For more than a decade, email has been the marketing channel that delivers the highest ROI. A study from McKinsey & Company reports that email marketing can be as much as 40 times more effective at reaching target customers than social media.
At the same time, we’ve seen the emergence of Chatbots, which can be effective when people engage with your website. Forty-five percent (45%) of consumers report they prefer to use chatbots to communicate with brands when it comes to getting a quick response, while a survey by Campaign Monitor revealed email was among their most important channels to customer communications.
Perhaps it’s time for marketers to start bridging the gap. It’s not a matter of one strategy versus the other; combining both email marketing strategies and the use of Chatbots can boost engagement and accelerate results.
Integrating email marketing and chatbots
Email marketing and Chatbots create an inbound marketing strategy and outbound marketing strategy that complement each other. Here are some of the strategies you need to use to make email and Chatbots work together to boost your marketing efforts.
Securing email addresses and permissions
At the heart of many of your marketing efforts, especially email marketing, is procuring the email addresses of your customers and potential customers. A qualified list of people who have opted in to receive email from you provides a multitude of opportunities for marketing. Getting that email address and getting people to agree to receive offers and content from you is crucial.
Here’s where Chatbots can help. When visitors are browsing your website, a Chatbot can interact at key moments to request email addresses. For example, if someone is reading your blog, a Chatbot might ask them if they would be interested in subscribing to your email newsletter. If someone is reading about one of your products, a Chatbot can pop up and ask if they’re interested in receiving discount coupons.
An effective strategy is to offer content that provides real value, such as eBooks, guides, demos, and how-to videos. Someone looking at a website for sauces might be willing to exchange their email address for recipes, for example.
The more customized you can make the “ask,” the more success you’re likely to have.
Gathering the data you need for effective segmentation
One of the most effective strategies for email marketing is segmenting. Rather than blanket customers with a generic email, you need to make sure your marketing efforts are relevant and customized. Segmenting your list narrows the target and gives you a much greater likelihood of hitting the target with the right message.
Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to get opened. Personalization requires segmenting. When done right, marketers using email segmenting strategies report an incredible 760% increase in revenue generated from email.
Segmentation takes many forms. Based on your product or service, and your industry, you might segment your audience by:
- Demographics (Age, Gender, Income, Marital Status, Education, etc.)
- Past purchases
- Purchase Intent
- Buying Frequency
- Stage in the Customer Journey
- Page Views
- and more.
Chatbots are one of the most effective ways to gather the data you need to efficiently segment your list. This is because you can ask your customers specific questions to get the data point you need to craft effective marketing messages.
Some of the data you want to collect may not be supported by the chatbot software or email platform you’re using. For example, you may not be able to directly pass images or larger files from a chatbot to your email engine.
You may need developers to create customer software for these functions. Once you have the data, you’ll be able to better qualify potential customers to tailor Chatbot conversations, sales leads, and develop a segmented email marketing list.
Improve your conversion rates
Someone who has shown an interest in your product or services by visiting your website and then engaging further with you will have a much higher potential for conversion than a casual visitor and sending mass emails.
Chatbots can personalize the conversation by providing relevant information based on page content and visitor queries. This helps move potential customers through the sales funnel. Your email can follow-up on specific topics or questions, or send them back to the website for more information.
Another advantage of Chatbots is that they don’t take breaks or vacations. When someone is ready to engage with your company, Chatbots are there to keep the conversation moving forward. Nearly two-thirds of internet users say the best part about Chatbots is 24-hour service. When they read that marketing email at 2 am, Chatbots will still be there to answer their questions.
Provide diversity in your communication channels
90% of customers say they want a seamless interaction with brands using omnichannel communications. The more ways you can interact with consumers, the better chance you have to convert them. Research shows that companies deploying an omnichannel communication strategy for customer engagement retain nearly 3 times the number of customers versus companies without multiple channels for customer interaction.
Having a website, being available by phone, email, social channels, and Chatbots present multiple ways for people to engage with your brand. It makes sure customers don’t fall through the cracks and provides them a way to get the answers to their questions quickly and in their preferred method of communicating.
Chatbots can personalize the experience, provide on-the-spot answers, and help gather the data you need to personalize your email marketing campaigns.
Creating effective email campaigns, taking advantage of marketing automation, and integrating Chatbots into your marketing mix can create synergies that build on top of each other for more effective marketing.
It takes special skills and experience to do it well. If you don’t have the right experience in-house already, you may want to consider turning to a top staffing agency to help with recruiting. It takes the right team with the experience to build and manage the tech, create the marketing, and make it all work together seamlessly.