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Why & How to Build a Lead Generation Chatbot to Boost Marketing Strategy
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Why & How to Build a Lead Generation Chatbot to Boost Marketing Strategy

Illustration: Jana Pérez
chatbot-generation-leads-guide-tutorial

As marketers, small business owners, or entrepreneurs, our professional lives are defined by the constant search for the ultimate lead generation strategy. Yet, this strategy remains nothing more than a legend. The new-age Sorcerer's Stone, if you will.

That’s why, today, we'll talk about chatbot lead generation strategies, why they might be the closest to the real thing, and build a sample lead generation chatbot right here on the spot!

But first things first.

What is a Lead Generation Chatbot?

A lead generation chatbot is a bot (AI NLP bot or rule-based bot) that is designed to identify potential customers, spark their interest in products or services offered by the business and/or cultivate a relationship with the prospect. Such bots use a conversational approach to marketing, collect client information, and offer business or product information.

Why are Chatbots Important to your Lead Generation Strategy?

Below are the seven most strategic advantages of using sales chatbots for lead generation.

1. Tailored Experiences

The conversion process on many websites is the same. There’s typically a CTA button or a generic-looking form asking for the visitor’s name, email address, phone number, and maybe a handful of other details. It’s no secret that forms aren’t exactly exciting — and (let’s face it) neither is the process of filling them out.

Generic conversion experiences aren’t just boring; they’re also ineffective. In fact, brands that fail to give a human touch to their virtual presence or provide any kind of memorable experience are very likely to drive people away from their websites.

We have all been there. However, conversational interfaces can prevent this.

Imagine landing on a website, and a sales chatbot is there to welcome you.

Having somebody waiting for you to answer is surprisingly compelling. Without even knowing how, users often find themselves slipping down the conversion funnel, learning just the information they need without having to look for it. The bot brings up the answers the user requests — nothing more, nothing less.

How precisely does this beat other lead generation techniques?

For example, when a visitor on our website indicates that they’re interested in trying our WhatsApp solution, a bot takes over, helping us collect visitor data and assess which plan is best suited for the prospective customer.

whatsapp-solution-lead-generation-chatbot-example

This way, we are able to respond with appropriate content/steps and a personalized journey for each and every lead that shows interest.

So simple.

SO effective.

Chatbot for business gives us the luxury of being confident that each prospective user is getting an experience that’s personalized to them — with no risk of a generic form driving them away.

2. Increased Engagement

One of the most challenging parts of turning a site visitor into a lead is keeping them engaged with your brand long enough to show them why you’re the right choice for their needs.

This is no easy deed in today’s bleak attention economy!

Decorating your lead generation website or landing page with long walls of text is not the best way to accomplish this. The text can be helpful, sure. But most people find information-based pages on a brand’s website a little overwhelming — and often a bit off-putting.

So, no matter how well-written and helpful these pages might be, it’s tough to make them interesting for visitors.

Sales chatbots can transform this experience. Instead of expecting visitors to read paragraph upon paragraph of text, skimming to find the details that are relevant to them, chatbots deliver the relevant data to the prospects through a simple conversational interchange.

For example, just take a look at this exchange with BuddyNutrition chatbot:

Instead of linking to a separate page or complex resources and expecting this user to continue the customer journey on their own, the bot helps the prospect find a tailored solution as any shopping assistant would do in the real world. Hence the customer engages instead of searching endlessly for the right answers.

This lets the user learn about the product and all that goes into customizing it in a conversational way that’s far more engaging than a wall of text.

With this approach, you can transform researching your brand from a tedious task to an enjoyable experience — one that your targeted audiences are likely to remember.

3. Higher Conversion Rates

The most important types of conversion — especially for B2B websites — are lead form submissions. The information they collect in these forms is what turns casual visitors into prospects, and can ultimately translate into valuable partnerships and sales.

Unfortunately, generating leads or any kind of conversion can be challenging. In fact, the average website conversion rate is just 2.35%. That’s not great news, especially for businesses looking to use their websites as a key part of their marketing campaigns and sales strategies.

But just because the average is low doesn’t mean that your site’s conversion rates have to be as well. Replacing standard forms with chatbots for your website can be the perfect solution.

Distractions from the main call-to-action on your site serve as the biggest obstacle to more conversions.

But when you focus your landing page or lead page on a chatbot — or draw users to your WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger account — you eliminate those distractions and get users to focus solely on engaging with that bot.

Conversational Design, one of our customers, was able to increase conversion rates of chatbot leads to over 40%, compared to an average of 2.35% landing page conversion rate.

Of course, this isn’t to say that you should replace your entire strategy with a chatbot. 

But it does go to show that making the conversion process the most compelling part of your site — in form of a conversation — can have a massive impact on your ability to earn new leads.

And, as your chatbot collects data from your customers in the form of simple, straightforward questions, all of that information can be sent directly to your CRM or sales platform.

Graphic Source: Crazy Egg

You can take the next step in turning them from a lead to a customer!

4. Convenience

There are many factors at play in any B2B or B2C purchasing decision. Your potential clients want to know:

  • What you have to offer;
  • How much it’s going to cost them;
  • What can they expect in return;
  • How you stack up to your competitors;
  • And more.

In most cases, your website will only be one stop along the way as users research and evaluate all of their options. So, if you want them to ultimately determine that your company is the right choice, you need to make sure they stick around long enough to get the information they need to come to that conclusion.

That’s often easier said than done.

In fact, the average user only visits 2.6 pages on a website as they browse. This means that if your site is like most, the majority of visitors aren’t even making it through three entire pages before leaving! Chatbots can change this on several different levels. For example, by:

  • Giving users a reason to stay by letting them find out what they need without having to wait around for the next page to load;
  • Providing prospects with a conversational interface that feels comfortable on mobile phones without the need for expensive redesigns;

Taking the conversation to the user by transferring the chat to apps they already use, like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. And so, by consequence, be able to contact them whenever and wherever they are. Just have a look at the SnapTravel example below:

5. Real-Time Reactions

Contrary to popular belief, chatbots are not intended to replace human employees. To be honest, they are most effective when used as a touchpoint along the customer journey, which, ultimately, helps sales and support teams get in touch with prospects and customers more quickly and efficiently.

For example, conversation bots that are designed to replace lead generation forms are excellent at asking basic qualifying questions as well as saving user data in real-time.

The real-time element allows you to integrate your human team into your chatbot lead generation strategy.

You can design your bot to ask relevant questions to identify complex customer issues or high-quality leads. Once the customer fulfills the parameters, the bot will promptly transfer it, not only to a human agent but to the right human agent, avoiding chain handoff from person to person.

This system markedly lowers customer frustration from being passed on from one person to another, having to explain the situation repeatedly. In the travel sector WhatsApp bot example below, you can see a bot-to-human handoff triggered by choice of premium product:

Some chatbot platforms (like Landbot 🙈) let you set up an internal Slack/Email notification to fire each time someone needs help. That way, you’ll minimize the downtime and get the right people to respond as quickly as possible.

6. Chatbots Are Cheap & Easy to Build

This is no joke.

The rise of no-code platforms paved the way for sophisticated digital solutions for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds.

Building a bot for WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or the web is no longer a costly and complicated affair. Thanks to no-code platforms, marketers can build bots themselves, without IT support, in a matter of minutes, hours, or days — depending on complexity. Still, you can forget spending months on a single project. 

If you don’t believe me, just keep reading.

How to Build a Lead Generation Chatbot without Coding

This tutorial uses the Landbot chatbot builder, so if you don’t have an account, sign up now before we get going. It’s free!

1. Create a New Bot in Landbot

Go to your Landbot dashboard and click “Build a Chatbot.” Select the channel on which you want to deploy your bot.

Next, you will be taken to the template gallery, where you can select one of the pre-built templates serving a variety of use cases — including lead generation. They are great time savers! However, to show off some of the features, this tutorial will start from scratch.

Note: If selecting WhatsApp, you need to bear in mind you won’t be able to use UI elements such as buttons, or carousel picture choice available on the web and Messenger simply because WhatsApp app doesn’t support such formats. To learn how to work around this limit, please check out “How to Design WhatsApp Dialogues for a Rule-Based Bot.”

2. Configure a Welcome Message

The first thing you need to do is customize the welcome message. This is the message your bot will send to the user to strike up the conversation.

welcome-message-chatbot-for-lead-gen

You can modify the message, add more text bubbles, play around with visual elements such as images, gifs, and videos and provide buttons as answers.

PRO TIP: If you have no previous experience with writing chatbot conversations, you can read up on how to build chatbot conversation that sounds natural.

3. Ask for the User Name

When it comes to lead generation, one of the first steps should always be asking for the visitor's name. It will allow you to personalize the conversation from the very beginning.

To set up the next exchange after the welcome block, drag a green arrow from the last button answer, and select the type of block you want to set up next. Landbot offers a variety of question block options — besides the simple message and button-question blocks — that are already configured to collect a specific type of data.

question-block-options-landbot

Select the "Name" block and adjust the question text if necessary. (Perhaps if you want the conversation to have a more formal or even more informal tone or reflect a particular accent.)

set-up-name-block-in-conversation-flow

As you can see, the user answer is already set to save under @name variable. Thanks to this variable, you are not only able to collect the data but also call your visitors by their name instantly:

customize-lead-journey-with-variables

4. Request Email & Ensure Lowercase Format

After you got the user’s name, proceed to ask for their email address by using the designated Email block.

As in the case of the name block, the variable is already configured. Also, the email block automatically checks that the user's answer has the correct email format and includes “@” sign and “.com” or variations.

set-up-email-block-lead-generation-chatbot

If you want to ensure the email address submitted is all in lowercase, you can add one more block called “Formulas.” One of the great applications of the feature is ensuring the user input is in the required format, so it doesn’t cause hassle in your system.

Note: Because of the vast possibilities and options of things you can achieve, Formulas might seem a bit complicated at first, but it’s not much different from formulas you use in Excel or Google Sheets.

So, draw the arrow and select a Formulas block.

It has two main parts to configure: Output and the Formula itself.

set-up-formulas-string-lowercase

In the output section, you need to configure the variable under which you want to save the adjusted result. We created a new variable @email_lowercase.

configure-formula-block-output

Regarding the formula, scroll down the setting section to access the “cheat sheet.” It provides a list of available formulas and examples of actions you can create.

landbot-formulas-cheat-sheet

We will focus on the “String” type of formula and section “Lower,” which converts text into lowercase letters.

You can copy the example in the cheatsheet Lower(“Hi ALL”) and simply replace the “Hi ALL” with the @email variable: Lower(@email) because you want the formula to transform the email address users submit and not a specific text.

formula-check-email-format

Click “Save.”

If you want, you can make a quick check that the formula works by setting up a Message block with the output formula:

check-email-format

And simulate the conversation in a preview:

If it works, delete the testing message block and continue building.

5. Ask Qualifying Questions

The best part about a bot is that, unlike a form, it can ask a lot of questions without annoying your prospects.

One of the easiest and fastest ways to obtain qualifying information is by using the “Buttons” block, which, instead of asking the user to type in their answer, provides options in the form of buttons.

This is a great way to eliminate users' doubts about your offering and speed up the information submission process.

buttons-block-landbot-lead-qualifying-questions

All you need to remember is to adapt the name of the @variable for every question to save each user input without things getting messy.

The Buttons block is also an easy way to personalize user experience without much hassle. No prospect needs to answer more questions than it’s absolutely necessary.

personalize-lead-generation-journey

6. Upload Data to Spreadsheet

Another great aspect of having a bot is the ability to quickly export data to a spreadsheet or any CRM you might be using.

With Landbot, the Google Sheet integration comes particularly handy as it’s super quick to set up.

Once again, draw a green arrow from the last block(s) and search for the “Google Spreadsheets” integration block. Then:

  • Connect your Google Drive account with the Landbot app;
  • Select the spreadsheet you want to integration;
  • Select the sheet within the spreadsheet with which you want to work;
  • Select the type of action you want to perform (insert a new row; update a row; get data from the sheet).
google-sheet-integration-landbot-export-data

In the case of a lead generation chatbot, you are likely to need the “Insert a new row option” to add fresh data to the spreadsheet.

Next, all there is left is to pair user input variables with columns under which you want to store them.

google sheet landbot integration setup

Now, each time a user passes through the conversational flow, the information will automatically update in the spreadsheet.

Check out the final result:

7. Set Up Human Takeover

The cherry on top — chatbots are perfect for lead generation because they enable you to catch hot leads in real-time.

As you ask your prospects the qualifying questions, you can very easily set up conditions using the Conditional Logic block, and thus separate high-value leads from the rest.

For instance, such a condition can look like this:

IF @event_type EQUALS wedding AND if @guests ARE GREATER THAN 200 then.

And once you have done that, transfer them immediately to one of your live agents using the “Human Takeover” block.

landbot-bot-to-human-handoff-lead-generation-strategy

Are You Ready To Grow with a Lead Generation Chatbot?

Chatbots are becoming more and more popular tools to handle company interactions with their current and potential customers. 

Employing any chatbot lead generation strategy can give your conversation rate the necessary boost. Essentially, all you need to do is turn a chatbot into a member of your sales team, and help site visitors get the information they need in a comfortable and entertaining manner.

Therefore, if you’re not yet using chatbots as part of your lead generation strategies, now is the time to get start. Plus, you already have the tutorial to put you on the right track!

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