Even though your social media marketing strategy should involve interacting with clients directly, you won’t be able to do that all the time. Despite what so many people these days believe, people are not online 24 hours a day, and while this hopefully isn’t news to you, it can negatively affect your campaign if you’re really struggling to turn those who see your Facebook page and other marketing efforts into real clients.
In the past, the best way to interact with clients without sitting at your computer all the time was to start an email marketing campaign. This basically involved sending emails to those who expressed interest in your brand, usually by subscribing to an email newsletter. While that is still certainly a viable marketing strategy, it isn’t nearly as useful as it once was. It’s been said that with an email campaign, only 20 percent of recipients will get your message, and only five percent of them will actually click through to see what else you have to offer. Even if you’re the type who thinks that any response to a marketing campaign is a good thing, those are pretty dismal numbers. Fortunately, there is a better way to build a successful marketing funnel with your social media campaign with the help of chatbots.
Chatbots – also known as messenger bots or simply bots – are automated programs that send messages to users through a messenger service or a message board. If you’ve spent any time in a chat room or with any kind of messenger program over the last two decades, you’ve probably come across at least a few of these. A lot of people find bots to be annoying when they spam the same kinds of messages over and over again, but they can also make for some surprisingly effective marketing. In fact, some marketers are finding that these bots are giving their campaigns response rates of up to 90 percent.
So, what is it that makes these bots so effective, and how can you use it in your own marketing campaign? Let’s take a look.
Why Bots Are So Important
Even though email is still widely used around the world, many young people are relying more on social media and messenger services these days to communicate with each other. Your average millennial will probably see a Facebook status update before they see a new email in their inbox, and they will be more likely to see a message sent directly to them if it comes through as a text or an instant message. These messages come to them in real time, but a busy social media marketer cannot be expected to spend hours sending these messages to prospective clients. This is why they turn to bots.
Bots can be automated to send messages to anybody at any time, and all the marketer has to do is decide what messages will be sent. It effectively automates the kind of outreach that is so crucial to any modern marketing campaign. You do need to be careful about how these messages are presented and how often they go out, though. Sending out too many messages to random people whether they want them or not will just push them away from your brand, and not sending enough messages will just result in your brand getting ignored. You need to find a happy medium, which is what building a marketing funnel is really about.
The Marketing Funnel
A marketing funnel is a description of the process of turning a prospective client into an actual sale. The idea is that while you have a practically unlimited number of prospective clients who will be exposed to your brand, only a fraction of these people will actually stick with your brand long enough to follow up on a lead, speak to you or another sales associate, and make a purchase. It’s a term that comes up a lot whenever online marketing is discussed, and it absolutely applies to how messenger bots are used.
When a messenger bot goes live, it will directly contact several people through a messenger service or an online forum. Anyone who receives the bot’s message is a potential client, although not all of them will actually pay attention to the message. The vast majority of people will probably ignore the message, especially if they didn’t sign up for a newsletter or otherwise expressed interest in what your brand has to offer. There will be people who will be intrigued by what they’ve received from the bots though, and they will click through the message and the link attached to it to your brand’s website. Some of those people will stop there, but some will decide that they want what you have to offer and become your newest clients.
So now that we’ve established how a marketing funnel would work with messenger bots, how do go about creating a funnel without turning off your potential clients with spam messages? That part is really up to you, but one good way is to take advantage of the nature of instant messaging. The bots that you would use are automated and wouldn’t be actual people, but many of them are sophisticated enough to respond to messages and responses. Have the bots ask questions of prospective clients that need to be answered, or present a story that needs to be clicked through. Both of these options create the kind of engagement that can only come from using a messenger service. It also helps to mostly target those who have expressed interest in your brand before. Someone who has never heard of you might be annoyed by a marketing strategy that they see as intrusive, but those who know who you are and what you have to offer might find the messages very welcome.
In any event, the key to using messenger bots as part of your marketing strategy is to grab people’s attention. They might not always stick around until they make a purchase, but an effective message sent by a bot just might provide the hook that you need to attract new clients.