Holiday seasons mean different things to different kinds of businesses. For consumer brands it’s all-hands-on-deck with marketing and sales activity ramped up and customer service demands at their annual highs.
For B2B businesses, it can be a different story. Holiday season tends to be when things get quiet, as decision makers plan for the upcoming year as well as take some extended periods of well-earned rest.
This can make the holiday season a difficult time for lead generation, and it’s always stressful to go into a new year with a pipeline looking thin. It can also be a time when resources are stretched, as staff use up final days of holiday allowance alongside the office being closed for festive holidays.
In this two-part blog, we’ll be looking at how Chatbots can be used to make the holiday seasons more fruitful, fun and stress-free for different kinds of businesses. For consumer brands the focus will be on resource burden, customer service and managing increasing demand. For B2B and the quieter periods, chatbots can be used to:
- Increase conversions for an awesome end to the year
- Nurture leads who are interested in your product but not ready to buy
- Deploy fun, innovative marketing campaigns showcasing your business
- Ease resources and help staff take genuine time off
These things combined all help with a time of year that for B2B can sometimes feel like a waiting game till everyone’s back at their desks and back to full speed. Chatbots are an ideal low-cost, time-efficient tool to make the most of this time and steal an advantage over less proactive competitors.
Using chatbots to increase holiday season leads
During the quieter holiday season, it’s easy to feel like you have more time on your hands than perhaps you should. It can therefore be a great time to test out some low-risk, cost-effective new tools and tactics before they’re added to your future arsenal.
Chatbots have been shown consistently to increase leads and conversions on B2B websites, and with marketing automation used by 79% of top-performing businesses if you haven’t explored this area it’s likely that you’re falling behind.
If leads numbers from your website are looking down, and you’re struggling with new ideas, then using a chatbot – and by extension the entire conversational marketing channel – is an idea that needs to be brought to the table if it’s not already being discussed.
Chatbots can be used for very close targeting of leads, as well as more broadly to increase engagement with the contents of your website, app or other asset. If you’re getting relevant traffic (numbers here might well be down over the holidays too, but won’t have dropped off completely) but not much in the way of conversions, then chatbots can be used quickly and easily to close this gap. Installing a chatbot for the first time is an ideal project for marketing and teams to get stuck into while other campaigns are dying down.
Use chatbots to nurture leads, ready to convert them when the time is right
While decision makers might be more reluctant to buy over the holiday period, they’ll still be browsing and weighing up the best options for the start of a new period.
This is a kind of intent you can take advantage of very effectively with a chatbot. Chatbots are the perfect tool to serve users with the right content at the right time, which for targets considering your product could mean informational articles, whitepapers, brochures – more material to inform and engage them before making a complete conversion. Programming a chatbot to respond to users with specific browsing behavior creates a whole new level of engagement that’s extremely difficult to replicate with other tools.
Chatbots can also be used to gather data on these users ready for sales teams to strike at a later date. Carefully nurturing leads at this stage of the funnel means a healthier pipeline and the potential to convert high-quality leads who may otherwise have moved on.
It’s the holidays – it’s OK to have some fun
It can be a drag to think of marketing strategies that really cut through during the holiday season. But with a tool creating the impression of direct, personal contact, it’s possible to use some truly innovative or just plain fun messaging to get people engaged.
This will obviously be brand dependent, but if your target users are also B2B professionals, you might want to start a conversation acknowledging the holiday period – “only (x) days till Xmas! How can we help you today?” Personalization is essential to effective conversational marketing, and chatbots are an ideal way of striking a friendly tone.
With the ability to speak to people directly, you’re given extra license to be creative. The content or messaging you use doesn’t always have to be sales-driven – for example, it’s possible to use chatbots to start games, quizzes, or questionnaires for data capture, market research or just to keep valuable traffic on your site.
And if your business is doing something fun or running a big campaign, chatbots can be used to increase its reach. For example, users can be directed towards social posts and invited to follow for future updates. If it’s on-brand, why not share the ways your team is getting festive, either in the office or virtually – a glimpse behind the scenes is a great way to get like-minded buyers engaged in what you’re offering and what you might be like to work with.
Use chatbots, and make sure to have a holiday
It can be hard to really get away during the holiday season. If you’re used to handling requests coming in through your website, whether that’s sales inquiries or questions from customers, you’re likely to have questions coming through to your inbox when it’s time to be doing other things.
This applies to the whole team and when there’s a simple and effective way to manage comms that happen out of hours then there’s no excuse to be fully switched off when it’s time to relax. Chatbots can be used to answer all kinds of questions even with the most basic setups, while more complex inquiries can be directed either to relevant resources or other points of contact that are available at the time.
For more complex interactions, chatbots can use the power of NLP (natural language processing) and AI to come to understand questions and intent in context, reducing the need for online human agents to manage difficult or urgent requests. This takes chatbot usage to another level and may not be immediately possible for your business, but even in the short-term chatbots can be used to field communications, so you can properly ringfence time away from work.
Try a new chatbot solution this holiday
Holiday seasons are the perfect time to test out new things, before deploying them at scale. Using a chatbot to engage leads that would otherwise be missed, as well as to ease the resource burden across the team, makes for a holiday season that’s more productive while also less stressful.
If you’re thinking of trying a chatbot solution or would like to know more, contact Instabot today.