3 Ways chatbots can help grow your small business.

ordering online with a smartphone

Most of us are familiar with the chat windows that open up at the bottom right corner of websites.

Type something in the box and you’ll sometimes be connected with a live customer service agent.

Other times you’ll find yourself engaging with an automated chatbot.

But… that’s just the start of it.

That’s old school.

Automated chatbots can now do a lot more than simply answer questions on  a website.

And most chatbots are now published on the Facebook Messenger platform.

You can connect with them through a Facebook page or, more often than not, through the Messenger texting app on your phone.

So… what can these chatbots do? And how can they help your business grow?

#1 – Chatbots are amazing at generating and segmenting new leads.

Look at the chatbot flow on the right.

The chatbot is engaging you with questions, but also collecting data on you at the same time.

After these opening questions, this bot will ask for you email address in return for a free report.

Now the bot has not only generated a lead, but has also tagged each lead according to the answers provided.

This is super-powerful.

Those tags can be used to customize the user experience at three levels.

First, you can offer different free reports, depending on the answers provided to those first two questions.

Second, you can divert users into different versions of the chatbot flow, depending on the answers they provide. The user gets to see information that is relevant to their own circumstances and goals.

Third, you can segment your email list according to the tags generated, allowing you send out customized follow-up emails.

Pretty cool, right?

#2 – Generate direct sales of products or services within the chatbot.

When you generate leads with a chatbot, you’re turning a stranger into a qualified lead… and you’re automating the process.

But you can also use a chatbot to make an immediate sale.

That’s right… you can start the conversation and then complete the transaction within the chatbot window itself.

Sell gourmet chocolates, like you can see on the right.

Or bags of coffee.

A subscription to a magazine.

A membership.

A pair of jeans, a sleeping bag, some makeup.

The chatbot not only walks the user through the product selection process, and gets her ready to buy… but can also complete the sale.

The shopping cart is right there, within the chat window. No need to link to a web page. The cart is integrated with the chatbot platform.

Think about that… The sales conversation begins and closes within a single window. It’s a one-channel experience.

Plus… the sale takes place within a single session.

Imagine what that does to your conversion rates… one channel, one session.

If you’re selling higher-end products that cost thousands of dollars, you’ll probably use your chatbot to generate a lead, and not close the sale.

But for other products and services, you can complete the transaction with the chatbot alone.

#3 – Schedule appointments for sales calls, consulting or coaching.

Your chatbot is asking plenty of questions, attaching tags to each user, and segmenting users into groups you can either sell to direct, or follow up with later.

That’s powerful stuff. Particularly when you consider that your bots can do this tirelessly, 24/7. And they can work with hundred or thousands of users at a time.

And it really is amazing that you can integrate a shopping cart into the chatbot window itself.

But that’s not all you can integrate.

You can also integrate a scheduling service, like Calendly.

Now your bot can walk a user through a series of questions and, following the rules you built into the bot, decide on whether that user is a good candidate for follow-up.

If so, the bot can present the appointments app and invite the user to choose a day and time.

Again… this is all rules-driven.

And once the bot is built and published, it’s like “set it and forget it”.

If you’re a coach or consultant, you can carry on with the work you do best, while your bot does the heavy lifting… finding and qualifying prospects, and then scheduling appointments.

And this is just the beginning for chatbots…

Bots can do more than this.

But I love these three tasks, because they can make such a huge difference in the lives of entrepreneurs and small business owners.

A well designed and well-built chatbot can really help grow your business.

And please, if you haven’t done so already, get to know our own chatbot, right here.