The robots are coming for your business.
Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but the truth is that in recent years, artificial intelligence has become more sophisticated than ever before.
And while you might think that investing in marketing automation is for huge companies with huge budgets, the truth is that marketing automation is more affordable – and more versatile – than you might think.
Marketing automation, if programmed and used properly, can help you increase your sales, enhance your customers’ experience, and manage your business more effectively. Here are 5 things you can do with marketing automation starting now.
#1: Expand Your Customer Service
There’s no denying that there’s a link between customer service and sales. Customers who are happy with your service are more likely to buy from you again. They’re also likely to recommend you to their friends.
Adding a simple customer service chatbot to your website can do a great deal to improve service. It can:
- Provider customers with the immediate response they want when they have a problem
- Redirect customers to self-service options they might not be able to find on their own
- Let customers know that you care about them and their needs
What if you don’t know how to program a chatbot? Not to worry. Even if you don’t have the budget to hire a programmer, there are “build-a-bot” programs online that you can use to create the bot you need. You can find a list of 14 tools here, including several that will allow you to create a chatbot to use with Facebook Messenger.
#2: Learn About Customer Behavior
One of the coolest things about artificial intelligence is something called machine learning. It’s what programmers used with the famous chess program, Deep Blue, that defeated chess champion Gary Kasparov.
Machine learning is something that can help you gather data about your customers based on their behavior and purchase habits. Basically, it’s like retargeting with a kick. You can already target customers based on past purchases and behavior. Adding AI to the mix just means that you can gather more information and use it new ways.
80% of marketers know that personalized content is more appealing to customers than generic content. Using AI tools like Convertize and Nudgify can help you tailor your web content to an individual visitor, providing them with the information and guidance they need.
#3: Provide Product Suggestions
One straightforward way to use chatbots to increase sales is to program your chatbots to make product suggestions when customers are shopping on your site.
This idea makes it possible for you to increase sales by letting customers who are engaged with your chatbots know about products they might not otherwise find. Basically, you’ll be turning your chatbots into personal shoppers for your customers.
A client who buys a set of cookware on your site, for example, could get a recommendation for a coordinated set of cooking utensils or even a cookbook or apron. The idea is similar to what Amazon does when they display the “People who bought this item also bought” links when you view a product on their site.
This type of programming is a bit more involved than a simple customer service chatbot, but it can pay off in increased sales.
#4: Improved Productivity
If all of your customer service is provided by employees at present, then adding marketing automation to the mix can help you save their time – and give them more time to spend more time with customers who are at your place of business and ready to buy from you.
Think about it – if one of your sales staff must monitor social media messages or customer service tickets, they’re taking time away from customers who might need personal guidance to make a purchase.
Properly programmed, chatbots can deal with simple customer service requests by helping people check the status of an order, reset a password, or track a package. Your employees will spend less time on repetitive requests and more – at least in theory – with customers who are ready to buy.
At the same time, you’ll be improving your customers’ experience by giving them quicker service than they would get from an employee. And, if an employee does need to step in, your marketing automation solutions can provide the information they need to provide top-notch service without asking the customer to repeat themselves.
#5: Respond to Customer Needs
Do you know what your customers want and why they want it? If you don’t – or if you’re only collecting detailed information from your customers sporadically – then you can use marketing automation to expand your knowledge of your customers and do a better job of giving them what they want.
Keatext is a tool that collects positive and negative customer feedback in real time. Instead of waiting for someone to call with a complaint (or the occasional compliment) you can get the information you need immediately.
The benefit here is that you can adjust what you are doing to provide customers with the experience they want. If people are confused by your website’s menu or unclear how to check out, you’ll know about it and can fix problems as you identify them.
There might not be an immediate link between this kind of customer feedback and sales, but in the long run, it can make a big difference in your conversion rates and your bottom line. Monitoring what your customers think about your site or social media pages allows you to make the kind of incremental improvements that will, in the long run, result in more sales.
The Robots Are Here…
The bottom line is that marketing automation is here to say. Big companies have latched on to it as a way of improving customer service, streamlining productivity, and increasing their sales. You don’t need to have a huge budget to take advantage of the benefits of marketing automation – and by adopting it now, you can get a leg up on your competitors.