Traditionally, on-site chat widgets were used to target two ends of the e-commerce funnel: web visitors with general questions, and purchasers with customer service needs. But with the turn of 2018, what was once mainly just “hype” regarding artificial intelligence, chatbots, and their potential has now turned into an evergreen solution for marketers. Chat boasts 85 percent open rates (compared to email's sparse 20 percent ), engagement rates that are consistently 40 percent, and a solid conversion rate of 10 percent. Needless to say, these promising developments in chat marketing have left savy e-marketers wondering, “Can I do what I was doing in email with Facebook Messenger?” Our answer is “Yes and more.”
That being said, chat marketing is far from a lawless game. Customers will always feel more comfortable with an in-person salesperson. However, the ability to sort through the millions of options a customer thinks MIGHT be right for them to the two or three items that actually are is one reason why more and more retailers have been enthusiastically adopting the new technology. That feeling of “exactly what I’m looking for” is what keeps customers coming back day-after-day, and beats the dread of an uncertain purchase. So how do you capitalize on this e-commerce revolution? Consider these tips:
- Align your Facebook campaign objective to your actual objective. It may sound trivial, but understanding what your brand hopes to gain out of its marketing campaign is crucial in selecting the right path to place your ad. If you want to drive new users into your bot, use Facebook's "Messages" objective. If you want to get low cost per clicks (CPCs) and get clicks on your ads, use the "Clicks" objective. If you want to drive conversions, use "Conversions." The internet is a large place and Facebook equally so, which is why Facebook’s “Targeting Suggestions” help to differentiate between pages and groups, where your target customer is most likely to be found.
- Always ask a question. Ads that ask engaging questions at the start are twice as likely to have people initially engage with their bots. For example, during a recent campaign with a large athletic apparel brand, we greeted customers with the question, “What's your gym look: T-Shirt or Tank Top?" They also create valuable comments, reactions and shares for additional exposure. Don’t expect users to spark the conversation; that’s the brand's responsibility.
- Appear to have options. A simple way to do this is to present users with button responses. Buttons generally tend to outperform quick replies since some devices and operating systems have trouble displaying them. Additionally, it streamlines the work a user has to do to engage/initiate a conversation. Since they don’t go away when new messages come in, buttons also tend to have 2X higher conversation start rate and a 50 percent lower cost per new user. The key is to present users with an option other than “Buy Now" or "Add to Cart," even if both options drive them to the exact same landing page. Lastly, use emojis for 6 percent to 10 percent higher clickthrough rates!
- Specificity. Use the existing data you have on customers' purchasing behavior to make product suggestions even more personalized. Whatever you do, do NOT treat them like a “brand new” customer, especially if they already have prior experience with your brand. If we could boil it down to a simple equation: Information + Inbox Activity = Successful Execution.
Caroline Klatt is CEO and co-founder of Headliner Labs, an end-to-end chatbot platform for intelligent e-commerce bots.