If you haven't heard already, Facebook Messenger chat bots are all the rage right now. If you HAVE heard, you'd be forgiven for dismissing them as just another fad.
However, if you're not actively implementing a messenger bot into your business and marketing funnel right now, you are potentially missing out on one of the biggest marketing opportunities of the last decade.
You now have the ability right now to be in front of your leads, prospects, customers and fans in a way that has never before been possible. Facebook Messenger bots are less than 12 months old, meaning that we're currently in the very early stages of mass tech adoption. Those who act fast and grasp the opportunity now stand to benefit hugely from the First Mover Advantage (FMA).
Here's what you need to know in order to make the most of that advantage while it's still there.
How it works:
A messenger bot is a tool that allows you to automate certain communications with your customer right where they already spend much of their time: on Facebook messenger.
It helps you to automate many key stages in the marketing process; including generating leads, segmenting them into the right bucket, nurturing them into warmed up prospects and then finally into actual paying customers.
Want to see it in action? Test our bot and see for yourself:
There are lots of important distinctions that make chat bots such a great marketing opportunity right now.
But before we get into those, we must first recognise that ultimately it all comes down to attention.
The first step in marketing is to find out WHO your potential customers are, WHERE they are and then to go about getting their ATTENTION.
Gary Vaynerchuk, widely hailed as one of the top social media and marketing experts today, describes his job as “day trading attention”. In other words, his aim is to find out where consumers spend their time and what their attention is focused on, then he decides where the attention is most undervalued.
Attention is the new currency
Attention is the new currency in marketing. Simply put, if the recipient of your message isn't paying attention, the content of your message is lost. Think of attention as the gatekeeper that stands between your advertising and your customer.
We, as consumers, are exposed to literally THOUSANDS of advertisements every single day. But how much of those adverts can you consciously recall? Even a TINY 1% would be around 40-100 adverts, and my guess it's not that many.
Well designed** chat bots are incredibly effective at both GETTING and HOLDING people's attention.
(**Why do I say well designed? Just like any other marketing medium, you have to know what you're doing to get the best results. While it's very easy to start building your chat bot, it's not intuitively easy to understand what makes for a great user experience and how to turn attention into sales. Just because everybody is talking about chat bots, doesn't mean you can throw up a piece of garbage and expect to get results.)
The 9 Key Reasons Why…
Without further ado, here are the 9 key reasons why Messenger Chat Bots are perhaps the biggest marketing opportunity in the last decade…
#1: It's not very noisy
It's easier to cut through the noise when there's very little of it.
If you try to communicate in a noisy environment, your message is easily lost in the vast fog of noise.
Right now, only a tiny fraction of businesses even know what a chat bot is, never mind those who've implemented one. This means that you can leverage one of the most powerful communication channels around (Facebook Messenger) before your competitors even know what's going on! This gives you plenty of time to speed ahead in developing relationships with new and potential customers.
This current lack of noise makes your attempts at getting attention far more impactful. Will it always be this way? No, it may be quiet out there right now, but it WILL bet busier. That's why NOW is the best time to start making the most of this limited window of opportunity.
#2: Messaging = high attention
People are already focusing their attention on Facebook Messenger!
Mobile has become the key centre of modern day marketing. In particular, people are spending more time than ever in messaging apps, and use is on the rise!
As business owners, we spend much of our time in a desktop / laptop world. BUT this isn't necessarily where our customers spend their time. In fact, according to Flurry Mobile, over 5 hours per day are spent on mobile phones.
Just take a second and think about the people in your life; friends, family, colleagues. How do you tend to communicate with them? If you had a quick message to send, how would you send it? Email? Text? Instant Message?
Consumers are increasingly using messaging apps such as Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger to communicate with each other. As such, it's also where they are increasingly spending much of their time and attention.
#3: Push Notifications
Send them without even needing your own app.
Perhaps the most powerful way in which chat bots are able to capture attention is through push notifications.
One of the most popular marketing communication channels these days is email. How many people do you know who get push notifications for email? I don't know about you, but I relentlessly and unsparingly unsubscribe from most businesses that email me, and somehow I still manage to get over 100 emails per day. If I had email push notifications turned on, I would go mad! I just can't deal with that level of distraction.
You don't even need your own phone app to begin sending push notifications. What's more, right now, due to the low proliferation of businesses using chat bots, most people have push notifications turned on for the Facebook Messenger app on their phone.
#4: Open / click through rates
They are staggeringly high across the board.
Currently, marketers across the board are reporting open rates of 80% or more. Even 90%+ in many cases.
Click through rates are just as impressive too. Well designed chat bots are experiencing clickthrough rates as high as 60% (and higher!) in many cases. That's just astonishingly high!
#5: It gives people what they want
Customer experiences are dynamic and relevant.
Once you've captured somebody's attention, the next challenge is to maintain it by actively engaging the end user. In a world of instant gratification where the next cute cat video is just a swipe away, it's more important than ever to provide high quality interactions.
Well designed chat bots do this by delivering experiences that are both relevant and meaningful.
Many marketers spend too much time, money and energy on trying to push people towards a sale, instead of trying to understand the customer's problem and then use that information to pull them towards the solution
Let's say you're an estate agent / realtor. You have many different groups (or “segments”) of customer:
- Home buyers
- Property Investors
They all come to you in the hope of solving very different problems. BUT, while each group may share common problems or characteristics, their individual needs and desires will vary.
For instance, let's take the sellers:
- Some sellers have a need for a fast sale and so may be willing to list below market value to encourage more offers.
- Others have a need or desire for a higher purchase price and so may be willing to wait a while longer to achieve it.
Whatever your industry, each customer group and each problem that you solve will require a different conversation.
If the key to holding attention is to deliver relevant experiences, then it makes sense to design interactions with the specific intention of giving people what they need or want. And the best way to know what somebody needs or wants is to ask!
This is where chat bots can really shine. By gradually asking questions, collecting data and monitoring user interactions, your bot can automatically (in real time) tailor the experience.
To cut a long story short, you'll find it much easier to hold somebody's attention (and SELL to them) when you deliver them exactly what they want at that moment in time.
#6: Customers LIKE it!
People LOVE to use messaging apps
Chat bots exist natively within already-familiar messaging platforms (where consumers actually ENJOY spending their time). There are no additional scripts, add-ons or apps to download in order to interact with a chat bot. Users simply engage with chat bots in the same way that they already do every day with the people in their life.
Another particularly key distinction here is that chat bots are designed to simulate regular conversation. This makes them much more approachable over slower or more linear forms of communication such as emails, articles and videos. This is because the end user tends to feel like they are actually being listened to.
During any conversation, one word or sentence can completely change the course of the interaction. There's nothing quite as frustrating as feeling like a square peg while a business tries to force you into a round hole. By asking relevant questions and giving consumers a level of control over the direction of the conversation, they are more likely to receive a relevant experience and focus their attention on your message.
In other words, when a conversation is tailored to the consumer it's going to feel to THEM like a much BETTER (more relevant) conversation that's worthy of their limited time and attention.
Finally, when it comes to engaging with businesses, nobody likes to wait. People like to engage with chat bots because they can get instant answers to their questions (even out-of-hours) without having to wait in a queue or until a team member notices the support email/ticket.
#7: Visibility is Credibility
It's easier to maintain consistent visibility.
They say that visibility is credibility. Therefore, consistent visibility over time is crucial in maintaining good credibility.
Display advertising is a popular way of maintaining this brand visibility. Companies like Coca Cola spend billions on TV advertising and other forms of visibility in order to maintain their own little corner of the consumer's mind, ready for the next time they're walking down the drinks aisle.
Unless your business relies almost entirely on passing trade and impulse buyers, you almost certainly need to build a solid reputation and maintain strong brand awareness.
Chat bots don't just pass by peoples' field of focus, they enable you to establish a direct 1-to-1 communication channel between you and your customer. If there's one surefire way to maintain visibility among your audience, it's to cultivate a meaningful relationship where you provide ongoing value in exchange for attention.
#8: Everybody uses messaging apps!
Messaging apps have an absolutely enormous userbase.
Did you know that messaging apps have more monthly active users than social media apps? Yes, seriously! That's how astonishingly widespread they are nowadays.
Facebook Messenger now boasts well over 1.2 BILLION active monthly users. (Read that: ACTIVE users.)
Let's put that in perspective. There are only 2.3 billion people on the entire planet that even own a smartphone.
That means out of all the smartphone users on the whole planet, more than 50% actively use Facebook messenger.
That means out of all the smartphone users on the whole planet, more than 50% actively use Facebook messenger.
As we like to say, “if your customer is a human with a smartphone, they're probably on Facebook Messenger!”
#9: Early adopters will benefit hugely.
You get to benefit from the First Mover Advantage (FMA)
Many marketers look back fondly on the early days of various innovations…
Mediums such as email marketing and SMS…
Platforms such as Google, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook & YouTube…
If you go back just a few short years, the competition for attention on these emerging platforms was very low indeed.
Fast forward to today and Google's search algorithm has changed more times than Lady Gaga has changed outfits. Facebook's edgerank algorithm has throttled the organic reach of business pages to a meagre ~2%. Even Instagram has now launched an algorithm to prioritise updates.
Early adopters of emerging technology typically find it much easier to become market leaders due both to the lack of noise/competition and also to the head-start on the learning curve.
In the not too distant future, chat bots are also going to be one of the most important tools in the marketer's toolbox. And the smart early adopters will look back with the same fond admiration on the “good old days” when it was EASY to generate and nurture leads…
There are 4 main aspects to the first mover advantage:
FMA Benefit 1: There's a distinct lack of competition
Right now it's highly likely most (or all) of your competitors don't even know what a chat bot IS, never mind what it does or how powerful it is. But they will, soon…
Usage may be low NOW, but it's growing at a STAGGERING rate. If you want to beat your competitors, start by being first to the race and you'll stand a much better chance of winning!
FMA Benefit 2: There's also a distinct lack of noise
Naturally, a lack of competition in your industry means less noise in the marketplace.
But remember, if you sell widgets, you're not only competing against other widget retailers for your consumer's attention, you're also competing with Starbucks, Coca Cola, Nike, BuzzFeed and everybody else in your consumer's digital world. Everybody wants their slice of the attention pie.
As I mentioned earlier, we are still in the very early stages of the tech adoption curve when it comes to Messenger bots. As such, they are still MASSIVELY underused and the opportunity is ripe. In fact only a TINY fraction (approximately 000.15%) of Facebook pages actually use a chatbot right now… And that's not accounting for the pages who actually know how to use them effectively yet (which is a much smaller number indeed!) – for many businesses it's still a shiny new object that they keep getting told to use, but they don't really understand why yet.
FMA Benefit 3: You have more time to learn your craft, test and re-iterate.
It goes without saying that the longer you practice something, the better you get.
Over time, as chat bots start to make their way more into the public conscious, your competitors are almost certainly going to start using chat bots themselves.
Wouldn't it be nice if you were already an expert with oodles of experience by the time that happens? Wouldn't it be nice to be WAY ahead of the competition before they even know the race is happening?
That is what this market opportunity is offering right now.
FMA Benefit 4: It's EASY to build subscribers right now… it won't be forever.
In the early days of Facebook it was easy to get page likes and engagement.
We know this, because we grew a community of musicians to over 100,000 in under 2 years almost entirely through organic reach. Even as the organic reach began to get throttled, it was still very easy to get page likes via PPC for under a penny each.
Yep! For the longest time, you could literally get about 1,000 genuine* page likes for just £10!
**Read: NOT fake likes (which you should never ever ever buy… by the way)
Over time, it became harder and harder to build a page of genuine fans. While the value of a page like has diminished in recent years, they still have plenty of stored value.
Think about Messenger bot subscribers the same way. It's easy right now to get subscribers!
In order for somebody to become a bot subscriber, they only need to send just 1 message to your page (or click 1 button). It's EASY!
Once somebody becomes a subscriber, you have the ability to message them anytime you like, as often as you like**.
**Clearly, you should be messaging people in a way that adds value and doesn't cause a nuisance. Break this golden rule and Facebook will have no qualms dropping the mighty banhammer.
You can even mass broadcast messages to your subscribers in the same way that you would with email.
Is it likely to be this easy forever? No.
Are Facebook likely to throttle organic reach just like they did with the newsfeed? Probably, but would you rather reach a fraction of 100 people or 100,000 people?
Whichever way you look at it, NOW is the time to start building your list.
Those who focus on building their bot subscribers NOW, early on, while it's easy, will be the ones who stand to benefit HUGELY in the years to come.
What Should I Do NOW?
So you see the light. You're totally on board and you want to know what to do next. The important thing is to just get started.
You could spend weeks or MONTHS learning everything there is to know about chat bots and deliberating on the best way to implement one… but the truth is that about 80% of the value you stand to gain by implementing a great chat bot is going to come from about 20% of its features.
So set aside some time in your calendar to really examine your marketing funnel and think about the highest-impact MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Ask yourself how you might be able to start collecting bot subscribers and nurturing them into customers.
We would suggest that you begin with the following:
- A Main Menu
- A Default Reply
- A Simple Lead Magnet & Landing Page
- Website Integration
- Greeting Message (what people see before clicking “Get Started”)
- Welcome Message (what people see AFTER clicking “Get Started”)
- A simple intro sequence to introduce new bot users to what they can do with your bot (ie type “menu” to see the available options)
This is all covered by our basic implementation package and provides you with the necessary foundations on which to begin adding various “modules” over time.
If you're interested in knowing more about how a Messenger chat bot could benefit YOUR business, feel free to get in touch for a free, no obligation, 1-to-1 demo with one of our in house bot ninjas.