Would you like to see an epic fight between chatbots and email marketing? You have such an opportunity right now. Read this article and find out who won.
Match: ChatBots vs. Email Marketing. Score: ? — ?
Welcome to the final match of the Sales Champions League! Today email marketing will compete with chatbots for the title of the world’s best marketing tool as of 2018. But first, let’s provide a short background on our nominees.
Email Marketing: a Salesperson’s Weapon of Choice
Email marketing is a multiple winner of the tournament. Many people believed that the focus on social media is a better marketing strategy, but email marketing still leaves SM far behind сontrary to expectations.
According to the McKinsey research, email marketing is 40 times more effective than social media including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It is among the highest-performing marketing channels and the best tool when it comes to personalized sales.
Let’s back up our allegations with some relevant stats. 91% of consumers check out their email box once in a day. Social media can’t boast of such a success rate: Only 70% of Facebook, 49% of Instagram, and 36% of Twitter users use these websites daily.
Needless to say, email marketing brings more sales than TV, banner advertising, phone cold calls, etc. But today the king faces a very tough challenge. Our prediction: it will yield its positions and will be highly likely outrun by its rival.
Let’s figure out why.
ChatBots: a Breath of the Fresh Air for Digital Marketers
We are living in a golden era of the technology — artificial intelligence is in its prime, marketing automation is adopted by 79% of top companies, and everything is being connected to everything through the IoT. This combination of circumstances has bred the new marketing automation instrument — chatbots.
A chatbot is an AI technology aimed at automating sales cycle by acting as a smart medium between the company and its prospective clients.
Email marketing and chatbots have much in common. They both have the same goal — to walk leads through the whole sales cycle and make them eventually buy. Both instruments are based on precise targeting, personalized approach, and work only with already segmented leads, unlike the majority of marketing channels.
What’s the difference? Using e-mail, a salesperson should constantly check an email box and follow up with the prospect by hand. Using a chatbot, all you need is to link it to the data you have and provide your customers with insights based on his/her questions.
As you can see, chatbots are much more effective than chatbots due to… WAIT! Just look what happens on the field: chatbots have just scored a goal! What a wonderful hit, chatbots are in the lead.
1 – 0: 98% Open Rate Against 21.8%
An average open rate of email comprises 21.8%. This way, you lose over ¾ of your prospective customers because they are simply not interested in the emails sent by companies. We can take a look at even more eloquent stats provided by MailChimp, a world’s leading marketing automation service.
MailChimp determined an average open rate by industry. The most successful email campaigns are run by art (27.23%), governmental (26.33%), and religious (26.46%) organizations. The businesses that prospered the least are dealing with e-coupons (15.22%) or operate in eCommerce (16.75%). This is not impressive at all.
Chatbots, on the contrary, demonstrated 98% open rate in the experiment conducted by Olyo, a direct marketing platform. These results inspired Olyo’s owners to scale their business further.
2 – 0: Much Faster Response
Yes, 91% of people check their emails daily. But how many incoming letters do they read? Answer honestly, how many unread messages do you have in your inbox right now?
For instance, the author of this article has 5124 unread letters in the email box, the majority of them are newsletters, notifications, and brand advertising. For comparison: the current number of unread messages in Facebook messenger is 15, and only 1 out of 15 is from the company. The situation in Instagram DM is even better: all messages were opened, read, and answered.
Most people read letters received via messengers immediately, no matter who sends them. According to ConvinceandConvert, 37% of survey respondents would use chatbots in a case of emergency or an urgent need for a quick answer. This suggests that they themselves would respond to such a message as soon as possible.
3 – 0: Higher Click-Through Rate
We mentioned above that 21.9% of those who received email will open it (on average) when CTR ranges from 1.8% to 4.7%. Chatbots got 98% open rate and CTR of up to 60% (it can vary from 15% to 60%).
Olyo in their experiment also used both channels, and the CTR was 12 times higher in a case of using chatbots.
Let’s look at the example of popular brands among which are Adidas, Just Eat, and HTC. Just Eat’s customers can use the company’s chatbot to seek food venues nearby in a fun way. Here you can just enter a keyword or even a food emoji to get the results. Just Eat has increased their conversion rate by 266% since they launched their chatbot in 2016.
4 – 0: Dialogue Instead of Monologue
When you send emails to your leads, you don’t know for sure if anybody will respond to your message. You don’t ask questions, you don’t receive questions, and you don’t answer questions. You just deliver some information to the other side. This is called one-way communication.
It resembles public speaking as well. One part of visitors listen to your speech attentively, the second part just came to hang out, and only the small part will interact with you at the end of your presentation.
Is it effective to dump all content on your prospect at a time? All we know that food is digested better when you eat small portions, but frequently. Brain food is no different: people perceive and memorize information better when you write less. That’s why Twitter became so popular.
A chatbot follows the same approach. It serves small portions of content, and what’s more important, do it on request. Chatbots always imply a dialog between AI and the prospect. Sometimes you can even confuse a bot with your friend in the next chat. Two-way communication obviously wins: it’s more engaging, more friendly, and more straightforward.
5 – 0: Go Interactive
Email is something stable and reliable. Like a Statue of Liberty, it’s standing enlightening the world of marketing. Everybody can see it, but nobody can interact with it.
Messengers are not so widespread and probably will not disclose themselves fully on old devices. But even though some features can be not supported by your phone or laptop, chatbots are way more interactive. Quizzes, virtual tours, how-to lessons, live videos — an average chatbot handles all these things. Such joint “activities” of brand and prospect establish better trust. Trust, for its part, is a key to the long-lasting brand-customer relationship.
90 minutes passed, the game is over. The fifth goal performed by chatbots was the last jab directed at email marketing’s chin. However, there is no doubt they could score more if the time wasn’t up.
It seems we have just got a new champion when it comes to the highest-performing marketing channels. Of course, we don’t recommend to give up email-marketing campaigns in favor of chatbots overnight. The best strategy is to integrate chatbots with your business processes gradually and see what results they will bring to your company. We bet they’ll be anyway positive, but don’t just take our word for it — check it out for yourself.