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Ask any digital marketing agency and they’ll tell you that artificial intelligence is completely transforming the world, especially as it relates to advertising and digital marketing. Case in point, a top digital marketing trend 2018 will boast of: chatbots and chatbot marketing. What is chatbot marketing, you ask? In simple terms, it’s marketing by using a program to simulate conversations with a human user. Chatbots have been popular in recent years, grew exponentially in 2017, and from the looks of it, 2018 is poised to be the year of the chatbot.

One of the things that make chatbots so cool is that they can improve with continual learning algorithms to meet evolving demands. In other words, the more they work and interact with people, the more they capabilities they acquire and the more they start sounding like an actual person. Another cool thing is that chatbots, unlike flesh and blood, aren’t limited to talking to a single person at a time. Because they’re computer programs, they can run simultaneously with multiple users at once. This means that apart from delivering stellar customer experiences, they’re also cheaper to run than paying someone to do whatever task they’ve been programed to do.

Chatbot Marketing Strategy

A chatbot marketing campaign, like chatbots themselves, can be simple or complex. It can range from using Internet marketing bots to send daily news reports, to assigning a chatbot as a 24/7 customer service rep that’s always ready to handle your user’s queries. As for where they are, well, you’ve probably already interacted with one in the past. Are you familiar with Apple’s Siri? How about Alexa on your Amazon Fire Stick? Or possibly Cortana and Google Now? One more, have you ever visited a website when suddenly a chat window pops up asking you if you have any questions? That’s right, all of these are examples of chatbots in everyday use.

Personal Assistants

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With all these chatbots around us, it’s easy to see that their impact will be anything but small. In fact, it’s safe to say that chatbots will transform digital marketing in 2018. Let’s take a look at three such ways using chatbots for marketing will change the game.

1: Better Customer Service

Every digital agency knows that the customer always comes first. The customer is the company’s lifeblood and how they interact with your brand directly impacts their purchasing decisions. Well, thanks to the power of chatbots, customer service has never been easier. How? By attaching a chatbot to you website that can serve as a 24/7 customer service representative that works tirelessly with multiple users at the same time, answering their many queries as they point them in the right direction.

For starters, the bot can greet all visitors with a pleasant welcome message that prompts them to further explore the website. For example, a simple “Welcome! Can I help you find anything specific?” will color their interaction with your brand in a positive hue, and then go above by helping them navigate the site. Don’t be annoying though — I have a vivid memory of browsing a website (that shall remain nameless) with a very annoying chatbot that kept on popping up, no matter how many times I closed it.

2: Improved User Experience

Customer service and user experience (UX) go hand-in-hand, and like better customer service, chatbots can improve UX as well. Consider DSW, for instance. They paired up with Narvar to create a DSW Gift Concierge, a chatbot that leverages Facebook bot marketing to interact with shoppers on the platform of their choice.

As Amit Sharma, Founder and CEO of Narvar, said, “Shoppers today expect an effortless, personalized experience… They don’t want to work for it. DSW meets shoppers where they already spend their time by using chatbots on Facebook Messenger. They customize the entire experience, from product discovery to delivery and customer support. By integrating contextual content with real-time information through the right channels, DSW nurtures the loyal community that their brand is known for.”

Plain and simple, chatbots are also fun to use. They’re brand ambassadors that streamline interactions while improving UX. For example, to build hype around Zootopia, Disney rolled out an Officer Judy Hopps bot that engaged with fans one-on-one with a mystery game based on details from the film.

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In the end, users exchanged millions of messages with Officer Hopps and the vast majority had nothing but positive words to speak about their experience.

3: Optimized Strategies

A big plus with chatbots is that they can be used to optimize marketing strategies. As users interact with them, they gather information that can then be used to tailor recommendations that are more likely to lead to a sale. Look at it this way, instead of asking your visitors to fill out a survey, a chatbot will interact naturally with them in a conversation, gathering information as they answer questions. The best part is that the more they interact, the more they learn and improve.

Chatbots can also lead the sales funnel and guide purchasing options with curated recommendations that are more likely to lead to a conversion. For example, do you have something on sale? Why not have a chatbot grease the way in a convenient and pleasant manner? In this way, you can integrate a chatbot with your marketing strategy and ‘push’ users in the right direction.

Final Thoughts

Chatbot in digital marketing

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Chatbots can do a lot; they can integrate with a website, an application, and even a social media platform to deliver personalized experiences that, in turn, lead to positive brand experiences. They also gather information as they engage with users, information that can then be used to better tailor marketing strategies. In other words, they’re another way for your audience to interact with your brand.

Let’s take a second look at what they have in store for your brand:

  1. Better Customer Service
  2. Improved User Experience
  3. Optimized Strategies

Top marketing trends 2018 has in store say that chatbots will transform digital marketing. Well, what are you waiting for? Go get one!