By 2020, 85% of consumers will engage with businesses without ever interacting with another human being, according to predictions from Gartner Research.
That’s why more and more companies are leveraging chatbots and messaging tools like Whatsapp to engage with their prospects and customers.
On top of this, consumer expectations of businesses to deliver on this have never been higher – according to Google, 61% of people now expect brands to deliver personalized experiences.
That’s where chatbots come in.
But what are chatbots? Chatbots are software that communicates with humans through messenger apps and on websites. In other words, chatbots live on the same platforms where most people who are present online spend their time.
For agencies, this is a massive opportunity to offer additional services.
Using chatbots, you can help your clients qualify leads, book meetings, provide customer support, all on their website. And scale their one-to-one conversations – all while building an entirely new revenue stream for your agency.
This article highlights real examples of how some of HubSpot’s Agency Partners have implemented simple yet effective chatbots that have driven real results for themselves and for their clients.
It also details why now is the right time to expand your existing services to offer the implementation and maintenance of chatbots to your clients.
- 53% of buyers are more likely to buy from a business they can message (Facebook).
- A combination of conversational marketing and chatbots can result in 182% more qualified leads (HubSpot).
- Website visitors who chat with a business first are 82% more likely to convert to customers (Intercom).
- Chatbots are expected to cut business costs by $8billion by 2020 (Juniper Research).
- 82% of consumers rate an “immediate response” as important or very important when they have marketing or sales questions, and 90% when they have a customer support issue (HubSpot).
As an agency, you should always be on the lookout for new ways to help your clients grow their businesses and meet their goals. Investing in your clients pays off – if they’re happy with your services, they are more likely to give you more business and tell others about how great your agency is, giving you a source of new prospective clients. Once you win those new clients and invest in helping them grow, they are more likely to turn into advocates for your agency, and so on and so forth.
Agencies that invest in and develop conversational marketing and chatbots will see better engagement from visitors, better speed-to-lead, and more conversions. Get in front of this emerging tech – it’s worth it. – Eric Pratt, Managing Partner, Revenue River, HubSpot Diamond Agency Partner
One way to think about this continuous cycle is as a three-stage flywheel that fuels business growth. By leveraging the momentum of your happy clients (delight) to drive referrals and repeat sales (attract and engage), your business’ flywheel keeps spinning.
In order to keep delighting your existing clients, you must stay up-to-date with the latest trends in technology and consumer behavior and proactively identify the right opportunities to help your clients grow. Being ahead of the curve provides force that can help you spin that flywheel faster.
The Change in Client and Consumer Needs
Today, people are increasingly relying on real time messaging apps like WhatsApp to connect with friends. This desire for instant communication extends beyond people’s personal lives too – now, 89% of consumers want to be able to message businesses. Plus, consumers are growing more and more impatient; speed is everything to today’s buyers.
To meet this demand, many innovative businesses have embraced conversational marketing using chatbots so they can have 1:1 conversations with customers at scale. Help your clients understand how chatbots can provide the right message to the right person at the right time.
Consumers today want on-demand, deeper relationships with businesses than ever before. Chatbots are a great way to meet expectations at scale in a delightful way. – Connor Cirillo, Conversational Marketing Manager, HubSpot
Grow Your Clients’ Business the Right Way
Chatbots can be applied to nearly any industry and client type to help them with their marketing, sales, and services challenges. Adding chatbots to your existing agency services can help you take your clients growth to the next level by:
Giving website visitors a more delightful experience by providing instant responses to questions
- A key frustration in conversations between a customer and a company is the time-to-reply. Chatbots completely eliminate this with automated, instant replies.
Answering visitors’ repetitive and frequently asked questions with automation
- By responding to easy-to-answer, frequently asked questions via chatbots, your agency can give your clients’ team the time and space to focus on more meaningful, deeper conversations with their customers/prospects.
Guiding visitors to the right place
- By understanding what a visitor’s challenges are, a chatbot can guide them to other areas of the website to nurture them further and give them a more valuable experience.
The powerful combination of these three core benefits make offering chatbots a tailored and efficient approach to help your clients meet their growth goals.
In this article, we share real-life examples of how some of HubSpot’s most successful agency partners have implemented simple, yet effective chatbots for themselves and for their clients. Enjoy!
Why Now’s the Right Time
Industry stats show why now is the perfect time to offer chatbots as a client service.
As previously mentioned, today’s customers expect on-demand help, when and how they want it.
To meet this expectation, chatbots are fast becoming more ubiquitous in the business world because they are available 24/7 to interact with prospects and customers on your site. Numerous studies prove that plenty of well-known businesses who have adapted this technology have seen significant business results from chatbots. Check out these results:
- Increased sales: 53% of buyers are more likely to buy from a business they can message (Facebook).
- Increased qualified leads: A combination of conversational marketing and chatbots can result in 182% more qualified leads (HubSpot).
- Boost conversions: Website visitors who chat to a business first are 82% more likely to convert to customers (Intercom).
- Save time and money: Chatbots are expected to cut business costs by $8 billion by 2020 (Juniper Research).
- Satisfy customer demands: 82% of consumers rate an “immediate response” as important or very important when they have marketing or sales questions, and 90% rate it that important when they have a customer support issue (HubSpot).
Chatbots have been around, in varying forms, for awhile. But it’s only recently that setting chatbots up has become less technical and thus more accessible to more companies. Believe us when we say they’re here to stay. That makes now the perfect time to capitalize on this opportunity so you can help your clients gain the first mover advantage.
As an agency, offering chatbot services is like offering marketing automation used to be. It’s shiny, exciting, gives the client’s customers a better experience, and it can dramatically improve results, with limited ongoing time investment. Chatbots help reduce sales cycles and support overlays, and grow lead volume and customer acquisition. What’s not to love? – Richard Wood, Managing Director, Six & Flow, HubSpot Diamond Agency Partner
Set Each Chatbot up to Succeed
Key questions to help you get clear on your chatbot’s purpose, tone, and how best to help visitors.
We are the first to admit that anything with the word ‘bot’ in it implies a very technical and complex set up. However, we’ve learned from our own experience that creating a chatbot is easier and quicker than it may seem.
Plus, even the simplest chatbots can create a ton of value for customers. To get the best results for your clients, you should ask a few important questions before diving in and mapping out a chatbot’s conversation flow.
- Who’s the Target Audience? If you haven’t already, create a buyer persona to better understand who your client’s target audience are and where they are in their buyer’s journey. Your client’s buyer persona should inform everything from your chatbot’s tone, to where you trigger it and how you offer help.
- What’s the Purpose of the Chatbot? The next order of business is to identify the chatbot opportunity for your clients. Look out for repetitive processes that could be automated with a chatbot, such as answering customers’ FAQs to save time or booking meetings with leads to reduce your client’s sales cycle. Clearly identifying an internal process that can be streamlined will help with goal alignment. As a result, every message you add to the chatbot should contribute to this goal.
- When is the Chatbot Most Useful for Visitors? Remember, chatbots are there to help visitors, not annoy them. So, they should never bother users at the wrong time. Only trigger your chatbot to appear when visitors are most likely to need help. Consider which pages on your client’s site make the most sense to add a chatbot, in the interest of being most useful to the user. For example, you can trigger a chatbot on your client’s pricing page, or on their customer help center when customers are actively seeking help with their product or service.
- What’s the Visitor’s Intent? Next, anticipate the visitor’s intent. What are they looking at? What might they need help with? What kind of questions might they have? Chat to your client’s support or sales team to find out the most common questions their visitors have at that exact point in their buying journey – then address these questions in your chatbot’s conversation flow.
- What Tone Will Resonate With Visitors? To engage visitors, you’ll need to understand and speak the persona’s language. Whatever your client’s company tone is – whether it’s fun and playful or helpful and direct – ensure to keep your chatbot empathetic. For example, if a visitor shows frustration, your chatbot should show concern to calm a potentially hostile situation.
Note: As an agency, we know you’ll have lots of creative ideas for creating rich, powerful chatbot experiences. That’s awesome and something we’d encourage, but we recommend starting small and creating a simple chatbot that does one job well, before experimenting with more complex use cases for your clients.
Use Cases from Agency Experts
Real agency success stories of how they used chatbots to grow their own agencies, before offering them to clients. The best way to learn is by doing it yourself first!
Using chatbots as part of your marketing, sales, or support services helps increase the impact of the ‘workforce’ you have. With the same amount of traffic to your site, you should be able to create more engagement and more leads – with no extra human capacity or overheads. – Richard Wood, Managing Director, Six & Flow, HubSpot Diamond Agency Partner
When a potential client is considering your chatbots service, they may look at the chatbots on your own website to learn how you’ve implemented them for yourself. How good are your chatbots at engaging them, answering their questions, and helping them buy? Lots of our HubSpot Agency Partners, like Six & Flow and Impulse Creative, win clients due to the quality of their own chatbots on their own site. You’ve got to walk the walk before you can talk the talk!
We recently had a sales opportunity engage with our live chat feature and ask a few questions. We discussed the project, sent over a scope of work, and within two hours, had a signed contract back. This is the future of sales and marketing alignment. – Remington Begg, CEO, Impulse Creative, HubSpot Platinum Agency Partner
Several HubSpot Agency Partners became chatbot experts after using them on their own site first before they start offering chatbots to clients. This enables you to not only grow your own agency but also sell your chatbots service with real authority. For example, you can showcase the results you get for your own agency to establish trust and get buy-in from clients.
In the next few pages, we’ve outlined a three powerful examples of how some of our HubSpot Agency Partners have mastered chatbots for their own agency to attract, engage, and delight their clients.
Chatbots Use Case 1: Attract – Prospects Interact With Your Agency for the First Time
How Impulse Creative Attracts Quality Leads With Chatbots
When a prospect first checks out your website or one of your blog posts, their interest in learning about your agency is at its peak. This is the perfect opportunity to provide a stellar experience. For example, you can trigger a proactive chatbot that invites these visitors to learn more on the topic they’re exploring in exchange for their email. This is a relevant and powerful way to attract leads and provide them with genuine value at the same time.
Impulse Creative, a HubSpot Platinum Agency Partner, triggers chatbots on their most important content pages – like blog posts and guides – to attract and generate more engaged leads.
Let’s take a look at two of their chatbots, and what makes them so successful.
The ‘Got a Question?’ Chatbot
When to Use it
Impulse Creative only triggers their marketing chatbots to appear on their most important blog posts, like their post on conversational marketing. Conversational marketing is a service they offer, so any visitors who land on this page are potentially hot prospects who may be interested in buying. Facilitating visitors to reach out with questions there and then while reading, is a great way to engage them and make sure they don’t slip through the cracks.
Your Chatbot Should be Conversational
Your chatbot should never sound like a robot. The best way to engage with visitors is to adopt a warm, friendly tone. Impulse Creative inject personality into their chatbot by using casual, conversational phrases like, “Howdy!”
Their conversation style is short and to the point, just like a conversation you’d have with a friend on WhatsApp. Plus, the use of fun, expressive emojis adds an extra touch of human warmth.
Provide a Genuine Reason for Capturing Email
Anything can happen to disconnect a prospect from completing a chat interaction, so it’s a good idea to capture your prospect’s email early. But, you need to make it clear why they should hand over their valuable email address in the first place. Here, Impulse Creative’s chatbot explains that it needs their prospect’s email so it can follow up in case they get disconnected. It’s simple, yet effective.
The ‘Download Guide’ Chatbot
Offer Relevant Content in Exchange for Email
For every chatbot you create you need to think, “What’s in it for the prospect?”. Here, Impulse Creative is offering extra value for visitors who check out their video marketing guide by encouraging them to download another relevant guide on how they can get exposure for the videos they create.
Talk about perfect timing – they’re offering the right content at the right time in the right place, exactly when a visitor is likely to need that information and to engage. This context makes it far more enticing for prospects to hand over their email.
Chatbots Use Case 2: Engage – Convert Prospects to Clients
How Six & Flow Engages Prospects With Chatbots
82% of prospects expect an immediate response when they have a sales question. So, when a hot prospect is browsing your site, it’s important to provide them with the help they need, fast. This will increase your chances of getting a new customer.
But, as hardworking as they are, no sales team can be available in all time zones 24/7, to engage and book meetings with every single promising prospect. They need sleep and vacations just like the rest of us.
That’s where a chatbot can step in and help. You can create a chatbot that automatically engages prospects, turns them into leads and helps them book meetings with your team, while they’re out of office. This makes it possible to transcend time zones.
HubSpot Diamond Agency Partner, Six & Flow, used a powerful sales chatbot to significantly improve their engagements with prospects. They wanted to expand beyond the UK market and into North America. However, with the time zone difference, they only had an overlap of about three working hours to chat with North American prospects. So, they created a chatbot to engage North American prospects and help them to automatically book meetings with their UK Sales team.
Let’s take a look at their chatbot’s conversation flow and dissect why it works so well.
The ‘Out of Office’ Chatbot
When and Where to Use it
Six & Flow only triggers their chatbot, ‘Flobot’ to appear on high intent pages and at specific times, like their client services pages after business hours, when their team is out of office. So no matter the visitor’s time zone, ‘Flobot’ reaches out at the right time, greeting visitors with a warm welcome, and immediately setting their expectations for why it’s reaching out and how it can help. Creating a friendly welcome message like this helps engage your visitors right from the start and makes them more likely to seek the help they need.
Be as Helpful as Possible
When Six & Flow’s team are out of office they can’t answer their prospects’ questions in real-time. But, they’re still keen for visitors to get their questions answered have while browsing their site. So, if a prospect indicates they want to speak to someone, ‘Flobot’ asks if there’s a particular topic it can help them with and provides them with a bunch of topics they can choose from. If they click on a topic, they’ll be brought straight to a relevant services page so they can find the information they need.
A Little Humor Goes a Long Way
As mentioned in the Impulse Creative use case, it’s important that your chatbot’s tone is same as the rest of your communications. Also, just because a chatbot isn’t a human doesn’t mean it can’t be warm and playful. A touch of humor goes a long way in delighting and engaging prospects. If a visitor indicates that they want to chat to a human, ‘Flobot’ says, “I’m not going to pretend my feelings aren’t hurt.” They also share a relevant and humorous gif of a sad Dawson from Dawson’s Creek (sorry Dawson). Gifs are a great way to convey human emotions, which help your chatbot build a connection with visitors and keep these visitors engaged.
Allow Prospects to Automatically Book a Meeting
When a visitor has to wait to hear back from a sales rep on booking a meeting they may go cold and drop off your sales process. It’s best to let prospects book a meeting while their intent is hot and your brand is top of mind, so your sales team can provide the help the prospect needs and close the deal faster.
Letting high intent prospects automatically book a meeting on one of your sales reps’ calendars will make them feel special. And, seeing the sales rep’s real name and face will help build an emotional connection too. This is something ‘Flobot’ is a pro at also!
Chatbots Use Case 3: Delight – Satisfied Clients Can Become Your Biggest Advocates
How Eustace Consulting Delights Their Clients
When a customer (old or new) has a support question, the last thing you want to do is keep them waiting – 90% of customers will expect an immediate response. This is the perfect opportunity to delight customers and provide them with the help they need, fast.
Also, as any support rep will tell you, there are instances when they get asked the same questions time and time again from customers. That can take time away from them helping solve unique enquiries and having more meaningful conversations with customers. Luckily, you can create a chatbot that automatically answers those repetitive customer questions, which will boost their satisfaction and free up some time for them to help customers or prospects with more complex questions.
Here’s an example of a successful support chatbot from Eustace Consulting, a HubSpot Gold Agency Partner. They created a chatbot that saves their own support team time by automatically answering their customers’ common questions in their customer support portal.
The ‘Get Quick Answers’ Chatbot
Proactively Offer Help
Eustace Consulting doesn’t just leave it up to the customer to reach out with questions. Instead, they proactively offer help right when the client is likely to need it – while they’re browsing their customer support portal searching for answers. This is a great way to give your customers the support they need when they need it. As previously mentioned, you can automate a lot of the repetitive questions your support reps get, freeing them up to focus on more bespoke customer queries.
Empower Customers To Help Themselves
When a customer reaches out for help, you can set up your chatbot to reach out with an immediate, relevant response. To make your chatbot super efficient, it’s a good idea to anticipate and categorize the most common questions your customers might have. Then, instead of having to type a question, customers can simply select a topic to get directed to the help article they need.
Get Results for Your Clients
Case study: How Square 2 Marketing generated more sales qualified leads for their client.
Once you’ve experimented with chatbots and have started to see results for your own agency, you can start offering chatbots as a valuable service to your clients.
For some final inspiration, here’s how Square 2 Marketing skyrocketed one of their client’s sales qualified leads (SQLs) with chatbots:
Immediately the client started getting additional leads and the reps were able to qualify them via chat and report the lift in sales qualified leads and sales opportunities. – Mike Lieberman, Co-Founder & CEO, Square 2 Marketing, HubSpot Diamond, Agency Partner
Square 2’s client didn’t have enough leads and sales opportunities, and they had a longer than necessary sales cycle. Their client had plenty of website visitors. But roughly 90% failed to convert because the client had no conversion offers or content on site besides a demo offer. Square 2 could have created some new content for their client, but researching, writing, and creating helpful content can take time, especially when you need a couple of different types of content offers. But, from using chatbots on their own site, Square 2 knew that a chatbot could help website visitors find what they were looking for. Plus, implementing chatbots is much less time consuming than creating numerous pieces of content.
So, they created a chatbot strategy that answered visitors’ questions and guided them to other areas of the site. The chatbot asks the visitor simple questions to uncover why they are on the website and what they are looking for. Based on the visitor’s answers, the chatbot either directs the visitor to the sales team and shares the visitor’s answers with the rep or sends them to a website location for more information. This led to a much better visitor experience (delight) as well as a better conversion rate from visitor to qualified leads (engage).
The Recipe for Success
- Anticipate and answer customer questions: First, map out questions prospects regularly ask, then create bot answers based on these questions.
- Qualify leads, so sales can chat to the best ones: Create qualification questions for the chatbot to automatically ask prospects. This helps weed out leads who are too early in their buyer’s journey to engage with a sales rep. This enables sales reps to only engage with qualified leads who are closer to buying, which will be appreciated by both parties.
- Demo requests increased 15% month over month
- Qualified sales rose by 46% in 30 days
- Sales opportunities increased by 24% in 30 days
Chat isn’t the only secret to success, it’s one piece of the puzzle. But, it’s one of the pieces that can be turned on quickly, the chat experience can be designed strategically in just a few hours and if the experience is not over-complicated it can be installed and running in just a few days, not weeks or months. This makes chat a quick win strategy for our clients and one that produces results quickly – something that is important to us at Square 2. – Mike Lieberman, Co-Founder & CEO, Square 2 Marketing, HubSpot Diamond, Agency Partner
Chatbots are a fundamental part of conversational marketing – a movement that’s changing the way businesses sell, market and serve their customers for the better. When prospects and customers expect businesses to provide them with the help they need when, where and how they need it, chatbots help automate many humanintensive processes to provide your clients’ customers with the personal and immediate help they desire.
Adding chatbots to your agency services can help you become even more indispensable to your clients and turn them into promoters of your agency. Which in this day and age is more powerful than any marketing tactic!
There are numerous ways you can use chatbots to apply force to your agency’s flywheel and help your clients grow the right way. Once you’ve mastered some of the examples from this ebook, why not get creative and create bespoke chatbots to delight your clients and their customers?
The ability to offer intelligent chatbot services for clients will become more and more important. I think the need for agencies to adopt or die will be similar to the inbound revolution we’ve all benefited from. With chatbots, we’re experiencing heavy demand, wide application, and better engagement with visitors. – Eric Pratt, Managing Partner at Revenue River, HubSpot Diamond Agency, Partner