
– Chatbots and Messengers
Messenger apps are where chatbots thrive if you consider that both of these tools were invented for, well, chatting. Use them to stay at your customers’ disposal 24/7, answering their questions, providing shopping guidance, and filtering content. As soon as someone likes your Facebook page, send the bot to thank the follower. A simple welcome message can go a long way in nurturing all segments of leads.
– Chatbots and SMS
Just like with email marketing, chatbots can be used for building SMS subscriber lists too. Traditional text messaging boasts an open rate of a whopping 80% but is a bit harder to do right than email. Because SMS is a private channel, which entails urgency, spamming is here legally forbidden. Your subscribers must willingly opt-in, and chatbots can be pretty successful in convincing them to do so.
– Chatbots and FAQs
ProProfs knowledge base software comes handy when building a self-service center for independent consumers to use at their will. However, sometimes it may happen that your knowledge base is so large that a user is finding difficult to navigate their way through it? Chatbots can come to the rescue here too. They can filter FAQs content for users in rush, or collect customer data that you can use for creating FAQ pages.
The Future of Chatbots in Marketing
Digital assistants have only started transforming the dynamics of content marketing and marketing in general, and are yet to presume a leading role in these promotional strategies. If unopened emails continue to pile up, this might happen sooner than we expect. The future is looking bright for chatbots.
Marketing departments are just starting to realize the immense potential of this sophisticated technology, which is applicable to both audience targeting and lead nurturing. Today, chatbots are new and attractive. Tomorrow, they’ll grow into an industry staple, and trump content with conversation.
Robin is a Technical Support Executive. He is an expert in knowledge management and various Knowledge base tools. Currently, he is a resident knowledge management expert at ProProfs. In his free time, Robin enjoys cycling and sky diving.