More and more brands now consider using chatbots as a part of their marketing strategy.
The documented use cases prove that using chatbots can be extremely effective in doing business online.
In this Search Engine Nerds episode, I interviewed Virginia Nussey, Director of Content Marketing at MobileMonkey and creator of Botgirl.io, to discuss how businesses and marketers can make the most out of chatbots on Facebook Messenger.
You have an extensive experience in the SEO space before working for MobileMonkey. What were some of the things that you experienced that was unique to you going into the chatbot space?
Virginia Nussey (VN): What I think SEOs or marketers, in general, can be aware of is that there are always new channels and platforms emerging.
I know from my own perspective, there’s a lot of risk in jumping in a new platform. You have to learn it, understand it, and build out all new funnels.
There’s a big learning curve. Does your time really make sense to dedicate to that when you’ve got a lot of other initiatives?
But essentially it’s not about marrying a channel. It’s about finding where people are, your audience, and communicating to them there, especially if it’s where they prefer to get messaging and communications.
I guess that’s what I would say is my big evolution for myself as a marketer, since entering the chatbot space. Being open to understanding where the audience is and where they want to communicate with you.
What are the different uses for chatbots right now that you’re seeing?
VN: Probably the most exciting for me is sending essentially direct messages to people.
About 78 percent of millennials today would prefer getting a chat message than an email from brands that they follow. That’s the progression of the way that communication is flowing.
Brent Csutoras (BC): Are you seeing an actual pick up and an actual traction from chatbots by providing a short quick message instead of a newsletter?
VN: Totally. It’s a lot more lightweight. It has the ability to be more personal and engaging.
Comparatively, if you expect 20 percent open rate with email, if you’re fighting for that every time you send out an email blast, well you can look to get 50 to 80 percent in a Facebook Messenger marketing blast. That’s a big lift there.
What are some of the others areas we’re seeing chatbots roll out and what problems are they solving?
VN: Along the lines of the newsletter replacement, it’s a great way for a publisher to just hook up their RSS feed and have a direct line if they already have people who want to subscribe to updates in that sense.
For anyone who’s in ecommerce, you could send promotional messages like, “We’re having a sale.”
BC: I think you can even make purchases, right?
VN: Yeah. You could have product helper bots.
Say if you want to get this cool new skateboard, but I don’t know what size this, the bot will help you pick the product that’s right for you based on your height, goofy footedness, etc.
What are some of the considerations that a company needs to finalize before they start building a chatbot?
VN: The first step in any kind of initiative like this is figuring out what your goal is. If you are trying to do a product recommendations bot, or if you’re trying to get more webinar signups, whatever your goal is that will help you.
Some organizations write their bot from scratch, they have a whole developer team and they will write a custom bot. But not everybody is equipped for that.
So, for organizations to decide that they would rather have an easy visual chatbot building platform, then they can go to MobileMonkey.com and sign up there.
Facebook Messenger is where a lot of these bot building platforms are built on. In 2016, it opened up an API that allows tools like MobileMonkey to create visual editors.
Just like MailChimp or WordPress, it’s a visual editor that allows you to interface and create some content that you can send off to your audience.
And then so a chatbot builder that’s visual is something that you probably want to consider.
You’ll want to learn about the Facebook ads integrations because if you’re running ads on Facebook, you’re probably spending more than you need to be for leads to your website. Chatbots can help with that.
You should also understand the different analytics capabilities of your chatbot building platform.
Find out whether you can integrate it with your other business applications so that you can get leads from Messenger, and then automatically port them into your CRM or email marketing platform, or any other kind of notification system that you have.
What are the key advancements or changes on chatbots in the past year that people should be aware of?
VN: There are a number of rules that are unique to Facebook Messenger.
In email marketing, you always have to have an unsubscribe message and you can only message people that opted in for messaging. There are rules but there’s not really any central regulation for email marketing, though.
With Facebook Messenger, there is a central regulator, and you can potentially receive warnings, get banned, or have your permissions restricted if you don’t follow the rules. It is good to be aware of them.
There are three different types of messaging that you should be aware of:
- Standard messaging.
- Sponsored messaging.
- Subscription messaging.
If you fall under standard messaging, you get 24 hours to message somebody who first got in touch with your bot.
I would recommend that you use that first 24 hours to try to opt them into subscription messaging, which gives you more of an unlimited ability to send follow-up messaging in the future, and that’s just basically how you get on the list.
BC: What happens after that 24 hour time period?
VN: Technically, the rule is “24+1.” After that 24-hour time period, you get one more follow-up message at any point, and that would be your last chance to get them into subscription messaging unless they engage with your bot.
So, if they send any kind of response, if they click your button or click your link or ask you a question, that’s an engagement and that resets the 24+1 clock.
What is the process to get people to subscribe?
VN: Engagement is key as with all things, but especially on Messenger.
In the first 24 hours, you can send as many messages as you want, pretty much unlimited. They can be promotional or they can be non-promotional.
I would say you set up a drip campaign. When somebody enters this audience, then I’ll send them this sequence of messages.
In the first 5 minutes or whatever it is, you are welcoming them to your bot experience. This is the time when you want to get the user to understand the value of what you’re able to provide there in Messenger. It’s a very personal experience.
It’s kind of like just text messaging with a friend. We’re asking people to become a contact in a way that we get direct push notifications.
How does sponsored messaging work?
VN: Sponsored messaging allows you to send a promotional message anytime to anybody who’s ever engaged with your Facebook Messenger chatbot. This is done through the Facebook Ads Manager.
Basically, you’re limited by people who’ve already messaged your bots, that’s the number one thing.
But it is allowing you to send a promotional message which you can’t normally do unless you follow the other rules.
You can also layer, on top of all of your contacts, the normal Facebook ad audience targeting ability, i.e., demographics, interests or your own custom audiences list.
To listen to this Search Engine Nerds Podcast with Virginia Nussey:
Think you have what it takes to be a Search Engine Nerd? If so, message Loren Baker on Twitter, or email him at loren [at] searchenginejournal.com. You can also email Brent Csutoras at brent [at] alphabrandmedia.com.
Visit our Search Engine Nerds archive to listen to other Search Engine Nerds podcasts!
Featured Image: Paulo Bobita
Subscribe to SEJ
Get our daily newsletter from SEJ’s Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!