Consumer technology products are increasingly an essential part of brand marketing. Just as marketing teams need great storytellers, they also need great technologists. A prime example of technology driving brand growth are chatbots.

Even Mark Zuckerberg agrees.

During Facebook’s Q3 earnings Zuckerberg said that 100 billion private messages are sent daily  across Facebook’s global network.

“People share more photos, videos and links on WhatsApp and Messenger than they do on social networks” said Zuckerberg.

Messenger is a key growth pillar for Facebook, yet very few brands are present.

Messenger bots in 2019 remind me of Facebook brand pages in 2012. Back then, brand pages were unique, engaging and provided value to fans in the form of content, community and product offers. In exchange, brand pages drove unparalleled traffic and sales.

The same holds true today with Messenger, but the clock is ticking. Soon Messenger will be overrun with brands all competing for elusive customer attention. While Facebook has not announced how it will monetize private messaging, I believe it will be done in the same way that it monetized brand pages; Give brands a taste of free traffic, then charge for delivery.

That means the time for brands to launch a chat bot is now!

Below are three tips for brands considering using Facebook Messenger as part of their marketing strategy.

1. Start using Messenger now (While it’s still free!)

Most consumers don’t have dozens of brands screaming at them via Messenger. A Messenger notification, then, is something a consumer wants to read and take action on. Compare that to email, where inboxes are so filled with newsletters and promotions, that a 5% open rate is considered acceptable.

I set up a remarketing Messenger bot for a client and, in the first month, recovered $5,000 in abandoned cart sales (this was in addition to abandoned cart email flows).

1,677 messages generated $4,500 in sales. Imagine if email performed that well!

2. Leverage off the shelf chatbots to get going quickly

Designing a custom Messenger bot can be complex and expensive. It requires lengthy decision trees for all possible if/then permutations. Don’t get lost in the complexity! There are off the shelf solutions that enable you to skip this step and get going quickly.  

The decision tree for a simple Alexa bot I made

For brands that have a Shopify store, ReCart is a great option that allows you to easily deploy a Messenger chatbot. With minimal setup and low cost, starting here will help you decide if it’s worth investing in a more robust option down the line.

3. Don’t lose sight of the human touch

Customer service is increasingly a vital part of marketing. Chatbots bring this to a whole new level because they are designed to get customers to engage. While the appeal of chatbots is to automate consumer conversations, bots are also opening the door to more engaging customer interactions. Brands have to be ready for that.

To be effective, have a human on call, ready to respond to real questions that the bot doesn’t know yet. This might mean more work for your support team, but it will increase sales by guiding perspective customers through the purchase funnel.

An added benefit to engaging the support team with bot marketing is that support can keep track of the most frequent conversation flows. This will be vital knowledge when creating a more feature rich chatbot.

Are you using chatbots, either on Messenger or elsewhere? I’d love to hear how they are performing for you!