Inbound marketing is all about increasing leads, revenue, and brand authority. But which tools do marketers use to ensure they’re working with the right customers? Today, the answer is often a website chatbot.
Inbound marketers typically use chatbots as a qualifying tool that helps determine a lead’s quality as quickly as possible. Chatbots do this by learning about the person on the other end of the chat box, gathering the prospect’s email address or company name, and keeping them engaged while deciding whether to tag in a live agent.
Most of us know what this back-and-forth is like from the user’s point of view. But how do you write a chatbot script that’s both engaging and effective? Here are a few tips to bank on.
Five Best Practices for Writing a Chatbot Script
When building out chatbot scripts, keep the following best practices in mind:
1. Write an enticing opening message
Every message, including the first, should be engaging (or at least friendly): “Hello! I hope you’re having a great afternoon and that you had something tasty for lunch. I skipped mine today (I’m a robot!). How can I help you?”
We’ll go into why your chatbot shouldn’t pretend to be a human in a bit.
2. Engage and ask questions
The goal is to gather information about the visitor’s company, intent, and desired services, while providing automated answers that strike a balance between qualifying the lead and keeping friction to a minimum.
Remember, this is a conversation. It should be fun, approachable, and friendly, while also maintaining your brand voice. If it’s in alignment with your brand, use images, animated gifs — and emojis. Even something as simple as an emoji of a hand waving can humanize the experience.
Finally, make sure to end every chat message with a question, except for the last one, which will direct the person to a live representative.
3. Don’t try to make your chatbot sound too human
Let the prospect know that they’re chatting with a robot right away. This transparency builds trust while also letting them know that there are limits to the conversation. Why? Researchers have found that customers are likely to get angrier if a chatbot comes across as too human.
4. Map out the customer journey
What will your conversations look like? What questions are your prospects most likely to ask? What are your answers and follow-up questions?
Because this is an automated conversation, make it easy on yourself and the prospect by providing multiple answers to each question, so a user can choose the answer that best suits their needs. Think of this process as building a conversation tree, where the questions represent branches and answers represent leaves.
Finally, save yourself potential friction. Direct the prospect to a live representative when the conversation gets too many layers deep.
5. Use call-to-action buttons
Once all of your questions have been answered, include a clear call-to-action button. Depending on their needs, your CTA might be a product or service page, a useful piece of content, a direct link to a consultation request, or a redirect to a live representative.
Chatbot Script Examples
What does this look like in action? Here’s a sample of what a well-designed chatbot might do at each stage in a prospect interaction, based on our approach at SmartBug Media, a ZoomInfo partner.
First, start off with a friendly introduction (👋), but get right to the point by asking a question and prompting the prospect to select from a set of answers. Remember, low friction is a major goal in writing chatbot scripts. Don’t make them think of an answer — provide one for them.
Chatbot: Hey there 👋 let’s chat … Can I ask you a question?
Give the user an option to select:
- “Sure go for it”
- “Just poking around”
Once the conversation’s rolling, you want to go deeper. Ask about the prospect’s intentions and provide answers that will redirect them to another page on your website, or continue the conversation that will eventually lead to a live representative.
Chatbot: What brings you here today?
Give the user an option to select:
- “I want to learn more about your company”
- “We need a marketing agency”
- “I’m looking for educational content like blogs, videos, or guides”
- “Looking for career opportunities”
Notice that there’s no “Not sure” option in this list. At this point, they should have some idea of the type of service they are looking for from you.
Let’s say the prospect selected “We need a marketing agency” from the list of options — now we’ve come to our first qualifier.
By responding with a list of marketing services, your chatbot can gather information about the prospect’s intentions to help determine how motivated they are to become a client.
The responses from a chat session should also serve as a kind of equation that accurately reflects whether a prospect needs to talk to a person. Just looking for some content? OK, not yet. Need a marketing agency to perform a specific task for you? It’s time to talk.
Once it’s time to connect the prospect to a live representative, you want two key pieces of information: their name and the name of their company. Once you get that, it’s time to make clear what the next step will be.
Chatbot: Got it. What’s your name and the name of your company?
Prospect: Ashley Jones from Company X
Chabot: Thanks. I’ve connected you to one of our team members who’ll take care of you from here.
The Live Chat
With the name and company in hand, you can use ZoomInfo’s Buyer Intent feature to research the prospect further. For example, can this company afford the services that you provide? Is the individual in a position to make these business decisions?
This feature allows you to find this information without asking the prospect, which keeps the conversation moving and reduces friction.
Live Chat vs. Chatbots: Which tool is right?
We hear it all the time: Customers would rather talk to someone live than a bot. But you don’t have to choose between the two. By using chatbots, marketers help visitors get to the right person faster, and help themselves by getting the right information for a better customer experience.
Ready to dive deeper into the nuances of live chat and chatbots? Check out this live debate between two of SmartBug’s inbound marketing strategists on when and how to use both live chat and chatbot scripts to bring a high-quality experience to your community.