Work Smarter with Marketing Automation Bots: How They Can Help You

If you’ve been following the marketing news lately, you’ve noticed that all kinds of different bots are getting their time in the spotlight. They are slowly, but surely, opening the doors for B2B companies and consumer brands. Bots have a huge potential that still needs to be developed, but if they keep evolving, they could be a part of our everyday lives.

Basically, bots are computer programs that are pretending to be humans and that run automated tasks. You can communicate and exchange information with them by text or voice. For example, you can interact with bots in Facebook Messenger in exactly the same way you would chat with any of your friends and check out daily news, get advice or order something. The bot software automates many different types of tasks and is based on artificial intelligence. They are now integrated with many existing platforms (usually those that you use for messaging) and they can automate some tasks that people before found time-consuming.

A popular example of a bot would be the Quartz news app. In the app, there is no standard news format that you would expect and that you got used to in other apps. There are no headlines, categories etc. It looks exactly like a messaging app and Quartz is sending you messages, emoji’s, and bubbles that read “next. Because you are logged in the app, the app decides what news and topic you are most interested in based on your profile and choice of messages to read more about. Plus, the bot learns really quickly.

bot

Marketers Really Dislike Bots

Bots have been tarnishing online analytics for many years now and are on the frontline of ad fraud. MarketingLand has stated that bots cost marketers back in 2016 over seven billion dollars. Bots have been improving at a really fast rate and have become really sophisticated in replicating human behaviour in an almost undetectable way. They can now use cookies to appear humans and give an impression that they are using any mobile device.

But now, we are seeing the rise and implementation of a different kind of bots, ones that are helping marketers with their efforts and providing better service. This kind of bots have a positive connotation and really useful applications for many businesses today. The most popular type are chatbots and many believe that they will have a great impact in conversation and connection. TechCrunch wrote in an article that Facebook’s Bot Store on their Messenger is probably the most important launch since the AppStore. Everyone is starting to see the value in the ability for consumers to ask questions, buy products, order services, and get other information and customer service.

How Chatbots Are Helping Marketers And Businesses

Last year after the Facebook’s F8 conference in April, they announced that the Messenger app will have chatbots. Overnight, chatbots became the next big thing while other messaging platforms like Telegram and Kik are also experimenting with chatbots.

Two main types of these bots exist today. The first group are chatbots that serve one or more purposes and are typically found in messaging apps. An example of this would be the 1-800-Flowers chatbots that you can find on Facebook Messenger that allows customers to choose and send flowers to someone else. The other group of chatbots are virtual assistants such as Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant. These chatbots don’t just help customers to interact with specific brands, but rather provide a variety of information.

chatbot

Many popular brands such as Uber and Sephora are using chatbots to interact with their consumers. They can be a powerful tool but only for businesses that know how to use them. Here are some examples of how you can get started with chatbots. 

Selling Your Services And Products

If you are a small business owner, then you probably don’t have much free time because you are busy closing deal, managing employees and doing all other sorts of tasks. In this case, chatbots can help you to sell your products or services for you because they are online 24-hours a day. They can ask your potential customers questions and then make recommendations that are tailored to their answers.

Making Payments Easier

There are some chatbots that can take and process payments. This makes it much easier for your customers to hand you the money because the chatbots can handle the transaction instead of you.

Get Customer Insight

You can configure your chatbots to track and analyse your customers’ habits. You can then discover which products they prefer. This is also a good way to spot some common problems with your products.

Qualifying Leads

Chatbots can save you time in the process of qualifying leads as this is something that you must do in order to avoid wasting time trying to sell something to a person who doesn’t need what you are offering. Chatbots can ask your leads the questions to figure out which product or service is the best for them.

Chatbots are right now in their infancy, similar to the earliest iOS apps that debuted in AppStore back in 2008. The technology that powers chatbots haven’t evolved enough yet to provide a fluid dialogue between people and bots.

Chatbots are the future but they probably won’t replace people. Is unlikely that they will replace email communication, websites and human interaction. They will rather be applied to specific cases, such as helping customers make simple purchases or quickly find some information. For these cases, they are a better delivery system than other forms of customer interaction.

Using Bots For Customer Service

Every business owner knows that customer service is crucial for long-term success. As technology evolves, customers have different expectations. If you don’t want to be left behind by your competitors, then you need to follow the trends and implement them instead of just sticking to the old strategies. Artificial intelligence bots are making this process much easier for marketers and more convenient for customers.

Customer service is a very resource-intensive department in any business. You have staff that is spending their entire day on the telephone and email answering questions and communicating with other departments. Companies add a knowledge base to their website in an effort to reduce the workload but sometimes that’s not enough. Chatbots provide a great opportunity for any business to save money on customer support and also provide a better service for their customers.

This takes some of the pressure off calling centres. Bots can also interact with dozens or hundreds of people at the same time. Advertising industry and E-commerce businesses have a great opportunity with this because they can automate customer service. Bots can easily suggest specific products and help buyers navigate through your catalogue and give them some ideas. Bots can also adjust the price range by customer preferences.

Artificial intelligence and learning capability enable bots to recommend products to customers, offer them discount codes, help them to check the order status and get their feedback.

customer service

You can start using chatbots for only basic requests first. Common questions that customers may ask you are:

  • What is your refund policy?
  • What time do you open?
  • How long is the shipping time?
  • Do you accept PayPal?
  • Are you open on the weekends?

To create these questions, you can check your past data and real questions that past customers had. Then you can utilize a bot to answer all of these mundane questions while you deal with other things.

Using Bots On Slack To Increase Productivity

Since slack is one of the most popular platforms that businesses around the world are using for internal communication, we are going to review few of them that are our favourites. Bots in Slack are referred to as apps and they respond to specific commands and then perform a task.

Growthbot

Growthbot is an assistant for marketing and sales professionals. It integrates with many different platforms (including Slack, HubSpot, Google Analytics, Shopify, etc.) to provide quick answers to your common questions like company information, traffic data and prospecting. Best of all is free to use. You can ask it questions like:

  • How was my organic traffic yesterday?
  • What keywords does forbes.com rank for?
  • Who are the top influencers about marketing?
  • Grade website www.marketingonline.sydney
growthbot

Meekan

Meekan is a bot that syncs everyone’s calendars and then it finds free times when you need to schedule an appointment with someone. You don’t even need to open separate apps since Meekan integrates with existing programs that you use. You can also find flights because is connected to the world’s flight database. Meekan will then respond with the cheapest option and the shortest flights available. If you need to reschedule existing meetings, you can quickly do that too. Meekan is completely free.

meekan

MarketSpace

Alerts by MarketSpace allows you to monitor products and companies. You can create a group of companies and see new features, product launches, app updates, news mentions, rating changes, social post and other information on the companies you care about, right into your Slack feed. This bot is free to install.

marketspace

Nikabot

Nikabot can help you to track what your team is doing. It asks all your team members what they worked on each day. Nikabot then gathers all this information and creates charts and reports. Data is presented in a neat way and split by person, project, and time. It also sends periodic reports to all your team members just so they know what everyone else is working on. This app comes with free 30-day trial and after that is $4.99 per tracked user per month.

nikabot

Todoist

With this integration, you can quickly and easily create a new Todoist task right from slack using the “/todoist” command. An example command would be, “/todoist Meet Sarah tomorrow @important #meetings”. This would create a task to meet Sarah tomorrow, labeled as important, in your meetings project. Todoist also has a smart scheduling feature that automatically suggests a time to work on projects. This is based on your habits, task urgency and upcoming tasks, but also on what you tend to do on a specific day of the week or time. Todoist also has a standalone app and integrates with many other platforms. Pricing starts at $0 and goes to $28.99 per year.

todoist

Instagress For Social Media Marketing

Instagress is a social media bot designed for Instagram. It can help you to promote your Instagram account if your goal is to get more followers, comments, and likes. If you want to grow your Instagram account to a huge proportion like having over a million followers, then you’ll probably need to spend every waking hour on Instagram. Because of this, many people use bots like Instagress that help them to take some of the tasks off their hands.

You don’t need to download anything because Instagress is running straight from their website in a regular browser. With Instagress you can automate almost everything that you do on Instagram, e.g. following and unfollowing users, and commenting on the pictures based on specific instructions, geolocations, and hashtags.

instagress

Instagress has a lot of different filters that you can customize that’ll help you to really target the audiences that you want. You even have the option to target people based on the location tags that they use in their photos. You can target by country, city, or places in that area (suggestions come from Foursquare).

geolocations

Here are some of the other Instagress features:

  • Scheduling: you can schedule your Instagram activity which also helps you to stay safe and look more natural. This is also useful because is not recommended to do any activity on Instagram while this bot is running so you can turn it off during the hours that you plan to use Instagram to comment or like pictures.
  • Safe to use: they will automatically decrease the speed at which you perform any activity to ensure your account stays safe and under Instagram limits.
  • You can search and add multiple tags, locations, and usernames to your preset and also save it for later usage.
  • The 3-day free trial is included to try it out before committing to a paid plan.

CONCLUSION

As you can see, bots are providing immense possibilities. The human-robot interaction surely has a great potential and may overtake some apps soon. Developers are working on chatbots every day to make improvements that enable them to perform many different tasks, from ordering food, scheduling meetings, or making flight reservations.

If you take a look at the market for bots, you’ll see that is already crowded. These are still early days of the bot revolution, and as the technology evolves, we may witness a big change in the way most companies perform.