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Is Your Marketing Conversational?

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Is Your Marketing Conversational?

Brands using chatbots as a replacement for human-to-human channels don’t understand conversational marketing. According to Gartner, conversational marketing is an independent category that helps brands “reduce friction, enable service, improve conversions and raise satisfaction.” For many brands, it shouldn’t be a question of whether or not bots should replace human channels but rather how bots can enhance them. Marketers must do everything they can to make it as easy as possible for customers to get questions answered and buy… both on their terms.

The folks over at Drift have teamed up with SurveyMonkey to deliver their 2019 State of Conversational Marketing report. Their four top findings reinforce customer needs as well as the strengths and weaknesses of chatbots .

1. Conversations, Not Forms. Just 14% of recipients indicated they would prefer filling out a website form than having a conversation with a chatbot. In our era of content marketing and customer self-service, the website form has been an essential component of any lead generation activity. If you spend a lot of time in B2B as I do, you’ve probably seen declining landing page performance over the past few years. Even Facebook and LinkedIn have helped brands move the form fill on platform to increase conversions, but it still means filling out a form. Chatbots can help reduce form anxiety and provide data that can identify intention.

2. Customers Want Speed. 42% of those who engaged with chatbots and 39% of those on one-to-one video calls expected near immediate follow up, versus 11% of those who filled out forms. What that means is that customers perceive the chatbot experience to be more like a human to human connection.

3. Email Isn’t Going Anywhere. A third of respondents said they used email more then they did the previous year, and email is being used more than any other customer communication channel.

4. Chatbots Have A Perception Problem. While chatbots can help buyers get fast answers from brands, buyers are still twice as likely to say chatting with a human provides a better customer experience.

Marketo provides an excellent example. Upon reaching the site, ‘MarketoBot’ starts up a conversation with a question and offers multiple-choice answers. Based on the answers given, visitors are routed to specific tracks of questions that can quickly help connect them with the information they want. Marketo makes no effort to disguise the bot as a human and uses language that reflects the brand’s expertise in MarTech and tone that mirrors the advisor personality and tone present in their content.

To understand if you should be considering a chatbot, here are some questions to consider:

  • Do you use forms to collect customer information? Nothing scares a prospect away faster than seeing 7 or 8 required fields. Use a bot to ask questions about contact information or add attributes to your customer profiles.
  • Do you have a complex offering with multiple products and services? Larger organizations can have complex websites and multiple content hubs. Deploying a chatbot can be a great way to add some personality into your brand, while providing a more expedient and direct way to guide customers.
  • Are there frequent questions or tasks where a bot might help customers? For example, some insurance companies have deployed conversation bots that allow customers to request copies of their insurance identification cards or change their coverage or plan without having to navigate complex self-service menus.
  • Can you provide an easy transition from a bot to a human? While chatbots can increase efficiency in communication, they are not a substitute for human connection. Make sure customers know that the bot is there to help expedite answers, but a human is available should they need more specialized expertise.

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