J Franco runs a successful marketing agency that helps solopreneurs build and market online businesses and has seen first-hand how chatbots can help businesses grow and create closer connections with customers and prospects. She shared her thoughts on their benefits at a recent Houston Social Media Breakfast.
Now is the best time to use chatbots.
When she first learned about chatbots, J found them a bit too clunky and robotic. But with time the technology evolved, and today they’re amazing tools that business owners can use to enhance their customer experience. “I’m obsessed with them now,” says J.
There are numerous chatbot companies to choose from.
Run a quick online search and you’ll see there is no shortage of chatbots out there. Do your research and decide which one is right for you. J was particularly interested in using one that offered a personal feel, so chose ManyChat for her own agency.
Chatbots give customers round-the-clock access to your business.
Most businesses don’t have staff available 24/7 to assist customers. Chatbots can fill that gap, ensuring people stay engaged and you don't lose a prospective or existing customer.
Chatbots are excellent conversation starters.
Chatbots eliminate the stress of having to decide on the fly what the best is to respond to an inquiry. “When someone visits your [social media] profile and they go to DM you, it automatically pops up three different options,” says J. Options might include, “Hey, do you want to book an appointment? Hey, have you checked out my new video? [Or] Sign up for the newsletter!” By having people choose an option, you’re getting them comfortable with engaging with you.
Implement story mentions to build rapport.
IOn Instagram, you can set up a chatbot thank you for anyone mentioning you in their Story. It’s a great way to build instant rapport. You can then also invite them to take action or receive something from you. For example, you might say, “Thank you for mentioning me in your story about marketing for small businesses. We’re offering a free workshop on marketing and would love for you to sign up here.” J recommends you use the same words or language you’d use when speaking in person so the chatbot reply sounds like you.
Automating your comments with chatbots will save you precious time.
Business owners know how important it is to reply to comments people leave on their blog or social media accounts, but often can’t find the time to do so consistently. “It’s a great way for you to be present in front of your audience, because it's so important to be instant with your audience. We won’t have a lot of time anymore to capture that attention span, so it's so important for you to capture them right there because [otherwise] they’re going to go to your competitor,” J explains.
Even businesses with no available budget can afford chatbots.
Regardless of your budget, there are chatbot options available to you. J’s preferred company, ManyChat, for example, offers three different levels. It’s free version giving users engage up to 1,000 contacts, perfect for small businesses getting started with chat marketing. “Honestly, if you’re not using something like this to scale your business, you’re missing out on the opportunity to really start capturing your audience, and we all know that the money’s in the list,” says J.
To learn even more ways to make chatbots work for your business, watch the full video replay with J here!