Chat bots and inbound marketing. They’re a snug fit.
Good B2B inbound marketing is all about being as helpful as possible. Write about solutions to challenges your clients face. Help them stumble upon it, read more, and discover how your company is able to provide a genuinely useful service. And personalize the service.
So, if you’re already into inbound marketing, let’s talk about how chat bots fit nicely into that paradigm.
The Inbound Buyer’s Journey
You know this already. Your customers start off as strangers. You attract them to your business which turns them into visitors. Using landing pages, forms, and CTAs, you convert them into leads. When the time is right, you close the deals and create customers out of those leads. Finally, those customers also become promoters as your product or service and continued support delights them.
Used correctly, a chat bot could be a component of any of these stages. It could attract strangers and bring them back to your website via third party platforms. When they’re already your customers, they can deliver a personalized experience that accounts for the customer’s known buying behavior and history. And it could even assist in the close stage — at least when the purchase is relatively simple.
The Single Most Important Use of a Chat Bot in Inbound
If you’re using a Chat Bot in the inbound method, what you really want to zero in on is the convert stage. Your goal is to get the contact information of the visitor in order to connect with them personally and send them additional useful materials.
Traditionally, this is done with forms. Some valuable piece of information is teased, and the visitor must trade their contact information to get it. You know that anyone who’s gone to this trouble is probably fairly interested in, if not your service itself yet, at least the idea of your service.
While this may work well enough, forms are a barrier. When your content sounds exactly what the visitor’s looking for, or they’ve spent some time perusing your ungated content and have assumed some amount of trust in your company, they might be ready. But those who aren’t quite ready to trade their information are always one click away from leaving your site altogether.
How Chat Bots Usher Visitors to the Lead Stage
When a visitor arrives at your site, they may be happy enough to navigate around on their own. After all, they may have arrived due to your SEO winning the rankings battle related to their search query, or perhaps they followed a referral link. Either way, they’re where they expected to be, and are naturally led through the content journey you intend.
But sometimes a visitor arrives without that relevant context — they just typed the URL from a business card, perhaps. Or they may arrive at a pricing page or a service page that prompts questions.
This is where a chat bot comes in. With a custom message based on what do you do know about the person, or what page they’re exploring, you can let them know that you do have more relevant information they may need — and that they can get it.
While your chat bot is helping the person out, it can feel out if they’re ready for that important information exchange — and can do so in stages. People are often willing to give at least their first name in an introductory message. If you need to know their job role, you can ask as you’re helping them find some relevant ungated content.
By the time you’re asking for the real good stuff — like an email — you can write your bot such that you’ve already got everything else you need. The email address is the final touch, which your bot needs in order to send an email with the gated content it’s teased.
You’ve just had them fill in the form without ever knowing it.
The Helpful, Human, Holistic Touch
A chat bot breaks the form barrier — and it also demolishes the idea of a website as a static thing you must decipher on your own by providing a convenient assistant.
It’s an effective balance of immediacy, automation, and personalization. You don’t have the potential pushiness of a salesperson on a phone call, but you’re getting answers without having to wait for an email response. The visitor can interact with the bot on their own time, without you having to pay a human to sit there waiting for them.
Your chat bot is helping your visitors get the information they need, it’s providing a pleasant, friendly experience that beats impersonal forms, and it’s able to behave in a dynamic yet holistic way that ties the conversations in with the overall stage of the buyer’s journey.
In short, when we’re talking inbound, a chat bot is a must-have tool for pushing the conversation forward.