Chatbots are becoming more popular. You see them all over the Internet: on websites, and especially on social media. Businesses use chatbots as marketing tools to engage with more prospects across more platforms. And in theory, they’re a great idea. But as chatbots become more popular, we need to take a good look at them and make sure that we’re using them “properly” (or maybe “judiciously” is a better word).
What Chatbots Do For You
- Chatbots allow more prospects to see your content.
- Chatbots make it easier to share your content, because it’s right there in your audience’s inbox, and it’s mobile-friendly.
- Chatbots are engaging and conversational, because if someone likes what they’ve read maybe they'll respond to your bot with a question or comment and your bot can respond (if it’s been programmed to do that), or you can take over and engage with the customer yourself.
- Most importantly: Chatbots are there to welcome someone and let you know they need help as soon as someone is on your website and suddenly wants to talk.
The idea of chatbots is a good one -- for example, we’re experimenting with Alysha-Bot on our website. And we were the earliest adopters of Live Chat years ago. If you’re going to use this inbound marketing strategy, it’s imperative that chatbots be used within inbound principles.
Remember inbound marketing is about providing your prospects and customers with content when they want it.
We get it. You’re eager to use social media chatbots, like Facebook Messenger, to share content you used to reserve only for an email series. And you might be tempted to promote webinars or your blog posts through these bots too. But blasting your follower lists with content foregoes the most important inbound principle of express consent, because you’re selling to people constantly (and we have a name for that — disruptive marketing — we know that doesn’t fly.)
So while bots are a great help for engaging with people you want to sell to, don’t let chatbots replace your searchable content your audience has agreed to receive.
In fact, use Chatbots with care - including the care with which you set them up.
3 Best Practices We Follow With Chatbots Are:
- Give your chatbot a personality - people like real people so make your bot more real.
- Have a plan for why your chatbot exists - what’s the sequence of questions and why (does it provide value to the user first and foremost?); why should the Chatbox be on Page X - and how will the chatbot change in sequence on a different page; which group of people will get this chatbot, and how will it differ from a different group of people (recognized users vs new anonymous users).
- And forever we follow this: Never ask for information without giving help or a reason for why you need information from someone.
Want to see these 3 rules of chatbots in practice? Tell us what you think of Alysha-bot.