How many questions does the average web development client ask before signing up for your services?
Better yet, how many questions do you ask your clients before starting a web design project?
The truth is there is a lot of information that has to travel back and forth between web developers and their clients before any money changes hands. Not only do your customers want to ask about your specific capabilities, but there is a great deal of information you need to know before you can write a single line of code.
Every client interaction has a purpose, and hopefully has the extra benefit of establishing your agency as a reliable, trustworthy organization. But you can only talk to so many clients at once – at some point, you have to dedicate time to actually working on their web projects!
Large digital organizations already understand the value of scaling and automating lead generation to improve efficiency. Until recently, the tools and platforms they used were simply not accessible to the average web agency owner – but this is changing.
Today, solutions for automated lead generation for web agencies do exist and are easier to implement than it may seem at first. One of the most exciting technologies in this field is the chatbot, whose automated client interaction and information-gathering potential can transform web development marketing for small agencies.
What Makes Chatbots So Valuable?
Until very recently, it was impossible to scale one-to-one communication with clients without building a call center. This required enormous investment in terms of infrastructure, employee training, and management. For years, the call center remained the most sophisticated tool for scaling customer interactions and generating leads.
However, instant messaging has become the go-to communication channel for most of the connected world. At the same time, advances in natural language processing have led to enormous improvements in machines’ ability to communicate using the written word.
This means that there is now a highly interactive, cost-effective method for automating a significant portion of any inbound marketing strategy. When properly implemented, an on-site chatbot helps you qualify clients, nurture leads, and save time with customer onboarding – all while costing only a fraction of what hiring a human customer service representative would cost.
But that doesn’t mean that human customer service professionals are going to go extinct. On the contrary, it puts an even greater value on the human touch – by getting the most mundane element of pure data transfer out of the way first!
How to Program a Chatbot For Lead Generation
Chatbots let web agencies automate much of the preliminary user interaction that takes place before you can call that user a qualified lead. A well-designed, highly integrated chatbot can ask important qualifying questions before automatically scheduling a call between you and your potential client.
This way, when you start a conversation with your client, you already have answers to the questions you would normally use to qualify your leads. This empowers you to build a relationship with your client from a new, more engaged starting point, without losing any development time in the process.
Some examples of questions you may wish to have your chatbot ask include:
- Would you please describe your web project in a few sentences for me?
- Do you currently have a website?
- What parts of your current website aren’t working for you?
- What are your goals for this web project?
- Who is your target audience?
- Can you point me towards your main competitors?
- What makes your product or service better than theirs?
It should be obvious that good chatbots use generous amounts of conditional response programming. If a user tells you that this is their first website, asking what they don’t like about their current website is virtually guaranteed to lose the lead.
Additionally, while open-ended questions tend to be tough for chatbots to handle reliably, they provide important information for you to further qualify the lead. You shouldn’t shy away from questions about goals, competitors, and other open-ended subjects because you can use the answers in the message transcript to learn more about your customer.
The key is to clearly define what your chatbot’s purpose is, and how far it can plausibly go interacting with your leads before you need to pass the torch onto a human agent. This is a delicate subject that many chatbot users repeatedly get wrong before experience eventually lights the way.
Think Ahead: Avoid Chatbot Pitfalls
Like any technology, chatbots can be misused, poorly executed, and improperly implemented, often leading to painfully hilarious results. Chatbot programming takes a degree of conversational awareness that doesn’t always come easy.
While there aren’t many hard-and-fast rules that apply to all chatbot implementations, experience allows for a few observations that generally hold true:
- Transparency is Key. Don’t try to mask your chatbot under the guise of a real person. You won’t fool anyone, and you’ll lose the ability to escalate communication to a human agent.
- Put a Premium on Context. Simple chatbots tend to forget contextual clues after a few messages. This results in user experience friction, which is frustrating and non-productive.
- Choose the Right Chatbot Vendor. While easy-to-use, no-programming-required chatbot solutions can deliver acceptable results, you should invest some time and energy into selecting a chatbot platform for programmability and third-party service integration.
- Focus Your Chatbot on One Thing. It may be tempting to program your chatbot to qualify leads, onboard customers, and run customer support tickets – resist the urge. A chatbot designed to do one thing well is far more valuable than one that tries to do five things at once.
- Have Escalation Protocols in Place. Even the best chatbots can’t handle everything. You need to be able to escalate conversations to the appropriate human agent seamlessly.
With these pointers in mind, you are well on your way to automatically improving lead generation and streamlining your customer interactions. Chatbots aren’t necessarily for everyone, but they can work wonders when properly implemented and executed.
Ready to implement a chatbot solution for your website? Talk to our (human) team at UnlimitedWP about lead generation for web agencies to get started!