As you have been adopting inbound marketing strategies, you’ve also been adapting to new technologies to maximize your efforts and increase your efficiency. You’ve learned to work with data analysis, and you’ve been exposed to marketing automation to organize your workflows, so you’re delivering the right content for each stage of the buyer’s journey and reaching your visitors where your message will be most useful. You’ve come a long way! The new year is going to add a whole new level of technology to your arsenal, and this one is huge. Brace yourself for a bot invasion in 2017!
What the Heck is a Bot?
We’re pretty sure that’s the first thought that may have to mind when you read the title. A bot is a software application that is designed to mimic user behavior. By incorporating artificial intelligence (AI), and programming bots to complete repetitive tasks on the Internet faster than any human would be able to, bots are going to become virtual assistants that will be game-changers for customer service and marketing.
Like any new software, bots are still in early growth stages, but Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and even voice command systems in vehicles are great examples of how these bots interact with humans. More recently, Amazon’s Alexa devices took center stage as people made compatible devices the most popular of all products sold by all manufacturers on the platform over the recent holiday weekend. Alexa is a bot or AI product that allows you control connected devices such as media players, light controls and even thermostats in your home using voice controls.
How Bots will become your Virtual Assistant in Customer Care and Sales
The type of bots that are going to be most helpful in customer service and marketing efforts are called “chatbots.” Although they’ve been in moderate use since 2011, the technologies are advancing faster now, and they’re already being used to greet customers and answer simple questions about products and services without the customer realizing they are not communicating with a human. Utilized in this way, they significantly reduce the time it takes to connect with a customer and provide them the information needed; freeing up your time to complete other tasks a bot is incapable of performing. You can think of your chatbot as a front line greeter and director.
From a sales standpoint, a chatbot is going become an integral part of the decision process for your potential customers. To give you a simple example, picture an e-commerce site that has thousands of products. When you want to search for a particular type of item, making all the selections to narrow down your search results can be cumbersome, and many people abandon their search. If your chatbot asks the client what they are searching for and the client says “a yellow ball,” the chatbot can instantly pull up all instances of a yellow ball sitewide. In this case, its programming allows it to be an intelligent and fast search engine within your site.
Powerful Marketing Assistance
When you consider all of the tasks involved in your inbound marketing efforts and the heavy reliance on analytics and useful content, there are many opportunities to incorporate bots that will free up time for you to focus on the creative aspects that artificial intelligence just can’t do (not yet, anyway!).
If you feel ready to explore even more of the capabilities chatbots will have to help you with your marketing efforts, HubSpot’s founder and CTO has created GrowthBot. GrowthBot is designed to work with platforms you currently use for your marketing and sales campaigns and provides you quick and easy access to information and services you use over and over throughout your day. Try it out for yourself and see how much time it can save you. You might even have a little fun with your new digital assistant!
As you can tell, we’re pretty excited about the potential chatbots have to become the digital assistants we’ll come to rely on to make marketing and sales efforts even more effective. We hope you embrace the bot invasion and would love for you to share your thoughts!