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The Beginner’s Guide to Using Chatbots To Increase Sales and Leads

Building a brand and running a successful business today requires a complete understanding of your audience and how to market to them. With the rise of the internet, smartphone technology, and social media, using innovative tools such as chatbots can significantly help to increase sales and leads while helping to establish your business and brand.

What Are Chatbots?

Chatbots are programs or software solutions that utilize AI to converse with visitors or customers of a website or social media platform. Chatbots were originally designed to help direct website users to specific products, pages, and links to streamline the web browsing experience of the website itself.

Today, chatbots are now used more than ever by brands and businesses of all sizes when devising a new online marketing strategy. Increasing leads and sales for companies in any industry is now easier than ever with the advent of chatbot technology and artificial intelligence. Using chatbots for your small business, your eCommerce store, or even for an international brand not only helps to streamline the experience of users, but they also provide extremely valuable insights into the overall wants, needs, and demands of your online visitors.

How Do Chatbots Work?

Chatbot software is typically implemented into a website with the use of external code or with the use of an installed plugin, especially if you are using a CMS, or content management system. When you are using a CMS such as WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla, installing the chatbot of your choice is as simple as accessing the administrative dashboard of your website followed by searching for and installing your preferred chatbot plugin or software.

Some chatbot programs are completely free of charge and allow you to get started with your account and multiple chatbots immediately upon registering and activating your account. However, some chatbot software solutions require upfront payment for the program or ongoing monthly payments for the services provided depending on the size of your business.

Additionally, there are also chatbot software solutions that allow you more freedom and flexibility when creating a chatbot for your own business and website. Creating a customized chatbot is a way to implement your own lingo and various topic responses that are relevant and appropriate for your prospective visitors.

Image via Wizeline

3 Reasons Why Chatbots Are Beneficial to eCommerce Websites

Building a thriving eCommerce website can feel complicated, competitive, and overwhelming at times depending on your chosen market and industry. With the rise of eCommerce stores and online shopping, creating an eCommerce website that is modern, welcoming, and appealing is not always enough, even for the most seasoned entrepreneur.

Creating an eCommerce site that stands out amongst your local and online competition can significantly impact the number of sales and leads you are able to generate on a daily basis. With a chatbot in place, take advantage of the following benefits for your eCommerce store:

  • 24/7 Accessibility: Installing and using a chatbot on your eCommerce store is a way to provide top-notch and immediate customer service to all of your visitors, regardless of their current timezone or the time of day. Chatbots respond immediately and automatically when a visitor appears on your eCommerce store, promptly providing assistance and direction as necessary when users are searching for specific information, products, or services. When a visitor is able to find a product they are looking for with the help of a chatbot in the middle of the night, they are much more likely to complete the purchasing process. When there is no customer support available during off-hours and your visitors have questions or require help, they are likely to seek an alternate provider or solution.
  • Personalization: Depending on the eCommerce software or solution you are using, it may be possible to customize your eCommerce chatbots. Customization and personalization allow you to hone in on your customer’s name once they are logged in or they can help to remind a customer of specials you have available for them based on past shopping behaviors. Customizing your chatbot can truly help your eCommerce store to stand out, even in the most competitive and saturated online markets.
  • Shopping Assistance: Use your eCommerce chatbot to provide ongoing shopping assistance for new visitors or loyal customers. Provide in-depth information about products instantly, redirect users in need of finding a product, and remind customers of products that are currently in their virtual shopping carts. Chatbots for eCommerce stores can be customized to reflect any and all marketing goals you have in mind, including generating leads and sales.

3 Reasons Why Chatbots Are Beneficial to B2B Websites

If you own a B2B business and you want to generate leads and sales from other professionals and entrepreneurs in your industry, chatbots can help with solidifying connections and sealing the deal. Some of the most notable benefits of using chatbots with a B2B business include:

  • Reduce Manual Resources: Reduce the number of resources used to help with responding to simple queries and help requests. With a chatbot in place, simply redirect your current customers to a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page for simple requests or help pinpoint and solve issues without manual labor. Chatbots can be programmed to solve issues for clients based on the keywords and phrasing used when asking a question. Free up the use of manual labor and focus on other areas of growing and scaling your B2B company with the use of AI chatbots.
  • Handle More Queries: Another reason to use an AI chatbot with your B2B company is the ability to handle more queries than when doing so manually. With an AI chatbot in place, allow the bot to solve issues for simple questions while focusing your attention towards more pressing and important issues your clients are facing. When you have the ability to provide top-notch customer service to all of your clients, it is much easier to retain your clients while simultaneously scaling and expanding your business operations.
  • Solve Issues Quicker: Once you have a fully-functional and customized AI chatbot designed to assist customers with issues they are having, it is much easier to reduce time spent on each issue your team resolves. Reducing time spent solving issues for clients is not only a great way to boost your brand and company’s reputation, but it is also a way to keep customers satisfied and willing to use your B2B services without seeking an alternative provider or source.

How to Use Chatbots to Manage and Grow Your Business

Getting started with a chatbot for your company’s website does not require programming or coding knowledge. In fact, the process is simple once you know what you need for your chatbot. Once you become familiar with various chatbot programs and solutions available for your type of business, it is much easier to select a service or software that is ideal for you. Some ways that chatbots can be put to use to help in the process of managing and growing your business include:

  • Instant Communication and Improved Customer Service: Providing instant communication with online visitors and help your users to find information and products they are interested in. Redirect visitors to the appropriate section of your website immediately with the use of AI chatbots. With reliable, responsive, advanced AI technology, always deliver excellent customer service to all of your visitors along with prospective and loyal customers.
  • Save Time: Save time redirecting users or responding to basic queries with the use of an AI chatbot in place. AI chatbots allow you and your team to spend more time focusing on other aspects of your business, rather than using manual labor to help resolve well-known issues or common fixes. When you have more manpower available, it is much easier to move forward with expansions and new projects to ensure the stability and growth of your business.
  • Analytics and Data: AI chatbots provide a plethora of useful information and analytics involving users who visit, browse, and shop on your website. Collect data from users who access and utilize your AI chatbot to learn more about areas that visitors have difficulty navigating to or products that are not properly displayed. Discover and remedy any recurrent issues your visitors have when accessing your website by referencing the data and analytics you collect with the use of your AI chatbot.

How to Get Started With Chatbots

Before you choose a chatbot program or solution to help increase your own sales and leads, there are a few steps to keep in mind.

Consider the Audience You Want to Reach

Determining the audience you intend to reach is the first step in creating any online or offline marketing strategy, regardless of your business and business model. Consider the type of customers you want to reach along with their demographics. What is the specific geolocation, age, and gender you want to reach with your AI chatbots?

Understanding the audience you want to reach is extremely helpful once you begin devising and launching online marketing campaigns, regardless of your preferred platforms. When you know your audience, how they speak, what brands they prefer, and how they shop or learn online, it is much easier to create a highly personalized chatbot that truly resonates with your target demographics.

Define and Set Goals

Defining and setting goals is essential once you make the decision to use an AI chatbot on your website. Without a clearly defined list of both short and long-term goals, it becomes increasingly difficult to optimize your AI chatbot for the benefit of your new visitors and loyal customers. Once you are determined to use an AI chatbot for your eCommerce, portfolio, or even your B2B website, keep the following questions in mind as you define and set goals that are best for your business:

  • Will your AI chatbot help to increase overall leads or close sales with current online visitors and prospective customers?
  • Do you want to walk prospective customers through your entire eCommerce store, or do you want customers to seek help in order to activate your chatbot?
  • Will your chatbot simply redirect users, or will it provide real-time responses?
  • What goals do you intend to set for yourself and your business with your chatbot, and how do you intend to track them with data and analytic reports?

Select the Right Platforms for Your Business

When you are choosing the right platforms for your business with the AI chatbot software you are using, there are a few questions to ask yourself before you move forward with a plan of action.

How does your target audience typically shop whenever they are browsing for the type of products or services you offer? How can you convince your prospective customers to give your business a chance with the use of your chatbot in place? How do you intend to appeal to your users and which platforms will your target audience likely discover your business and brand on?

Social Media Chatbots

Using social media chatbots can help with drastically increase sales and leads, especially with a proper and effective social media marketing strategy in place. Using a chatbot is not only a way to drive traffic, leads, and sales to a business, but they are also helpful with building a reputation and collecting data on the audience you are reaching. Areas to consider when planning a social media chatbot marketing strategy:

  • Size of message/message volume/how many users you want to appeal to with each individual chatbot campaign you launch and run
  • Capturing clickthrough rates
  • Comparing both new and returning visitors
  • Engagement/How many times users manually request assistance from a chatbot
  • Hot topics/subjects that result in the most engagement from followers and prospective customers
  • How you intend to measure the results of individual chatbot campaigns and which variables involve indicate a successful campaign

Tips for Using Twitter Chatbots

Using a Twitter chatbot is another way to reach your intended audience in small and succinct updates. Implementing a Twitter chatbot into your marketing strategy is highly advisable if you have a large Twitter following or if you have an extremely active Twitter account which requires autoresponders and messaging.

Tips for Using Facebook Chatbots

Facebook chatbots have recently become extremely popular among both local and online businesses. With more than 2 billion active members, Facebook provides instant access to highly targeted demographics, whether you want to reach teenagers who are addicted to social media or men in their 50’s who enjoy golfing and sailing on the weekends.

Facebook chatbots provide an extremely useful tool to better connect with prospective customers, especially if you are just getting started with your online marketing campaigns. Using Facebook chatbots is a way to connect with current followers while also implementing the AI into sponsored ads and posts you choose to launch with individual campaigns.

Tips for Using Website Chatbots

Using a website chatbot does not have to feel confusing or complicated, even if you are unfamiliar with programming or building websites yourself. Once you understand the wants and needs of your target audience, it is much easier to program a chatbot to deliver high-quality customer service to your visitors. Some ways to put your website’s chatbot to good use include:

  • Consider Needs: What are your visitors viewing on your website? Why are users visiting your website? Consider the needs of your audience when programming your AI chatbot.
  • Track Analytics: Use real-time data and analytics to keep track of popular topics, links, and queries made by users to deliver what your users want most.
  • Allow Disabling of Automatic Chatbots: While chatbots are extremely helpful and beneficial for some, they may be annoying to other visitors. Allow users the ability to manually disable chatbots on your website to prevent causing an upset or causing visitors to find another source for the products, services, or information they are seeking.

5 Chatbot Apps to Try

When searching for a chatbot app to try and use for your business, it is important to conduct thorough research before choosing a platform or solution that suits your needs. A few of the most well-known chatbot apps and solutions available for both individual entrepreneurs and business owners alike include:

  • Chatfuel
  • Flow XO
  • Botsify
  • MobileMonkey
  • ChatterOn

While chatbots are not exactly brand new, they are extremely innovative for businesses and brands looking to make a mark and leave a lasting impression to users and prospective customers online. With the use of chatbot automation solutions for your business, drastically increase the number of leads and amount in sales you are able to generate in less time altogether.

Thanks for reading "The Beginner’s Guide to Using Chatbots To Increase Sales and Leads", by the Linchpin Team in Chicago, Raleigh, and Wake Forest.

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