Every business owner or entrepreneur is looking for an edge. We're all seeking that next big technique, platform, or strategy that will help us reach a wider audience, boost sales, and vastly improve our bottom line.
That's especially true if you work in the ultra-competitive arenas of real estate or mortgage lending, where any new technology could put you months or even years ahead of your competition. But, it's just as important to have a cutting edge marketing plan if you're a CPA, financial planner, insurance agent, or sell any product or service.
Chatbots in the burgeoning field of Artificial Intelligence do exactly that, offering a clear advantage and ultra-efficient way to engage new clients.
So, today, I'm super excited to give you a great introduction to chatbots, the marketing tech of today!
Is Artificial Intelligence real?
Yes, but we’re not talking about the Terminator kind of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Instead, AI is defined as any self-directed technological process, appearing to “think” for itself.
A closer look at chatbots
Chatbots are one kind of AI that’s growing increasingly common these days. In fact, more than 15,000 companies and brands in the U.S now utilize chatbots, with those numbers are growing every day.
They can be programmed for use on a website or app like Facebook Messenger and Instagram (by the end of 2019), effectively respond and react to a plethora of situations, inquiries, or cues.
“Having a chatbot means that your clients and prospects will always get immediate, personalized service and answers to their questions." says Jordan Glickman, founder of North Carolina-based Impremis Marketing. “In this on-demand economy, you can’t afford to let a prospect go elsewhere for information or wait around for you to get back to them. Therefore, chatbots are like the perfect employees who work 24-7, never call in sick, and never are late!”
How chatbots generate leads
As a Realtor, mortgage broker, or any small business owner, finding and converting leads is the lifeblood of your success. Chatbots are an incredibly efficient way to funnel traffic from a website, Facebook ad, or email campaign, turning visits into qualified leads – with none of your time or effort.
When someone comes to your Facebook page, for example, the chatbot will initiate a conversation with the viewer via a pop-up message. The ‘bot will then answer their questions with pre-determined scripts and proposing questions or encouraging classification that narrows down the visit by certain criteria.
Of course, you can program your chatbot to filter by certain criteria or focus on any specific Call-to-Action you wish, including post-sale follow-up and garnering testimonials and reviews.
It's important to note that they don't replace human contact, but start a basic conversation with your prospect, pre-qualifying them as to their needs, desires, timelines, and other valuable information. Then, the chatbot system hands all of that to you on a silver platter when it's time for "human takeover" as it's called in the business, whether that's a phone call, a meeting scheduled at your office, an invite to an event or seminar, or even an open house
How can chatbots prequalify your prospects?
For instance, a chatbot can ask a visitor if they are looking to buy a house or sell a house. If they answer affirmatively to one of these two, the bot can then ask how soon they are looking to make this purchase/list their home/ if they've been pre-approved by a lender/ if they've signed with a listing agent yet/etc. The bot can even schedule an appointment or phone consultation based on their responses.
So, by the time you receive an alert, all of this information has been gleaned and the visitor pre-qualified as a lead. Chatbots also provide value to visitors by answering FAQs, directing them to certain pages of your website or other resources, and more.
Visitors who are determined to not be qualified prospects at the time aren't abandoned or lost in the shuffle. Instead, they can be assigned to categories for follow-up marketing campaigns like re-targeting, education emails, guides or informational reports they can download, and scheduled for a check-in down the road.
Chatbots as part of your marketing funnel
The key to making a chatbot work effectively is funneling a large number of people to your webpage, Facebook, Instagram, or email marketing campaign. They work best when integrated into some sort of paid ad or promotion that garners a significant number of visitors who can then be narrowed down into qualified leads
“Chatbots are a far more efficient way to market compared to traditional methods like handing out flyers or expensive mailers," says Glickman. "With a bot, you can be laser focused in delivering the right message to the right prospect at the right time. We routinely see 85% open rates and 60% click-through rates with our messages and emails using chatbot systems, which blow industry averages out of the water.”
Chatbots actually personalize the process
On the user end, they realize that they're "speaking" with an automated process, not an actual human being. However, you'll find that chatbots aren't cold, soulless automatons, but actually add personalization and foster human interaction.
You’re encouraged to preset your chatbot’s responses based on your personality, how you speak, and even have some fun with it. Chatbots will also set you up for far more phone calls or face-to-face meetings than a plain website, email, or Facebook page, adding to the human connection.
Chatbots will help build and deepen relationships with your audience!
Benefits to using a chatbot:
1. Turn prospects and visitors into qualified LEADS, LEADS, LEADS! The huge, compelling benefit to using a chatbot is seeing qualified hot leads popping up in your email, smartphone, and on your schedule.
2. Attract and engage a younger audience. This includes Millennials, who are comfortable interacting with technology and apps, and constitute massive online spending power.
3. Gather data. Collect your visitor's name, phone number, email, age, birthdate, homeownership status, and a host of other demographic and lifestyle data through chatbots – all valuable information to qualify your audience.
4. Build a larger audience Gain subscribers, likes, followers, and add to your email list, etc.
5. Save time - and a whole lot of money. You can provide instant, personalized service 24/7, never leaving a potential client waiting for answers or help, all without hiring employees or answering services.
6. Exponentially increase the ROI of your ads Most businesses and entrepreneurs are using paid Facebook or Instagram ads these days or other pay-for-play web techniques (or, you should be!). But, it's awfully reactive to pay for an ad and just hope for the best. Instead, funneling these ads to a website or Facebook page with a chatbot will exponentially increase the effectiveness of those ads, boosting ROI.
So, what does it take to set up a chatbot (and how much does it cost)?
Just about any brand or business can see the benefits of a chatbot, which is really marketing technology of the future in its first phase of mainstream development today. To get started, consider having a bot set up on your website but definitely on your business Facebook page and soon, your Instagram account.
Of course, you’ve probably been wondering about the cost of chatbots since the opening line of this article! Designing, building, and implementing a fully-customized chatbot can range from hundreds on the low-end to thousands for most brands and entrepreneurs, and more for bigger and more complex business systems.
While that's significant, if you're in real estate, mortgage lending, financial services, or sell any big-ticket item, that's probably far less than what you'll earn when you attract your first client using that chatbot!
Can I see a chatbot in action?
For a demonstration of what a chatbot may look like for a real estate agency website or Facebook page, check it out here.
And if you have any questions or would like more information to get started, you can drop me a line or contact Jordan Glickman of Impremis Marketing.
I promise you that he’s a real live human being!