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The Fall of Email Marketing and the Rise of Chatbots

Unless you've lived under a rock in recent years, you've probably had a conversation with a chatbot, although you may not know it. Many companies have started to implement chatbots on platforms such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and even their own websites. And, when combined with other marketing channels such as email marketing, chatbots have great potential to increase conversions.

In recent years, more and more brands have started using chatbots in their communications with customers. This has allowed businesses to scale tedious tasks such as customer service classification, answers to frequently asked questions and even sales.

Companies are also using chatbots in their marketing efforts. They can be a very powerful tool to extend the effectiveness of other aspects of your strategy, in particular, email marketing.

In this article, we will be discussing

WHAT IS EMAIL MARKETING?

Most company/internet marketers are familiar with the concept of email marketing, but many do not use it to their full potential. If you are conversant with email marketing, you will already be using an email provider such as MailChimp, Aweber, and the likes. An email provider gives you the privilege to set up an automatic email stream and, if they are good, they will provide you with a set of excellent templates to make sure your email appears elegant.

Email sequences are timed messages that are strategically written to keep the audience involved with your company or to make a sale. For example, someone registers on your list and receives a welcome email within twenty-four hours. Then they receive another email every day for five days, then every week for five weeks and so on. You may design a sequence of marketing three emails before requesting a purchase. These are often called drip campaigns.

Emails can have many different calls to action in an email and are often designed in sequence to gain confidence before requesting a purchase. As with bots, it is important to plan exactly what is the purpose of your emails and the experience you want your readers to have.

Emails allow you to be very specific about who on your list receives emails from you. This is done by segmenting your list or by creating several different lists with different subscription options.

WHAT IS CHATBOTS?

Chatbots are conversational artificial intelligent system that interacts with you via text. These conversations can be simple, such as asking a bot to provide a weather report, or more complex, such as having one solve a problem with your Internet service.

Messaging platforms are on the rise, and it makes more sense to be present for brands where consumers spend most of their time instead of diverting them to a website or a mobile application.

THE FALL OF EMAILS AND THE RISE OF CHATBOTS

According to Mark Zuckerberg, “AI combined with some human help will allow users to hold fairly normal conversations with bots just like one would with friends.”

Email marketing works very well and, of course, helps you improve your conversion rate. The call centers have also been good. However, there is more. Chatbots are doing even more.

People prefer to chat with chatbots now more than ever. In a recent mobile messaging report, approximately 50.6% of respondents said they would choose to talk to a business through a chatbot instead of a phone call.

That said, these are some of the obvious reasons why chatbots will surely replace telephone support and email:

1. IMMEDIATE RESPONSE

I receive a lot of emails all the time and, of course, I can not answer them all at once. In fact, when I am overwhelmed, I simply respond to those that interest me, and I ignore others.

I send a lot of emails. There are times when I will send an email and, after one week, the email has not yet been opened, and sometimes it even takes more time for the support to respond to my query.

If you have already used a customer support chatbot, you will accept that they are much faster than email responses. In fact, the answers are almost instantaneous. And believe me,, that is exactly what customers want.

2. PEOPLE DO NOT CONSIDER A DISTRACTION TO BE SENT

The truth is that people see the messages of a chatbot as a message from a friend, although they know that it is a bot. Your chatbot can start sending informational messages to your potential customers in the same way you do through email marketing. The difference is that existing or potential customers can interact with your chatbot and get instant answers.

3. YOUR CHATBOT RESIDES WHERE YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE

A chatbot is an incredible technology, and it will change the way marketing will be done in the future. Today, chatbots take advantage of social networks to bring brands closer to their customers.

Imagine. You need a pizza delivered, and boom receives an email from a restaurant that informs you that your vehicle is expired and sends you a link to complete certain information in a web form.  After completing the form, an appointment is sent to your email (scenario A).

With chatbot, it's an entirely different game. You do not need to log in to your inbox. Right on your Facebook Messenger, you can receive a message from the Restaurant in a friendly and casual way, informing you that you need to book for home delivery. Not only that, but it also asks you about the time you want your Pizza delivered and the delivery address. You quickly respond with the date, time and address, and boom, your pizza has been booked. That's all (scenario B).

As you can see, chatbots are faster and provide a better customer experience.

TYPES OF CHATBOTS?

To understand the nature of chatbot, it is important to understand that there are three types of chatbots.

SCRIPTED: These are chatbots whose behavior is determined by rules. Conversations with this type of chatbot can only follow predetermined routes. At each step of the conversation, the user must choose between explicit options to determine the next step in the conversation. The way in which the options are presented to the user in each step of the conversation, that is, if they need a text, voice or tactile response, will depend on the characteristics of the chat platform in which the user is and the design of the bot.

INTELLIGENT: Smart chatbots are chatbots that are created with artificial intelligence techniques. Artificial intelligence promotes their flexibility regarding the user input they can accept. AI also allows these bots to improve the more they are used.

APP: As mentioned, both smart chatbots and scripts can have graphical user interfaces. As mentioned, both intelligent chatbots and scripts can have graphical user interfaces. Therefore, application bots are not a separate category of bots to say. The fact that bots can interact using a graphical user interface is an important concept for chatbot developers. If a user can do the work he needs to do more efficiently through a graphical interface, then the robot needs to display a graphical interface at that point in the conversation.

SIMILARITIES BETWEEN EMAIL AND CHATBOTS

  • Email and messenger are very specific forms of marketing. Both point their message to a specific predefined audience.
  • Both are intentional in the way they are planned and formatted.
  • Both need you to use your voice. The language and the answers should be familiar with your brand.
  • They need adjustments according to the user's experience.
  • Both can use several multimedia links to videos, pdf or mp3.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EMAIL AND CHATBOTS

  • When email marketing can have a specific goal structure, and each email can be extensive, messaging bots should be programmed to respond immediately to a broad set of questions and contributions. In summary, emails can be expansive and extensive; messaging bots must be short and accurate.
  • Messenger is a bidirectional interaction that is 'live', at least at the end of the client. The response that the bot gives is determined by the question that the user asks. Email marketing is a one-way street and focuses more on "marketing".
  • Demographic data of the audience The new technology usually attracts a young audience. Older audiences are more likely to stick to what they know. It's a comfort thing.

HOW DO I CREATE A CHATBOT WITHOUT PROGRAMMING SKILLS

Creating a chatbot can take you from a couple of minutes to weeks, months and even years! It all depends on how complex your goal is: creating a simple chatbot that welcomes people to your site is much easier than implementing a complex chatbot designed to provide tailored product recommendations.

Several platforms help you create chatbots with relative ease, and they do not require a lot of technical knowledge either.

WE ARE FAMILIAR WITH THREE OF THESE PLATFORMS:

Chatfuel: Chatfuel is a tool to create chatbots for Facebook Messenger. The interface resembles a conversation dialog box that you build slowly using the answers you want to include. This tool is excellent for beginners because of its simplicity. It is free to use, and users have the option to upgrade to a professional account for $ 30 per month.

Recast.ai: Recast.ai is a platform that allows users to create more complex and personalized chatbots using advanced technologies. The site is also compatible with a community that makes it easy for users to collaborate or get answers to any queries they may have when creating their bot. Although it is not so simple to use, the possibilities are much wider, and the platform is free to use.

Mobile Monkey: Mobile Monkey is a tool that allows users to create chatbots with relative ease and does not require technical skills. They offer a full-featured plan for free plans and payments for more advanced users. This is a fantastic tool to increase your mobile conversion rate on a large scale and save a ton of time in the process.

HOW DOES A CHATBOT WORK?

A chatbot works much like a human at a help desk. When a client opens a chat dialog to ask for help, the chatbot is the answering medium.

Then, if a client typed the question "How much does Pizza Delivery Cost?” Using the information available, the chatbot would respond immediately in the same way as a human user would. “Pizza delivery cost $25 for Washing DC and its environs”.

FINAL WORDS

Chatbots are the future of customer service. With the technology of Natural Language and Machine Learning, chatbots incorporate the human touch to allow customers to enjoy their experience and obtain maximum satisfaction.

Although chatbots are not perfect yet, they are the future. When you consider the reasons, I explained earlier; you will agree with me that you will take charge of email marketing and telephone calls (especially for commercial purposes).

I would love to hear from you. Do you think chatbots are paving the way for better and perfect customer service? Leave your comment in the box.

  • Kathy says:

    I am one of these peoples who prefer having an online chat than a phone call. I find on a phone call, you can be put in a queue for a long period of time where as a chat, it is instant. Therefore I do not mind if it is a chat bot or a real live person. However if it is a more complex problem then I do believe that you will get a better response from a real person. It also worries me in a society where jobs are limited. Do you think that chatbots will eventually replace customer service personnel?

    • Joseph Emeka says:

      Hi Kathy,

      Chatbot is going to replace (have replaced) some CS personnel.

      Some Chatbots are built in such a way that they can answer almost all the inquiries people have pertaining a brand.

      That notwithstanding, there are questions chatbots cannot answer and at that point, just like you said, a Real Person (CS) is expected to attend to those questions.

      So, chatbot is going to kick out some customer service personnel but not a full customer service team.

      • Kathy says:

        This is what I feared however I understand why companies would have it high on their priorities to use Chatbots as it would save them a lot of wages.

  • Colin Amess says:

    I have recently contacted a few companies where I have been met with a Chatbot and found it extremely unprofessional. If I am going to pay for a high quality service then I do not expect to be met by an automated message. I think if you are going to used a chatbot then you need to use one that is good or else you can start looking unprofessional. I am tempted to wait till the technology is better before I look at using them.

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