Email Marketing vs Chatbots – Which One Is Right For My Business?

If the epic 1980’s hit by The Buggles was anything to go off, video killed the radio star, right?

And yet, just as they have disbanded and reunited to many times to keep count marketing trends come and go.

So it’s no wonder that when the new kid in digital marketing (chatbots) arrived on the block it only took a matter of time before everyone began chasing the next big craze as a means to market their brand online in the hopes of reaching internet stardom overnight.

And while there is no second guessing that chatbots have played a massive impact in shaping how digital marketing is done in today’s day and age it’s important to remember that we can’t forget the fundamentals that actually determine whether your brand is an actual success of just another dream destined for the internet graveyard.

  1. Having a high quality product or service people actually want to buy
  2. Providing award winning customer service and after sales support
  3. Being able to target the right people at the right time
  4. Never stop improving your product and service

Stick to these 4 principles and it’s almost guaranteed that you will be able to build a successful business that continues to thrive for years go come that will outlast any marketing trend (sorry Blockbuster).

Debunking the myth

So before we actually get into things in a little more detail let’s start by debunking the myth at hand and this isn’t something that you can simply just google as when you actually look a little closer you’ll notice that most of the top ranking articles claiming email marketing is dead are actually published by companies that provide chat bot services or software, go figure!

And the same applies if you search for comparisons on an email marketing vs cold calling and many other marketing trends going back through the ages. So with this in mind the question you should really be asking yourself is …

‘Which one is right for my business?’

Now, if we were actually a company that sells only chat bot services, we’d probably rant and rave about it and give you a million and one reasons why you must use one, but… we’re not. So we’re going to present you with our honest opinion on each as well as break down how and when you should be using them within your business.

Sounds good? Let’s get into it!

Email Marketing

Stepping into the ring first is email marketing, that tried and tested marketing heavy weight that continues to battle you in your endless search to get to inbox zero.

And while email marketing has copped a lot of slack in recent times its important to remember that when executed in the right way it’s proven to generate a positive return on your marketing spend each and every time. Don’t believe us? We’ll let this fancy graph do the talking…

The Power of Email Marketing

That’s right, email marketing has been proven to generate a return on invest of up to $40 for every $1 invested. Now that DOES NOT mean every email you send starting today is going to generate generate you $40? Otherwise, I’d be sitting on a beach in The Bahamas right now sending emails like wildfire instead of writing this article.

What it does mean, is unlike paid advertising where you’re paying each and every time they click on one of your ads, if you are able to entice them to hand over their beloved email address (we’re not talking an AOL account here either) you’re then able to continue to nurture them consistently overtime without investing a whole lot more money.

Golden Rules of Email Marketing

So what are some golden rules to follow when using email marketing? We’ll we’re going to cover 5 simple rules you should remember for maximum results that can be applied to any email marketing strategy across any industry.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes

Depending upon what product or service you’re trying to sell, sometimes sales don’t happen overnight so going in for the sale straight away before allowing the customer time to build trust within your brand is a surefire way to have them clicking unsubscribe quicker then they joined.

To avoid this map out your buyer’s journey from first point of contact right through to conversion and after sales retention and align your email marketing to match.

Automate where possible BUT always keep it human

While technology has helped in improving the email marketing experience of today, it’s important to remember that you’re selling to human beings and no robots (yet) so while you are able to automate your email marketing experience to align with each individual subscribers buyers journey, timezone and more don’t forget to keep all interactions authentic.

To do this, you should only send emails which are in context with their stage within your buying cycle, make it easy for them to contact you or even end each email with an open ended question as this will encourage them to respond.

Always be testing

Another beauty of marketing automation is that it allows you to test specific variables to determine what best your subscribers respond to and then use that feedback to make incremental adjustments until your email campaigns are a well oiled marketing machine.

Some variables you can test are:

  • Subject Line
  • Body Copy
  • Call to Action
  • Sending Time

Always remember to only run one test at a time and consider waiting until you have enough data to actually determine whether your tests are conclusive or not.

Keep in contextual

If you’re selling to multiple demographics always remember to keep each email contextual. The last thing you want to be doing is sending a newly acquired customer a discount code they shouldn’t have received, not only will they feel cheated you will make yourself look like a rookie.

To avoid doing this make sure that you create segments for your audiences and triple check each and every automation to ensure its squeaky clean before launching it.

It’s all in the list

Quality always beats quantity almost every time so ensure that your thinking long term when acquiring subscribers and while offering a free macbook vs a free ebook is probably going to open the floodgates for subscribers the chances of those looking for the free macbook buying from you is pretty damn slim so don’t be that kind of marketer.

Always remember to think of the end goal when launching a new campaign and conduct regular list cleaning to ensure you’re not paying for any unwanted subscribers.

So now that we’ve covered the basics of email marketing, some fancy graphs proving it still works and shared 5 golden rules you’re probably wondering…

Which Email Marketing Tool Should I Use?

There is no shortage of email marketing tools on the market, however, here are 3 email marketing tools we use and recommend for best results

MailerLite

Ideal for startups and cash strapped business owners, easy to setup and offers a collection of templates as well as lead capture form builder integrated.

Price $0 to $50+ Per Month

ConvertKit

Great for building advanced automations with a strong focus towards content creators while providing industry leading customer support.

Price $29 to $79+ Per Month

Drip

Perfect for building more complex automations with ease using their visual builder. Strong focus on serving the e-Commerce marketing but works great with any business.

Price $49 to $122+ Per Month

Putting It All Together

So the question that remains is… ‘Should I be using email marketing within my business?’

And the answer is absolutely! If you run a business with an online presence email marketing is a fool proof strategy to not only generate you new business but to build an audience of loyal and trusted subscribers who will continue to engage with your brand for years to come.

Chatbots

So we’ve just spent the last 10 minutes telling you how great email marketing is, surely we’re not going to flip the coin sell you on chatbots now? Well yes we are.

And the simple answer to why we’re doing this is that they are essentially two different marketing channels which provide different experiences so using one ( or both) has the potential to bring you vastly different results and we’re now going to explain some of the key differences between the new kid on the internet marketing block and how you can use both to provide your visitors with the best possible user experience.

Conversation vs Communication

In recent years there has been a massive shift in the way humans communicate.

We now live in a world of smartphones where you can do anything at the push of a button (ahem, we mean screen). Need to order a car from point A to point B? You have Uber. Want a burger delivered from your favourite restaurant? You have Deliveroo.

So it’s no second guessing we live in a generation where instant response has become normal and one of the ways companies have adapted to this is through the use of Chatbots.

What Is a Chatbot?

Chatbot are essentially modern day automated customer service representative that will work around the clock for your brand so you don’t have to.

Chatbots are the modern day solution to being able to provide your website visitors with an interactive, more personalised experience when browsing your website without the need to have customer service reps spanning the globe or a whole team dedicated to live chat answering questions your website visitors may have about your product or service.

Why Is It Important to My Business?

To give you a real life example, let’s say you are software startup with a small team based out of the United Kingdom but you target clients spanning the US, Australia and Asia. It’s pretty hard to be able to provide instant answers to your website visitors across all of these countries right?

Not anymore thanks to chatbots.

Through use of a chatbot you can provide each visitor with a personalised and interactive user experience that can guide them to a specific page, help schedule a meeting or answer a range of questions that they may have about your product before helping them setup a free trial while you’re spending time with your family or catching up on some much needed shut eye.

The next day, you’re there ready to pick up exactly where your new team mate left off. No more delayed responses using dated contact forms which generally get lost in context or visitors who leave frustrated because your team couldn’t be there to answer their questions.

Still not convinced? Here’s another fancy graph to back it up

Power to the People

One of the most important and overlooked details business owners and marketers forget about when deciding on which one is right for them is that they forget that they are not the customer and its sometimes best to leave it up to the customer to decide which channel is right for them.

Some visitors may want answers straight away when browsing your website and a chatbot will help you in doing exactly this whereas others may prefer downloading a guide and reading it themselves which you can then convert into a subscriber and follow up with them later through use of marketing automation and email nurturing.

How to Use a Chatbot Within My Business

So with this in mind, let’s explore the best ways you can be using chatbots within your business that align with your overall marketing strategy and doesn’t leave visitors hanging.

Selling to a modern generation

If you’re looking to capture a younger audience and keep them engaged chatbots are for you.

They allow you to create an interactive and modern day communication channel and provides them with instant answers to the questions with less strain on your resources.

Guiding visitors to where they need to go

Depending upon the size of your business and what you’re offering, you may have multiple target audiences and products making it difficult for visitors to find what they need easily.

Through use of an interactive chatbot you can navigate them to specific products or services based upon predefined questions ensuring a visitor never gets lost again.

Booking sales meetings and product demos

Let’s say a visitor stumbles upon your website outside of your business hours and wants to book a product demo with your team? They could try calling you or complete a contact form and wait for your response the next day which creates unwanted friction.

In just a few easy steps, you can schedule a product demo for a preferred date and time. All that’s left for you to do is follow up, attend the meeting close the deal.

Reducing overheads

Live Chat was one of the first methods that truly changed how website users communicated with brands in real time. Unfortunately for most businesses this created a massive drain on time and would often result in you having to answer the same questions time and time again.

Chatbots solve this issue by allowing you to create a more streamlined user experience without having to employee team to manage it full time. If and when a visitor requires your team’s input you can be on hand to pick up where the bot left off.

Targeting new audiences

Building a list of high quality, engaged subscribers is no easy feat. What’s more is conversions through emails are often earnt through continued nurturing and not instant selling.

With Facebook’s active users growing daily, it’s become the new behemoth in marketing with over 2 billion active users on Facebook and 1.3 billion active users on Messenger meaning you can run targeted chatbot ads directly inside of Facebook.

And there you have it, 5 perfect examples of how you can be using a chatbot within your business that can be used alongside email marketing which has you wondering…

Which Chatbot Platform Should I Use

Just like with email marketing, tech companies are vying for their piece of this new marketing trend and there are no shortage of chatbot platforms on the market but here are our recommendations:

ManyChat

Ideal for building chatbots directly within Facebook Messenger.

Price $0 to $45+ Per Month

Continually

Ideal for creating an interactive and personalised website experience for your website users.

Price $0 to $129+ Per Month

Intercom

Creating an integrated email marketing and conversational marketing experience for your website.

Price $49 to $136+ Per Month

Putting It All Together

Now that we’ve provided you with an overview of the differences between email marketing and chatbot the decision is in your hands on whether you choose to use one or both within your business and while you may have some doubts it’s important not to rule out both until you have truly tested them within your market as that will be the true decided.

The Future of Marketing

While there is no second guessing that marketing has come a long way in recent years, one thing that has always stood the test of time is the ability to get your brand and offer in front of your target audience as effectively as possible.

And whether it’s through email marketing, chatbots or the next new game changer to come in the near future it’s important not to forget that it’s how you connect and communicate and build trust within your brand that matters most.


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