Every business owner wants more leads. We’ve grown beyond the days of the Glengarry lead model. Now, business owners can generate their own leads, and there are thousands of different recommendations out there for the best way to create lead funnels. The differing advice can leave your head spinning, though. What’s the best path to getting qualified leads?
The new kid on the block for lead generation comes in the form of chatbots, and stats are showing that they’re more effective than standard web form lead generation. One company saw a conversion jump from 3% to 9.6% when they turned on a chatbot on their website. Chatbots not only increase conversions, but they’re improving customer service, too.
Getting Started: What Are Chatbots?
Chatbots are AI tech that’s programmed to chat with potential customers. You can find them on websites and even in Facebook messenger. They can be programmed with automatic responses and set to alert a real human when a potential turns into a hot prospect or when a problem is outside of their scope.
Advocates say that they’re more engaging than stagnant forms, and they lead to greater customer personalization and user experience. Additionally, chatbots can:
- Run 24/7/365
- Educate Visitors
- Answer Questions
- Auto Qualify Leads
- Reduce Operating Costs (by up to 30%)
- Set Appointments
Unlike a traditional contact form, chatbots can interact with visitors in a human-like manner. They can ask the same questions as a form does, but make it feel like a conversation. When it comes to Facebook messenger bots, businesses are seeing pretty positive results. Popular marketer and author, Neil Patel said that the Facebook Messenger bot gives him a 56% click-through rate and an 88% open ratio. So, it’s given him much higher conversion rates than email and contact forms.
On the other hand, the tech isn’t perfect yet. There are many stories of chatbots frustrating customers, getting locked up when they can’t answer questions, or malfunctioning. Beyond that, 27% of people reported that they don’t want to engage with a chatbot through Facebook. Also, studies have shown that people’s interest in chatbots revolves mostly around customer service. So, using chatbots as a lead generation tool is relatively uncharted territory.
That shouldn’t dissuade you from using it, though. It’s well-documented that early adapters reap the most benefits.
How to Get Started with Chatbots
Getting started with chatbots is moderately simple. There are several companies out there developing chatbots and chatbot builders both for website and Facebook messenger. Alternatively, you could hire a developer to build one specifically for your company.
When you get started, the first thing to determine is what you’re automating. Obviously, you want more leads, but what’s the best path for that? As we previously discussed, most consumers want chatbots in a customer service capacity, but there are several ways that chatbots can automate processes:
- Collect Information- Like form fills, chatbots can collect information, but they can also pre-qualify, and direct or leave a message for the right department.
- Answer Questions- Chatbots are perfect for answering common customer questions. Plus, their response time is lightning-fast.
- Give Sales Support- This is especially helpful in the eCommerce niche, but chatbots can recommend products, answer price questions, solve payment issues, and more.
Determining what to automate and how to get the most out of a chatbot will depend on your company’s needs. If you want to cut costs and reach a global market, chatbots serve as 24/7 customer representatives. If you simply want a more engaging option to form fills, add one to your site. Split test and see whether the form or the chatbot generate more conversions.
Chatbots Are the Future
Chatbots are changing the business and marketing landscape. There’s no arguing that. The question becomes, how are chatbots going to affect your business’s landscape? Overall, business owners see positive results in adding chatbots to their process. To do it correctly, you have to determine what your company needs.
For lead generation, you must think outside of the confines of a form. Lead nurturing starts before a consumer ever decides to fill out a form on your website. The best option is to integrate chatbots into strategic parts of your process. Make them a part of the customer service. Help to answer questions and navigate visitors towards making a purchase or requesting more information.
Rather than throwing a chatbot up that says, “Hey! What’s your name, address, and what product are you interested in?” have a chatbot that starts a conversation with, “Hey. How can I help you?”. By doing this, you’ll learn a lot of information about your visitors, decrease operating costs, and hopefully see a healthy uptick in high-quality leads.
Marla DiCarlo is an accomplished business consultant with more than 28 years of professional accounting experience. As co-owner and CEO of Raincatcher, she helps business owners learn how to sell a business so they can get paid the maximum value for their company.