Chatbots are here and they’re here to stay! In the last five years, chatbots have risen to prominence on websites and apps all over the globe. There are several good reasons for this. Chatbots help bridge the communication gap when a human agent isn’t available. They also signal to your customers that you want to communicate with them and that you care about their experience. This is why so many websites and apps implement chatbots. You’re probably familiar with how it works. You land on a website and you’re immediately greeted with a popup chat box asking if there’s anything they can help you with. This is to let you know that when you’re ready to take action, you’ll be guided through the steps.
Chatbots now play a huge role in customer service operations everywhere. However, the use cases of chatbots aren’t just limited to customer service. Chatbots are also a great sales tool when used correctly. Today we’re going to be looking at the benefits of chatbots and tell you how you can automate your sales funnel.
Do Sales Chatbots Work?
Some people have had bad experiences with chatbots who fail to understand what they want or constantly return the wrong answers. Unfortunately, the sentiment that chatbots are ineffective was commonplace in the past and this has carried through to the modern-day in the minds of some people. The truth is, the chatbots back then were pretty bad. The technology was in its infancy and chatbots were a little awkward at best, or downright unintelligible at their worst.
Those days are now firmly in the past. In the past five years alone, we’ve made gigantic leaps forward in chatbot technology thanks to one thing: data! Data science is booming. In the past, our data used to sit idly in databases providing very little use to anyone. Today with machine learning, AI, deep learning, neural networks, data mining, data labeling and more, we’re able to analyze and process data like never before. Computing power has also rapidly advanced during this time meaning bots can now process conversations and deliver meaningful answers in a matter of seconds. The chatbots of 2020 appear humanlike and can carry a coherent conversation without having to be reminded of any details. This wasn’t true in the past where chatbots would frequently “forget” the context of the conversation.
There’s no doubt that chatbots are becoming more prominent everywhere. Facebook has more than 10,000 bots running in its Messenger app already. One report also found that 96% of companies believe that chatbots are here to stay. It’s clear that companies are seeing the value in chatbots and are continuing to invest in them.
So, everyone’s using them, but do they actually work? The simple answer is yes. You want your customers to move through the sales funnel and take action. Websites are designed and carefully crafted around getting consumers to the end of the sales funnel. Chatbots are an effective addition to this process. In many cases, chatbots will be the reason that the customer moved all the way through the sales funnel and took the desired action.
How Chatbots Can Help Consumers Through the Sales Funnel
Chatbots can prompt the user to move to the next part of the sales funnel. For those not familiar with this term, a sales funnel is a consumer-focused marketing model that illustrates the journey consumers take as they move towards purchasing a product or service. There are different models of the sales funnel, but the most popular one illustrates this journey as four distinct parts. These are:
This is the part where the consumer becomes aware that your product or service exists. A chatbot can be used to quickly grab their attention on the website, app, or popular messaging service and increase the consumer’s knowledge of the product. You want consumers to be aware of your product, but you also want them to be aware of the correct information surrounding your product. Although you would hope this would never happen, a consumer may land on your website and make an incorrect snap judgment about your product or service. They might think “hmm I don’t think this product will offer everything I need; I’m going to look elsewhere”. Many of those people will hit the back button straight away. However, others may decide to ask the chatbots some questions to further clarify whether the product is a good fit for them.
This is the part where a chatbot is extremely useful! In this part, the consumer is interested in your product and will start to look for more information to help them make a decision. By having a chatbot ready to greet the consumer straight away, they will know that any questions they have will be answered.
This is the part where the consumer decides whether they will make a purchase or not. You can tailor your sales chatbot to say the right things at the right time and convince them to make a purchase.
Action is where the consumer follows through with their decision. Sometimes we make a decision but then something gets in the way of following through. Maybe the website crashes, maybe we get distracted by something else, or maybe we decide to come back to the task later on when we have more free time (only we forget to come back). Chatbots can prompt a user to complete the action.
The Benefits of Chatbots For All Companies
- Bots can help weed out unqualified leads.
- The chatbot data can be used by marketers to inform decisions like what content they should provide the lead with.
- Chatbot data can help you determine how consumers feel about your product. Are consumers always asking the chatbot the same questions? If so, that might be a sign that your site isn’t providing users with relevant information.
- Get a competitive edge by staying on top of trends. We live in the digital ages where technological advancements are happening at a rapid pace. If you’re too slow to adapt and adopt new technology, it can be difficult to catch up to your competitors.
- Improve capacity. Chatbots allow you to stay connected with your customers outside of core working hours. During the evening or nighttime, there may be no employees available to talk to the consumer, but the chatbot will always be available.
- Create a more personalized experience for your customers. Personalization is a huge selling point for customers in 2020. Consumers today want to feel that you committed to delivering excellent customer experience.
- Collect information from consumers. Data is the driving force behind powerful new insights into your business. Just make sure then when you take customer data, that you give them something in return. Customers are more privacy-conscious than ever so treat their data with respect! You can show that you appreciate them sharing data by constantly using data to innovate and provide a better experience for your customers.
- Reduce operational costs. While chatbots don’t replace human agents, they can take significant pressure away from the sales or customer service teams.
- Give customers answers instantly. If a consumer is looking around your website looking for answers about a particular query, they may decide to try the chatbot. If they instead chose the Live Chat function or made a phone call, they would have to wait longer and may have abandoned the idea altogether. In 2020 customers demand instant answers to their questions.
- Chatbots can learn and improve as they talk to more customers!
What Do You Need For an Effective Sales Funnel?
First, you need to decide what the end goal of your sales funnel is. What action do you want the consumer to take? If you want them to buy your product or service, then you need to tailor your website or app to get them there. So, how do you do this?
- Create content that will attract the consumer’s interest. The content needs to be relevant to your products and service and also provide value to the customer. “Value” is a broad term that can mean many things. Do you want them to learn something new? Do you want them to get an emotional high from taking part in a challenge? Do you want to provide some lighthearted (but relevant) entertainment? It’s also a good idea to solve problems with your content. What kinds of issues are your consumers facing and can you offer them any advice?
- Don’t keep customers in the dark about your business. You don’t want to overload customers with too much information, but you want to appear as a trustworthy authority on a topic. You also don’t want the user to struggle to find answers to their questions. This is why having an FAQ page and an About Us page is a great idea.
- Consider offering a lead magnet. This is something that you give away for free to entice the customer to come back. People love free stuff and if you make them happy by providing it, you can start nurturing a relationship with them. You can offer a free eBook, webinar, video course, checklist, or something else entirely. This is also a great opportunity to get your lead’s contact details.
- Consider placing a tripwire in the sales funnel. A tripwire is a less expensive product that may result in a quick sale. If the customer has a good experience with this product, they may come back and purchase more expensive products later on.
- Send impactful emails. The art of crafting the perfect sales email is something that marketers have been working on for decades. Take a look at what the experts are doing and try to emulate this.
- Offer users a free trial, present them with case studies or testimonials, or provide a free webinar. This can make or break the decision stage.
How to Add Automation to Your Sales Funnel
- Send automated emails.
- Use sophisticated chatbots.
- Provide personalized ads in emails.
- Use the advice above to make your website sell products – your website or app is now the salesperson.
- Ask for permission to send the user notifications.
Get Started Today
There you go! You now have everything you need to create the perfect automated sales funnel and take the jump to use sales chatbots. Websites and apps are powerful digital tools for bringing in new customers. There’s a science to getting your website or app right and mastering this science requires deliberate focus. Focus on tightening your sales funnel and providing as much value to your customers as possible. It’s 2020 and today we don’t just sell products, we sell experiences. Make sure your customers have a great experience when interacting with your brand on your website or app.