Success Hacks — 31 Mar 2022
Using Chatbots for Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is big business and is growing by the day. In fact, it is estimated that affiliate marketing spending in the US will reach $8.2 billion in 2022 compared to the $5.4 billion spent in 2017. It sometimes seems that everyone is getting in on the affiliate game, from bloggers and influencers to tech experts and academics.
Doing affiliate marketing is one thing, but doing it successfully is another. Many choose to partner with global giants such as Amazon or eBay while others look to the growing numbers of partnership marketing programs to boost their revenue potentials.
Affiliate marketers aim to use every tool possible to boost their campaigns and, with the continuing growth of automation across the e-commerce sector, one major tool that can assist you is chatbots. If you are new to the sector, you may wonder what chatbots are and what they can do for you. How do chatbots help your campaign and how can you use them efficiently?
A chatbot is a program that is increasingly being used by companies operating online or who offer customer support and service via phone. It is powered by AI (artificial intelligence) and utilizes ML (machine learning) and NLP (natural language processing) to simulate a conversation during customer interaction and to streamline the process.
Companies can use chatbots across a range of platforms, from your company’s website or mobile app to your messaging apps, social media platforms, and your phone or virtual telephone number. They can be used for different reasons, from guiding a customer through the sales process to harvesting information so that they can direct someone to the appropriate support team or sales team.
There are two types of chatbots: open and closed.
An open chatbot processes and learns from conversations and interactions and its efficiency will improve over time. However, they need to be properly programmed and “trained” or they can lead to a poor customer experience. A closed chatbot follows a set script that may have little AI intervention and have limited use.
One of the first things to consider is whether you are on the right platform and whether it will encourage and help with automation. Contrary to belief, platform migration is fairly simple, and moving to a platform like Affise brings a host of benefits, including detailed real-time analytics of essential KPIs and metrics, easily-integrated automation, and a host of other helpful features.
AI is no longer the future; it is the present. If you have chosen performance marketing, whether as a primary career or as a secondary income, then AI can offer enormous benefits. These can include better mobile advertising, better ad campaigns, and more insights into your analytics.
Partnership marketing already utilizes a number of AI-driven features that can enhance and boost your marketing efforts and produce tangible results. These include:
So, you have already made the move into performance marketing, researched what an affiliate program is, and have started seeing positive results. Now you want to take things up a level and look at ways of boosting the partner marketing programs you are involved in and your customer engagement levels. You have read about these “chatbots” and want to see if they could work.
You already know that live chat is a great way of connecting with your customers, to boost your lead generation strategies, and of course, to increase your conversion rates. However, having human agents available 24/7 is not practical or affordable if you’re a smaller business without the resources of giants like Amazon.
One thing many people worry about is that they lack the technical knowledge to implement AI chatbots on their platforms. Fear not! You do not need to know coding and you don’t need any technical knowledge to get started. Companies such as Hubspot offer easy-build chatbot systems that can have you up and running in no time at all.
Create your ideal chatbot system then implement it on any channels you currently use, including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Kik, your website, or any communication platform with an API (Application Programming Interface). Once up and running, it can begin to deal with customer requests and queries.
Once you have built your basic chatbots, you can decide what you want to use them for (or use multiple chatbots for different tasks) then start to integrate them into your existing systems. Think of your chatbot as an empty vessel that you will now fill with information. Let’s take a look at how to do exactly that.
Let’s assume you’re going to use your chatbots to generate qualified leads and boost sales. People choose particular products for different reasons. It may be purely that they think a product will be a good seller, they may have in-depth knowledge of the sector, they may choose products that pay a high commission, or they may have a genuine love for that product and its category.
For example, let’s say that you write blogs about CPaaS (communications platforms as a service). You have used those blogs as a springboard to move into partnership marketing with CPaaS providers and have used things like backlinks in blogs such as “What is CPaaS?” to strengthen SEO. Now you can move forward and start having your chatbots initiate conversations about related products.
One of the simplest conversations that can be initiated using a chatbot is a simple Q&A session that can be undertaken by even the most basic of chatbots. By asking a series of simple questions, your chatbot can recognize what a particular customer is looking for and can guide them to their search subject.
For example, if you are selling CPaaS related products, your chabot may ask: “Are you interested in a multi line phone service”. If the customer answers “Yes”, then you can guide them straight to the relevant page that deals with that service. If they say “No”, then you can move onto the next question.
If you want lucrative payouts from your partnership program, then people need to spend. And they need to buy based on the links you provide. Some links may be to further useful information on a particular subject but your chatbots work in providing affiliate links that take the customer directly to a landing page where they’ll hopefully make a purchase.
Another highly useful function your chatbots can perform is to collect contact details from the customer. We may be living in a digital world full of automation but email marketing remains a highly effective tool (that can also be automated). Email marketing gives an average return of $36 for every $1 spent, so it’s definitely worth building an email list and segmenting it according to different demographics.
Don’t simply ask for an email address from a first time visitor: make the offer sound exciting by telling the customer what they can expect from you in emails, for example: “Sign up to our subscriber list now for exclusive content and special offers”. Building a large list and engaging with your subscribers regularly can help build both trust and traffic as well as boosting your affiliate income.
Will chatbots really make a difference to your performance marketing? The answer to that is a resounding yes. One of the biggest challenges a new or growing affiliate marketer faces is how to attract new customers. Chatbot use can offer advantages in a number of ways:
By using chatbots for SEO, you automate some of the tedious tasks your staff would usually undertake. There is a cyclical process whereby people finding your site more often will boost your search engine rankings meaning that more people find your site.
Bots may not be able to answer every customer query but they can guide customers to resources that can. For example, a customer has made a purchase from a site and has not been offered any tracking information. Your bots can direct the customer to a relevant link or page that shows the current status of his order.
Your bots can deal with many simple customer questions using info stored in your knowledge base or, where it does not have the capacity to answer, it can pass the query on to a human agent whether live via chat or phone or, in the case of out of hours queries, to be answered by email or a callback. They can deal with the most common FAQs.
Whether your bounce rate is high or low depends on what your page is. For a blog, a high bounce rate is acceptable, but for an ecommerce site, you don’t want it too high for obvious reasons. An average bounce rate for an ecommerce website is around 47%.
You need to recognize that people have short attention spans. In fact, some studies suggest that those attention spans are decreasing so you need to capture people’s attention quickly. Chatbots are a great way of capturing that attention and initiating a conversation that will engage the customer and ideally lead to a conversion, thus reducing your overall bounce rate.
The longer website visitors spend on your site, the better you engage with them, and the more likely they are to make a purchase. Chatbots are a great tool for engaging with customers and encouraging them to spend more time, and hopefully money, on your site.
They can guide them to areas of interest, suggest relevant or related products, and make for a better customer experience. By providing a great customer journey, you not only help to boost conversions, but you can also reduce your churn rate.
Building a successful partner marketing program is not something that happens overnight. You need to consider different approaches and strategies that build and engage an audience. You may include factors such as website personalization, automated email marketing, and, of course, chatbots to build a full-service partner marketing strategy.
Your two main aims with your partner marketing program are to maximize revenue and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction. Chatbots, with or without a virtual assistant, are great tools that can help you achieve those goals. Choosing a good platform is also a big help, and looking at best use cases can help steer you in the right direction.
Chatbots can answer questions on everything from pricing to shipping status. They reduce the need for human interaction while not reducing the level of customer service provided. Chatbot technology has come a long way in recent years and will continue to evolve. Business growth needs to encompass conversational marketing and ongoing chatbot development helps with that.
With ecommerce and performance marketing becoming increasingly competitive sectors, you want every tool and strategy you can utilize to stay ahead of your competitors. Chatbots are only one part of that puzzle and you should look at anything that may help, including partnership relationship management. The future is here, and if you don’t embrace it, you may be left behind.
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