Chatbots are one of the most promising digital marketing channels. They combine social, mobile and instant messaging power to reach sports-minded audiences. Not to mention the impressive open rates (10x higher than email!) and click-through rates (up to 60%!).
Messaging apps have surpassed social networks and people spend more and more time in those chat apps. Take into account that the average smartphone user uses only 4 tot 6 apps per day. So an interesting road to take is to integrate your sports brand’s services and content into an app that your fans already use. That’s where chatbots come into play.
A chatbot is a virtual assistant built into a messenger app like Facebook Messenger. It allows a fan to communicate with your brand, club or federation on a personal level. When done right, the chatbot becomes a valued and trusted buddy who learns your fans’ wants and needs through conversation.
The boldest thinkers claim that bots may replace websites and mobile apps altogether in the future. It’s not that far fetched when you think of Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Home.
Why should sports teams and brands consider creating a bot?
- Connect interactively and immediately with your fans 24/7
- Publish highly targeted messages, personal content or sponsored updates
- Communicate your unique brand voice
- Reach younger audiences
- Collect valuable insights and data
- Available on many messaging platforms
Fans are excited about chatbots because they tailor to their personal needs.
- Live score updates
- Video updates
- Breaking news
- Game reminders
- Recent results
- Tailored offers
- Buying tickets
- Survey and polls
Ok, i’m convinced, where should I begin?
If you let users start talking randomly to a chatbot without any form of onboarding, you’ve set yourself up for failure. One of the techniques behind chatbots is NLP (Natural Language Processing) and it’s not as advanced as we all would want. Only a few bots can pass the Turing Test, in which the bot responses are indistinguishable from those of a human.
So when you start designing your first bot, begin with a limited but very strong use case and communicate as such to your fans. The Facebook Messenger platform has useful message templates and quick reply buttons to let you steer the conversation in the right direction. Don’t try to cram your whole website into a bot!
Commence eg. by letting users buy tickets or sending personalised live updates. Make sure that you execute this single use case flawlessly. A good example is the chatbot Fan Arena created for the Telenet Play Sports fantasy football game. “Roboto Carlos” sends relevant fantasy team updates (score updates, announcements, etc.), which a user can tweak as he pleases.
Chatbots are the future and don’t wait too long to start using this new digital marketing tool to reach your sports audience. Feel free to reach out to us, we’re always available for a chat!