Are your chatbots working effectively?

Are your chatbots working effectively?

Website chatbots have become every demand gen marketer’s favorite new toy.  It’s easy to see why –   they’re simple to set up and prospects who won’t fill out a landing page form like engaging with them.   But you need to use them strategically if you are looking for measurable success.  Here are some tips:

  1. First, know no one is fooled into thinking it’s a live human.  But folks, especially those in tech, like to engage with them because there’s a high level of confidence that they’ll get what they need without having to make a call, send an email or fill out a form. So, keep that in mind and deliver the promise.  Nothing is worse than a useless bot.  
  2. But, as always, set objectives first to determine what you are trying to achieve.  Typical objectives are more leads, more meetings, registrations for events, downloads of content and efficiency for communication of non-sales inquiries. 
  3. For those non-sales chats, make it an objective to be helpful. Don’t make it hard for folks to reach out if they want to share a product or service that might be good for your company.  (Think about the Karma on that for demand generation marketers!)   Drive job hunters to the right person, drive marketing to the right person and other inquiries to someone who will take the time to review and respond.  It’s only fair.  
  4. Next, map your playbooks out.  I whiteboard mine so I can figure out what I’m doing before I get into the software.  Plus, I can get feedback and approval up front.  The programming in the platforms I’ve used has been really simple so the implementation is quick.  (And depending on the software, if you need a training session,  some vendors are great about set up a training to work with you to set the first few up!).
  5. One of the first offers in your playbook is probably going to be to set a meeting or chat with a rep. But what can you offer if your prospect says no?  Don’t abandon them.  If they’re visiting a page of case studies, offer them related content like a customer video or demo.  If they’re on the pricing page, offer them a buyer’s guide.   
  6. Get one catchall playbook up and running and then add more versions.  Go to the most visited pages of your site and use your bot to promote your sweetest offers.  You don’t have to change your objectives, but make space in your playbooks to promote your next webinar, conference or piece of content.  Once it’s set up that way, it’s easy to swap something fresh in and get some extra push.  
  7. Make your interaction fun and creative.  Bots work best when they have a playful tone and are unique to encourage engagement.  Visit 10 websites right now.  I bet you find a bot on most of them and I bet they all sound the same.  So, try something new – I’ve seen product related trivia questions, survey questions and of course, offers.  Don’t let your creativity distract from where you want the prospect to ultimately end up, but what can you do to not be boring?   
  8. Train your team so that being responsive is a priority.   Encourage those who are manning the bots (or getting any leads) to share anything they’ve learned.  (This might be your first cue that certain playbooks need refining.)  
  9. Test your bots all the way through before turning them live.  Make sure each choice works and that any form fills get into your marketing automation or CRM.  Look hard at how they appear on the page.  (I had one instance where the bot covered up the submit button on every single landing page form).
  10. Once your bot playbooks are up, review reporting regularly.  Are you meeting your objectives?  Most platforms have good engagement metrics and if you’ve tied any form fills into your CRM, you can track results through the funnel.  Use the reports to see which playbooks are getting the best results and to roll those out.  And to plan to test new segments or offers.

Need some ideas?  Help getting started?  These are actually a lot of fun to do – contact me and I’ll help you get started!

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