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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2017-06-28

Email has been around for decades, yet it continues to prove its value to marketers. What’s changing is the way in which we interact with it. Take chatbots as an example. Chatbots are an emerging messaging technology that have the potential to complement and increase the email experience for users – and increase ROI for B2B email marketers. A chatbot is a program that conducts automated conversations via various auditory or textual methods.


By convincingly simulating how a human would behave as a conversation partner, chatbots can be useful in information acquisition or customer service applications. For example, if a prospect asks your company via email about your prices, a chatbot could use the keyword “prices” to automatically look up and respond with relevant information.


Because Chatbots are growing in business use – more than 30,000 branded chatbots were added to the market in 2016 -- email marketers need to start thinking about taking advantage of their capabilities. In fact, chatbots may even have the potential to take email automation to the proverbial next level. Here are three ways chatbots can improve the email experience and drive greater effectiveness for B2B marketers:


  1. Automate transactional emails: Chatbots are ideal for automating personalized, one-to-one prospect- or customer-driven transactional communications, such as booking confirmations, password resets, or delivery confirmations. These emails are opened four to eight times more than standard marketing emails and have a 152% higher click-through rate because recipients want (and may be expecting) these communications.


  1. Facilitate customer action: Chatbots can enable and even perform actions desired in transactional emails by the recipient, such as saving a reservation in their calendar or scheduling a business meeting. For example, if a meeting is being scheduled for 10:00, your recipient may reply with “that time won’t work for me,” and then interact with your chatbot, which can automatically locate available time slots in your calendar and propose alternate times.


  1. Encourage cross/up-sell: Chatbots can help with increasing revenue through automating cross-selling and up-selling. For example, when customers purchase software, they will not only receive a confirmation email, but a promotion to, say, add a service agreement. That incremental upselling can be generated and managed by a chatbot.


Chatbots can serve as an extension of your company’s voice in communicating to prospects and customers. But to be used effectively, they require a close collaboration and integration of your marketing, customer service, sales and IT teams. And as client communications usually falls within the marketing domain, they may be competing for always-scarce IT resources and bandwidth. Executive management may have to intervene in order to get the proper resources to ensure success.


As marketers, we always have to be thinking of what’s next and how we can better serve our customers. Because chatbot use is rapidly emerging, marketers should start paying attention to early adopters and how they are using this technology successfully. The good news is that as the use of chatbots rises, the costs of employing them will decrease in the years ahead. Do you have plans to put chatbots to use in your business anytime soon?



Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can help you achieve better email marketing ROI, and convert more prospects into customers. Ask us how. Also, take a look at our complimentary new e-book on building a successful B2B email marketing database.

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At OMI, we believe good things happen when you share your knowledge. That's why we're proud to educate marketers at every level - in every size and type of organization - about the basics of email marketing and the contact data that powers it.

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