When it comes to marketing, you only have one opportunity to make a great first impression with customers. That’s why the initial message your Facebook chatbot sends users, also known as the Welcome Message, is so important. Here’s how to make the most of it, so you can engage even more users and create a better bot experience.

What a Welcome Message does

The Welcome Message is your Messenger chatbot’s response to anyone who messages your business page via Messenger. It generally includes a warm greeting, a bit of basic information to orient the user, and options to engage and further the conversation. Think of it like the homepage of a website: the first place a prospect lands when they want to learn more about your brand and what you have to offer.

If you’re familiar with chatbots already, you probably know that Facebook has a greeting feature built right into Messenger. While this option does work, the functionalities are far more robust if you design a Welcome Message in Chatfuel instead. Facebook’s built-in feature (known as instant replies) only allows plain-text responses, meaning you can’t send media, buttons, or other rich content. A Welcome Message built with Chatfuel simply has the power to be more engaging.

Welcome message
The Welcome Message for the HelloFresh chatbot is friendly, engaging, and informative.

How to create a Welcome Message

Setting up your bot’s Welcome Message is simple.

If you're building in Chatfuel's Automate tab:

  • You’ll see a block titled Welcome Message. Click on it to view or edit your message. You can add text, images, buttons, or other media content. To see all available elements you can incorporate, click the + button in the lower ribbon.
Welcome message
Click on the Welcome Message block in Chatfuel to edit your bot’s initial greeting.

If you're building in Chatfuel's Flows tab:

  • The Welcome Message will be whatever you put in the very first card in your flow. (The exception to this is if you're using an Entry Point, which we highly recommend! In that case, the Entry Point card will technically be the first card in your flow. The Welcome Message will be whatever text is in the first card after that one.)
The Welcome Message for a chatbot built in the Flows tab will simply be whatever text you put in the first card in the flow.

What to include in an effective Welcome Message

Though it should be brief, an effective Welcome Message for your Facebook Messenger chatbot should include four elements:

  1. A personalized greeting. What really differentiates a Welcome Message from, say, the content on a website homepage is personalization. When you build your bot with Chatfuel, you can set it up to automatically import each Facebook user’s publicly available profile information. That way, your bot can address each person by name. To do this, type two open brackets (“{{“) inside a text block. The user attributes in brown that appear in the drop-down menu are system attributes, meaning they’re gathered by Facebook and can be used right away. For example, you could have your bot say, “Hi, {{first name}}! 👋"
  2. An introduction. It’s always smart to let users know who they’re interacting with, and the Welcome Message is a great place to do this. Your bot can share its name and the fact that it’s a bot in a single, brief sentence. For example, it could say: “I’m Gigi, the personal shopping bot for XYZ Store.”
  3. A summary of how it can help or what it offers. Next, give users an idea of what to expect from the interaction. Answer the question on their mind: What’s in it for me? Tell them right off the bat, and keep it simple. Promising a concrete, tangible incentive can be a great way to draw a user in, too. Gigi, our example bot from the previous point, could say,“I’m here to help you find your perfect pair of jeans,” or, “Take this short quiz and I’ll take $10 off your first pair of XYZ jeans! 😍"
  4. An engaging question. Finally, make it easy for the user to respond and continue the conversation. (Making sure your chatbot drives the conversation is a key element of good conversational design!) The simplest way to do this is to ask a question, and encourage a reply by offering buttons attached to the text card. Some examples of actionable button copy for a restaurant chatbot, for instance, could be Reserve Table 🍝, Schedule Now 🗓️, Register for Free 🎫, or Claim Your Coupon 💰.
Effective welcome message in your chatbot
The LEGO chatbot asks the user a few simple questions at the start of the conversation so it knows what information to share.

More tips for designing the best Welcome Message

When creating your bot’s Welcome Message, keep the following best practices in mind as well:

  • Use emoji 🤖 While not appropriate for all audiences (such as luxury or high-end brands), emoji are a great way to provide visual cues and break up blocks of text. They also convey a friendly, welcoming tone that can help put users at ease—especially if they’re new to bots. You can use Chatfuel's native emoji picker to add them in easily.
  • Keep it simple 💡 Make the most of the interaction while your bot has a user’s attention. Design it to share nothing but brief, easy-to-read sentences that get right to the point. Aim to make a meaningful impact on users with your bot’s content as early in the conversation as possible.
  • Keep it short 🤐 Ideally, your whole Welcome Message should be no more than two to three brief sentences. It should fit in a single text block, with each sentence separated by a blank return space for easy reading.
welcome message chatbot
Make your Welcome Message as brief and engaging as possible.
  • Allow for reading time ⏱️ If you do decide to create a longer Welcome Message, make sure to allow for reading time. Bots are supposed to converse in a style similar to humans, so you must leave time in between messages for the user to read. Sending too many at once will seem unnatural and overwhelming. With Chatfuel, you can use a typing animation in between text blocks to pace the conversation. (For reference, each line of text translates to approximately one second of reading time.)
typing animation
Use the typing animation to add reading time for users in between messages.

Start building your own bot today

The function of Chatfuel is to make chatbot-building easy for everyone. Now that you know how to create an excellent Welcome Message, you're ready to start building a no-code Messenger chatbot yourself! Sign up for your free account today to get started with the basics of marketing automation. Once you're ready to scale to unlimited users and enjoy priority support, upgrade to Pro. Happy botting!