January 31, 2024

A Comprehensive Guide to Chatbot Marketing in the AI Era

Don Simpson

Updated Dec 4, 2023: The article was expanded to include in-depth information on what chatbot marketing is with the addition of new AI, and its key strategies.

Visit any website and you’ll likely be greeted with a pop-up message in the bottom-right corner of your screen. Messages like these are automatically delivered by chatbots to help convert website visitors. 

Chatbots have been gaining popularity across all types of businesses with astonishing speed. New chatbots enter the market every day, from those that serve as self-help FAQ guides to the ones that are capable of complex conversations by leveraging the power of artificial intelligence (referred to as conversational intelligence or conversational AI). 

What does this newfound craze mean for your company? How does chatbot marketing affect your sales and marketing team in the near future? And why coming up with your own chatbot strategy today is more important than ever?

Tip: Do you want your BDRs to engage with website visitors without getting overwhelmed? Try Lift AI and instantly prioritize all visitors by their buyer intent rather than targeting every page (too broadly) or on specific pages (too narrow).

The Rise of Chatbot Marketing

What Is Chatbot Marketing? 

Chatbot marketing is the practice of using chatbots to streamline and even automate conversations with potential customers. Chatbots are ubiquitous on websites but are also used inside web and mobile apps for giving tips, onboarding, screening, navigating, and qualifying. 

Marketing chatbots have two general roles: information and utility. Informational chatbots provide updates, news, and other notifications. Utility chatbots try to solve customer problems, from buying something specific to connecting to the right person, to scheduling an appointment.

When you install a chatbot on your website, it’d be programmed to greet every visitor with a predefined message, such as “How can I help you?” (called a chat invite). Your website visitors then have the agency to steer the conversation where they need it to go and expect the chatbot to use conversational UI to adapt. 

Website visitors will continue to shift their behavior and increasingly adapt to chatbot interactions. Instead of clicking through every page of your website, reading lots of information, and then contacting your company via email or website form, visitors will be more inclined to ask the chatbot and expect a precise answer instantly. Already 41% of customers prefer live chat over any other customer service experience, including phone, email, and social media.

The Benefits of Chatbot Marketing

The chatbot trend — a shift to real-time interactive engagement — can have a significant positive effect on your sales and marketing efforts. 

Marketing chatbots work 24/7 and reply instantly to any inquiries. This means your potential customers are never waiting and interrupting their purchasing momentum. 

In addition, smart chatbots can ask for particular information and use it to personalize their responses to improve conversion rates. For example, they can guide users to a specific page or tell them how your product can be applied to their use case. 

Information collected by a chatbot can be used by your product team to improve your offering or make it more compelling to its target audience. 

Finally, chatbots provide near-infinite scalability compared to the number of questions even a large BDR team can process.

But if you don’t adjust to the world of chatbot marketing, expect your sales pipeline and marketing funnel to take a hit. Customers are getting used to instant replies and might be less willing to wait for your BDRs to call them back or even to leave an email in exchange for a document download. 

Key Strategies for Effective Chatbot Marketing

1. Targeting (Too Broad, or Too Narrow?)

Most companies rely on two targeting strategies:

  1. "Engage All " (Too Broad): This is when you set up your chat system to send invitations across almost every page of the website. This helps you start more conversations, but you end up wasting sales resource time because the chances of connecting with a genuine buyer are low. It's not possible for live BDR's to engage every visitor on every page, so naturally this tactic relies heavily on chatbot experiences. The issue here is that chatbots simply can't sell like humans do, and typically drop the ball on sales opportunities. They are better served for support or FAQ content.
  2. "Pathway or Page-Based" (Too Narrow): This tactic relies on targeting specific pathways or pages. For example, many sales teams implement chat on just the pricing page or contact page. This is unfortunately too narrow, as studies show that 88% of buyers don't even go to the pricing page. So, in an effort to capture more buyers, marketing and sales teams try to target more pathways. Customers who have been on the product page for more than 2 minutes, and meet XYZ criteria. The problem here is that there are tens of thousands of pathways a visitor could take, so trying to set up and manage those pathways is next to impossible. Plus, the simplistic rules for targeting those pathways don't equate to genuine buyer intent.
  3. "Intent-Based (AI-Powered): This is the latest way to target visitors with chat. Instead of putting chatbots on every page, or trying to target specific pathways, you simply target visitors based on their buying intent right then in that moment. Of course, that sounds simple but it hasn't been possible until the rise of AI. This tactic uses machine learning to analyze the behavior of website visitors based on thousands of signals, all in real-time. Lift AI is pre-trained to assign buyer intent scores with over 85% accuracy, allowing your sales team to set up playbooks that fire only when a visitor has a certain score threshold.

2. Personalization and User Engagement

Running a chatbot on your website or app is not a set-it-and-forget-it issue. If your chatbot is unhelpful or gives the same canned response to every question, your potential customers will have a negative reaction and the whole idea will backfire. 

Aside from using humans, it’s imperative to at least pick a chatbot that allows to set specific rules for common questions, leading to increased personalization for all inquiries. 

Even better, companies can rely on AI-powered chatbots that are able to engage in more natural conversations based on your company’s product data and past customer service experiences.

Think of ChatGPT, but confined to a chat window and specific to your products and services.

2. Data Collection and Analysis

The value of marketing chatbots doesn’t stop at instant replies and infinite scalability. With the right approach you can turn an automated chatbot into a data collection tool used by your team for further analysis. 

Imagine knowing the most pressing questions or objections about your product. Instead of losing out on sales, you can implement necessary changes (to the product or website copy) and track how the dynamic changes over time. 

Plus, your chatbot analytics can tell you more about your audience and help you adjust your marketing and sales targeting. What if you were missing out on a large market without knowing it?

3. Integrating With Other Marketing Channels

A great chatbot marketing strategy is not only about replying to potential customers and sharing marketing messages but elevating your sales and marketing efforts as a whole. 

That’s why all ROI-oriented chatbot platforms integrate with other marketing channels, from lead generation apps to customer experience tools, to social media managers, to messaging apps (e.g. Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp). 

Using an ABM marketing strategy, for example, would allow you to connect potential customers who are reaching out via live chat to target accounts in your CRM (marking them as marketing qualified leads) and nurture them through your email marketing process.

The Role of AI in Chatbot Marketing

Chatbots Limitations and How to Overcome Them

Even though the chatbot technology is rapidly improving, chatbots themselves vary wildly in the quality of conversations they are able to produce. 

We don’t yet know how comfortable people are in having meaningful conversations with chatbots (i.e. robots). Even advanced chatbots can’t help customers 100% of the time and have to escalate conversations to sales reps, which could result in unnecessary frustration and decrease conversions. Up to 29% of customers find scripted, impersonal responses to be the most frustrating aspect of chatbots. 

The latest and greatest in conversational intelligence technology can’t replicate the nuances of a live sales agent when it comes to converting conversations into leads and sales. What’s more, conversational bots require thousands of interactions to learn the most basic nuances. Even then they are best suited for carefully constructed questions that are more common in a customer service context than sales. 

To sum up, chatbots play an important role in your marketing and sales funnel, but they can’t do everything.

That's why they still don't work in the "Engage All" experience described in point #1.

Implementing playbooks is one way to improve chatbot conversations. Playbooks define a series of scripted interactions depending on where the customers are in their journey (e.g. initial communication, pricing help, product support help).

Making the most of playbooks involves mapping out hundreds of customer journeys and having to monitor, tweak, and evolve each one — a time-consuming process that’s based on “best guesses” about what potential clients want. 

The best thing you can do right now is develop a comprehensive chatbot marketing strategy that would take into consideration new developments in AI and chatbot technologies while incorporating what’s been working well at the same time — hiring BDRs for live chat and implementing chatbots for nurturing and support, while letting Lift AI handle the targeting based on each visitor's unique buyer intent on your website.

AI-Driven Personalization

The future of conversational marketing are chatbots powered by AI that can adapt to customer interactions in real-time without the need for predetermined guidelines. 

It’s even possible to train chatbots on your historical data, from past customer conversations to product offerings, to marketing initiatives. Since customers expect chatbots to be on par with other members of your team, investing in their knowledge upfront will pay off later on. 

Companies should test their bot marketing capabilities extensively at all points in the customer journey before releasing those marketing bots and capturing customer feedback.

AI and SDRs: A Powerful Duo

Sales reps tend to get excited about new developments that promise to help with short-term goals (e.g. squeezing more out of a particular quarter). The same developments, however, could make reaching long-term objectives difficult.

Even the most advanced lead-generation bot that will play a big role in the future of sales doesn’t yet constitute an effective replacement for human conversations. But that doesn’t mean it can’t excel at providing value in simple, transactional exchanges. But why not merge the best of both worlds?

Your sales team would have a much higher closing rate than any marketing chatbot compared. The problem is that your team would get overwhelmed quickly if they start to reply to every web chat request, the majority of which don’t even represent your target audience and don’t end up progressing through the sales funnel.

What if there was a way to separate high-quality leads and direct them to your live chat while letting AI-powered chatbots for marketing handle everyone else? This type of customer engagement would maximize the value of every live interaction without the fear of missing anyone who wants to reach out to you.

Lift AI: Supercharging Chatbots With Real-time Buyer Intent Data

Enter Lift AI — a buyer intent solution that’s able to identify the buying intent of your web visitors in real time, as soon as they hit your landing page. 

Unlike other marketing automation tools, Lift AI can identify the intent of every single visitor, even if they haven’t been previously recorded in your CRM and are anonymous to you (could be up to 98% of your total visitors at any given time). 

Lift AI is effective due to leveraging the power of artificial intelligence to score the exact conversion probability based on 15 years of machine-learning data, 14 million customer interactions, and more than one billion visitor profiles.

Once Lift AI assigns a high score to any visitor, it automatically connects them to your sales team through live chat, using any chat platform of your choice (e.g. Drift, LivePerson, Intercom). Lower-scoring leads then get directed to your marketing chatbot.

As a result, your sales team gets to proactively interact with every valuable visitor without turning anyone else away or making them wait. That’s how you design a comprehensive chatbot marketing strategy!

By using Lift AI, customers have reported improving their chat pipeline up to 10 times within 90 days. 

For example, PointClickCare grew its pipeline by 400%, attributing over $1M of extra revenue to the Lift AI integration. Formstack, another client, similarly improved its conversions by 420%

Best of all, trying Lift AI is as simple as adding a small JavaScript snippet to your website. Reach out to Lift AI to watch your conversion rates grow.

Future Trends in Chatbot Marketing

As all the chatbot marketing examples above illustrate, this technology has multiple applications, from helping with various digital marketing strategies to handling customer queries and accelerating the sales cycle.

Soon, all websites that value conversions (e.g. ecommerce businesses) will be using AI-powered chatbots. The key is choosing the right chatbot for your customer base and augmenting it with your BDRs to enhance engagement and qualification. 

Regardless of the chatbot platform you choose, Lift AI can help make the new experience as seamless and effective as possible.


What is chatbot marketing?

Chatbot marketing is a strategy of using chatbots to streamline and enhance the sales and marketing process.

What is an example of chatbot marketing?

Using a chatbot to reply to website visitors’ requests, collect data, and resolve customers’ issues are a few examples of chatbot marketing.

How do I advertise through a chatbot?

The marketing chatbot you install can recommend specific products from your product line based on its playbook or AI capabilities.

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