Don't miss Part One of this series as Alex Curtis discusses Surprising Things That Will Get You Better Results from Facebook Ads .
Are you using chatbots in Messenger? We’ve found they can be a highly beneficial way of obtaining your customer’s details. But there are some things you should know before you blindly dive straight in. I’m going to share our experience to help you create a great user experience using chatbots.
What is a chatbot and why do we use them?
A chatbot simulates human conversation that you can interact with via a chat interface. If your chatbot is well-constructed, it should appear just as though you are having a conversation with a human.
You may have come into contact with chatbots in the past, as they are used across many different markets ranging from retail to self-help, but we use chatbots to generate leads for our clients in the financial services industry and the results have been significant. Chatbots are a great way of initially filtering out the good leads from the bad before you have even lifted a finger.
In a world where more and more processes are becoming digital, people are getting used to the idea of doing something without having to physically talk to anyone, so the idea of discussing a better mortgage rate over Facebook Messenger is one that sits well with most. Of course, a phone call is the end goal, but letting someone know that you can help them via a chatbot opens them up to the idea of further contact – which you can then build on.
We have also found chatbots to be a great success because they are available to use anywhere, at any time. Let’s face it, most people are scrolling through Facebook during their downtime in the evening when they probably wouldn’t think to (or want to) pick up the phone and speak to a mortgage adviser.
How do chatbots work?
Chatbots can be generated across a few different platforms, but we have found both ManyChat and Landbot to be great options. Essentially, both pieces of software allow you to build and tailor a chatbot to your specific needs. ManyChat focuses solely on Facebook Messenger, whereas Landbot can be used across Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and it can also be embedded into any website.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a code genius to work with the likes of ManyChat and Landbot, you just need to know the right questions to ask in order to gain the necessary information from your desired audience.
We use our chatbots off the back of an ad placed in someone’s Facebook feed. It’s then down to the user to click that ad in order to be taken through to Messenger. Why do we do this? We believe this is a less intrusive way of generating leads through a Messenger placement and so far, it has worked very much in our favour.
Essentially, it’s down to the user to initiate the conversation and they do so by clicking the ‘send a message’ button in your ad. The chatbot will then activate. Straight away your chances of success are increased, as you know that the user has clicked on your ad for a reason.
What’s the difference between ManyChat and Landbot?
When we started using chatbots to generate leads, we found ManyChat to do the job just fine. You can build your chatbot using the template of a basic flow chart and add the necessary steps you need. We use HubSpot CRM to capture all the contact information for leads, so they appear in a list, typically along with a phone number and email address.
A feature we have found particularly useful in ManyChat is the ability to link flows together. For example, we have a particular flow called ‘contact us’ which follows standard steps to obtain someone’s email, phone number and the best time to call, which we then attach to the end of the majority of our flows.
We discovered Landbot pretty recently, as we wanted to embed a chatbot into a website. Landbot is certainly a more flexible chatbot builder, as you have the option to use it within websites, landing pages, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
The nature in which we use chatbots means we want to get the answers to specific questions, so our clients have basic but essential information before they have even picked up the phone. Both Landbot and ManyChat allow you to structure the way in which a question is answered. You can add buttons where the user selects an option that’s most suitable to them, or you can give a little more freedom by adding a simple text box.
Having button options gives your chatbot structure, as you can then tailor the experience depending on the option the user has selected. But, if you are using button options, you need to be careful that you don’t use too many yes and no options. Sometimes, asking closed questions is necessary, but the aim of the chatbot is to get as much information as you can out of that person, so you want to give them the chance to elaborate as much as possible.
For example, if you asked the question ‘What type of mortgage do you have?’, your button options may be ‘interest-only’ or ‘repayment’. Depending on what option the user selects, they will be taken on a different journey through the chatbot and you will then gain specific information based off the back of their mortgage type.
Another difference between Manychat and Landbot is the price. Manychat base their fees on usage, so for each ‘account’ you have on there, you pay circa $10. It doesn’t seem a lot, but if you are building/running chatbots for a number of clients like we are, it can add up.
Landbot has more of a subscription-based pricing structure and there are different plans available depending on what you want to use it for. You can get a free version, which provides the basics and then prices for other plans start at $30 a month and go all the way up to $500, so there’s an option for everyone.
Getting the balance between factual and personal
When it comes to chatbots, you do have a purpose to obtain information, but you (the chatbot!) need to be personal to ensure you obtain that information in the first place. So, it’s all about striking the right balance. You may wonder how you can come across personal on an automated message, but you just need to construct it as you would a normal conversation and not be too formal/structured.
It’s also good to anticipate the replies you may receive. For example, if you ask someone a question, you should acknowledge their answer even though you are yet to know their response. You can do this with a simple line like ‘Ok, that’s great’ or ‘thank you for that’. The more you can make a chatbot seem authentic, the better it’s likely to perform. Don't forget, you are presenting as a brand, so you want to come across well.When it comes to chatbots, it’s all about striking the right balance. You may wonder how you can come across personal on an automated message, but you just need to construct it as you would a normal conversation and not be too formal. #Youpreneur Click To Tweet
Test, test – and test again
Chatbots are pretty technical and there are a lot of potential errors that could interfere with the user experience, so it's important to test it. Testing should not stop once the chatbot has been built as when you come to analyse results, changes may need to be made and therefore, testing needs to occur to ensure those changes perform as they should.
Test your chatbot and try your best to find faults. It’s better for you to find faults and deal with them than someone who could be a potential customer coming across an issue.
Why your chatbot needs to be seamless
You want to make your chatbot seem as real as possible but don’t shy away from the fact it’s a bot, you don’t want to mislead people. The best thing you can do is mimic a natural human conversation, as you want the chatbot experience to be as natural as possible.
With the nature of chatbots, there’s a small margin for error – one misplaced arrow in the flow or one message that isn’t connected properly and you could have lost a potential customer. Ensuring your chatbot is seamless allows for a better user experience and also means you obtain the level of information you require from the customer, as they are likely to give you more detail.
Capturing data has never been easier
We create most of our chatbots using ManyChat and we think they’re a simple, yet effective, way of collecting key data from people who are genuinely interested in you and what you do. The Facebook ads we create encourage people to find out more by ‘using our eligibility bot’.
With a chatbot, you can get to the root of what a customer really wants and find out information about them that otherwise might be difficult to obtain, which is why we use them frequently, as it just feels like a conversation, people are more willing to give you their details.
Make it easier for people
What you’re essentially doing with a chatbot is making it easier for you to obtain key information about your potential customers to identify if they fit your criteria. For the person on the other end, you’re making it easier for them to communicate what they want from you.
So it would only make sense to make the chatbot as easy to comprehend as possible so that they have a good experience with you. For example, by creating options that are easy to read which will make them easy to click. When it comes to chatbots, the less complicated and intrusive, the better.
When setting up chatbots within Facebook Messenger ads, you have the choice to set the initial message (AKA the intro message). This essentially sets the tone for the chat and comes before the options that trigger the chatbot. What we’ve found works particularly well is having a brief intro message as something like ‘select an option below’ and have your options come after, where people can pick the one that resonates the most with them.
From what we’ve seen, the ads that have brief or no initial message seem to get more clicks, which may be because people are fully aware that they are interacting with a chatbot. However, we know for certain that ads with a brief initial message perform particularly well.
Identify who’s interested and who isn’t
When people interact with the ad and initiate a chat with a bot, all the results will show on Ads Manager. However, sometimes this data isn’t super accurate, as some people may click on the ad by mistake.
ManyChat allows you to look at more metrics so that you can separate the wheat from the chaff and distinguish who has followed the chatbot through right to the end and entered all the valid information – you can then eliminate the people who have started the chat by mistake.
We’ve also found that Messenger ads work better when you show the person on the other end of the chat some value. For example, by saying something like ‘I’m sure that we can help you’.
People aren’t interested in what you do, they want to know what you can do for them – which is where many businesses go wrong, as when it comes to their sales pitch, they feel the need to real off loads of information about what they do and how they do it, when the reality is, no-one really cares about that. Humans are innately selfish and they want to know what you can do for them.
What would you prefer…
A pushy sales pitch on a website or a casual convenient chat? We think the latter.
We firmly believe that chatbots provide the ideal platform for you to spark a relationship early on with a potential new customer, as even your bot has personality. You can also get the bot to introduce you as the person they will speak to and as we all know, people are much happier to chat with people.
Alex Curtis is a lead generation specialist and founder of lead generation agency The Lead Engine. Alex and his team help financial services businesses generate their own leads using their own brand as an alternative to ‘buying leads’. Alex coaches self-employed brokers and his agency works with large financial services lenders and broker firms.