I met The Mustache Marketer at a recent networking event. The Mustache Marketer aka Joshua Cahill specializes in Facebook Messenger Bot Creation. Huh? Curious, I picked up his card on my way out. On the back was this:
Now I was downright intrigued. I can scan this thing with my Messenger App? Is this like a QR code? I thought QR codes were dead? When did I miss this?
After fumbling around inside the Messenger App and taking a few pointless photos, I finally found my profile hidden at the top left of the screen and once I clicked into that I found my own profile picture with this same Morse-code, crop-circle-like pattern surrounding it. I was on to something. A few more clicks and I was finally there. Where exactly? Inside my Facebook Messenger App, reading messages from a bot named Jarvis.
I’m too old for this. I send an email to Joshua Cahill and ask for a meeting. I’ve got to tackle this the old-fashioned way.
Me: What in the heck is a Facebook Messenger Bot?
JC: A bot is basically a way to automate a process. In this case, I’m automating what is delivered on Facebook Messenger. The bot lives on your Facebook business page and it allows you to market your products or services to the two billion daily users on Facebook Messenger.
Me: Is this like the marketing automation process I’d use in a drip email campaign?
JC: Yes, but much more powerful. Open rates for emails are dismal. I ran an affiliate marketing company and my open rates were less than 20 percent and my click-through rates even worse, at about two percent. There are two billion daily users on Facebook Messenger. People like using messenger applications to communicate with their friends and family versus checking their email. And, unlike email, they open 90 percent of the messages they receive and click on 40 percent of the links sent inside the Messenger application.
Me: How does this work since a business on Facebook can’t message people unless that person has messaged the business?
JC: You can’t spam people. Facebook won’t allow that. You build an opt-in list of people who choose to interact with you through Facebook Messenger just like you do with an email subscriber list. Anyone who sends a message to your business Facebook page is automatically opted in. You also can embed Send Message buttons on your web site, in blog posts and in your emails, as well as in your Facebook ads and posts, to grow your list. Even comments made by users on specific posts can opt users into your Messenger list. Once opted-in, you can send them promo offers, content, pictures, gifs, and even videos under 25MB all through Facebook Messenger. And instead of a 20 percent open rate to your offer, you’ll see a 90 percent open rate.
Me: Can you give me some examples of how businesses might use this?
JC: Sure. Lead generation is a big one. I generally guarantee my clients 30 leads per month from Facebook Messenger. For example, I’ve created this bot below specifically for real estate agents. It shows an agent’s featured properties, asks if they want to buy or sell, the timeframe in which they want to do so, collects all the lead information and puts it on a Google sheet so the agent can follow up.
Me: I see that you ask specific questions to guide people through the process, other than when you are collecting lead information.
JC: Yes, I am creating a process that will lead the customer through the actions the client wants them to take. I work in partnership with my clients to map the conversation flow chart and add the custom buttons based on the needs of their business. You also can add specific keywords to your bot to trigger specific responses. At any point, a customer may want to type a message to the company and get a personal response from a live customer service rep too, so companies need to keep that in mind and plan for how they will staff their social response team too.
Me: It sounds like you must be a pretty sophisticated developer to build these?
JC: Actually no. Not in the standard sense. This isn’t programming as in code. Within the Bot software, you are creating flowcharts with different types of blocks and deciding on the logic you want the processes to follow.
For example, with the real estate bot, one customer may ask to be notified about new listings in specific communities, so they would go through one process while another wants to schedule an appointment with the agent, so they go through another process. I can integrate the bots with third-party tools for automated appointment scheduling or with call centers for processing orders or calling back leads.
There are a several software services, free and paid, that allow you to build a bot yourself. You must commit the time to learn it and then maintain and update your automated processes. It took me about six months of working with it for my own business before I started offering this service to other companies.
Me: Who would be an ideal customer?
JC: Any business that needs to build relationships directly with their customers. Authors, health coaches and real estate agents are a few of my current customers. If you are spending money on local advertising, it’s worth looking into. A Facebook Marketing Bot offers you new ways to interact with your customers on a platform they are already using every day.
Me: What does building a bot cost?
JC: You can do it yourself using a software service like ManyChat for $10 a month. But again, while it isn’t programming in the traditional sense, it also isn’t something you will just pick up in a few hours. You must dedicate substantial time to learning the software. If I build the bot for you, it’s anywhere from $500 to $1,500 and I offer monthly management services for an additional fee. You may or may not need them. It depends on what you want your bot to do, how often the information contained within the bot needs to be updated and how frequently you want the process itself to be updated.
Me: Can you give me an example of a way you have used the bot to grow your own business?
JC: Sure. I’ve been nurturing relationships with my followers at The Mustache Marketer for months. I offer free introductory trainings, tips for running a successful Facebook marketing campaign, tips on growing subscriber lists and much more. Recently, I sent out a request to my followers to review my page. There are 800 people on my Messenger subscriber list. In less than 24 hours, I had 60 5-star reviews on my Facebook business page. As we all know, positive reviews are extremely important today for attracting new customers.
Also, this past November, based on my heavy usage of Facebook Messenger, I was invited to Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, California to meet with the head of the Messenger Business at Facebook, Stefanos Loukakos. One of my clients was interviewed live from Facebook by small business expert, Gene Marks.
Wow. This is cool stuff and now I feel like a total slacker. Time to build a bot for Fat Cat. Obviously, its name will be Paul.
To learn more about Josh Cahill, the Mustache Marketer, visit his Facebook page or click to receive Josh’s Top 8 Tips for Using Messenger Bots.
I have an appetite for getting things done. As an advertising and corporate communications leader, I am experienced in bringing people, as well as animals, together. I have led cross-departmental teams and developed trusted relationships with C-Suite executives. I have 20 years of public relations and marketing communications experience, including providing traditional, digital and social media services to billion-dollar brands. I don’t believe in lengthy processes or convoluted platforms. I believe in hard work, empathy and love.