This is a comprehensive guide to Facebook Messenger bots and marketing using chatbots.
This guide, written by Ross Kimbarovsky (CEO of crowdspring), was created through a partnership between my company, Customers.ai, a popular Facebook Messenger Marketing platform and free chatbot builder used by millions of users worldwide, and crowdspring, a leading global marketplace where 210,000+ creatives from 195 countries help entrepreneurs, businesses, agencies and nonprofits with custom logo design, web design, print design, product design, and naming businesses and products.
We know that the idea of using a chatbot can be intimidating.
But the truth is that chatbots can improve marketing, reduce marketing costs, improve ROI, and make marketers’ lives easier. Pre-made Facebook Messenger template bots for just about every industry are even easy to grab here.
If you want to supercharge your marketing and accelerate growth and revenue, you’ll love this guide and getting to know how to use a chatbot builder like a pro.
Let’s get started.
What is Facebook Messenger Marketing?
Messenger marketing is the act of marketing to your customers and prospective customers using a messaging app like Facebook Messenger.
Facebook Messenger is a popular messaging app and platform. Approximately 1.3 billion people use Facebook Messenger.
Users can send messages and exchange photos, videos, stickers, audio, and files, as well as react to other users’ messages and interact with bots. The service also supports voice and video calling. The standalone apps support using multiple accounts, conversations with optional end-to-end encryption, and playing games.
Although this form of marketing is similar to email marketing, there are some significant differences and the tools are also different.
What are Chatbots?
A chatbot (or bot) is a piece of automated software that engages in a conversation with people.
Chatbots are programmed to understand basic questions, provide answers, and execute various tasks. Forbes reports that “according to Gartner, by 2020, 85% of our engagement with businesses will be done without interacting with another human. Instead, we’ll be using self-service options and chatbots. Additionally, according to an Oracle survey, 80% of businesses said they currently use or are planning to use chatbots by 2020.”
Companies like Customers.ai offer chatbots to help companies automate and improve lead generation, and companies like Drift and Intercom help with chatbots, email marketing, and other things as well.
What is a Facebook Messenger bot and how does it differ from other bots?
A Facebook Messenger chatbot or bot is exclusively built for the Facebook Messenger platform. Customers.ai’s Larry Kim explains:
Customers.ai is built using the Facebook Messenger platform. So if you’re using ourFacebook Messenger website chat widget (see the Customers.ai website for an example of this) the conversations are instantaneously being routed from your website, to the user, via Facebook Messenger. This provides a few huge advantages for marketers over those other chat platforms including:
- You Get All the Contact Information – The conversations aren’t anonymous. Facebook sends you the identity of people who are messaging your website, including all contact information and even a profile photo. On other chat platforms, if the user closes the browser, the marketers will have no idea who they were talking to, which is frustrating.
- You Can Send Them Push Notifications – Anyone who messages your page is opted into messaging, so you can send them follow-ups or reminder drip campaigns, which is amazing.
- You Get Their Facebook ID: These tend to last forever, where as business emails expire on average 4% / month due to people changing jobs, etc.
- You Can Remarket to Them – Using Facebook ads.
But there are a lot of other things Drift and Intercom do, like email marketing, and other super expensive, fancy enterprise stuff.
Today, there are over 300,000 active chatbots on Facebook Messenger.
Why are smart marketers using Messenger chatbots?
Marketers want to reach more prospects, generate more leads, and improve conversions.
This was historically easy and cheap to do on Facebook, but in the past several years, Facebook’s organic reach has eroded while ad costs have increased.
As a result, many marketers have moved their campaigns away from Facebook to other social platforms.
But there’s a way to regain the historically strong reach and engagement on Facebook while reducing your costs: Facebook Messenger chatbots.
If you’re not using Facebook Messenger chatbots, you’re not alone. Fewer than one percent of marketers and businesses are using this strategy to connect with their customers and prospects.
Messenger bots may be the best-kept secret in digital marketing today. That’s because messaging has eclipsed social networks in popularity. Larry Kim explains:
There are more daily active users of popular messaging applications than social media applications, yet less than 1% of companies are doing chat marketing. I thought that was crazy, so Customers.ai was born.
According to Kim, “Facebook Messenger chatbots are the #1 growth marketing channel for the next +5-10 years.”
Larry Kim is not a stranger to digital marketing. Before founding Customers.ai, Kim founded WordStream, the world’s leading PPC (pay-per-click) marketing platform managing over a billion dollars of annualized ad spend for tens of thousands of businesses.
Marketers and business owners who have experimented with bots know that bots are proving valuable for businesses. According to Facebook:
- 2 billion messages are sent monthly between businesses and people
- 53% of people are more likely to buy from a business they can message
- 56% of people prefer to message instead of calling customer service
That’s why smart marketers are increasingly using chatbots, and especially Messenger chatbots, as part of their marketing strategy.
Messenger chatbots can help you regain reach and engagement with Facebook users.
Facebook Messenger messages reach far more users than organic posts.
In fact, while organic Facebook posts reach an average of 1 to 2% of Page fans, the average open rates for Facebook Messenger messages is 50-80%, with a 20% average click rate. If you use a tool like Customers.ai, for example, you can “blast all your contacts directly on Facebook Messenger, so you don’t have to worry about the News Feed filters,” according to Larry Kim.
Facebook Messenger messages convert 3x to 5x better than Facebook desktop ads.
This is because most Messenger users are on mobile and more frequently engage with messages. Facebook desktop ads have to share a large screen with tons of other ads and content. And it doesn’t hurt that people think messaging is the second-best way to talk to a business.
Facebook Messenger messages can reduce your marketing costs.
For example, here’s an interesting case study describing how Customers.ai cut the cost of lead acquisition from $150 to $5 per lead using Facebook Messenger.
According to Customers.ai’s Larry Kim, “we’re finding that the new Facebook Send To Messenger Ads can generate leads at 30-50x less than what you’d pay for the usual Facebook ad campaigns.” (More on what are Facebook Messenger ads here.)
Similarly, chatbots have helped other brands increase conversions. Sephora’s reservation assistant increased the average user spend to $50, while Tommy Hilfiger’s chatbot increased returning customers by 87%.
Facebook Messenger can segment your audience.
You can segment your audience on what they prefer or do and then target different chat blasts to different segments of your audience.
You can create smart chatbots to automate Q&A with a live takeover by a human.
For example, if you want to invite people to schedule a sales call with your team, you can automate a Facebook Messenger chatbot to ask for the necessary contact information. And, importantly, a human can jump into any conversation and take over at any time.
You don’t need to know how to code to launch a Facebook Messenger chatbot.
Anyone can use easy to use tools from a company like Customers.ai to create chatbots in minutes without any help from software developers.
How are smart businesses using Facebook Messenger bots?
Each bot is as unique as the business it serves.
Bots can, among other tasks, help book sales appointments, track delivery, or make product suggestions. Bots can also help book a flight or order dinner, remind you to purchase a product, notify you about an offer you might like, or tell you a joke.
For example, Sephora’s bot eliminates five steps from booking a makeover in one of their stores. Sephora’s bot increased the booking rate by 11 percent. Whole Foods’ bot helps people discover recipes based on ingredients. Here are more great examples of popular bots.
To learn more about using chatbots, we recommend you read How Chatbots Can Help You Grow Revenue In Your Business.
How can you create your Facebook Messenger chatbot?
You don’t need to know how to code or have a full-time team of software developers. You can use a tool like Customers.ai (free and paid plans) to build chatbots for Facebook Messenger.
Customers.ai’s Larry Kim explains:
We offer tons of free chatbot tools for Facebook Messenger – there are way too many to list them out, but a few the most popular tools include:
- An intuitive visual chatbot builder
- A Facebook Messenger chat blaster
- Messenger marketing drip campaigns
- Automated website chat via Facebook Messenger
How can you promote your Facebook Messenger chatbot?
Once you build your Facebook Messenger chatbot, you need to develop a strategy to use and promote it. Here are some proven tactics that can help you do both:
Add a Facebook Messenger button on your website and on your Facebook page.
A button on your site or Facebook page will let your customers and prospects connect with your chatbots with a simple click. Facebook gives you appropriate embed codes for your landing page or you can use plugins if your site is running on a CMS (content management system) like WordPress.
Build dedicated landing pages.
Dedicated landing pages can help to connect you with more customers in Facebook Messenger.
We recommend you read Give Your New Business a Jump Start with an Effective Landing Page and How to Create a High Converting Landing Page to learn more about creating great landing pages.
If you use a tool like Customers.ai, you can quickly build landing pages for your chatbots without any coding.
Use paid ads on Facebook Messenger to build your subscriber list.
Offer people something of value as you build your subscriber list. You don’t want to simply sell 100% of the time.
One good way to do this is by sharing your most valuable content developed on your blog or other social networks, through Facebook Messenger blasts.
Messenger ads direct users to message your Facebook Page. Once users get to your Facebook page, you can have your Facebook Messenger chatbot respond instantly to your Messenger ad, matching the message, offer, and audience.
Customers.ai’s Larry Kim says that one of Customers.ai’s customers “is driving leads for her personal training business for around $4 / lead. We haven’t seen Facebook ad prices that low since 5 or 6 years ago.”
Link to your Facebook Messenger chatbot from email signatures.
You can include a link to your Messenger chatbot in your email signature, or if you use a support service like Zendesk or Helpdesk, from the signatures your support agents use.
Add your chatbot to Facebook’s discovery tab.
Facebook’s Discover Tab is a Facebook tool with a collection of Messenger bots and nearby places and businesses
to message. You’ll need to fill out a submission form but it’s simple and will help you gain more visibility with Facebook users.
How can you use your Messenger chatbot effectively?
Larry Kim has developed a 9-point guide to help marketers and business owners become a master at Facebook Messenger chatbot marketing.
- Subscription messaging, what it is, and how to get it
- Fundamentals of signing up subscribers
- Advanced segmentation pro moves
- Art of Messenger handbook
- Engagement hacks
- It’s nothing totally personal
- All-time worst chat blasts
- Sponsored messages for promotional messages
- How to benchmark your campaigns
You can find the complete chat blasting guide on Customers.ai’s blog. Below, we briefly summarize each of the nine suggestions.
1. Subscription Messaging: what it is, and how to get it.
Facebook Messenger has several types of messages.
Standard messaging allows you to send any type of message (promotional or non=promotional) to a person, within 24 hours, after they send your chatbot a message. You can send as many messages as you want within a 24 hours period. After the first 24 hours, you can send only one additional message to that person.
Subscription messaging allows you to chat blast non-promotional messages as often as you want. You must apply to Facebook for subscription messaging status for each Page. This takes about 10 minutes of your time.
There’s also sponsored messaging, which we’ll discuss below.
2. Fundamentals of Signing Up Subscribers
Once you’re approved for subscription messaging, you need to build your subscriber list. Start by building a Messenger opt-in page. Below is an example of Customers.ai’s opt-in page.
Since you’re allowing people to subscribe, you also must allow them to easily and quickly unsubscribe. If you use a chatbot tool like Customers.ai, this is easy because they handle all the technical stuff. People can simply unsubscribe by typing “stop” in response to any message.
You can grow your subscriber list by running click-to-Messenger ads targeting your Page fans, build a Facebook Post autoresponder to engage commenters when they leave a comment in Messenger conversations, and update your Facebook Page CTA to “Send Message” to your Messenger chatbot.
And don’t worry – you can easily comply with the EU’s GDPR regulations by following these Messenger marketing best practices.
3. Advanced Segmentation Pro Moves
People are different and generally, have different interests. You can easily segment your Facebook Messenger contacts into custom audiences, and then vary your messages to each audience segment.
4. Art of Messenger Handbook: What Facebook Says
Facebook advises that marketers use short messages and if they’re sending longer messages, to separate them into a series of shorter messages. After all, people are mostly seeing these messages on a small mobile screen. Facebook also recommends you add color. This is where a custom, professional logo design or icon would help you get attention. Notice the Customers.ai icon in the example above.
And be sure to use your business name in your messages. After all, there’s no point to communicate with people about your brand if they don’t know with whom they’re communicating.
5. Engagement Hacks for Open Rate Optimization
Combine any widgets you use in your messages with a strong CTA (call-to-action). Here’s a good example from a recent Messenger blast Larry Kim send to his subscribers.
CTA’s are important, not just for messages but also on your website. For more on CTA’s we recommend you read: Grow Your Small Business With These 7 Website Design Best Practices.
Also, be sure to use the right voice for your messages. Messenger is typically used to talk with friends. Since this is a unique channel, talk like you would with a friend. If you normally would use emojis, use them in your messages. Be sure that your brand voice in messages is consistent with your brand, but do account for the differences in channels.
6. Personalize Your Chatbot Messages
Normally, personalizing many messages when you’re blasting them to a large audience can be time-consuming. But if you use a tool like Customers.ai, you can use dynamic parameters to include a person’s first name just like you would in an email.
You can also include custom variables that you create in Customers.ai. Custom variables are bits of info that you gather over time which you can use to personalize your responses and messages.
7. What Not to Do
As you start experimenting with Facebook Messenger blasts, you’re bound to make some mistakes. But don’t worry, even the best experts make chat blast mistakes.
For example, don’t forget to include unsubscribe language in every chat blast. Otherwise, people will block you or complain to Facebook.
Also, be sure to test your messages on small sample sizes and send only your best-performing messages to larger groups.
8. Sponsored Messages
You can create sponsored messages to promote your brand’s products or services. This allows you to use all of Facebook Ads targeting abilities on top of your own list of contacts, and go beyond your organic reach. And you can send a message at any time and overcome the restrictions with other types of messages.
You can create sponsored messages in Facebook Ads Manager, but instead of the Click to Messenger option, click the Sponsored Messages as your Messages destination.
9. Track Attack: Statistics Central
As with other marketing campaigns, you must measure each campaign to see if it’s effective. You can check Facebook Insights or, if you’re using a tool like Customers.ai, you can look in Customers.ai’s chat blaster for message analytics.
Now that you know all about Facebook Messenger marketing, it’s time for you to take the next step and set up your first bot. It just might be the fuel you need to supercharge your marketing.
About the Author
Ross Kimbarovsky is the founder and CEO of crowdspring, a leading global marketplace where 210,000+ creatives from 195 countries help entrepreneurs, businesses, agencies and nonprofits with logo design, web design, print design, product design, and naming businesses and products. You can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About Larry Kim
Larry Kim is the CEO of Customers.ai — provider of the World’s Best Facebook Messenger Marketing Platform. He’s also the founder of WordStream.
You can connect with him on Facebook Messenger, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram.
The original, full version of this guide (3,000+ words) was posted on the crowdspring marketing blog.
3 thoughts on “What Is a Facebook Messenger Bot? The Definitive Chatbot Marketing Guide”
Wow, this is an awesome list. Thank you!
Thanks, Gia! We think it covers a lot of area for marketers just getting acquainted with Messenger marketing and chatbots. The best practices for chat blasting is my favorite. 😉
Awesome article. Bot building is a joyful experience, provided you are well planned and you know your aims and objectives. I have found that Wireframing software like Mindmup helps in designing bots effectively.
2019 would be the year of Facebook Messenger chatbots, so get your Bot and stay ahead of the game.