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Have you heard of a Facebook Messenger bot or seen them in action? It’s a very interesting technology that allows a business to connect directly with their consumers to help them with a problem.
You can order a Domino’s Pizza from their bot or select a bouquet of flowers to be delivered from the 1-800-Flowers bot. Or you can look up a quick recipe on the Whole Foods bot and know which ingredients you need after work. Other big name brands that use bots include Uber, Lowe’s, Volkswagon, and Budweiser.
While you may be intimidated by these big-name brands using these chatbots, don’t be. Dozens of companies offer a specialized platform that creates these bots for nominal monthly fees.
While they all have basic free accounts you can start with, if you want more robust features you’ll have to pay a monthly fee, anywhere from $10 – $99 per month. These platforms and these costs are also for do-it-yourselfers who will customize their own bots.
Each company has a support team waiting to help you and answer questions, but keep in mind this is a DIY project unless you have a larger budget to pay one of their specialists to do it for you.
Analyze If You Need a Bot
Before you sign up for a free chatbot account, determine if a chatbot is necessary for your business.
Bots primarily handle customer service and sales inquiries, so first examine how many customer service calls or emails you handle.
Do you receive multiple calls a day or just once or twice a month? Do you get other calls or inquiries that are not customer service or sales related? You can probably create a bot to handle those calls.
Can you afford a monthly fee? Again, you can start for free with most of these companies however you’ll have access to fewer features and some companies place a watermark on the messages associated with a free account.
So, what features do you really need and how professional will it look to clients or prospects to have another company’s watermark on your chatbot? It appears that each of these companies have tiered pricing and allow you to upgrade as you need it.
Do you have the time to create these conversations? You’ll have to play mind reader a bit to anticipate what questions your prospects will ask and you’ll want to craft a warm welcome message.
All this takes time unless you hire a ghostwriter to do it for you. Writing will also take you away from your coaching and marketing tasks so you’ll need to determine if writing your bot conversations is the best use of your time.
Can you see the value in having a bot or is this “bright shiny object syndrome?” In other words, are you drawn to purchasing products or trainings because it’s the latest and greatest thing or because it will add value to your business? Investing in a bot – no matter how big or small the price tag – is only worthwhile if it gets used.
Almost Like Email Marketing
I find having a Facebook Messenger bot similar to email marketing. You will be building a list of subscribers and you will need to build a relationship with them. Send them different types of messages, not just promotional ones.
You can’t keep promoting and trying to sell to them or they will unsubscribe and may even consider you a spam bot. This may even get your account into trouble and possibly have your account blocked for a period of time or banned.
And like with email marketing you want to build interest and a relationship with your subscribers.
For example, have a welcome sequence that can go over into a week. The first message is welcoming them and giving them access to a free downloadable as you would for an opt-in on your website. The next message can be two days later that offers a tip or motivational message. The next or final message that is sent in another two or three days can be another tip, resource, or something about you.
Another message that can be sent weekly is a conversational one or ask your subscribers a question.
Do you use a messenger bot for your business or website?