How Chatbots Can Improve Your Marketing Strategy: #Semrushchat Recap

Maria Kalyadina

May 14, 201817 min read
How Chatbots Can Improve Your Marketing Strategy

Chatbots are programs built to automatically engage with received messages. Chatbots can be programmed to respond the same way each time, to respond differently to messages containing certain keywords and even to use machine learning to adapt their responses to fit the situation.

Chatbots leverage chat mediums like SMS text, website chat windows and social messaging services across platforms like Facebook and Twitter to receive and respond to messages.

The excitement around chatbots, a computer program or an artificial intelligence which conduct conversation via auditory or textual methods, isn't going away any time soon. And while the idea around having a “robot” help you with your day-to-day tasks could sound like you may be out of a job soon, they are there to help you better serve your customers in ways that matter the most, especially when it comes to your marketing strategies.

That is why, during last week’s #SEMrushchat, we invited special guest, Larry Kim, CEO of MobileMonkey as well as user, builder, and implementer of chatbots for numerous businesses every day, to share how businesses can best use Chatbots to improve their marketing strategy. Here’s what Larry and our other chat participants had to say:

Q1. What are the top reasons as to why someone should use a chatbot?

1. Reduced Turnaround Time

If you respond in the first minute of a customer reaching out to you, you increase your odds of converting them to a lead by 391%. So, when a customer contacts your business with a query, they want their answer as soon as possible. With chatbots, slow answer time can be avoided. The customer can send a message to the chatbot and get an answer almost instantly, which improves the customer experience by shortening the wait time.

2. Improved Customer Service

73% of customers prefer talking to companies via live chat over email, and, 56% of people would rather message you than call you for customer service. Chatbots can help your business to provide information through conversation, which is dynamic and personalized. Every time a customer visits your website, they are hit with static content that they surf through to get the information they want. However, with a chatbot, they can get the same information after answering a few questions, which is a great engagement win!

3. Less Effort For Your Team

With the chatbot handling the bulk of the incoming questions, the pressure on your social engagement team is considerably reduced. Instead of wasting time addressing the same customer queries, they can hand it off the to the bot and focus only on specialized problems that the bot cannot handle.

4. Quicker Sales Pre-Qualification

By programming your bot to get lead information, you can filter out specific leads that are further down the sales funnel from those who are still in the early stages. Your sales team can then focus only on quality leads that matter, which in turn, enables instant sales pre-qualification.

5. Building Your Contact List

Chatbots can help you to build your contact list and give you more opportunities to send information, news, and updates in other ways aside from email newsletters or social media updates. They collect user information for every person who engages, rather than simply capturing those who have clicked the CTA, which in turn, can replace regular landing pages. Ultimately, chatbots will give you a much larger and much more refined list of leads to work with.

6. Selling Products or Services

53% of consumers are more likely to buy from you if they can message you, and since Facebook messenger Ads are mobile-friendly and conversational, they can help you with selling your products or services better.


Q2. What are the top 3 ways companies can drive traffic to their chatbot?

The whole idea of chatbots is to engage the user on a platform that they’re already using, without having to direct them elsewhere, which is why you should add chatbot widgets to most of your communication channels including emails, Facebook, and even pop-ups on your website.

How to drive traffic from Facebook:

Use Autoresponders in All Organic posts

Every time a lead comments on your post on Facebook, you can send out an autoresponder to them via the messenger app. If the autoresponder is carefully built, it will encourage them to engage, and in turn, drive traffic to your bot.

Sponsored Content / Lead Ads

You can drive more chatbot traffic by linking the CTA on your lead ads to your chatbot. Lead Ads come with a CTA option to ‘Send Message,’ which, according to Larry Kim, can give you a 100% conversion rate since you will not only get every lead’s information, but you also can message them back!

How to Drive Traffic from Emails:

Inform Subscribers About Your New Chatbot Feature

Not all companies have started using chatbots yet, so when you decide to jump on board the chatbot wagon, ensure that the feature is known. Send an email to your subscribers and inform them that all of their queries can be instantly handled by your new chat assistant.

Link to the Chatbot Directly in Your Emails

A simpler way could be to just add a link to your chatbot in every email you send. The promise of engaging in a conversation and getting instant responses will encourage your audience to explore the bot.

How to Drive Traffic from your Website:

A Pop–up or Showcase It At the Bottom of Your Page

Installing a Facebook Chat Messenger widget on your website can increase your contact/leads list. The bot can either be tucked away at the bottom corner next to the scroll or come as a pop up on the page. Make sure you mention on the site content that this feature is available to ensure that your audience doesn’t miss it.

Keyword Triggered e-book Download

Direct the user to your chatbot based on certain keywords for your e-book. You can ask them basic questions to collect more information about your lead and then send them the e-book they requested.

Quick tip: The idea of a chatbot is to personalize communication and make information exchange more conversational. So give your Chatbot a name. It will help your audience relate to it a bit more.


Q3. What are some companies with some cool chatbots that you use and love?

The best chatbots are those that don’t make it seem like you’re talking to a bot. The conversation is personalized, doesn’t interrupt the user from their engagement with the website, and delights the customer by providing information instantly.

Here are some companies that our SEMrush community thinks are the best at using their chatbots:


  • Poncho – The friendly weather cat that tells you the weather and a lot more information via Facebook Messenger.
  • Starbucks – Their chatbot further simplifies ordering your favorite drinks. It even tells you when the order will be ready and how much it will cost.
  • Fandango – This chatbot makes your movie date nights a little easier. It lets you watch trailers, show you what’s playing near you, and even directs you to the right page to buy tickets.
  • Spotify – Makes it even simpler to search, identify, discover, and share your favorite music.

  • Wholefoods – Enables users to search for recipes, and, they took it one step further and enabled recipe search via emojis and filtering based on special dietary needs.

  • Sephora – A makeup assistant that can help you to pick the right brand for you, based on the latest reviews and ratings.


Q4. In your opinion, what are some of the pros and cons of having a chatbot?

While a chatbot can definitely give a huge boost to your marketing strategy, it can also have a negative impact. Here are a few pros and cons our chat participants think you should consider before building one:


1. Easy to Build

In contrast to the huge advantage they bring, chatbots are relatively easy to build. With applications like Mobile Monkey, you can use a visual builder to design a bot for your use-case, even without having any coding knowledge.

2. Saves Time and Resources

With a chatbot, most of your regular customer support questions and FAQs can be automated. This enables your team to focus on bigger problems and actually plan out a funnel to direct the users the along the right path.

This is advantageous for the client too, as they can get their questions answered instantly and efficiently.

3. Better Reach

Currently, there are over 1.3 billion messenger users who are using the platform already. By having a chatbot, your business can reach out to customers on a platform that they already frequent.


It is not always rainbows and unicorns when it comes to using a chatbot. Here are some of the negative impacts they can have on your business:

1. Lack of Human Interaction

Some of your leads may be used to human interaction with your business and would prefer emails or a quick call to get their problem solved. Getting these types of customers or leads to adapt to your chatbot (after the initial rollout), can be quite challenging.

More importantly, if a lead comes into your website expecting a human interaction, having to talk to a bot can give them a bad experience. 

2. Bad Customer Experience When the Bot is Poorly Designed

Though the technical aspects of setting up a chatbot are rather easy (with the right applications), they still require a good knowledge base to set it upright. They should answer the right questions with minimal interaction so they can genuinely help the person interacting with you. If it is is not done well, the bot could end up asking redundant questions, and unnecessary information to your lead may not want. This will result in poor user experience and may sometimes result in lost leads.

3. Could Backfire if the Chatbot Can’t Help

Using a chatbot can negatively impact your business when the chatbot does not help the user find what he is searching for. This may not mean the bot is poorly designed, instead, it could mean that the user’s question is too specialized for the chatbot to process. Therefore, despite spending time interacting with the bot, the user would still need human help to solve his problem.


Q5. Do you think all companies would benefit from having a chatbot? Why? Why not?

In short, the answer is yes, and most companies can benefit from having a chatbot. Facebook Messenger is a huge marketing opportunity for marketers that they can not pass up. It is a platform that has more conversations than other channels and in turn, more opportunities for customer engagement.

In the next 3 years, it is expected that half of big businesses are going to utilize chatbots to reach their customers in more innovative ways.

Even if it doesn’t directly align with your product or service, using chatbots for customer service and basic lead qualification will help you focus your resources on more complex problems, and since Chatbots are available 24/7, they enable your customers to reach you around the clock.

On the other hand, no one marketing strategy is a universal solution for all companies. Despite all of the advantages that come with having a chatbot, they may not work well for your company.

Here are some examples of how chatbot may not work for your marketing strategy just yet:

When Your Business Needs a Human Touch

Despite being hugely helpful, chatbots don’t always convey a sense of human empathy. Therefore, it may not be a great choice for service-oriented businesses that require a human touch right from the first interaction.

Similarly, for smaller companies, a human or a personal touch may be more important to build relationships with the client. So, while the bigger organizations opt for chatbots, the smaller companies can rely on human help to accomplish the same goals.

Sometimes, even for service businesses, chatbots may not make sense if they do not get the same questions over and over. If a customer is looking to solve a complex problem, they would most likely prefer human interaction, rather than explaining their situation to a bot.

The Timing is Wrong

To effectively execute and reap the rewards from chatbots, businesses need to have a clear idea of how it will fit into their marketing and customer service strategy. The readiness of a business also depends on the adoption rates, both on the user side and on the company side. If the adoption rates are poor and the chatbot is left largely unused, then it is a huge waste of resources.

When the Cost Doesn’t Cover the ROI

Despite needing little in ways of technical expertise, setting up a chatbot is still a time and resource consuming process. The entire customer journey has to be mapped out, the funnel clearly outlined, and the message related in such a way that it answers to every user's requirements. Since there is no set of best practices yet, you may waste a lot of time in trial and error before nailing it.

After all of that effort, if the ROI on the chatbot is relatively less, then using it may not be a top priority for your business.


Where does your business fit in? Are you ready to try out chatbots or do you still think your audience and your business have a long way to go? Be sure to comment and let us know!

Make sure to join us this week as we discuss “Local SEO Mistakes and How To Fix Them” with special guest, Greg Gifford!

Author Photo
Maria is the Social Media Marketing Manager at Semrush and the host of the weekly #Semrushchat. You can always connect with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter! Join the #SemrushChat every Wednesday at 11 am ET/ 4 pm BST!