What is lead generation? It's a necessary practice for companies that sell big-ticket products or services (real estate, car dealerships, enterprise software, etc.), and/or that require relationship-building to get the sale (marketing agencies, coaching, etc.). And for many of these business owners, it's one of their most tedious and time-consuming tasks.

On paper, it's fairly simple to define lead generation. In a nutshell, lead generation is the process of finding prospective new customers or clients for your business. Once you've sourced some promising new leads, many companies qualify them—or ask them questions to figure out if they're a good fit for your brand's products or services. From there, you move the prospect down the funnel and towards a sale. Source, qualify, sell, done! So what's the challenge? 🧐

Two lead generation challenges that businesses face

In reality, sourcing high-quality, high-intent leads is quite difficult. Whether you use inbound lead generation (creating helpful content prospects can find on their own, then leading them down the funnel) or outbound lead generation (attracting cold prospects, usually by paid methods like ads), getting viable prospects in the door can be tricky.

In general, businesses usually face one of two main challenges with the lead generation process:

  • Not enough (quality) leads. Many businesses struggle to find enough leads to pursue. Or, they have plenty of leads, but few of them turn out to be a good match for what they're selling. There are lead generation agencies out there that can provide lists of prospects for businesses to go after. But often times, the leads that come from those agencies are either low-quality and rarely convert, or they're too expensive for the average business to afford.
  • Too many leads. Some businesses have no trouble sourcing leads. In fact, some are overwhelmed with how many leads they have—especially solopreneurs and small teams with limited resources. While it may sound like a nice problem to have, these companies can't close deals and generate revenue if they don't have the time and resources to dedicate to qualifying and following up with these leads. As a result, they can end up wasting time on leads that turn out to be unqualified. Or, they may simply miss their chance with high-intent prospects who got frustrated with wait times or not hearing back and took their business elsewhere. Regardless, being overwhelmed with more leads than you can handle isn't an ideal scenario either.

No matter which of these challenges your business is facing, there's one tool that can make a big impact. It's a tool that companies around the world are already using to improve their lead generation process in 2021. 👀👇

The new way to do lead generation in 2021

All businesses facing either of the challenges above have one thing in common: their lead generation system lacks efficiency. And what's the modern way to improve efficiency? Automation. 😎

But we're not talking about million-dollar robots in a factory—not anymore. In 2021, automation is more accessible than ever to businesses of all sizes. The most common, accessible form of automation for businesses now is no-code tools. A no-code tool is an online platform that lets you create different types of automated systems. MailChimp is a common example of a no-code tool most people are familiar with. It lets you set up triggered email communications easily, without having anything to do with the backend or coding.

When it comes to lead generation, no-code platforms for building chatbots are becoming increasingly popular. 80% of marketers say they've found that automation like chatbots generates more leads and conversions than other methods. And since anyone can build a chatbot, thanks to easy-to-use no-code platforms, there's no reason not to give it a try.

So what exactly is a chatbot?

What does this type of automation look like? If you're not familiar, a chatbot is a computer program that can have a back-and-forth conversation with human users. One of the most common types of chatbots for lead generation "lives" on Facebook Messenger, so any Facebook user can access it—which means your business can generate leads from a pool of 2.8 billion global users! Although, as of recently, anyone can access your chatbot without a Facebook account through guest mode too, if it's embedded on your website. That means even more users for your chatbot! A Messenger chatbot can be linked to a business's Facebook page, to their Facebook ads, and more.

facebook chatbot
Here's what a Facebook Messenger chatbot looks like. It automatically carries out a conversation with the user via Facebook Messenger.

Simple chatbots essentially follow a script: If the user says X, they say Y. More advanced chatbots use artificial intelligence (AI) to provide custom, more humanlike answers to user inquiries. The good news: Both types of chatbots are much simpler to build than they sound. With a no-code tool, anyone can build a bot like this for their business—no experience required.

How a chatbot can improve your lead generation process

So how can automation—specifically in the form of a chatbot—help with your business's lead generation process? Depending on where you want your chatbot to be available (Facebook page, ads, website, etc.), it can attract new leads and start a conversation with them. In the conversation, the bot can provide prospects with information about your products/services, and to ask them questions to see if they're qualified. From there, you can have the qualified leads book an appointment with you, or you can gather their contact info for later follow-up.

Here's an example of how the process can work:

  1. A user clicks your Facebook ad and is led to your Messenger chatbot. Or, they're browsing your website and a chat window with the bot appears.
  2. The bot offers some basic information about what your business has to offer the user.
  3. The bot then asks the user a few questions to find out if they're a good fit for your products/services (lead qualification).
  4. From there, you can decide what you want your chatbot to do with the qualified leads. It can pass the conversation over to one of your live agents to close the deal. It can have the user schedule an appointment, call, test drive, etc. right within the bot. Or, it can gather contact information for the prospects (email or phone number) and send it to your email inbox or to a spreadsheet, so you or your team can personally follow up.
facebook messenger chatbot
An example of how a Facebook Messenger chatbot for a coaching service might qualify new leads.

So once your Messenger chatbot is set up, it can start generating new leads (from your Facebook ads, Facebook page, website, etc.) and qualifying them on autopilot. That means you can wake up in the morning to an inbox or spreadsheet or calendar full of promising new leads! Remember: Chatbots aren't meant to replace humans. They're simply meant to be time-saving tools that'll help you increase the efficiency of your lead generation process, so you can get more leads in less time and with less effort.

Why a chatbot should be part of your lead generation strategy

So what are the benefits of using Facebook chatbot lead generation for your business? Let's start with the most obvious one first: Chatbots can...

#1. Save you time ⏱️ A lead generation chatbot can be working on sourcing and even qualifying new leads for you 24/7, day and night. That means you can wake up to a list of new leads to pursue instead of always starting from scratch. As a result, you'll have more time to focus on other areas of your business, like providing excellent service to your customers and finding new ways to grow.

#2. Get you more leads than other methods 👥 Did you know that messages from chatbots have 80% open rates, while emails have 20% open rates on average? Chatbots also have 35% click-through-rates on messages with links, compared to email's 2%. So using a chatbot instead of email lead generation already gives you a leg up in terms of people seeing your messaging in the first place.

Plus, chatbots interact with users through back-and-forth conversation. That means they're easier to use and more engaging than static, clunky web forms. Facebook chatbots can also provide a personalized experience, since they can pull things like the user's name and time zone from their Facebook profile and incorporate it into the conversation. That means users are more likely to go through your entire lead generation funnel when it's in chatbot form, resulting in more leads for your business.

chatbot building
On the left, you can see that this chatbot builder added a field for the user's first name. The chatbot then gets the user's name from their Facebook profile and automatically personalize the conversation with it.

#3. Lead users down the funnel 🌪️ Lead generation is just the start of what a chatbot can do for your business. Once you've built a chatbot, you can always easily add extra functionalities to it, so it can accomplish even more for your business on autopilot. Most commonly, we see businesses setting up their bot with an FAQ functionality. That way, users can get more information about your business without you having to answer repetitive questions. You can set up your bot to answer FAQs in 15 minutes. Watch the video below for instructions. 👇 (Then, check out the top nine reasons your business needs a chatbot for other tasks your chatbot can help with.)

#4. Be built easily ✅ The best part: Anyone can build a chatbot to do all of the above, without previous experience. That's the function of Chatfuel: to make it easy and accessible for businesses like yours to build a no-code chatbot for lead generation (and more!). Plus, you can integrate many of your existing tools and workflows with your Chatfuel bot, like your CRM for example. When building your chatbot, you can connect these other tools that you already use and let them work together with your bot on autopilot.

Chatbot lead generation examples

Curious to see how a lead generation chatbot actually works, and what results they can produce? Let's take a look at some of these bots in action. The following two examples are Chatfuel customers who use a chatbot as their main method of lead generation marketing.

#1. Car dealership lead generation: Nissan dealership, Israel

A car is a big-ticket item that most people aren't going to buy on the spot. Instead, they'll make an appointment to visit the dealership, test drive the vehicle, and ask the salesperson their questions. A lead generation chatbot can be the first link between the dealership and these consumers looking to purchase a car—which is exactly why this Nissan dealership in Israel built one.

Their chatbot asks a few questions to confirm that the dealership has the type of car they're looking for. Then it lets the user schedule an appointment for a test drive to move them down the lead generation funnel.

The results: The chatbot turned out to be a far easier and more efficient way for the dealership get qualified potential customers in the door. In fact, in the first month after launching the Facebook bot, the dealership sold ten cars ($380,000 in revenue) to customers who came through it! 🚗 Read the full Nissan case study.

This Nissan dealership's lead generation chatbot showcases the different cars they have on hand. Users can schedule a test drive of the vehicle they want.

#2. Real estate and insurance lead generation: Tacobot

Tacobot is a marketing agency that builds chatbots which generate leads for insurance brokers and real estate agents. Thanks to their bots, their clients no longer have to rely on a lead generation agency for overpriced and low-intent leads. Instead, Tacobot builds them a Facebook chatbot that qualifies leads through a simple questionnaire. The questionnaire gathers information about each prospect, and also functions as a quoting tool so users can get an immediate, tangible benefit to incentivize them to complete the process.

The results: Tacobot's clients can expect high-quality insurance leads for $2-5 each, and high-intent real estate leads for less than $10. That means they're getting more, higher-quality leads for less money through Facebook lead generation. Read the full Tacobot case study.

Tacobot chat flow

Put your business's lead gen on autopilot

Whether it's lead generation for lawyers, lead generation for restaurants, B2B lead generation, or anything in between, a chatbot can help! Businesses across industries that depend on leads are turning to Facebook Messenger chatbots for lead generation more and more. Why not your business too?

Building your own lead gen chatbot is easy and free! Sign up for your free Chatfuel account today to get started. Then, check out our free lead generation templates, which are ready-made chatbot frameworks you can simply load, customize, and launch for your own business. To get the hang of bot-building, watch our video on how to create a chatbot in just three minutes. Happy botting!