This is a contributed post from Kelly Garrett, an ActiveCampaign Certified Consultant.

No one ever said creating a marketing plan would be easy. Traditional marketing plans used to work well. They served their purpose in drawing customers to businesses and keeping them afterwards.

These days, companies are adapting to the ever-changing landscape of online marketing strategies with company blogs, email marketing, and even webinars. There are a million options, and new strategies being developed all the time.

Chatbots are one of these newer strategies, with Facebook Messenger Bots being one of the most prominent. While they may seem impersonal, their primary function is to facilitate conversations—a vital part of building relationships with your customers.

Here are three ways you can incorporate this technology into your existing marketing plan to create loyal repeat buyers.

1. Use Facebook Messenger Bots to get back to the basics of relationship with your customers

Relationships are important to your customers. Whether it’s a loved one, trusted friend, or someone they do business with, customers want to be able to connect to who you are and what you are doing. There was a time when strategies like email newsletters and webinars were unique and created a sense of connection with customers, but now these methods are a part of everyone’s marketing plan.

Old strategies are less effective,
it’s time to add something new to the mix

Why is this happening? With so many “experts” chiming in with similar advice and similarly formatted messages, it is hard to distinguish one thing from another. The volume has become overwhelming. It is difficult to build relationships in such an environment.

Meet customers where they are

Messaging is a popular way for family and friends to talk to each other and build interpersonal relationships, partly because it reduces some of the friction inherent with other forms of communication. Using Messenger allows you to have more meaningful conversations with your customers and connect with them on a more personal level. They’re more likely to interact and engage with you in this format than elsewhere, and this will allow you to gain valuable insight into who they are and what they expect from your business.

Eliminate some of the noise and
start building relationships with chatbots

Do not be fooled by the term “bots” – bot marketing is more of a blend between the automated responses everyone thinks of and human interaction. Use automation to gather some of the information you need up front, then connect customers to a live person capable of helping them find what they need.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater

Email marketing is far from dead, so do not eliminate it from your digital marketing strategy. Now is the time to reevaluate how you are using this channel to reach your customers. Messenger marketing is better for shorter communications, while email is still good for distributing longer, more complex information.

Send brief and simple messages via Messenger that direct customers to the channels where they can get more information, like email and webinars.

2. Make bots a part of the entire customer life cycle

When it comes to sales, focusing on lead generation is an easy trap to fall into. Customer acquisition is important and there are many marketing strategies that focus on the first part of a customer’s life cycle. However, these strategies pay so much attention to attracting new sales that their online marketing plan minimizes the need to keep reaching out to existing customers.

Once someone has already purchased your product, they are easier to sell to again. Part of your chatbot strategy should include customer retention. Give the customers you already have equally fast and simple ways to connect with you.

A few ways you can do this include:

  • Adding live chat to your business’s membership areas
  • Notifying customers about new products and information
  • Sending receipts or taking payment information
  • Personalized greetings for birthday, holidays, membership anniversaries or other things

Do not limit yourself to the suggestions above, though. Map out your customer journey and identify the areas where a bot can help you strengthen relationships and provide better service.

3. Personalize your interactions.
Stop using cookie cutter strategies and templates

I get it. The marketing techniques the “experts” keep talking about do work, at least some of the time. Following their advice saves you time, energy, and (maybe) money. The problem is that these techniques were developed before bots came into use, and there is no way to fit bots in with them. You have to create your own strategy.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you move forward.

Copying your current funnel into your bot is not a good idea

Chances are, the funnel you are using now was not created with a bot in mind. It will not work, and it will annoy your customers. Do not strain your relationship with them this way.

Make any strategy you use uniquely personal to your customers

Your customers know what a regular sales pitch looks and sounds like. They can smell it a mile away, and the smell will not be a pleasant one for them. Get to know them, what they use your products for and what they expect from you, then create a strategy that appeals to them and delivers on their expectations.

Build your bot with the end goal in mind

At the end of the day, your strategy should be creating a journey that transforms people and takes them from where they are to where they want to be. There is no one formula to create that transformation, but the end result should be exclusive to your customers and to your business.

Let your customers choose how they want to interact with you

Each of your customers is unique in what they are looking for and what they want from you as a business. Develop an intuitive strategy that gives your customers choices, and they will come back to you for their next purchase.

If you are considering adding Facebook Messenger Bots to your online marketing strategy, or revamping the entire plan, we would love to talk to you about the best ways to develop and execute it. Just contact us today!