Using Chatbots to Enhance your Digital Marketing Efforts

One of the things about technology that intrigues me, is just how far we can (or should) go.  For better or worse, our society has gotten itself into one big rush.  In case you haven’t noticed, it’s all about convenience these days.  When it comes to Search think of where Search-giant Google is going and what they have always wanted to accomplish.  To make the World’s information available at your fingertips.  Google continues to strive to bring us information quickly and accurately as never before. As Search became a “thing” in the late nineties and ever since search engines have existed, there has been search engine optimization (SEO).  Ultimately traditional search engine optimization  was about visibility… and it still is.  However with recent advances in technology, including mobile availability, voice search and personal assistants, SEO has grown to become more about helping people find and access information quicker.

Cue the concept of chatbots.

What are Chatbots?

In the simplest sense, a chatbot is a computer program that is created to participate in a conversation with people online.  Chatbots can use artificial intelligence to interact with users in an online environment such as a chatbox or other chat interface.  Chatbots gives users a sense of speaking to a real person.

Chatbots can be in the form of auditory or text based communication. Examples of chatbots include virtual assistants such as Google Assistant which can engage in two-way conversations.  Many chatbots such as this have been designed to engage in dialog conversations and are often used as part of messaging platforms.  A good example of this would be Facebook Messenger.

Chatbots: Robot at Desk

What are some uses of Chatbots?

There are a number of uses of Chatbots.  Three of the most common uses of chatbots include:

  1. Instant Messaging – as many chatbots are text-based, the main use for instant messaging is a no-brainer.  As mentioned Facebook Messenger is probably one of the best examples of this type of chatbot.  Other examples include: Slack/Slackbot, a messaging platform that makes working with groups better. Slack made things like centralizing conversations and sharing files a bit easier.
  2. Marketing and Promotion – of course it makes sense that organizations are leveraging chatbots to promote their products and services.  Everyone from Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Disney and Whole Foods have been using chatbot technology for a while now.  Have you tried TacoBot?  As Taco Bell states, Artificial Intelligence isn’t just for the movies anymore. Ha the future of ordering tacos just may be TacoBot.
  3. Customer Support – many companies have been using Chatbots as customer support mechanism including Expedia, Alaska Airlines with their Ask Jenn chatbot, and even Toys R Us who used an Ask Emma chatbot for support. Customer support Bots could replace the live chat agent with a bot, safely and at scale. Customer support Bots can also be through third parties.  In fact, Twitter is now offering customer service chatbots that companies can use when sending direct messages to customers.  Companies such as Spotify were quick to jump on this.  Many companies including Shutterfly offer a Live Chat option so it is only a matter of time before these organizations include some form of chatbot option as part of their customer service efforts.

Additional examples of popular chatbots can be found here.  Here’s a look at some examples of Bots that are powered by A.I.  For the user, here are a few ways how you can use chatbots to find information easier and quicker.

As you can see, Chatbots have been used for a while now, it’s not new technology per se, but how businesses are using them in creative manners is what might be a little new for you.  You have your common uses such as Expedia’s virtual customer assistant or you have branded chatbots that help sell product such as the aforementioned TacoBot.

Benefits of Using Chatbots

When it comes to the benefits of using chatbots to enhance SEO and social media efforts, again the main benefit is convenience.  Chatbot technology lets you serve up information and content to your users quickly.  Chatbots can also support your existing content and help improve the user experience on your website, your social media channel or app providing users with a more convenient and successful experience.

  1. Chatbots help people access information quicker (less click activity).  When it comes to Search, many people think that a high bounce rate is a bad thing.  Well that’s not always the cases, especially if you can deliver a successful site experience by providing the information that the user is looking for.
  2. Chatbots can help make your brand “Always On”.  The Internet is 24/7 and chatbots can help make your brand be visible 24/7 by providing on-going support.
  3. Enhance your social media support – Deploying chatbots allows you to combine the growing messaging trend and social media reach especially through messaging apps/bots.  If leveraged correctly, chatbots can further enhance your social media activity and help improve your brand perception.  Many brands have already been using social media sites such as Twitter as vehicles for dealing with customer service issues. It’s only natural that when customers have questions or are dissatisfied with an experience that they share their issues on social media.  As a result, using chatbots can be another avenue to quickly respond to dissatisfied customers.  This is likely one of the reasons as to why Twitter is offering customer service chatbots that companies can use when sending direct messages to customers. These chatbots allow brands to send out auto replies to customer service related direct messages.
  4. Improved relevancy – chatbot based messaging can support and link to existing content on your site all the while helping solve issues for your users/audience.  Provide the right information to the right time in the right format.
  5. Improve Converions – Chatbots can help drive or shape the user journey towards an intended outcome.

With great chatbot power comes great chatbot responsibility.  The thing with chatbots is that it can be tricky as to where to draw the line in terms of their use.  You really need to think through and identify what to manage with Bots.  If not rolled out correctly, the user experience could be much worse even with chatbots.  It depends on what your audience is looking for. Chatbots are not a solution for poor customer service.   Also some people are slower adopters of this type of technology.  Depending on your target demographic, you will need to build the confidence of your audience as they engage with your chatbots and A.I.  Users need to gain confidence that the chatbot is able to assist them in a manner similar to that of a live support agent.

People are already bored with downloading an app.  Chatbots are the best candidate to replace apps as a form of a digital destination.  Chatbots and related A.I. will end up becoming the next generation of what we know today as the website. Just ask the folks over at Kik, one of the world’s most popular chat apps.  Will not every chatbot will be a proven success, there is not questions that in today’s digital age where serving up quality content and information in as quick as manner as possible is what society is looking for.  Too much to soon?  Maybe, but the only thing standing in the way of the success of chatbots and A.I. is technology and the adoption of it.

Additonal Resources on Chatbots

Using Chatbots to Enhance your SEO and Social Strategy
Tagged on:             

Leave a Reply