Digital-first mindsets have been front of mind for many SaaS businesses this year, and while you might think what you’re doing is miles ahead of the competition, your strategy could be missing one important element: conversational artificial intelligence (AI).
If you want to take your B2B marketing strategy to the next level and automate more efficiently, learning how to integrate conversational AI into your plans for next year could pose a few opportunities for your business. We’ll list out these opportunities below, but first, let’s quickly define conversational AI.
What is conversational AI and how does it relate to your marketing strategy?
Conversational AI is a type of artificial intelligence platform where users can receive customer support, engage with sales, or enter a marketing funnel.
Some formats of this include website chatbots or mobile device voice assistants. Because of the prominence of conversational AI, there’s a good chance you’ve engaged with one this week. In fact, an estimated 95% of customer interactions will be powered by AI by 2025.
What’s great about conversational AI is its versatility. You can use it on various social channels, website landing pages, even your brand’s mobile app. Using this type of service brings accessibility and personalized conversations to prospects and customers directly from your business. An interactive form of communication like this at all hours of the day beyond your timezone makes conversational AI a must-have.
Now that we have a basic understanding of conversational AI, let’s take a look at specific ways it can supercharge your B2B marketing efforts.
1. Help you map out the buyer’s journey
Before you do anything further, mapping out a buyer’s journey should be your first step. Each customer is unique and would prefer personalized experiences with your brand. A brand that can meet customer interests and address their pain points has a competitive edge.
One way to do this better is by using conversational AI platforms. These artificially intelligent systems can provide your team with full navigation of customers’ interests, tendencies, and buying patterns so you know how to target them at whichever stage of the journey they’re in.
You’ll know when to send an outreach email with a blog link tailored to their needs vs. when to send a meeting invite for a product demo. Conversational AI can help you pace communication to match the customers’ preferences at the right times.
2. Offer more personalized user experiences
To truly create a standout experience, you have to make sure your customer communication channels are personalized. When a user visits your site for the first time, it might make sense to deploy a chatbot on your homepage that engages with the person for the duration of their visit or until they close the bot. This comes in handy if, for example, a site visitor has a support question but you don’t have an overnight customer support team to answer it.
A conversational chatbot can intake basic user contact information like email address, phone number, name, company name, company size, and more. This information can then be used to develop a more personalized experience each time that visitor revisits your website.
Image Credit: Chatbot content marketing, Landbot
Having a customer’s data handy in one place makes it easier for your sales and marketing teams to follow up in a non-invasive way. This, coupled with contextualized messaging, will enhance your overall customer brand experience.
Naturally, you care a lot about the user experience you provide to your customers. To ensure you’re providing the best UX possible, integrating conversational AI is a no-brainer. Using AI-powered, contextually tailored messages for target customers triggered at the right time can also help with this. Knowing what to say, how to say it, and at what point of the buying journey certain things should be said will help reduce brand abandonment in the long run.
3. Adopt a more omnichannel approach
Communication channels are expanding, and you need to devise ways to reach your customers and prospects on their preferred channels and make this experience coherent.
So, whether customers prefer to reach you via email, live chat, chatbot, social media, and even by phone, these experiences need to be as omnichannel as possible. Although, this is much easier said than done. In fact, while 83% of consumers say they’d like the option to move between channels when interacting with a brand, less than 50% of brands can adequately provide these experiences.
With conversational AI, keeping track of customer communication becomes more manageable by gathering data on each customer touchpoint and unifying this data. You’ll have a clearer understanding of when to reach customers on their preferred channels, but also, customers will have a more unified experience when interacting with your brand.
4. Better content promotion
Creating blogs, explainer videos, ebooks, webinars, product tours, and other types of content takes a lot of time and effort, and more often than not, it takes just as much work getting eyes on that content. With conversational AI, content promotion becomes less painstaking.
Let’s say you have a new website visitor and your AI bot greets them. This visitor would like to learn more about what your company does, so your bot provides a set of FAQs, but you can also have it serve up a relevant blog or explainer video. If you have returning visitors, your bot will recognize this and serve even more relevant content.
Below, you can see how the car brand Hyundai promoted content about its latest model, the Kona, through conversational AI:
Your chatbot can gather insights to create email campaigns for interacting with customers and sending personalized content selections tailored to their needs. Plus, AI can learn customer preferences, analyzing sentiments to pitch to them in marketing campaigns from your brand. Basically, providing various types of content at each stage of the funnel can help nurture leads and turn them from readers into buyers.
5. Generate leads without sales or marketing help
Because conversational AI can be so customer-facing, it’s only natural you use this software as a lead generation mechanism. Let’s use our previous scenario as a jumping-off point.
- A returning visitor lands on a blog where your bot is deployed.
- The AI bot recognizes, based on their previous visits, they’re interested in LinkedIn marketing type of content.
- The bot serves an upcoming webinar your company is hosting on LinkedIn marketing. It intakes contact information so the visitor can reserve their spot.
- This user now enters your lead funnel and can be attributed to your conversational AI.
Using conversational AI for lead generation increases customer support and sales productivity, allowing them to focus on more pressing tasks rather than interacting with cold leads who are just getting started in your funnel.
6. Better social media outreach and complaint resolution
Another easy way to implement conversational AI is through your social media platforms. One huge opportunity is an auto-reply chat function via chatbots on places like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Your social media team can set up a chatbot or chat box on each of the platforms as mentioned above to answer customer queries, deliver personalized content, and automate customer outreach.
Whether it’s customer service-related (“help with my order!”) or helping a prospective buyer make a purchasing decision (“what do you offer?”), implementing conversational AI chatbots or boxes can assist with immediate responses to less complex questions. If or when a customer needs advanced help, then you will be able to pass them along to a human representative at a later time.
But for short-form FAQs, an AI bot can answer in a pinch. Your team increases their response time and rate, and even though the human on the other end is aware they’re communicating with an unattended social media platform, it’s better to give them some form of reply rather than letting their message sit unattended for days, weeks, or never be replied to at all.
When it comes to social media, conversational AI can also assist your social team in monitoring brand mentions and customer service complaints.
For example, if an unhappy customer mentions your brand, either directly or indirectly, conversational AI can identify these mentions and the sentiment behind them. Your brand’s reputation is key, and while you can’t please everyone all of the time, it’s important to keep an eye out for the unhappy (and happy) brand mentions. In fact, nearly half of social media users expect brands to respond to their mentions or complaints within 24 hours.
Below are some other actionable tips for handling social media customer service:
- Retweet positive feedback you see on Twitter and shout the person out, thanking them for their brand loyalty.
- Send a personalized DM to an unhappy customer and address their concerns as immediately as you can to help diffuse a tense situation.
- Keep a pulse on your online presence and regularly monitor any chatter around your brand to know what people’s feelings are and how you can better hone your community interactions to increase customer happiness.
Is conversational AI right for your business?
While conversational AI has helped marketing teams promote their content, generate leads, and adopt omnichannel marketing, that doesn’t make it the “silver bullet” for every business in every industry.
In fact, the current challenge with artificially intelligent platforms is that when in the development stages, it’s difficult to ensure they can communicate clearly and provide top-level service while interpreting all questions or concerns from customers no matter how they’re phrased. That’s why you should explore a variety of conversational tools, their features, integrations, and how they work within your current environment.
Conversational AI is great in the sense it can gather large sets of information, send immediate notifications to your human employees about brand mentions online or other engagement with your platforms and profiles, and work to provide an enhanced customer experience for prospective and existing clients. This makes conversational AI a great solution for businesses who’ve already adopted a digital-first mindset.