What is a Facebook Messenger Bot?

Facebook Messenger bots might be the next big thing in the world of marketing.

What is a Facebook Messenger Bot

You may have already come across a Facebook Messenger bot. Just the other day I was checking out on a website and left my cart sitting (I got distracted by work – ugh!). About a half hour later, I received a Facebook message, which I checked almost immediately as usual.

Facebook messages are actually rated the second best way to talk to a business by most people. Over 2 billion messages are exchanged over Messenger in just one month. Makes sense, given there’s over a million active users on the app every month.

When I opened my messages, there it was! My items were waiting for me. And, to sweeten the deal, the message contained an additional offer – 20% off just for me! Well I went, finished up my order and used that code. It felt great to save myself some money to boot.

Now, getting a Facebook message from the website freaked me out for only one reason. I never remembered opting in to the bot. But I also remember thinking: wow, now THAT is cool.

What is a Facebook Messenger bot?

That’s the beauty and future of these bots. They can recover abandoned carts quicker than email for your business. Bots reach out to your customers in a way that feels intimate, close and personal, through an app your customers are already using. They learn about your customers, their likes and dislikes. Bots can even track their purchases. When deals relevant and personalized for that customer pop up, the bot can easily send them a quick message, gaining your business more sales in a shorter amount of time.

Essentially, these bots give you a direct line to your customers and target audience. All in a way that is seamless and automated with few barriers. By 2020, it is predicted that 85% of customer-business relationships will be conducted without human interaction. Pair that with the fact that 68% of app users use Facebook Messenger (making it the third largest app in the world) and you have a recipe for customer service success and engagement with a Facebook Messenger bot. What makes this app and new Facebook Messenger bot technology so unique is that 71% of app users delete an app within 90 days, which means most people in the entire world who use apps continually use Facebook Messenger.

The tech is still brand new

Facebook Messenger has a HUGE amount of user engagement. Its marketing potential remained untapped until recently, and is still in its infancy. There is only 300,000 Facebook Messenger bots out there. This market is still fresh, new, growing and there is plenty to learn about how to effectively use a bot for your business.

It’s not a “chatbot”

I’m going to dive in to ways you can use a Facebook Messenger bot for your business in just a second. But before I do that, I need you to understand this.

Throughout this article, I won’t refer to these Facebook Messenger bots as “chatbots.” The technology involved in these bots isn’t quite sophisticated enough to hold intelligent conversations with your customers. There is a dependency on humans at some point in the conversation. These bots are much better at listening to your customers than holding a conversation with them. Although bots definitely automate simple tasks for your business, they can’t replace humans altogether. Since the AI isn’t smart enough to hold a conversation, I will refer to these bots as exactly they are – Facebook Messenger bots (but oh man, remember those chatbots back in the day on AIM?).

How to use a Facebook Messenger bot

Messenger bots contain features of other marketing tools combined into a single platform. They’re reminiscent of email marketing, but can be completely personalized to a user’s preferences. Bots are a part of your social media, specifically Facebook, marketing strategy. They can act as an automated introduction into your customer service care strategy. With so much potential, it’s easy to get carried away with your Facebook Messenger bot.

Think small in the beginning

So to begin, think small when it comes to your bot. Decide on one goal you’d like your bot to achieve. Perhaps you want your bot to remind your customers about items left in their online shopping carts. Or, you want to send everyone a 20% coupon code as a thank you for entering your giveaway. No matter what task you want your bot to handle, hone in on that goal using your bot. Become familiar with the bot software. The more you use your bot, the better you understand how it works. Only then can you evaluate how it best fits into your overall business strategy.

Clarity in the conversation

When creating your Facebook Messenger bot’s flow of conversation (I say “conversation” very loosely), make it clear to your customer what role your bot plays. Essentially, be sure your customers understand they’re communicating with a bot, there are ways to unsubscribe and that the bot will act as a guide for your customer. Your customers’ experience with your bot should be easy and seamless with clear directives. Your customers shouldn’t be left guessing – the bot should lay out everything clearly.

Save time

The goal of your bot is to save both you and your customers some time, so get to the point quickly. I’m talking in five clicks quick. When it takes more than five clicks to reach the point-of-sale, you’ll see a significant drop in bot interaction and customers. Retain more customers and ensure a pleasant experience by getting right into things.

It’s all about the personalization

Keep in mind that people love to interact with new technology when designing your bot. Customers also love when their experience with your business is highly personalized. Messenger bots make it easy to customize the user experience because they store data about a customer’s preferences. You can ask customers quick, easy questions, then use the information you garner to send deals, discounts and specials that pertain to the customer’s wants. Instead of sending a mass email and trying to keep things general, you can create a highly personalized customer experience with higher read and click-through rates than traditional email marketing. Make your bot fun to interact with, and watch your customer retention rates soar.

Be upfront with customers

Be upfront with customers about what you’re storing and how you’re using that data. How can someone opt-out of your bot? How can they receive additional help from a customer service rep? Doing this gives customers power over their personal information, boosting your business credibility.

Have a human on deck

Lastly, when using a Facebook Messenger bot, have a human on deck for those tough situations a bot can’t handle. Although bots are smart, as I stated earlier, they aren’t smart enough yet. If a customer messages your business with a concern, your bot can only provide limited customer support. At some point in the conversation, a human is required to take over and assist your customers. Although Messenger bots are great for speediness and responsiveness, they cannot replace that human connection.

When delving into the world of bots, you must treat this software as a unique tool bolstering your existing marketing strategies. Your bot will not replace any other tool you currently use for email, customer care and Facebook marketing. However, it contains features of all three and can be used in tandem with existing software. As you test your bot’s strengths and measure its performance, tweak your bot’s purpose as you see fit. Be sure to keep an eye out for new bot technologies entering the market as well!

Should I be using a Facebook Messenger bot?

The answer varies depending on you, your business, your current marketing strategies and what you want your bot to accomplish. They offer your business a low-barrier entry to your target audience. If your business is mainly online, it might be worthwhile to implement a bot to keep customer interactions with your business on one platform. Remember: Facebook messaging is rated the second best way to talk to a business.

If you’re looking to interact with your customers, learn more about them and personalize their experience, a bot is the way to go. The majority of your customers are already using the app. Investing in a Messenger bot is more cost effective than building your own app to interact with customers. As long as it makes sense to implement the software in your current marketing strategy, implement a bot.

What can these bots do exactly?

I’ve just talked a lot about what a Facebook Messenger bot is, how it can be used and how to tell if it’s right for your business. But you may be wondering still: what exactly can a Messenger bot do?!

I alluded to this earlier: they can do a lot. They can’t do everything (and shouldn’t be replacing any tools in your current strategy), but can achieve a whole heck of a lot, such as:

Reach your audience directly

Bots give customers a direct line of communication with your business. Use a bot to greet customers who land on your Facebook page. Open them to conversation through Messenger without spending your personal time doing so.

Save time/money on customer care

Find customers asking the same questions again and again and again? Use a Facebook Messenger bot to automate your customers’ support experience. Point your customers to places on your site they can find the answers they’re looking for or gain more information. Bots open the conversation with a customer. Pair that with incredible customer support services and you have a customer care strategy that cannot be beat.

Identify quality leads

One of the best aspects of a bot is storing customers’ data and tracking/tagging their interactions with your bot. By doing so, you’re producing high quality leads for your business.

For example, say you’re offering a coupon discount code for every person who comments “CANDLE” on one of your Facebook posts. When they comment “CANDLE,” they are automatically sent a discount code through your Facebook Messenger bot. After sending them the code, the bot has a button that says “Proceed to Website.” Your customer clicks this button; the bot tracks that movement as “Proceeded to Website after Offer.” Now you know this customer is interested in both your products and savings. Thus, you’ve just produced a high quality lead for your business and have them in your ecosystem. You can send them future discounts via Messenger, vastly increasing the chances of this person becoming a returning customer.

Handle e-commerce transactions

With a bot, all interactions with your customer are happening within Facebook’s platform. As opposed to the traditional ad to webpage pipeline, you’ll experience lower drop off rates since you’re keeping everything within a platform they’re already using. The easier it is for your customer to purchase products from you, the higher the chances that customer actually buys your products/services.

Bots for e-commerce are still in progress as Facebook enhances its own e-commerce capabilities. Nonetheless, they’re powerful tools. Your bot will learn about your customers through stored data, which it can use for highly personalized upsells and purchase suggestions. These customized upsells and suggestions increase your chances of selling more quickly and hassle-free for you and your customer.

Re-engage customers

As I’ve stated previously, a Facebook Messenger bot is capable of retaining information about your customers and the actions they’ve taken. You can use this data to go the extra mile for your customers. Instead of paying for a barrage of advertising and hoping you hit the target, a bot can reach out with relevant content and suggestions personalized to that customer. A more personalized shopping experience means higher customer retention rates. Plus, your customers will be more receptive to a highly personalized Facebook message than an email.

Automation, personalization and customer retention

Knowing the ways in which a bot can be used helps you evaluate whether or not to incorporate this technology into your existing marketing strategy. A bot is a valuable time saver, automate small tasks and personalize your customer’s experience with just a few clicks.

Now that I’ve explained what a Messenger bot is, how it can be used and what you can use it for, I’m going to move on to my last big point about these bots.

Many people think their bot will replace their existing email marketing strategy. I can’t blame anyone for thinking that. I mean, just in this article I talk about higher click-through and open rates with Messenger over traditional email marketing methods. It makes sense that some assume they can replace email marketing with a bot. However, you shouldn’t replace your current email marketing strategy with a Facebook Messenger bot. You can use the two in tandem, but don’t cancel your MailChimp subscription yet.

Facebook Messenger Bot vs. Traditional Email Marketing

In many ways, a Messenger bot mimics email marketing. This is why some refer to bots as “Email Marketing 2.0.” They help build your subscriber list, generate leads, deliver lead magnets and broadcast messages. You can also combine Facebook ads with bots, include bots in an ad campaign sequence or automate follow-ups with bots. Facebook Messenger bots offer your customers a more personalized experience than traditional email marketing while gathering important data about your audience.

Traditional email marketing methods are stagnating. There isn’t a person in the world with the answer on how to  significantly boost your open and click-through rates. Marketing email click-through rates are 3.1% on average without improving in years. Only 30% of all marketing emails are ever opened. People are about 3.5 times more likely to open a Facebook message than a marketing email.

Will my Facebook Messenger bot replace email marketing?

It may sound tempting to ditch your email marketing strategy and switch exclusively to a bot, but let’s not be hasty! Right now, there are only about 300,000 Messenger bots in existence, which is relatively low. Since the technology is new, there are only a few companies using bots currently and competition for being seen in customers’ inboxes is low. These bots are useful for bypassing email inbox competition right now. However, this will change as more companies begin understanding and using this technology.

Messenger bots also allow people to easily and quickly move through your marketing funnel if you’ve laid it out in the right way. They let your customers respond interactively to your message using a call-to-action button, as opposed to typing or clicking through to an outside website. On top of that, Facebook Messenger has sponsored ads, which can be seen by anyone who has previously been in touch with your Facebook Page. Use ads in tandem with your bot to target high-intent customers to increase the likelihood of them purchasing from you.

Faster access to your audience

Facebook messaging lists ultimately give you access to your target audience faster than email. Some don’t check their email regularly. However, most do check their Facebook messages regularly. Though, not everyone has a Facebook profile. Out of those who do, not everyone has Messenger. With this in mind, use both tools together to maximize your reach and sales during promotions. A Facebook Messenger bot gives you the ability to really hone in on those who are most likely to purchase. Send them a message with your promotion. This group will definitely open, read and (most likely) act on your offer ASAP, which is exactly how you want to be targeting these customers.

There’s another reason why you shouldn’t scrap your email marketing just yet. Email marketing lists can be downloaded and transferred between providers. However, any Facebook Messenger list you build is specific to that bot. It cannot be transferred to another software. If you decide to stop your Facebook Messenger strategy or move to a new software, you’ll lose the audience you built. It’s essential to find out how a bot can aid in your overall marketing strategy and fit it in accordingly. Refrain from using it to replace any existing tools you currently use.

What Facebook Messenger bots are available for use?

There are over 300,000 Facebook Messenger bots in existence at the moment. In the grand scheme of things, this is a very small amount. Perform a quick Google search to find plenty of options for a Facebook Messenger bot. Do your research. Then, pick the software that makes the most sense for what you want your bot to accomplish. Delve into this Social Media Examiner article for more information on specific Facebook Messenger bots.

We use ManyChat here in the office, a popular Facebook Messenger bot. It’s great for those who are visual learners and problem solvers! ManyChat makes it insanely easy to create a flow of conversation and see the exact steps your customers will take. Upgrade to the Pro version to enjoy all ManyChat’s useful features. Since I’m only personally familiar with one Facebook Messenger bot, I cannot give recommendations beyond the above. But I will say this: I have used ManyChat in a few of my clients’ Facebook marketing strategies. ManyChat works extremely well for them, especially those who do a lot of business through social media. But there are many other Facebook Messenger bots available. I encourage you to test out a few before settling on the one that works best for your business.

Have more questions about Facebook Messenger bots?

Need some help implementing one for your business? Please contact us at Mobile Mind Agency anytime for a free quote for our digital marketing services. We are a premier digital marketing agency located in the heart of South Jersey. Serving New Jersey and the surrounding areas. With a staff of young, bright marketing professionals, we will  have the right Facebook Messenger bot implemented in no time.