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If you’ve been poking around the internet recently (and we know you have), then you’ve definitely stumbled across a chatbot at some point. Chatbots usually pop up with a friendly greeting in the bottom corner of a webpage. For example, New Breed’s chatbot, Demanda, pops up to say “Have any questions? Happy to help!”
Chatbots emerged with the rise of conversational marketing, a one-to-one marketing approach that focuses on customer engagement, feedback and loyalty. This tailored, empathetic approach to marketing is a great way to capture valuable information, serve nurturing content, quickly connect users with sales representatives and encourage users to engage with your brand.
By meeting users where they are and mirroring a human interaction, chatbots have proven to be incredibly effective for capturing lead information and increasing conversions — so effective, in fact, that some have argued that chatbots have killed the traditional lead generation form.
Don’t worry. It’s not time to throw away your lead gen form entirely.
The form isn’t dead, but if you’re still using forms exclusively at this point, then you’re missing out on an amazing opportunity to engage with potential customers.
At New Breed, we’ve been experimenting with HubSpot’s conversations tool and using it to speak to our web visitors. Although our chatbot is still in its first iteration, our chatbot has been 85.7 percent more effective at creating opportunities for us than our traditional forms.
Why? Because chatbots — and more broadly, conversational marketing — offer a more personalized, contextualized user experience, which plays really well into the inbound methodology.
Unlike traditional forms, which can come across as cold, transactional and invasive, chatbots bring back the human element in capturing visitor information. You can program the chatbot to be friendly, to have a personality that reflects your brand and to adapt its questions based on what the user needs at that moment.
For example, instead of including a dropdown field asking for company size, you can program your chatbot to say “Can you tell me more about the size of your company? This will help me point you in the right direction.” And based on the information they give you, you can provide relevant resources on the spot for higher engagement rates and immediate, effective lead nurturing.
Additionally, chatbots are proactive. Rather than waiting for visitors to come to a landing page on their own, your chatbot can ask the visitor to engage on your home page or blog. As you learn to program the chatbot effectively and perfect your conversational marketing strategy, you can even tailor the chatbot’s conversations down to the specific page it’s on for a hyper-personalized user experience.
It’s no question that chatbots have a number of benefits, from higher user engagement to a streamlined handoff from automation to sales — but they certainly haven’t rendered the traditional form obsolete. So how do you find the balance between conversational marketing and traditional form capture?
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to chatbots and lead gen forms; you’ll need to try new things and be continuously testing to understand what works best for your business. Don’t be afraid to adopt new technologies and strategies, but don’t be afraid to stick with more traditional methods if you find that they’re still reaping better results.
For example, if your customer base is older or less comfortable with chatbots, they might be less interested in engaging with it than with a regular form, but you’ll never know for sure that until you try it for yourself.
Definitely give chatbots a try — but be sure to keep your traditional lead gen forms in the back of your pocket, too. With a little bit of tinkering, you’ll land on the combination that drives the best results for your business.
Amanda is a former New Breeder.