Chatbots have seamlessly fit into our daily lives. There is Google Assistant and Siri for your phones, Alexa for your home and smart-concierges to book your tickets for the holidays.

When it comes to marketing, businesses still rely on traditional channels. Emails, social media, and advertisements to name a few. A lot of them lack a little bit of innovation and hence, seems to be on the verge saturation.

Taking nothing back from traditional marketing techniques, they give astonishing ROI. For example, email marketing gives a $44 ROI for every $1 spent. It is one of the most effective marketing strategies you can have at your disposal. Due to its effectiveness and the sheer number of email users around the world, email marketing is a necessary tool for today’s digital marketers.

This begs the question: Is it possible to get even more out of your marketing strategy?

Well, yes. It is absolutely possible. At the current state, traditional marketing seems to have saturated. There is still a way for you to make it a whole lot better. One prominent factor that can help you bring innovation in email marketing is chatbots.

What is a chatbot and what can it do?

A chatbot is any computer program or artificial intelligence (AI) that is designed specifically to simulate conversations with humans. The level of understanding of human interactions depends on how sophisticated its programming is.

Businesses today use chatbots that range from relatively simple chatbots to more complex chatbots. To better understand how chatbots work, you need to know the difference between the two.

A simple chatbot’s understanding is based on keywords or commands that have been pre-programmed by the developer, which each command programmed separately. For example, if a human user types the words “hi” or “hello”, the chatbot can be programmed to respond with something like “Hello. How can I help you?”.

A complex chatbot, on the other hand, is capable of understanding a wide variety of human inputs. It is also called a smart chatbot due to the fact that it uses machine learning to understand how to better respond to inputs and adapt to human behavior. Think of Siri and Google Assistant. 

If you want to know more about chatbots, read our detailed beginner’s guide to chatbots.

How to use chatbots in marketing strategy?

So, you already know what a chatbot is, what it does, and how a simple chatbot differs from a complex chatbot. The next thing on your mind might be: “What exactly are the benefits of integrating a chatbot into my marketing strategy?”

Well, here a few examples.

More “human” approach

Most of the marketing strategies have one drawback that they mostly facilitate a one-way conversation. Think about it. You receive tons of emails and ads from businesses every single day, but do you really engage with all of them? Most likely not.

One way to offer better engagement—and a more human approach—to your subscribers is by taking advantage of chatbots. It may seem contradictory to consider an AI-powered tool the more human approach, but it’s true.

The reason a chatbot is more “human” is that it is a two-way conversation that happens in real time. Isn’t it how conversations with actual people work? When you ask a chatbot a question, it responds in real time—again, much like how actual human conversations work.

You can humanize your chatbots for more effective conversations. Just follow these steps.

This is also why, even though chatbots are powered by AI, they are still a whole lot more personal than call-to-action (CTA) buttons. To further increase personalization, you can program your chatbot into providing natural responses similar to how an actual person would respond in a conversation.

Additional lead generation channel

There is no question that CTA buttons that ask people to provide their email address are effective at growing your list. But CTA buttons are also very impersonal.

Data has proven that customers want personalization when dealing with businesses. Why not use this as an opportunity to communicate in a more personal manner?

You don’t have to entirely do away with your CTAs. What you should do is use chatbots as another method to actively capture leads and grow your email list.

For example, if a user visits your website, you can program your chatbot into sending a message that’s something like this: “Thank you for visiting our website. Would you be interested in subscribing to our email list so you can stay updated on special promotions?”

If the user responds positively, you can then program the chatbot to ask follow up questions regarding the user’s email address or what type of promotions and content they’d like to receive.

Your chatbot can then automatically transfer all the information it gathers to your database. Post that, you can start segmenting your lists and sending relevant emails.

Improved after-sales processes

Another benefit of chatbots is that they can help you streamline certain sales processes that you complete by email.

To illustrate, say a subscriber logs on to their account on your website and makes a purchase. You can program a chatbot to remind the subscriber that they’ve just made a purchase and you have emailed the purchase confirmation to them.

You can then provide further assistance to your subscriber through the chatbot. Program your chatbot to inform the subscriber that they can review the email and ask questions if they need clarification.

If the subscriber has questions regarding the purchase, the chatbot is the ideal tool for providing a real-time resolution. This is much better than having the customer send an email to your support team and then waiting a few days for a response. 

If you want to see such a chatbot in action, click the chat widget on the bottom right corner of your screen.

In this scenario, all the chatbot needs is more information from the subscriber in order to resolve the issue. Once the subscriber gives the required information, the chatbot can respond adequately.

Final thoughts

There is a huge debate going on among marketers that chatbots will soon take over a lot of marketing channels. This is doesn’t have to be the case. All the marketing channels are unique and powerful that have a place in your digital marketing strategy. 

You should use chatbots in conjunction with other marketing channels to achieve your business goals, whether it be boosting your engagement with your subscribers, generating more leads, or improving your after-sales processes.

Author Bio:
Lane Harbin - chatbots in marketing
Lane Harbin is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Campaign Monitor, an easy-to-use email marketing platform. Campaign Monitor empowers marketers to send targeted campaigns that grow their business. When she’s not geeking out over email marketing, she enjoys binge-listening to podcasts, catching up on the latest tech news, and constantly rearranging her living room.