How to Get Started with Chatbot Development: Whether You’re Building a Bot or Hiring a Specialist, Here’s How to Develop a Chatbot that Drives Results for Your Business

When you’re responsible for filling a pipeline of strong leads or enabling your sales and customer service teams for success, there’s a Lot. To. Do.

It’s time to put a chatbot to work as a virtual assistant for your business and your customers.

Chatbots work 24/7. 

Chatbots don’t need benefits.

Customers prefer to communicate with businesses over chat more than emailing or talking on the phone.

So what’s holding you back from unlocking super powers for chatbot marketing, sales and customer service is the actual chatbot development.

Sound about right?

Don’t put it off another minute with your guide to chatbot development for the most common business use cases.

After you read this you will have answers to these questions:

  • What are businesses using chatbots for today and what can I use them for?
  • How much does it cost to develop a chatbot?
  • How can I learn chatbot development?
  • How long does it take to build a chatbot?
  • Which is the best bot framework?
  • Where can I find a chatbot development specialist to hire?

We created this guide to chatbot development to help businesses launch a custom chatbot and execute their business goals, whether you develop the chatbot yourself or hire an agency or consultant who does.

Our agenda will cover chatbot development from all the angles — jump to sections with the links below or read through for an all-in-one, comprehensive guide to chatbot development:

  • Section 1: Chatbot Use Cases for Business: How Chatbots Bring It to the Bank
  • Section 2: Outsourcing? Checklist for Evaluating Chatbot Development Specialists
  • Section 3: Be the Expert: How to Learn Chatbot Development 

Section 1: Chatbot Use Cases for Business: How Chatbots Bring It to the Bank

Today there are nearly half a million Facebook Messenger bots helping businesses get more leads, close more sales, recruit team talent, and save money with automation.

What are businesses using chatbots for today?

Here are the most common ways businesses are using chatbots to drive bottom-line results:

  1. Lead generation: Get new contacts in organic ways like Facebook post autoresponders and paid methods like Facebook ads.
  2. Contests to increase brand awareness
  3. Newsletters / sharing content / VIP list experience
  4. Lead qualification
  5. Promos and sales
  6. Event registrations and special invitations
  7. Sales (i.e., product recommendations bot)
  8. Customer surveys
  9. Order updates
  10. Event reminders
  11. Answer FAQs
  12. Drip campaigns to nurture leads
  13. Appointment scheduling
  14. Hiring and recruitment: Similar to the way you can qualify leads with a chatbot, businesses can point candidates to a recruitment bot where the bot asks a series of questions to qualify them.

How much does it cost to develop a chatbot?

The cost to develop a chatbot depends on factors including:

  • Bot complexity: For example, how many FAQs do you need to program the bot to respond to, and how many integrations will you connect the bot to.
  • Bot functionality: For example, how many different entry points to the bot will you set up, and how many different goals will the bot assist with.
  • Bot management fees: Is the bot going to be managed by a team member in the organization or a consultant or agency.
  • Custom or template chatbot: A Facebook Messenger chatbot can be a bot from scratch or a bot copied from another bot or a template. When a bot is copied or a chatbot template is used, it’s because the template or existing bot has a lot of relevant set up and foundation that can help a business save some initial set up time.
  • Experience of the chatbot marketer: How much similar work has been successfully achieved by the person doing the bot development. Like anything, the more experience you have, the more efficient you will be. Likewise, the more experience you have, the more value you may provide and the more you may be able to charge.
  • Facebook Ad costs: Will Facebook Ads be used to generate new chatbot contacts (leads)? This requires ad spend and budget.

If you are planning to outsource the company’s chatbot development to a specialist, typically you will find a fee structure that includes:

  • Initial set up fee
  • Monthly retainer for set deliverables
  • And possibly, a bonus structure to reward meeting stated goals for the business

Section 2: Hiring? Checklist for Evaluating Chatbot Development Specialists

Where can I find a chatbot development specialist to hire?


Section 3: Be the Expert: How to Learn Chatbot Development 

How can I learn chatbot development?

How long does it take to build a chatbot?

Which is the best bot framework?

Tutorial #1: How to Create a Basic Bot

Chatbots can help you gather important contacts and learn information about your visitors, which takes some of the hard work out of contact building for you.

If you don’t already offer chatbots to your customers, you could be falling behind. Research predicts that chatbots will power 85% of all customer service interactions by 2020.

Creating a basic chatbot in that you can use for a variety of chatbot development purposes is as easy as a few clicks.

To create a basic bot, click “Add a Group.” From there, you’ll need to enter a group name and then click the “Create Group” button.251 WordPress Update, 21 Plugin Updates, 2 Theme Updates, Translation Updates

From here, find the group and click the “Create Page” button. Next, enter the name you want your page to have and click the “Create Page” button.

Then, select a widget that you want to add to your page.

You can include widgets such as:

  • Text
  • Images
  • Forms
  • Quick questions
  • GIFs
  • Attachments
  • Attributes
  • Connections
  • Emails
  • Galleries
  • Lists
  • Navigational menus
  • Typing widgets
  • Videos

For a basic bot, you will need to enter the text that you want your bot to greet users with.

This can be something as simple as “Welcome to our website!”

From there, you can add buttons to your page like a link to a different page, a phone number, or a URL.

If you select a URL, just click the URL button and enter in the URL of the page that you want your button to redirect to. In this example, we’ve linked to the blog.

Now, the button should look something like this:

And you’re done! Believe it or not, this is all it takes to build a full-functioning, very basic bot.

Double-check that the bot functions and looks the way you want it to with the Bot Tester.

Next, we’ll show you how to create a Q&A bot.

Tutorial #2: Add a Q&A Bot to Boost Customer Service

A Q&A bot is a more advanced bot, but it lets your bot provide template responses to a few common questions.

It’s likely that you’ll need to refine this bot over time since your customers’ questions (and your business) can change over time.

Q&A chatbots are perfect for customer service since they can provide 24/7 support to customers — even when your support agents are offline.

Plus, they can even help you reduce customer service costs by a whopping 30%.

To get started, create a new page for your Q&A bot.

From there, select “Add Q&A.”

Then, select the “Edit on Triggers page” button.

Insert trigger keywords here that will prompt the bot to send certain replies.

For these keywords, you can tell your bot to provide a text-based response, respond by sending a pre-built bot page, or do a mix of both.

The next tutorial covers how you can create a lead generation bot.

Tutorial #3: Create a Lead Generation Bot to Gather Leads

The lead generation bot is another advanced bot. saves the information of every user you interact with, but you sometimes need to learn more about them.

Research shows that sales reps spend about 18% of their time, on average, generating or researching leads. A lead generation bot can do some of that legwork for them.

For example, a lead generation bot could help you get to know more about your customers by adding a form to your landing pages.

To get started, create a new page for your lead generation bot. Then, select either the “Form” or “Quick question” widget.

If you go with the form option, fill it out based on what you’re trying to get from your audience (e.g., email).

Then, make sure that you save it as an “attribute” so that you can keep track of the data.

Add as many questions as you need in order to capture information on leads, but try and keep the form short if possible.

When Imagescape decreased their number of form fields from 11 to four, they saw a 120% increase in their conversion rate. You would do well to follow their example and keep your form concise.

Now, let’s look at how the “Quick question” widget differs from the “Form” widget.

The “Quick question” option is essentially the same as the form option, but you can only ask customers one question instead of a series of questions.

This option is best if you want to focus on capturing one type of contact information, such as an email address, as opposed to several different fields.

The fourth tutorial we will be covering is a marketing material delivery bot.

Tutorial #4: Deliver Marketing Content With a Marketing Material Delivery Bot

A marketing material delivery bot gives you the ability to send PDFs, white papers, and more directly to your audience without them having to download them.

To create this kind of bot, start by creating a new page.

Then, select the “Attachment” widget.

Here, you’ll just upload the attachment you want to send out.

Once you customize the bot and activate it, you’re done!

Tutorial #5: Use a Facebook Post Autoreply Bot to Respond to Customers’ Facebook Comments Automatically

A staggering 40% of customers who complain on social media expect a response within one hour.

And they might not always send their complaints straight to your Facebook Messenger inbox. They might simply write a complaint in your comments section.

A post guard bot allows you to automatically reply to comments on Facebook posts with a custom bot.

To build one, plan your post/bot combo and build your bot based on the tutorials above. Then, head to the “FB Comment Guard” section of your bot builder.

Create a new guard here that messages a person if they haven’t interacted with your page.

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Here’s how to do it:

  • Step 1: Build a new Comment Guard and don’t forget to give it a name
  • Step 2: Create an autoresponder for those who aren’t already a contact on Facebook Messenger. Once they reply, they’ve automatically opted in.
  • Step 3: Direct users to the chat landing page that you created for this specific engagement
  • Step 4: Select the post to officially add the Comment Guard

Put simply: write your message, select the page that you built to complement your post, and select the post you want to apply the guard to.

Next, we will look at how you can create a website messenger bot.

Tutorial #6: Add Website Messenger Bot to Increase Engagement

A website messenger bot allows you to put an automated Messenger bot on your WordPress website.

This can help you:

  • Increase your website’s overall engagement.
  • Save user info from those who do engage — unlike most chat services.

In our busy society where no one likes waiting, bots play an important role. A website Messenger bot is always online to “chat” with your customers, which is perfect for customers who aren’t willing to wait around for a response.

To get started, build a basic bot or an advanced bot and click the “HTML Elements” button in the bot builder.

Select the “Customer Chat Widget” button.

This allows your customers to interact with your bot directly on your website — all while collecting contacts whenever people initiate the conversation.

Give it a title, select your bot, and customize your introductory chat message or whitelisted pages.

Then, copy and paste the code from the bottom of the page into your website.

A chat blaster bot can help you send messages to audience members who have already opted in to receive them.

Tutorial #7: Send Targeted Messages With a Chat Blaster Bot

Targeted messaging can help you increase engagement. Studies show that 74% of marketers believe that targeted messages improve customer engagement rates.

Chat blasting lets you send highly targeted, non-promotional messages to opted-in audience members.

To create a chat blaster bot, create your bot and click the “Chat Blaster” button in your bot builder.

Add a title, choose your audiences, select a page, and then select which type of message you’re sending.

Facebook requires this due to the GDPR, which only allows you to send one promotional message per day to your audience.

You can even use the “Test this Blast” button to send a sample of the chat blast messages to your own profile before you decide to make your bot go live.

A drip campaign bot lets you schedule out bot blasts in intervals that you can choose ahead of time.

Tutorial #8: Schedule Bot Blasts With a Drip Campaign Bot

The ecommerce website Dormify used a drip campaign with a series of three emails to increase their email revenue by 92%.

But drip campaigns aren’t just for email. You can create a drip campaign for your chatbot, too.

A drip campaign bot can take your chatbot game to the next level. With them, you can schedule out bot blasts in intervals that you determine.

We recommend front-loading these bot blasts since people will be more likely to interact with you the sooner you chat with them.

Create your drip campaign pages to get started. Then, select “Drip Campaigns” from the bot builder.

Next, add basic details like the name, audience, and purpose of your campaign.

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From here, you can schedule pages based on whatever intervals you want. For example, you can send a lead generation page after three minutes or a welcome page after one minute.

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The choice is yours.

We Know Custom Chatbots

Don’t feel like learning how to or building your own chatbot? Let us find the custom chatbot building partner for you!

Our team of engineers and AIML experts can build a virtual agent according to your specifications, and can even help integrate avatar or speech capabilities.

Outstanding entrepreneurs are always on top of the newest trends that offer business opportunities in the form of innovative solutions.

You’re probably familiar with AI-powered virtual assistants, also known as chatbots, as they’ve been one of the hottest topics in the marketing world for some time now.

Recent advancements in the technology that powers bots have opened the flood doors for companies of all sizes, and they’re rushing in to establish their bot as a point of reference for consumers.

Because they’ve become a necessity for all organizations, setting up an agency that specializes in creating custom-made bots seems like a winning business venture.

The only problem is that creating a chatbot is a technical field, so you need a high level of coding knowledge and expensive tools to put together a great chatbot…or do you?

The truth is, thanks to platforms you can now create bots for free in a matter of minutes without any prior coding knowledge.

Thanks to its purely visual interface, you can use this platform to create complex bots that add real value to any company in which they’re utilized.

Contact us for custom chatbot development

Please call us at (855) 720-2694 or email us at to learn more about custom chatbot development for your business.

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