Welcome to the first installment in our #botboss series, a collection of interviews with experts in the chatbot industry. We’re gathering their best advice and insider tips to help you get the most out of your Chatfuel bot!

We’ve seen companies find incredible success increasing their sales with marketing automation using Messenger chatbots. (Think tripling conversion rates and earning a 999% return on ad spend!) If you’ve launched a chatbot for your brand and the needle hasn’t moved, it’s likely that something’s not right.

That’s why we sat down with the first expert in our #botboss series, Chatfuel’s Head of Growth Jacqueline Samira, to get her best insider tips about building a Facebook Messenger bot to boost sales. Whether you’re looking to fine tune your existing chatbot or are just starting out, #botboss Jacqueline can help.

I really want to increase my sales! Can a chatbot help me? 🤔

Jacqueline recommends everything be done with intention when it comes to your chatbot, including building it in the first place. As with any marketing or support tool—no matter how impressive the technology—a bot won’t win you any points with customers unless it can solve a real problem for them. To find out which of their pain points are most pressing, she suggests heading to the front lines: your live support team.

If they tell you the main complaint is that poor packaging is causing customers to receive damaged products, for example, you need to talk to your packaging supplier rather than tweak your Messenger bot. But if it’s that your customers are frustrated with long wait times due to an overwhelmed staff, a chatbot to answer FAQs or qualify leads could be the perfect way to facilitate more sales.

To get some inspiration, check out case studies of these Chatfuel customers who have massively increased sales with a chatbot:

  • Beauty Player, a Taiwanese skincare startup🧴Their Messenger bot facilitated $250,000 in sales (40% of their revenue) in the first month.
  • Photobooth Deluxe, a German photobooth supply company 📸 The entrepreneur behind this brand used a Messenger chatbot to automate over $100,000 in revenue.
  • DECEN Muebles Infantiles, a Mexican ecommerce store for baby furniture 🍼 80% of the brand's sales now come directly from their Facebook bot.

I’ve started building my bot! 🎉 What’s the first thing I should focus on?

Brand loyalty isn’t what it used to be. “Nobody owes their business to anybody,” says Jacqueline, so brands have to constantly re-earn a customer’s patronage with high-quality interactions. That’s why she recommends focusing on improving the customer-service experience with your bot first. Laying this foundation to encourage repeat business can boost your sales in and of itself. If people love what you’re selling but are annoyed by slow response times or products that are hard to sort through, solving these problems with a bot will make it that much easier for prospects to patronize you.

Plus, Jacqueline reminds us, word of mouth goes a long way. Users that have a great purchase experience facilitated by your bot will likely tell their friends. Another one of Jaqueline’s top tips for increasing sales with your bot early on: “If you’re spending any money on Facebook ads, tie your bot to them.” It’s far more common for us to see users engaging with a bot they found through an ad, she says, rather than through a brand’s Send Message button on their page. Linking the two simply gets your bot more users to interact with.

I want to do this right. 🏆 What are some common pitfalls to avoid?

Here are two Jacqueline sees often:

  • Not maximizing conversations 📈 Multi-channel marketing is always best for sales, and you can use your Facebook Messenger chatbot to help you with this. Jacqueline’s tip: Make sure to gather any additional lead information you need once you have a prospect on the hook with your chatbot. If they exit Messenger before the conversation is over but you had asked for their email early on, for example, you have a way to reengage them on another channel.
  • Ignoring the concept of give and take 🤝🏽 Lead information is a currency in the sales world. Just like with actual currency, you have to give customers something valuable in order to receive it. Jacqueline says to ask yourself: “What am I giving this person in exchange for their information?” She recommends humanizing your bot with a friendly persona and equipping it with value-adding, engaging content, too—not just directly promotional messaging. Users will feel comfortable and more willing to share personal details beyond what’s on their Facebook profile, because you clearly care about solving their problems, not just getting their business.

Here are five more common chatbot-building mistakes to avoid, from the Chatfuel team. 👇

Lead qualification: What am I doing wrong? ✅

Lead qualification is one of the most useful sales functions of a Facebook Messenger bot, but Jacqueline warns against too much of a good thing. “I’m a big fan of trying to keep your market as large as possible,” she tells us, “because I’ve seen cases where brands have overqualified to the point where they’re eliminating potentially great prospects.”

She brings up the example of businesses like car dealerships that want to qualify leads based on budget. She points out that most people are willing to spend more than they planned if convinced of proof of value. As a result, asking directly for their price range may unnecessarily eliminate viable prospects. Instead of this one, straightforward ask, a series of questions that are broader and more subtle may be the ticket.

👉 For our example, asking about the make/model of the user’s previous car and whether they’re a homeowner may be more appropriate financial questions, suggests Jacqueline. The answers are fixed, and they’ll paint a more complete picture of the prospect for more accurate qualification.

Like most things in life, lead qualification works best in moderation. If too few prospects are making it through your funnel, consider broadening the scope of your criteria. If too many, think about how you can zero in on their most important qualities.

Reengage messaging: What am I doing wrong? 📡

With 80% open rates (versus email’s 25%), reengage messages (formerly known as Broadcasts) are an incredibly powerful tool. In fact, as a veteran of the online marketing industry, Jacqueline points out that they're as powerful as email marketing was for early adopters ten years ago—and many of the same rules for success still apply. Any good email marketer knows that a campaign that’s too frequent, doesn’t add value, and/or isn’t relevant to the recipient is a bust, and will only drive prospects away.

The same applies to reengage messages: “Don’t send them just to send them; have intention behind everything you share with your audience,” advises Jacqueline. She also warns that it’s easy to exhaust and even irritate your users if sales messages are all they ever receive from your bot. Try incorporating other types of relevant content designed to educate or engage, like articles, quizzes, contests, or giveaways. These can help build trust, add value, and keep your brand top of mind without annoying your users with constant promotions.

I haven’t seen a spike in my sales yet. 📆 What’s the matter?

The classic saying, “You get out of it what you put into it” applies nicely to your new Chatfuel bot. Jacqueline finds that some brands are hesitant to invest resources into this technology simply because it’s new, but she reminds us that you have to commit to the process to enjoy the results.“Dipping their toes in, then expecting the world” is a syndrome she often sees with brands who are new to bots.

Just like sending a single nurture email that took you 10 minutes to write probably won’t produce great results, a chatbot you haven’t put much time or effort into likely won’t either. Whether it’s time, money, or assistance from an expert, you have to commit to devoting resources to your bot if you want to see it boost your sales.

What’s one Chatfuel feature I’m not using yet that I should be? 📊

A trend Jacqueline has seen as Chatfuel’s Head of Growth is that clients come to her looking for a customer-support bot, completely overlooking their many other uses. It’s true that a bot is a fantastic way to automate many support functions, but that’s not all they can do. “There’s so much more to explore with sales and marketing automation and tools,” says Jacqueline. “Your users are right there, opening messages from you, so take advantage of that.”

One example is creating a customer nurture sequence similar to an email drip campaign, but through your bot so you can take advantage of the much higher open rates. She also recommends using Chatfuel’s export feature to create Lookalike Audiences, which allow you to hyper-focus future Facebook targeting.

  • NEW! 🔥 Building chatbots just got even easier with our new drag-and-drop, super-visual Flow Builder interface. Create your Messenger bot there, then bring traffic to it with Entry Points.

I’m off to exponentially increase my sales with a Chatfuel bot! 📈 Any last tips?

Chatbots are on the cutting edge of marketing technology, but that doesn’t mean some classic industry rules of thumb don’t still apply. To boost sales through your bot, Jacqueline says: Be authentic, be relevant, know your customers and their needs, and be willing to invest in your bot’s success.

It’s time to make Jacqueline proud.

Jacqueline is the Head of Growth at Chatfuel. She’s been working in sales in the online marketing industry for years and has produced exponential results for several high-growth startups. Her favorite part about working for Chatfuel is being on the cutting-edge of technology in the industry, but still putting customer success and happiness first above all.

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