76 - Your own online robot: Tom talks Chatbots - Screw The Commute

76 – Your own online robot: Tom talks Chatbots

“Messenger Bots” aka Chatbots. These things are a lot of fun and if you get in now, open rates and click through rates are through the roof. Pretty much never before seen in email marketing. Messenger bots were first released by Facebook back in April of 2016. At the time, nobody knew what to do with them or how they could be used for marketing, but that’s all changed.

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Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 076

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[02:09] Tom's introduction to Chatbots

[05:22] Broadcasting messages via your chatbot

[07:26] Open and clickthrough rates are very high

[08:45] Chatbots are good for lots of things

[12:01] Can handle large volume of requests

[13:47] Get accurate picture of your customers

[14:23] Sponsor message

[15:17] Best practices for chatbots

[21:44] Telling people about your chatbot

Entrepreneurial Resources Mentioned in This Podcast

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Screwy chatbothttps://www.facebook.com/AntionAndAssociates/

Many Chathttps://manychat.com/

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Related Episodes

Shopping Carts – https://screwthecommute.com/episodes/10-shopping-carts/

Gayle Carson – https://screwthecommute.com/episodes/75-spunky-old-broad-tom-interviews-gayle-carson/

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Episode 076 - Chatbots

Another great and super cheap tool to Automate your business.

Episode 075 Gayle Carson. Now don’t send me any mean emails when I tell you about her. She calls herself “The Spunky Old Broad” The audio is a little funky on her episode, but you’ll find her story inspiring in that after 4 rounds of breast cancer, she still works out every day and has more energy than most 20-year olds. Don’t miss it.

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Main Event

Today we’re going to talk about “Messenger Bots” AKA Chatbots, these things are a lot of fun and if you get in now, open rates and click through rates are through the roof. ….Pretty much never before seen in email marketing.

Messenger bots were first released by Facebook back in April of 2016. At the time, nobody knew what to do with them or how they could be used for marketing, but that’s all changed. New bots are coming on the market all the time, but we’re going to concentrate on Facebook Messenger bots, because currently and probably for a long time they’re the most popular.

So, what are these Messenger bots? . . . I don’t know if it’s right or not, but I call them chat bots and they’re a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that allows a business to communicate with their customers, automatically. I’m not talking about autoresponders like you would find in email. They are extremely powerful too, but you can’t interact with them. With chat bots your prospects and customers can start a dialogue with your chat bot and get the information they want immediately. If your chat bot gets stumped and doesn’t know what to say to the customer, a message can be forwarded by the bot directly to you or to a team member.

My chat bots name is “Screwy” to match this “Screw the Commute” podcast. You can meet Screwy just by visiting my business page on Facebook https://www.Facebook.com/AntionAndAssociates and click “send message” and let little Screwy take over. He’ll talk to you.

When you create these bots, you can make them ask people questions and program different paths to take for each person depending on how they answer.
For instance, when you send a message to Screwy, he might respond by saying, “Do you want to know about Internet Marketing, Public and Professional Speaking, Entrepreneurship or None of the above?”

If the person says, “Internet Marketing”, screwy sends them to my Internet Marketing resources. If they say, “Public and Pro speaking”, and by the way all you have to do is click on a button. You don’t have to type in “Public and Professional Speaking” he sends them to my public speaking stuff. It’s the same with entrepreneurship. If they click “None of the above,” he says, “Well, those are Tom’s main expertise. Do you want to interview him? Do you want info on Screw the Commute Podcast?, etc.” If they answer, “No”, Screwy says, “I’ll forward your question to Tom and he’ll answer you as soon as he can.”

You can also broadcast messages to people who have subscribed to your messenger bot, but Facebook has limitations on that and I’ll tell you about that in a minute. First, people have to agree to get messages from you. Typically, you program a button that says “get started” or something like that. This is similar to an opt in, in email. They made the decision to communicate with you on messenger. You normally put a message in there telling them they can send a “stop” message anytime they don’t want to get messages from you anymore.

Once they agree to communicate with you through messenger, you can broadcast to them. Here’s where it gets tricky. You can broadcast a non-promotional message to your list of messenger recipients anytime you want. You can give away freebies or promote free webinars or give away e-books, videos or just give an informational message or whatever you want. But here’s a Warning: I’m not a terms of service expert on Facebook, so double check what you plan on doing before you do it. I don’t want to get blamed for telling you something they don’t allow anymore because I don’t know when you’re going to listen to this.

Anyway, if you want to do a promotional message selling something, you can only send that to people who have interacted with your bot within the past 24 hours. This would be crazy troublesome to try to keep track of manually. I use a service called https://www.ManyChat.com They keep track of those things for me.

Now why the 24-hour rule? Your guess is as good as mine, but word has it that Facebook doesn’t want messenger to get overrun with spam messenger messages like email has gotten overrun with spam. So, they’re very strict on this.

A ton of people have Facebook Messenger, and the open rates and click through rates are so high they’ve never been seen ever in email.

Many Chat makes it relatively easy to create intricate sequences for people to interact with your bot. You can send people to a web page, you can tag them so you know what promotion they came from and then you can broadcast back to just that segment of the people. Let’s say 200 people interacted with my bot and 100 wanted Internet Marketing info and the other 100 wanted Public Speaking info. I can pull up just those people who wanted public speaking info and just broadcast to them. I do the same thing in my shopping cart system http://www.KickStartCart.com only I broadcast to a list of people who got a certain autoresponder. You can learn all about good shopping cart systems in episode 10. And I’m not in any way saying it’s not a good idea to use autoresponders. My God, that’s one of the most powerful things ever invented for online marketing. I’m just saying this new method of messenger bot marketing is also great and it’s a perfect time to jump on it.

You can use bots for lots of things like, giving out your hours and links to the directions to your store if you have one. You can have return policies, how to order instructions, size charts if you sell clothing and tons of other things. This kind of functionality used to only be open to big businesses. That’s all changed.

Why Small Businesses Need Messenger Bots
There’s no reason small business owners can’t get the same benefits of using messenger bots that major corporations can. Big companies can afford round the clock customer service, where most small companies can’t. This is where bots can really even the playing field. They can be a reasonable and really low-cost substitute for round the clock customer service and fees that go along with toll-free 24-hour service lines.

You can start small with messenger bots. Many Chat makes is pretty easy to get started with their free account. Even their pro account is only 10 per month for I think up to 500 people in your database.

Here’s something I think is just crazy great. Manychat has a 10-hour course on all aspects of using bots. And listen. I’ve been buying and selling courses online for over 20 years. They could easily charge $1000 bucks for their course, but guess what. It’s free to their customers. I highly recommend it.

This is the time to get in on this especially with Facebook Messenger. Currently they have something like 1.3 billion users of messenger every single day. With only a tiny number of chat bots. When I say tiny, yes there’s probably 100,000 but that is really tiny compared to 1.3 billion users. You can really get in on the ground floor and build a big following way before it becomes overcrowded.

Also, as these bots become more popular, when one business doesn’t have them, customers may turn to a competitor that does. You don’t want to be that business.

My feeling is that people hate filling out contact forms or putting in support tickets to companies because they have been so poorly managed over many years, people feel like it’s a waste of time to fill out the form because no one will get back to you in a timely manner anyway. So why bother.

Chat bots give people instant feedback and instant answers to their questions. They’re also interactive, which keeps people engaged with them. People are more willing to hang in there for an answer to their question when they are involved in the process. Plus, it’s fun. Just ask my little guy “Screwy.” hahaha

Besides better customer service, increased sales, and improved communication with your customers and prospects, chat bots can handle large volumes of requests. Let’s say you do a big promotion or some kind of launch and tons of your prospects have questions all at once. That can easily overwhelm a small business. It also reduces the effectiveness of the launch because people that were all excited at the time of your promotion couldn’t get their questions answered in a timely fashion. Then their excitement fizzled and they didn’t buy. What a shame.

No small business can possibly have enough people on board to handle a large number of simultaneous calls, email and live chat. Heck most can barely handle one or two. And you would think with all their functionality, that Messenger bots would be some of the highest expenses you have in your business. This is totally opposite. They are actually some of the cheapest actually free to start out. The return on investment of putting bots into play can be off the charts. The risk is totally low too, because literally you can do this with Manychat for free and get all your training from them for free too. Once your bots are running you have no maintenance costs. So, not doing this appears to be negligence to me. I.e. you really aren’t taking full care of your business by ignoring a free super powerful tool like this.

Better understanding of your customers

Another big benefit of messenger bots is that you can get really accurate pictures of what your customers want based on what they click on in your bot and what questions they type to your bot. This not only allows you to know your customers better and what they want, it also allows you to make your bot smarter as you go along. When you get a common question the bot doesn’t know the answer to, you can give it the answer and from then on your prospects get immediate answers to that question. So, it gets smarter over time.

OK. I hope you liked this so far. Now we have to take a little break for our sponsor.
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Best Practices for Messenger Bots
Here are some best practices when using a bot.
1. Ask your bot as many questions as you can think of that pertain to your business and see what happens. Also, put in some weird questions and maybe even some dirty questions to see how your bot responds.

2. Have a bunch of friends test it out and tell you where they got stuck or came to a dead end. That way you can fix those spots before you announce your bot to the world. (A fancier term for this is beta testers)

3. Try to always give people a chance to get back to the main menu so they can start over if they want. Sometimes I don’t do this purposely because I want them to go forward to a website, promotion or click some link and I don’t want them going back.

4. This is a big one. Be concise. Have you ever seen the acronym “tl;dr” online? It means “too long; didn’t read” and if your bot’s messages are too long, it’s going to trigger this response in your audience. People like interacting with bots because it’s a quick way to get the information they need, so make sure your messages are just that - quick to read. I’m going to give you some guidelines here.

In order to do it, make sure your messages are no longer than 90 characters, which is about three lines on mobile devices. If possible, keep them as short as 60 characters, which is about two lines on mobile. And giving multiple messages is fine, and sometimes necessary, just make sure that altogether they’re not over 140 characters at a time. This isn’t a hard and fast rule but really ya gotta keep things short.

5. Test your bot on different devices. There’s a whole world of mobile devices out there today. Some have screens nearly as big as a laptop, such as the iPad, while others are still teeny tiny. And while your message may appear just fine on those larger screens, if it’s too long, users will have to scroll up to see the entire thing on smaller screens. This is just as bad as having a message that is too long, because no one wants to scroll just to see what the messenger bot said. Also remember that while in chat mode, users will typically have the touch keyboard up on their screens, effectively taking the amount of screen that’s shown and cutting it in half.

How do you combat this? By simply testing the messenger bot on different devices. If you find the messages are too long, you can optimize the bot so messages can be read with minimal scrolling needed. It’s a great way to make the bot more usable for your audience, which means they’ll likely be more engaged with it.

6. Some bots will need to confirm something with the user, such as if they are making a purchase or booking a hotel room or a restaurant reservation. When the bot is making that confirmation, it’s important that they are asking a question, not making a statement. It’s a little thing, but if the bot makes a statement as confirmation, and the details are wrong, the user is going to feel as though they did something wrong. If a question is asked in confirmation and it’s still wrong however, they’ll see it as a misunderstanding, won’t get all upset. They’ll simply go back to correct the problem. The problem won’t have blown up in their minds to a big deal and the customer will be happy. And happy customers are what every business wants.

7. There may be times when the bot has to do some “thinking” and doesn’t respond right away. Maybe it’s automatically checking to see if those dinner reservations are possible, or maybe it’s automatically processing an order. Whatever the case may be, users will typically only wait about eight seconds before they trying to reactivate the bot. When they do, it can confuse the bot and the user, and the whole conversation can quickly go downhill. To prevent this from happening, let the user know that the bot is currently processing information. This can be done with typing indicators that let the user know a response is on the way, or with short messages such as “I’m processing your order,” or “Still processing, I want to get this just right.” This will let the user know they haven’t been forgotten, the bot hasn’t glitched out, and that in just a few more seconds, they will have what they need.

8. Undo and cancel buttons. Neither bots nor humans are perfect, and mistakes will be made at some point in a conversation. When they do, make it easy for the user to go back and fix the mistake, or to cancel something out. Messenger bots are an online experience and correcting a mistake really should be as easy as pressing the back button in a browser. So, make sure they’re there so that when that mistake is made, the user doesn’t get frustrated that they have to go back and have the entire conversation over again.

9. Give your bot a unique name. Mine little guy is named “Screwy” to match the name of this podcast. This gives the bot a little personality and makes it more fun to interact with.

10. You also might want to write in more fun conversational language if it fits the personality of your site. For instance, I might write, “Whoa. Hold your horses. I’ve got to think about that question for a minute.” Or something like that.

How to Tell People about your bot

On my Facebook business page there’s a “send message” button. Go ahead and try it out. https://www.Facebook.com/antionandassociates

It’s important to remember that these Messenger bots cannot be placed on a personal profile. So, if that’s all you have, and you want to start using a Facebook Messenger bot (the easiest of all for small businesses to start with), you’ll need to create a Facebook business page.

Email marketing
If you want your messenger bot to be even more effective, it should be integrated into all your email marketing campaigns. This can be done by again, simply adding a link customers can click and then be redirected to the bot.

Website
By now you know that when creating a messenger bot, you don’t have to rely on people opening a messaging app in order to use it. And just like you can include an icon on Facebook and a link in email marketing, you can - and you should - include the same link or icon on your website. It’s here that you’ll likely get your hottest prospects and leads anyway, because they’ve searched you out.

They already want to know more about you, your business, and what you’re offering. And as they continue to read and learn, they’ll likely have questions. So why not give them a simple way to get the answers to those questions, or make it even easier for them to make a purchase, by giving them access to your bot, it can help them do all of that? If you have a messenger bot, but don’t have a way to access it from your website, you’ll be missing out potential bot subscribers that could turn into customers.
So, it should be pretty easy to see just how the world of messenger bots are quickly taking over. With so many benefits, including freeing up time by answering all kinds of questions on your behalf, there’s really no reason for businesses to decide against using them. And because they’re so easy to create, just about anyone can create them in minutes in order to reap all those benefits.

When creating messenger bots, it’s important to keep in mind that it should be all about the user experience. The easier it is to use a messenger bot, the better the experience will be for both the user and the business. Keep the best practices that I outlined in mind while creating your own messenger bot and both the users and your business will benefit. And pretty soon, you’ll be depending more and more on their power to take care of prospects and customers and increase your bottom line.

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