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KATIE BARBER

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Small Businesses CAN and Should be Using Chatbots!

By Katie Barber, posted on November 29, 2018

A chatbot is a little bot that you can set up to speak to your customers on your behalf. You can set up a programmed conversation which will help customers navigate to certain areas of your website, tell jokes, or answer frequently asked questions. Or you can use it to broadcast a message and if you wish, continue with a bot conversation which can then answer questions about that message. Usually, chatbots give out choices of responses the end user can click on which will then prompt the next conversation. 

Chatbots act like artificial intelligence, and can actually utilise A.I. You can have a conversation with one, if it’s programmed correctly, and it will feel almost like a real online conversation. I use some really useful chatbots, my favourite being Cleo – a messenger chat that tells me whether I’m sticking to my monthly budgets and alerts me to when I’ve been paid, or am entering my overdraft.

There are lots of big, fancy plans for chatbots. And quite rightly so, Facebook, Slack and Whatsapp have a high read rate. It’s about 98% overall. Ever had someone open 98% of your email campaign? Probably not, a good open rate for emails is something like 30% – 40%. 

People are tired of receiving emails. Checking our emails is not fun, far from it. The average professional receives over 100 emails a day, although that may have gone down since the GDPR regulations. GDPR also means that businesses may have a smaller email list to work with and many are starting from scratch. 

Chatbots don’t need to be an all singing, all dancing artificial conversation. In fact, it can replace your email strategy. Instead of emailing customers about a new sale, product or web content, you can simply broadcast it on your chatbot, and that will send it out to your subscribers who can then be encouraged to respond with their own comments or can be polled. 

Why can small businesses use chatbots? Well, writing content for a chatbot is not much different to writing content for an email. Just like email, chatbot platforms are priced by the amount of subscribers you have. So if you have under 100 subscribers to begin with, it’s a free platform, if your list grows to thousands, the cost may increment to something like £30 per month. So if you can afford an email campaign, you can afford a chatbot campaign. Being new and fancy doesn’t necessarily mean expensive. 

It’s totally possible to send community updates via a chatbot instead of email as a small business, and for it to be an equally affordable but more successful version of email marketing. 

If you’d like to discuss a chatbot setup, I am offering a discount for my first chatbot customer so that we can work together on creating something that works and I can add to my portfolio/case studies. Please email me at katie@katiebarbermarketing.com to chat more about chatbots!


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