Chatbots have been in existence for years in one form or the other. Facebook introduced Messenger chatbots a couple of years back. Chatbots are some of the most effective online marketing strategies in 2020.
As a small business owner, all you need to know about these chatbots is that you need to start using them now if you haven’t already. They will get you leads, buyers, save you time, save you money, and make you money.
Compared to other mediums of online marketing, messenger chatbots have the highest open rates and click-through rates by far. This method can also be easily automated. Thus, it will save time, save money, generate more leads, generate more reviews and referrals, lead to higher customer satisfaction, and lead to more repeat customers.
Some people are wondering whether chatbots are all the hype because they are touted as ‘the next big thing.’ That could be it. It would be impossible to tell if the impressive results will last. But that’s all the more reason to adopt chatbot marketing right this minute. However, as said earlier, chatbots have been used for lead generation for a long time. They will likely remain a top performer for a long time coming.
How Does a Messenger Bot Sequence Work?
- It allows prospective customers (prospects) to either see your advert, post, visit your Facebook page, or comment on your post.
- Prospects automatically receive an initial message
- Upon interaction with the initial message, the prospects are marked as a lead.
- It’s now possible to remarket to this lead via messenger.
- If you design any sales filters, Messenger bots interact with and lead people through that filter.
- You can also direct them to a landing page, or bring them through a form directly, gather more contact info, offer giveaways, and more.
- You can bring people directly into the buyer phase with automated messages.
- You can also remarket, retain customer relationships, plus incentivize referrals and reviews.
Point of note, your leads will realize that they are interacting with a bot, so it is important not to hide that fact. Research shows that people don’t seem to mind this fact. They are appreciative because bots are customer-centric. Messenger bots are a way to create a sense of personal connection, building trust, and build and maintain engagement and interaction with the customers.
Potential Downfalls of Messenger Bots
Ironically, the main benefit of using bot marketing; having that personal touch with your customers can also be its biggest downfall. People generally do not appreciate being spammed with business messages amidst their private messages. So, if you do it wrong and spam them, the prospects will turn on you, and you will lose potential leads and clients. Because it is their personal space, treat it as such. As mentioned above, studies have shown that people do not mind receiving bot messages unless they feel their space is being violated. Thus, it is essential to use this lead generation medium right.
Basically, do not be the business that is too aggressive and loud with their promotions. Refrain from sending too many long-winded messages. Leave them short, to-the-point, and definitely apply a personal touch. Additionally, automate them in a manner that allows them to apply the right codes when a prospect gives a command like ‘stop.’
Similarly, if your bot is optimized for customer service, make sure they provide the help and support needed promptly. If you make your prospects wait around for an answer, they will take their businesses elsewhere.
All this is to say if you do not have the experience needed to make messenger bots as effective as possible, hire an expert to design them for you. The design requires technical know-how, but that should not concern you as bots are designed with ease of use in mind.
Now that we have analyzed the potential downfall of bots let’s look at the numerous benefits.
- Bots Save Time
Chatbots save time because they are automated. They run all day and all night, and they reply instantly. This saves you and your customers’ time too.
- Research by UK’s Juniper Research estimated that bots would save your business an average of 4 minutes per inquiry. Cumulatively, that translates into numerous hours in a day. [source: https://www.juniperresearch.com/press/press-releases/chatbots-a-game-changer-for-banking-healthcare]
- You can automate FAQs in direct responses.
- Prospects do not have to navigate a helpdesk for answers, and they get the answers within the bot.
- You can automate Lead Gathering.
- You can automate Segment Leads.
- Bots Save Money
In line with the point above, automation leads to saved time, and saved time leads to less labour time. Additionally, the more efficient lead generation and target marketing strategy means you save cost on advertising. This will bring down the cost of operation significantly.
- A research by Juniper estimates chatbots will help businesses to save 8 billion/year by 2022 [source: https://www.juniperresearch.com/press/press-releases/chatbots-a-game-changer-for-banking-healthcare]
- As of 2019, chatbots have saved businesses an estimated 20 million annually. [Source: Juniper Research].
- Messenger bots are low cost but translate into high results. You can target leads directly devoid of paying for each impression.
- Personal Interaction
The most frequently asked question regarding bots is, do people interact with bots at all? The answer is, YES! The Juniper Research shows that people are actually eager to interact with bots, especially when they have inquiries about business. Surprisingly, bots can help people build feelings and a connection to your brand.
Below is a comparison of interaction between people and bots in comparison to other mediums of online advertisement.
- Lead Generation at a Low(er) Cost
There are many ways that using messenger bots can boost lead generation for small businesses. The first way is through the immediate contact information gathering and high interaction rates.
The very minute a prospect clicks your opt-in message or interacts with your bot; you have all the information you need to remarket to them directly. If you compared this medium of marketing to placing your ad on the landing page, where average lead conversion is 5-10% after clicking on an ad, the messenger bots are undoubtedly a superior method of lead generation. For messenger clicks, your re-marketable lead conversion turn into 100%. [Source: https://mobilemonkey.com/chatbots/facebook-messenger-ads].
- After prospects interact with your bot, you can offer giveaways, direct customers to landing pages, or even complete full sales funnels directly via a chatbot.
- You can also ask the prospects what they are most interested in, making it easy for you to segment leads. If the bots are designed conversationally, your customers would be more willing to interact with them and even answer survey questions.
- You don’t necessarily have to re-direct your prospects to other places such as landing pages; you can directly gather lead data via messenger.
- When they implemented Facebook Messenger bots in their marketing strategy, Hubspot recorded a 477% reduction in their cost per lead. [source: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/facebook-messenger-marketing-experiments]
- More Paying Customers
If used correctly, this medium has proved to have the highest potential to lead to more repeat and paying customers because it is the most effective when it comes to lead generation.
There is a slight decrease in final Buyer Conversion compared to Website Landing Pages/Email Campaigns, but the vast increase in Lead gathering more than compensates for it. Additionally, chatbot lead generation and CTR rates can give you 35x more buyers than a Website/Email based funnel. [source: https://chatbotslife.com/how-to-get-10x-sales-using-messenger-marketing-d3bda6c6b77a]
Similarly, more engagement, more leads, & more satisfaction leads to more buyers and more repeat clients. The fact that it saves you money and time means that you have more money in your savings.
Messenger Marketing vs. Website & Email (comparing 100,000 visitors)
- More Business Referrals and Repeat Customers
Generally speaking, you do not want your existing customers to forget you exist. Bots will help you connect with your clients. Research has shown that when customers get a fast answer to common questions, they are likely to report satisfaction and, thus, expected to stay loyal to the business. A 2017 survey showed that 64% of Chatbots Report respondents rated 24-hour service as the #1 benefit of bots, and another 55% rated instant replies as the most significant advantage of bots. [source: https://www.drift.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/2018-state-of-chatbots-report.pdf]
Additionally, bots can launch Direct Campaigns that give leads value in exchange for social media shares. If the customers are satisfied with the business, are consistently offered value, and feel like they are connected to the business, they are more likely to leave great reviews and refer other people to your business. If you remain consistent with contacting your clients and leads, keep providing value, then you’ll retain the customers as you gain more.
- Provide a Competitive Edge
This one is sort of hard to give a definitive answer on. Ultimately, the competition is dictated by the individual business against the entire industry or market. However, bots give you an advantage in that; once you make the initial interaction with a prospect, you can contact them directly, one-on-one from then on.
There are more advantages than disadvantages for small businesses to adopt messenger chatbots for lead generation. It will lessen the amount of work and money poured into marketing, and it will lead to new and happy customers.