Innovation is now an integral part of most businesses' core framework, and the pandemic has accentuated the need to be forward thinking. Retail conversion rates from April 2020 to April 2021 plummeted, and the nature of living in a pandemic has invalidated in-person events as a guaranteed method of generating leads. Businesses have had to get creative.

In a world where data is a new form of currency, innovative thinking is now directed towards digital solutions.

A world weary of web forms

The standard practise is to input content into a form to capture more inbound leads. Even in today’s rapidly-changing world, forms still hold a place in our world as a valuable means of collecting data. However, web form fatigue has settled in. Albeit contextually dependent, methods of capturing leads must develop with the constantly changing marketing landscape.

On the one hand, filling in a form is commonplace, but seldom ever something people enjoy. The additional clicks and landing pages can lead to prospects abandoning ship and moving on. Despite their purpose being to create digital relationships, through poor process, marketers are still allowing the ship to sail away.

As conversion rates drop from customers not wanting to fill in yet another form, demands are shifting for businesses themselves. Web forms are causing inboxes to overflow and messages to get lost in an abyss of similar queries. The idea of going formless can be daunting, but the rewards and benefits make the leap worth it.

The attention economy heist

Adapting strategies to survive over the past 18 months has seen digital innovation skyrocket. A great deal of how we exist now resides in the digital landscape and the attention economy has never been more saturated. Competition for clicks is fierce and yet the integration of conversational marketing tools remains to be seen. With the technology accessible and available for consumer use, it is now a choice for businesses to accept convention over more insightful techniques of lead generation.

Chatbots are an example of a real-time conversational tool, designed to identify potential customers, initiate their interest in products or services and cultivate the relationship. By using a conversational approach to marketing, chatbots can collect client information and offer business or product information in exchange.

The fact of the matter is, people want to have conversations with people.

Digital advances allow two-way interactions to build the trust needed without the necessary presence of a human. Moreover, no code chatbots make deployment simple. Teams do not require extensive training, like they may have previously needed, freeing up time for more important tasks. Conversational tools are not here to steal jobs, but to re-allocate precious resources and attention to immediate tasks. Chatbots help marketers work smarter, not harder.

Harvesting data efficiently

A chatbot’s core functionality is to connect business and customers by exchanging information bidirectionally. All that information will be stored and synchronised with internal systems. Chatbots can process the data they receive and supply analytics to your team. In a data-driven economy, the significance of small margins and gaining an edge over competitors is considerable to business success.

Data insights from chatbots allow marketers to make informed decisions which further help customer support. Tailored responses to the unique customers’ needs mean that problems can be triaged appropriately. Chatbot implementation removes the need for speculation, and provides calculated responses effortlessly and effectively. The potential to leverage a company above the rest, is significant.

The digital evolution

Chatbots are now able to take actions on behalf of teams and businesses to take ownership of conversational flow, soliciting more valuable information about customer needs.

Talking to a robot no longer sounds like the entry point into a science experiment. Technology has reached a point where conversational flow is effortless. This revolution in human interaction and technology is throwing traditional lead generation upside down. Businesses comfortable with tradition are forced to step up to the plate or face being left behind.

Conversational assistants have not received their acclaim from hype. They are the next stage in our digital evolution. In the same way that online streaming platforms have made CDs redundant, chatbots will replace their webform predecessors.

Jiaqi Pan is CEO and cofounder of Landbot.