Bots and The Rise of Conversational Marketing
This may likely be your favorite word (if you’re a geek like me), or a word that strikes up a lot of fear and uncertainty at this time. Or maybe it’s a word you don’t even know yet.
What is a bot?
Simply put in context of the nonprofit professional, a “bot” is software technology that helps to create one-to-one conversations between your organization and an individual.
- A bot allows for automated conversations when there is a gap. For example, a bot leverages technology to cover the gap of time in between the moment someone requests information via your website or another online application and when a real human can actually follow up with them.
- A bot is a conversation starter and a conversation scaler. It helps you to easily point people in the right direction and also take note of their area of interest with your organization.
- A bot is a technology that can help you engage with someone in a more authentic and personal feeling approach. And since giving is all about feelings and emotional connection to a cause, bots can help bridge the gap between humans who want to support you and humans who work at your organization (i.e. you).
While I could continue to give you the technical definition, I’d rather spend the rest of time my in this article to dispel some myths, fears and inspire you on the power of bots for your nonprofit’s marketing and fundraising.
Enhance Conversations With Donors through Bots
So here’s the thing right now. The world is kind of your oyster when it comes to bots and how your nonprofit could use them.
That can be overwhelming. So I’m going to start with just four examples to get your wheels turning on how you could use bots to increase engagement and fuel your mission through automated, conversational interactions with donors online.
Point people in the right direction on your website.
An easy way to use a bot is to place it on your website and help people find their way to the information they are looking for. You can create bot workflows that ask website visitors what brought them there and then use multichoice buttons to help guide them to the right place. Think of this as an interactive way to answer their questions, or point them to your donation form.
Integrate an email subscriber form on your website.
Again, in using a chatbot on your website, you can create an easy (and more interactive way) to sign up to receive your emails. By inviting people to stay connected to your cause through a more conversational approach, a bot offers an opportunity for a more personal experience than having a simple sign up form on your homepage.
Leverage a Facebook messenger bot that informs your followers of the impact you are doing and creates a compelling conversation opportunity.
One of my favorite examples of this is done by an organization called Missio USA. Follow them on Facebook to see how they are using Facebook messenger bots in a fun and engaging way. If you are wondering…”how do I build a bot?” Then check out chatfuel.
Use bots as an automated peer-to-peer fundraising coach.
This is one of my favorite use cases because, I love peer-to-peer fundraising. But, also because I don’t see anyone using bots in this way yet (at least not that I know of). Think about how much more interactive coaching messages would be if they were sent through a Facebook messenger bot. You could give your bot a name and face so they feel like they have a real coach. (If you do, email me at email@example.com because I would love to check it out.)
As with any marketing trend or new technology, it’s important to remember what you’re ultimately trying to achieve when integrating bots into your marketing strategy and tech stack. But if you’re looking to create a more conversational experience for constituents who interact with you online, bots provide a new level of personalization we’ve never had access to before. And, I find it very exciting. Email me if you have examples of bots you love, are really questioning the use of bots or simply want to talk bots: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taylor Shanklin is a TEDx speaker, podcast host and marketing innovator in the nonprofit sector. Taylor is the founder and CEO of Barlele, a brand and marketing strategy agency that helps mission-minded businesses and nonprofit organizations grow through clear storytelling, branding, digital marketing strategies and strategic growth coaching.
In her career, she has served 100-plus organizations on both national and local levels. Her areas of expertise are branding and digital storytelling, digital marketing for nonprofits, empowering one's authentic voice and helping nonprofit organizations realize their full potential through digital donor experiences that delight and surprise. Taylor lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children and dachshund named Lady.