In recent years, chatbots have become increasingly popular. Not only are they helping businesses generate more qualified leads, but responding to the increasing prominence of artificial intelligence in marketing. Now, many B2B companies want this success for themselves, but don’t know where to begin.
With this in mind, we’ve devised an easy to follow, step-by-step strategy to help you build a chatbot for your B2B website, that will both modernise your company and optimise your site for lead generation and conversion.
Step 1: Understand your users
The first step to a successful B2B chatbot strategy (or any strategy for that matter) is to know and define your users. Think of some questions about your buyer personas and answer them:
- What kind of people will be using your chatbot?
- What is their job role?
- How can your company help them?
These are just some examples of the questions you could be asking - find out how to create the perfect picture of your ideal customer here.
Once you have a well-rounded view of your customer, this will shape the scope, design and execution of your chatbot strategy. Every decision made from this point should be influenced by this buyer persona - do not attempt to complete any further steps without establishing your target audience.
Step 2: Define your goals
The next step in creating a successful B2B chatbot strategy is defining what it is you actually want to achieve. These goals shouldn’t be vague, they should be well thought-out, realistic and measurable; while “convert leads into customers” is a suitable goal for your chatbot strategy, it needs to be more specific so that you can see if you achieved it.
For example, “hit a lead conversion ratio of 2% by the end of the first quarter in 2020” is a much more specific goal that is easy to track and measure success.
To define your goals properly, think about a customer conversion and work backwards. Your ideal scenario may be a customer requesting a quote due to an interaction with your chatbot(s) - think about what will ensure that this happens. Think about:
- What value does your chatbot have?
- How will your chatbot get people to convert?
Once you’ve answered these questions, the answers will form the basis of your defined goals. From this, you can begin building a B2B chatbot strategy where you can easily measure its success, and ensure it is built for your ideal customer from the outset.
Step 3: Choose a platform
When building a B2B chatbot strategy, it's crucial to consider where your bot will perform best. Therefore, you need to conduct research to see where your target personas are spending their time, and what features the platform will need for your chatbot to be successful.
Today, there are a number of platforms that you could use to host your chatbot, with your website being the most obvious of these, but you can also create social media chatbots on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.
If you’re going to put a chatbot on your website, there are some strategic ways you can do this which have promising results. The best pages to put chatbots on websites are mainly:
- High-intent pages
These are the pages where customers convey an intent to work with you such as pricing pages, services pages, or even landing pages. These pages are great for chatbots because the “story” to tell is obvious, and you can use customer intent to ask questions like “which service are you interested in?” and prompt conversation.
- High-traffic pages
These will most likely be pages such as your homepage, and it's a good idea to have chatbots on these pages because they receive the most visitors. However, be wary. It's not a good idea to sell through these chatbots, as it could be off-putting to your potential customers; instead, design your chatbot so it is welcoming, and gives visitors more information about your company, how it can help them and what steps they need to take next.
It's a good idea to include chatbots on blogs because it allows visitors to ask questions right as they think of them. This not only helps you understand your ideal customer more, but it helps you educate them and provide additional value.
- Negative high-intent pages
This refers to pages that have high intent, but for the wrong reasons - such as blog or email unsubscribe pages. While it might seem strange to put a chatbot on these pages at first, they are actually the perfect place to have one. Your visitors are likely on these pages because of a problem, and a bot can not only help you understand what the problem is, but potentially prevent a negative experience.
Each of these examples is a great place to host your bot, but don’t overdo it. While it can be tempting to have chatbots on every page, this could potentially have the opposite of your desired effect. Having one, well thought-out, perfected chatbot is enough if it helps your customers, so be sure to keep it simple.
Step 4: Tell a story
Now you have your ideal customer in mind, your goals set out, and have decided where your chatbot is going to be hosted, you now need to layout the journey your potential customer will take up to conversion.
You will need to tell a story, or more technically, create chat flows. These are essentially pre-planned conversations that your chatbot will be programmed to follow based on varying customer answers. The “story” guides the user through the conversation, keeps them on track and persuades them to purchase your product or service - so it needs to be well constructed.
The stories you create could be simple “yes” or “no” question chat flows, or more complex - it's entirely up to you. However, what is important is that your chatbot is programmed to understand what happens when a customer replies with an answer it doesn’t understand, as this is bound to happen occasionally once your bot goes live.
A good way to avoid an angry customer in this scenario is to programme your bot to send complex queries to a human service agent. This way, you help the customer without compromising the success of your chatbot.
Step 5: Build your bot
Today, there are many different pieces of software that you can use to build chatbots fairly easily. Most tools will either offer do-it-yourself capabilities for simple bots, or will be more code-focused and complex.
Whichever you choose, you should ensure that you are able to design and create a workable chatbot with intelligent responses and the ability to generate leads and convert customers. Should you want to do this in the simplest way, HubSpot is a great platform with a built-in chatbot creator, where you can easily create and launch chatbots on your website without any coding required.
Even if you have no experience in creating chatbots, HubSpot makes it easier than ever to craft a well-designed bot with customisable templates and bot creating capabilities. Because HubSpot’s bot creator is linked directly with the HubSpot CRM, any contact details can be filtered through into your bot’s conversations with potential customers, making for a more personal and enjoyable experience.
Step 6: Test, test, test!
We cannot stress this enough.
Be sure to test your chatbot before it goes live. Chat flows can quickly become complex and spiral out of control if they aren’t thoroughly tested beforehand, so conduct tests on every possible interaction and outcome, to ensure that your chatbot is working as it should be. These are just some examples of what you should be looking for:
- Tone and language - does the bot sound like its supposed to?
- Chat flows - is your bot answering all the questions it is asked? (if not, make a note of any questions it is unable to answer)
- Qualifying leads - is your chatbot recognising when someone is ready to convert? What is it doing with unqualified leads?
Through thorough testing you can discover which interactions work and which don’t, if your bot is able to recognise the difference between qualified and unqualified leads, and highlight anything it doesn’t understand. Doing this will reduce the risk of error once the bot goes live, and ensure that all chat flows will make sense to your end users and serve your overall goal of conversion.
Step 7: Monitor your bot
By this point, your bots should have been built, fully tested and amended to fix any issues. However, the process isn’t over as soon as your bot goes live - you need to monitor it. Since chatbot technology is still in its infancy, it will need constant checking and tracking to ensure that it is working as you intended.
Be sure to monitor your bot to keep up to date with evolving industry trends, common questions your visitors are asking and most importantly questions your bot is unable to answer. This way, you can keep track of how your bot is doing, and make any changes. Not only this, but regular monitoring can help you see how successful your chatbot strategy is by how many leads it is generating, and how many of these are converting into customers.
By following our 7 step guide to building a B2B chatbot strategy, you can be sure to create an invaluable asset to your overall marketing strategy. Not only can chatbots save your company time, money and resources, they can help you generate and qualify more leads.
At Axon Garside, we have experience in building and implementing B2B chatbot strategies into websites for businesses across industrial and technology sectors. Not only can we help you implement chatbots into your overall marketing strategy, we can enable you to use them to increase leads and generate revenue through your website.
For more information on increasing the amount of leads you generate online, download our guide: Maximising Online Lead Generation for B2B Technology, which contains helpful tips to get you generating more online leads and converting them into paying customers.