Well I thought that might grab your attention! Any business owner like you (and me) with an email list, might be interested in this article, for the very reason that it's a tough gig trying to reach our audience using email. My headline might seem a little crazy but fast forward 50 years and who knows? Whilst I joke about about alien invasions I am serious about the topic of chatbots or messenger marketing. There's a rising popularity in the use of chatbots because, it's claimed they are a very effective communication tool. So as I'm not one to take everything at face value (especially if I'm going to recommend this tool to my clients), I went off to investigate what all the fuss is about.
Whether you're into UFOlogy or not, it appears that the bots have landed on "planet social" and yes, they're taking over some of our marketing responsibilities!
Neil Patel (my favourite marketing guru) recommends all business owners need to pay attention to chatbots and messenger marketing. Right-oh Neil, so if Neil says we should pay attention, off I went....
Could Bots Replace Email Marketing?
I've been intending to get involved with these little guys (I'll explain what they are in a second) for over a year. In fact, I did have a play around with them on one Facebook biz page but the bot I was using wasn't playing ball and didn't make it easy for me to train and configure him (beasty bot) so I gave up rather than wasting more valuable time. Goodness knows we're all too busy. Anyway, I knew these little gremlins would return one day and well, here they are!
I've read a few marketing articles now (not just darling Neil Patel's), with the author getting excited about messenger or chatbot marketing because early indicators show, it seems to be having a bigger impact on sales' leads than paid advertising and even email marketing. In fact open rates for bot marketing, are outreaching email open rates!
What's The Difference between chatbots & Facebook messenger?
Messenger bots are automatic conversations that you have with prospects, clients and visitors over at your website or on your social media pages.
You've probably heard of Facebook messenger and no doubt have it installed by default on your mobile device and Facebook business page.
Bot messenger is more sophisticated than that. It allows you to pre-program conversations and load them with lead magnets, Q&As, meeting schedules, forms and questionnaires.
The conversations are preprogrammed by you (or your marketing manager).
It allows you (the business owner) to have conversations simultaneously at scale with all your visitors to your website or social media pages.
They can be used to generate new business and nurture visitors through the sales funnel process. As I mentioned you can use them to capture valuable data about your visitors.
Increasing your sales leads
Anytime you have the opportunity to converse with a customer one on one, you have a greater chance of converting them (or so the chatbot story goes).
Even with a chatbot, some say the communication feels more personalised than a sales page. Yes it surprised me, but having thought about this notion and experiencing a conversation with someone else's bot, I get it. Think about it. If you visit a product page, are you more likely to buy the product because someone (or something) starts chatting with you? Do you think if you hadn't been politely interrupted by the resident bot, that you'd have subscribed or purchased?
I've taken a look at Mobile Monkey's Chatbot, which is a bot used on Facebook Messenger for both mobile and desktop. It can also be used on websites to assist potential clients (check out mine in the bottom right corner!). Mobile Monkey claims to be the most powerful chatbot for Facebook, so I'm curious to learn more and how it helps businesses like ours build audiences and sales.
Before I move on, let's talk about cost, because I know keeping a tight control over what we spend is super important. If you sign up with mobile monkey's chatbot, it's free to get started, which is great news, especially if you're managing a tight budget.
You can load it onto all your Facebook business pages and website / e-commerce stores within the free programme. In fact I have several bots all within the free plan.
Set up with the Mobile Monkey software is moderately easy to follow. I confess I sat down last Sunday for a few hours to learn the logic and get accustomed to each element. However, with a little dose of patience, several cups of tea, some biscuits and a few attempts I finally gave birth to my first little bot (Becky)! Mobile Monkey do offer some useful video tutorials as soon as you register. And, as you progress through the configuration, you're prompted to answer questions, so it's not so difficult. Plus if you get really stuck, I'm here to answer your questions!
You can personalises your bot, make it make, female or gender neutral. Then program your welcome messages. I think personalising the bot from the start, by giving it a name and personality can help manage visitor expectations.
Advantages of chatbots and messenger marketing
As I've mentioned already, Chatbot marketing is exploding. It's claiming to be incredibly effective and inexpensive compared to traditional digital marketing. So what are the advantages of using a messenger bot within Facebook or your website?
It's a Queue Buster!
As your business grows, you might need to introduce live chat. This means employing staff and paying them . As a visitor you might be in a queue and that's not good for business or your brand. You've probably encountered this yourself. Sometimes a bot can handle your query and direct you to a place where you can find your answer.
If you're a start up business, chances are you're working alone and can't afford to hire someone to answer questions on live chat. A chatbot will step into your shoes whilst you're away from your computer and make that all important first welcome introduction to your visitor.
You can choose to introduce your visitor to a money off coupon or better still tell them a bit about you and your business first and what you have to offer. The key is, even though you're not there, you're still engaging with visitors and potential clients.
70-80% Open Rates
As you can see in the image above, the open rates for chatbots are incredible versus those on email!
It's not really surprising, given the amount of mail we receive in our inbox. With a chatbot, you don't have other mail to compete with.
Chat Bot Welcome Message
"Hi Joe, Welcome to our page! I'm Sally Social's resident bot, here to serve you while Sally Social are working their magic in the background. Please tell me how I can help you today."
High Conversion Rates
Bots are very different to email marketing. They don't (currently) have the perception that email marketing has. For visitors it's new, exciting and a unique way to communicate with a brand.
Easy To Use - Don't need to know code
For us business owners the bots are easy to use. I've started to build mine and there is no coding required.
The key to a successful bot, is to map out the conversation dialogues or tree before you set them up.
Generate new leads
You can generate leads easily. When a visitor arrives at your page or website, you can program your bot to send a welcome message, ask a few questions and then offer some free information. You can ask for an email address but after the visitor has engaged in conversation, you will have their Facebook contact details stored in your chatbot account that you can then use to remarket offers to them.
High Click Through Rates
The main reason for this is the accessibility to the visitor. It's much easier and quicker to engage in 2 or 3 word conversation than have to open and read an email.
Having said that I wouldn't advise rushing to kill off your email marketing. Older generations still prefer this traditional method of marketing.
Then again, If you are targeting products to the Gen X market, seriously consider bot marketing as your main communication channel, because it's familiar to them.
Sign Up For Free & Use immediately
Sign up to a bot is instant and free. That said, I'm reading there is a high churn rate for bot sign ups. People typically engage when they're looking to make a purchase. Once that decision's been made, the bot is usually not needed. I'll let you know more once I've fully tested mine.
It Costs less than advertising
Bot advertising reduces the cost of your Facebook ads. The cost of a "like" campaign is much cheaper than sending visitors to one of your product pages. Plus if you get them to your Facebook page, you have the opportunity to engage at a deeper level and continue the conversation.
Strategic Bot Campaigns
So what can you use chatbot marketing for? There are many opportunities to use messenger marketing to deliver your marketing messages and campaigns. Here are a few examples:
- Coupons for a new product / trial product
- Limited time promotions / Flash sales
- Returns & Refund Policies
- Customer Polls
- Promote selling promises e.g. free shipping, money back guarantee
- Competitive comparisons
- Webinar registration
- Lead generation
- Contests and competitions
Principles Of Persuasion In Messenger Bots
Okay so you know a bit more about the opportunities of bot marketing, I want to run through some of the key principles of persuasion that will add weight to the effectiveness of your bot.
By bringing psychology into your marketing dialogue, you can get the visitor to respond favourably to your marketing tactics. It's not quite brainwashing (!) but more about influencing the buyer's decision. Use these with your bots and it's like possessing a super power, to help you achieve your goals!
The Principles of Persuasion is a grand old subject but I do insist on giving you a flavour of how it works, because it will be the difference between getting great results or very poor results. The examples I give below are really no different to traditional sales tactics. If you use them with a bot, it replicates a sales person talking on the other end. That said, I don't recommend adopting sleazy sales dialogues, so choose your words and approach carefully!
Commitment & Consistency - here you influence the visitor to go on record to say they are committed to a result or outcome and then offer them the solution.
This is a key principle that will determine the success of your bot, whether you're using it to offer a discount, get an email address or get someone to simply buy from you rather than your competitor.
You have to get the customer to express his / her opinion. Once you can do that, you can create a response better than simply saying hey, we have this new product available.
How would you apply this to your bot?
Bot: Are you committed to helping your family eats a healthy and balanced diet?
Visitor: Yes of course
Bot: If I could give you 5 FREE tips that you could implement today to ensure your kids get the nutritional value they deserve, would you want them?
Bot: Great! Drop your email below and I'll send it to your inbox immediately!
Increasing Customer Value With Reciprocity - this is a rule that says people try to repay someone who offers them help. So effectively, if you can give the visitor / customer something of value, they will be more inclined to repay you with a purchase.
Reciprocal concessions can be used in chatbot marketing to increase customer value and leave your customers feeling more satisfied with your product or service.
So how does this work in a bot?
Example 1: Offer something expensive. That gets rejected, then offer something more affordable.
Example 2: Offer a 10% discount. When that gets rejected, offer a deeper discount or something unusual on top. Make it look like you are going out of your way to do this.
Example 3: Give the visitor free valuable tips, that they would normally have to give their email address for.
Social Proof - when people in similar situations to your visitors are praising your product or service.
If you can communicate client feedback to prospects and leads, then illustrate how clients have benefited from your products , that's extremely powerful. It's a way for people to understand that your product / service is good and can be trusted.
Applying this to a chatbot...
Likability - generally speaking, we prefer to buy from people / businesses / brands that we like and trust. You probably know that.
So its still important to think about how you can make your chatbot more likeable. Here are some ways to achieve that:-
- make your chatbot funny / cheeky
- be genuine
- be open
- ask questions
- always respond in good taste
- use funny gifs and emojis
Scarcity - use time or availability to persuade people to act quickly.
People are more often motivated by the fear of missing out or losing something (FOMO), rather than the benefit of receiving something! Weird huh?
Take hair growth regeneration products. Men are more motivated by not losing their hair versus gaining a full head of hair!
Alternatively, if your favourite band is coming to town, you could be motivated to purchase a ticket rather than miss out!
How to do this with messenger bots:-
- promote offers coming to an end
- promote limited availability products
- communicate offers with deadlines
- communicate events - X places left
I hope you found this review useful. My goal is to give you the "heads up" that the bots are in town and making a splash! From what I'm reading, hearing and seeing they offer a new and exciting communication channel but not necessarily something to replace email marketing, just yet.
I understand these little chatbots won't be for everyone because of their very nature - they are a bot and not a person, but with sophisticated dialogues being created in the backend, they are having a substantial effect on company's sales.
My Chatbot Trial
I'm pretty new to bot messenger marketing but I'm keen to test the concept, so I'll pop back soon and give you a review of my own implementation on my website and social media pages.
As they say...if you can't beat the bots, join them!
Let me know if you have any experiences with messenger bots, I'd love to get your spin on them.
Take care for now!