Conversational Marketing: How to Make a Chatbot for Customer Support and Sales with John-Erik Pszenny

Author: Mary Jo Preston

Some bot questions are easier to answer than others. How do robots eat salsa? With microchips, of course! How do I use conversational marketing and bots to drive lead generation on my website? Hm, for that one, let's ask an expert!

In a recent interview with Experience Inbound speaker John-Erik Pszenny, he gave me insights on how easy it is to get started with bots and a sneak peek into his upcoming workshop Get Started with Chatbots: How to Drive Leads & Improve Customer Experience.

John-Erik has been consulting with HubSpot’s Top Solutions Partners for over 6 years, helping users with best practices for marketing, bots, sales & customer success strategies. As well as an Experience Inbound veteran!

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Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background and how you serve your market.

I am a lead strategic channel consultant at HubSpot. I work with specifically our platinum, diamond, and elite partners, consulting with them on how to get the most out of the HubSpot product suite for themselves and their customers and helping them grow their business.

I also consult outside of just the HubSpot product, so I also help with SEO best practices, bots, and conversational marketing, which we'll obviously talk about today. But really anything under the sun in that realm! I have gotten to really dive in and see a lot of different business types over the past six and a half years that I've been doing this, which has been an amazing experience.

It’s great to have you back at the event; what’s one thing that attendees can expect to take away from your workshop?

I've been a huge nerd for like bots and conversational marketing for a good amount of time now. I think the biggest takeaway if I had to do a "ship this and print it" thing for attendees is if you have one bot across your website today, shut it down immediately because it is not doing what you need it to do.

A good bot conversational strategy starts with a conversation. Is the bot having a conversation with someone? If it is just a front-load of "I want information from you" or "I'm just trying to get as much as I can from you," that's not a 50/50 conversation back and forth. You need to ask two things:

1: Is it a conversation that you're having?

2: Do you have different bots based on the page's intent that someone's on? If it's not based on the page's intent and you just got a blanket bot that's across your site it's not really doing what you want it to do.

Bots will be much more effective if it's really focused on what's actually happening on the page.

When we say “conversational marketing”, what are we talking about?

Very simply, I would define conversational marketing as having a conversation with someone in real time. Treat live chat like a phone call, that sort of thing. You don’t want this robotic program, make if feel like a conversation with 50/50 value exchange. Something that’s authentic and genuine, that’s what I would define as conversational.

HubSpot has a couple of different tools to create conversational marketing. Do you want to explain a bit about that?

chatbot-examplesHubSpot has a few bot templates, and you could certainly make your own bot from scratch, do whatever you want and get crazy with the operations and even add in a custom-coded function to have it do a lot of different things.

The HubSpot tool has great overall value as to what you can do with these bots as it’s very in line with conversational marketing. I can program the bot to remember you and what lifecycle stage you are in or what buyer persona you are, and have a completely different conversation with you based on those differentiating factors. So I think that’s what a lot of our tools are revolving around, is just making that a different experience for each individual that bot is talking to. So it comes down to having a good strategy with them as well as those predefined definitions of templated bots that HubSpot offers. For example, a support bot that is able to open up a ticket automatically or be able to reference a knowledge base that you potentially have with our service hubs. So being able to search what articles we have based on a question that the visitor has and connect the dots for them there. Alternatively, there is the more sales-focused bot, a bot that us there to ask questions, qualify the lead, and then actually can connect the individual with a sales rep or booking link to a sales rep’s calendar.

So really any division in a business could use a bot, theoretically. So what’s the hesitation? Why aren’t more people using bots?

That’s a great question. I think, in my own honest opinion, is a lack of visibility into them as a business. If we’re talking HubSpot in general, I think it’s one of the most underutilized tools. I think people don’t know that they have them, and pretty much every customer has a bot that they could be using that just comes out of the box. Whether you have just the sales hub or marketing hub, you have bots there. Getting and using them is definitely the first step.

It may also be not seeing enough data on how well they actually do. About a couple of months ago, HubSpot just found out that the baby boomer generation is more likely to engage with bots than any other generation. They like the usability. And we want things so quickly now, especially after these years in COVID; our patience is out the door.

Sometimes empathy is out the door, which is sad, but bots make it a lot easier for people to navigate the website and get what they need more quickly.

I think the biggest reason is people just not knowing it’s there or how simple it is to be implemented.

Is it hard to set chatbots up?

It is not. If you want to get to the strategic level where you should be with bots, it can definitely be a bit of a deeper dive. Especially if you've fine-tuned your marketing where you have very specific buyer personas and very specific nurturing paths and content for those buyer personas. Because the way you talk to those people is all going to be different—the same thing with a bot. So if you're very strategic with it, it can be more of a time investment with whiteboarding and thinking through how you want these conversations to look.

For those who just want to get a couple of bots on the site that are very specific to the page's intent, I usually tell people to have at least:

1. a concierge bot

2. a sales-focused bot

3. and a helping-navigate-the-website-customer-service-type bot.

Implementing those three bots can be very simple.

Chatbots are a great way to get a conversation started, and they can be good lead gen, correct?

Yes. Bots get a conversation started, are good lead gen, and can remember. It's like a form, but it's live and more conversational. Maybe you have a bot that's purely there for fun. I have a customer who's bot has nothing to do with their business. It says "Here's a couple of different cocktails you can do!" or "Here are some jokes!" People love that. And that's something that sets your business apart and keeps visitors coming back.

It makes you think, "Hey, that was fun! Maybe I'll like other parts of their business. This is a culture I'd like to be a part of." It opens doors.

People are getting used to bots on websites. Is this a trend or is this going to become the norm?

Great question. It's gonna keep being a thing. The more and more our lives get automated, the quicker we will want results, information, products, whatever. Bots will be there to bridge those gaps and help visitors navigate or learn more about a company or products.

It's just going to be more and more relevant. So I think there's certainly some that we'll see more and more of.

There are times when I’m on a website and I want to get some preliminary questions answered before I’m ready to talk to an actual human.

And bots are great for that. There is always going to be that choice of talking to a human, which is great. But for a lot of people their first instinct is “If I get someone on a call, they are going to try and upsell me.” The bot is impartial to that.

Bots are a great first step to get someone to dip their toe in the water when learning about your business.

For your Experience Inbound Workshop, what are attendees going to be able to take away and start doing right away?

Attendees can expect to leave there with some good first steps to take. What types of bots there are, and templates to help set them up.

They’ll have a good idea of what conversational marketing looks like, how to build a strategic bot, and how you can build on that with your collective team.

Get a session description for John's hands on workshop Get Started with Chatbots: How to Drive Leads & Improve Customer Experience here.

We hope to see you at this year's Experience Inbound in either Milwaukee or Green Bay! Get your tickets today.

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About the Author:

Mary Jo comes with over 15 years experience in media, marketing, advertising, promotions and special events. I love ever changing technology and all the craziness that comes with it.

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